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22nd October 2009

I feel as if I have been hit by a bus! We filmed my first real independent production last weekend. It is a Victorian Gothic horror story, a classic and it went really very well. I shall reserve judgment until I have seen the first edit, but I have a feeling we have a good one. It’s like a fisherman, who goes fishing and comes up with an 8lb salmon instead of a 3lb one. Needless to say I am not a fisherman, but my hopes and expectations were exceeded by far. We had a fantastic crew, who pushed themselves to the limit and an excellent cast which included Martin Jarvis, Malcolm Tierney, me and three other terrific actors. On the whole filmmakers never let me down, with their enthusiasm, hard work and professionalism. My friend Patricia Doyle in her first outing as a film director (she has done theatre) did splendidly, having been thrown into the deep end in a big way AND we used her house to film in, brave lady! So my friends we shall see what we come up with. The budget was low and we all got paid the same, cast and crew, but it did not diminish the effort everyone put in, not to mention the long hours over the three days.

Due to our tight budget, I decided to buy a wig, rather than have my hair extended with longer hair (for the period) in the Afro Caribbean shop down the market in the North End Road, where they are expert at such things. Extensions are very expensive, I discovered. Maybe the owner saw me coming! The ladies there were very sweet and I guess this wig was the type that they go discoing in with a different look! They were fascinated by what we were doing and said I looked lovely, with my new white blonde hair all over my shoulders and down my back and asked me if would wear it home. “ No” said I emphatically and with a big smile, I went on my way. This is a different and fascinating world and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The wonderful makeup person we found from the school, Greasepaint, where she had just graduated, made a terrific job restyling it to fit the period and it does look look very good. She also built us our most critical prop and did an amazing Special Effects horror makeup on one of the actors.

In earlier times in the business it was easy to find wigs and costumes all over the place. They are still there, but you just have to know where to look. A friend of mine remarked that it would be easier to shift the whole thing to modern times. But the story wouldn’t work, it would not be believable.

I am trying to write this without giving too much away, but in time all will come out. I am hoping that this will be a pilot for a series, we shall see! So my feeling of being hit by a bus comes from the last week and a half, but I am going to Turkey on Friday with a couple of friends for a long weekend, so maybe I will unwind a bit. A touch of Byzantium might just do the trick!

It does seem silly sometimes to get so worked up about such a relatively lightweight industry, but I know it does bring many people a little pleasure in their lives and so we go on! Hopefully next time I will have some pictures to put with the blog. So au revoir (or should that be "lyi Allahaismarladik") my friends till the next time.

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