Twelve Frames Per Second – Part Four




… One more… BOLLOCKS!

Brian’s sitting in our studio, a drum in front of him acting as a stand for the script, and he’s just asked if he can add a little line. Fill ya boots, was my response, so he blurts out a “Bollocks!”

Well, she’s taking the piss isn’t she?

The script has our youngest member of the cast ragging on the oldest and Brian decided his character wasn’t going to take it lying down. I had been out of the building when he arrived so I met him sat on the steps in the main corridor. I asked if the station was far and if he found the place OK.

You could have sent a car he smiles.

And now we are into the bollocks. He also threw in an “up yours” and a “suck it” at one point. These improvised interjections really worked when I started editing the audio. I had originally wanted to record all the cast as one, so adding these little throwaway lines really give the piece a spontaneity which was lacking.

Before we finished up I asked why an actor of his calibre would play a character in a no budget animation for nothing other than expenses.

“Well, I can just turn up like this” he said. I looked at him and then myself, not sure who was scruffier “I don’t have to spend hours waiting around in costume, no make up. And I love animation”.

It’s great to know that some working actors who have been around fifty odd years, appearing in Blake 7, Doctor Who and Quartermass, among many others, are still willing to help out those that are just starting out or working hard to scrape a pet project together. He even came down on a Monday so he could use his senior travel pass and halve the train fare.

When I got home that day, the Duchess had been rowing with the bloke downstairs who she caught red handed throwing plant matter into our garden. “It’s covered in cat shit!” was his excuse, (so I guess he was caught shit handed). Considering his garden is full of dog shit from Albert, a huge Dogue de Bordeaux, a little feline excrement isn’t going to ruin his chances of getting into this year’s Chelsea flower show. This bloke is a real character, claiming to have been a fighter back in the day, mainly illegal fights against opponents well above his weight. We’d often hear his orange skinned girlfriend shouting at the dog, who neither of them could control. They lock him in the car when they have guests and literally drag him in and out of the house when taking him for walks. Man, woman and beast could well be characters in my next short, but the story would need some sort of finale.

A few weeks later the same neighbour was woken in the middle of the night by Albert, Lassie style.

Woof woof woof.

What’s that boy, there’s a fire at number 37?

The flat next door to us was ablaze. Man and dog woke us and we holed up in his flat whilst the fire brigade got to work. And there’s the third act I was looking for! Now I just need to finish THIS film, before starting another…

Andy, my engineer, was back for day three of recording and Kim was the first one in, nailing almost every line first time. With our last actor, Paul, we tried a lot of different things. Maybe it was me dragging out the process due to it coming to an end. There was a little riff we played around with where he was taking the piss out of Kim’s character and attempted a Scottish accent.

I thought my accents were bad; I once said something to my 2 year old in what I thought was a pretty good Scottish accent and her response was “Oh yeah, that’s like in Rastamouse”. Paul’s Scottish was worse and had us howling. During the whole recording process I had been looking into upgrading my filming equipment. I wanted the film to be in full HD and found to upgrade my Stop motion Pro software to HD would cost £200. This includes an HD camera which was basically a really good quality webcam. With the sound and graphic card upgrade I was probably looking at around £300-£350.

Then I read an article about Wally Pfister and Christopher Nolan still working with film, even down to cutting on a flatbed editor and hand-splicing the film together. I had recently moved away from digital still photography and started working in 35mm so shooting the short on film seemed like a logical step. I searched around and found a Canon AZ 814 cine camera on for £40. I could get 50ft (roughly 3 minutes) super 8 cartridges for £35 including processing and full HD transfer for £80 per cartridge. So for £235 I could shoot and process the entire short.

Then the camera arrived and the viewfinder was completely fucked. I took it down to cameracity for a repair quote and paid £20 just to get them to have a look. Two weeks later they came back with £120! Damn, I was going to be paying out £375 for the camera, viewfinder repair, cartridges and processing. But was still feeling all proper filmmaker, albeit a poor one.

So equipment acquired, actors recorded, set built, nothing stopping me from shooting the fucker. Nothing that is until our landlady got kicked out of the house she was renting and had to move back into our flat. The lease was up anyway, so I packed down the set along with all our other worldly goods and we headed another 8 miles up the A10, the cat shit man even helped out with the move.

With the set rebuilt in the new place all I need to do is take a shot, move the puppet a fraction and repeat two and a half thousand times!




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