[Update 30th April 2014: The film did not, ultimately, go ahead. I’ve left the post with minor edits in place as an historical record.]
Damien Swaby (@DamienSwaby on twitter, and centre of attention above) will be directing “She Moves Me” during the summer*, and asked me to create his pre-production photos. If you think I’ve mentioned this before, you’re not imagining it. I couldn’t turn it down – Damien is easy to work with, and the project sounded fun.
It’s gotta be said – they man knows exactly what he wants. This sounds like a pain in the arse but, owing to my rubbish mind-reading skills, is exactly the opposite. Damien had already found a location and had shots in mind, so scouting amounted to making sure the location choice wasn’t completely bonkers. We added a couple of additional shots to the list whilst scouting, but in the end they weren’t used. All the picks were from the ‘bench’ set; said bench will feature in the film. Who knows, one day it might be as iconic as a certain blue door in Notting Hill.
I don’t know why, but every shoot I’ve done with actors has been easy as pie**. All I had to say was “act naturally, and talk amongst yourselves” and it happened, giving me lots of pseudo-candids with which to work. The real magic, however, came from the instant on-sensor chemistry that the actors provided at will.
An honourable mention should go to Damien’s girlfriend, who wielded a brolly stand like a pro. If only all VALs paid attention like she did. It’s the little things like that which keeps the momentum of a shoot going, and stop it turning into a slog.
Of course, after a bravura performance a time-honoured reward is due. Off to a nearby waterhole we went. The DSLR went away, and out came the Yash, loaded with HP5+. The older-than-me rangefinder has a lovely bright aperture-priority only fixed lens, so the lights went away too and I could forget all about the modern-day curse of ‘settings’. Beer and old cameras is a mix that is hard to beat – especially when the old camera makes it virtually impossible to bugger up the exposure.
A deserved drink
I really should rescan after dusting the neg, but the effect is starting to grow on me and I can always do it tomorrow.
The first three frames in this post were Damien’s picks for promo duty. My personal favourite was this candid I got on the second roll in the pub after the camera got forgotten about:
A cool customer
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I had a great day on this shoot.
* He may have even finished the script by now…
** I realise, of course, every shoot with actors from now on will be an absolute mare. Damn you, Mr Sod. And damn your law.