Moth | Production Diaries

Director's Diary | Alison Reddihough - Producer | Runner's Diary

  • Sometime in May 2002

  • It’s a week since we returned from Los Angeles. I’m burnt out, depressed and seriously considering whether I want to be a producer any more. And then Simon turns to me and says “Lets make another short film”.
  • My immediate response is a big fat “No”. No because I don’t want to make another short film where everyone works for nothing, no because the thought of all that effort for a short is just too tiring to even begin to think about, no because….
  • Simon rudely interrupts my chain of thought. “And I know just the film to make…. Do you remember that script that Clifton sent us called The Moth?”
  • Hmmm. Yes I do. A tiny spark awakens within me. It was a good story. Needs a bit of work but…
  • STOP! Do I really want to do this? Do I??? Fast forward to…..
  • Director's Diary
  • Friday 3rd January, 2003

  • A rehearsal room in London...
  • …Our first casting session for the main part of Tommy, a 7 year old boy. How do you cast a child? You can’t ask them to come in the room and do two speeches (one Shakespeare one modern) and a song. Our canny casting director Laura Dickens, who has assisted casting on “Harry Potter” and “About a Boy”, provides an answer - a workshop. So here we are, with 13 boys aged between 6 and 10 and a page full of exercises and improvisations that we hope will elicit a glimpse of natural talent.
  • It’s taken a bit of work to get here, but so far so good. “Moth” (the ‘The’ has now gone) is a great script – one of the best I’ve ever read for a short film - and I didn’t need much more persuading from Simon to get my creative juices flowing. I realised that this was the best thing for us; “Ghosthunter” was reaching the end of its screening life and we really needed to get out there and film something rather than sitting in our office being development executives. It also seemed like a good idea to make something written by Clifton Stewart – he’s been working on several features with us for the past two and half years – and it makes sense to have a showpiece for the writer, director, producer team.
  • However there was one person that we had to talk to before we could fully commit to “Moth”. Matt Twyford was our Visual Effects Supervisor on “Ghosthunter”, has worked on numerous big features and is a really nice bloke. “Moth” contains several sequences that require quite complex special effects. If we can’t get sponsorship for those effects we can’t make the film. It’s as simple as that.
  • We meet Matt at BAFTA. He likes the script, is happy to help and crucially he’s very optimistic that he can get sponsorship for us from some of the best effects houses in London.
  • So with Matt’s blessing, we set a date to film in January. We later realise that because we are working with a child we will have to pay a lot of money (that we can’t afford) for a tutor if we take them out of school for a week. So we’ve now set a date to film in February 17th-22nd, which is half term.
  • As well as Matt, we’ve also got Laura, Luke Smith Production Designer, Jessica Curtis Costume Designer, Eddie Hamilton Editor, Brian Greene Sound Mixer and Miguel Mera Composer on board. We really wanted a casting director on this one because of the challenges of casting a child. We approached Laura through the Casting Directors Guild website. Laura loved the script, was available and was keen to broaden her contacts, so here she was. Luke worked on “Ghosthunter”; we love his work and talent and he has become a good friend; Jess is Luke’s partner and a respected and very talented theatre designer with a very sweet nature so it’s fantastic to be able to work with her at long last; Eddie the-most-enthusiastic-editor-in-the-world we’ve also known and wanted to work with for sometime, so it was easy to persuade him; 'Big Brian Greene' was our friendly sound mixer from "Ghosthunter" and Miguel we met through an event at BAFTA. We’ve also had, and lost, two production managers and a DOP, to other (paid) work. But its early days and I’m optimistic that we’ll replace them without any problems.
  • And, most exciting and amazing of all, we’ve got the promise of a studio at SHEPPERTON STUDIOS for our shoot week for a simply incredible deal. Thanks to our amazing friend and mentor Robin O’Donoghue – the Sound Rerecording Mixer on “Ghosthunter” and now head of Post Production at Shepperton – and the fact that they’ll probably have a few spaces sitting empty in February, Shepperton have promised to help us out. We are delighted by their generosity and excited by the prospect of filming for five days there.
  • On the downside, we didn’t manage to get any industry funding for the film, which was very disappointing, so if we’re going to make this film then we’re going to have to find other sources of finance. We dig (deep) into our own pockets and realise that if we get some other good deals we should be able to manage it. However due to the comings and goings of our production managers we’ve yet to sit down and draw up a proper budget so I hope our rough idea of costs is close.
  • “And now you’re a lighthouse!” The workshop is going well; the boys are a real mix of the obnoxious, the sweet and the serious, but they’re all entering into the spirit of it. We hold back 6 boys at the end and video them improvising a scene from the film with me playing Angela, Tommy’s mother. We leave feeling confident that we’ve seen some interesting boys and some strong potentials for the role.
  • Later that night as we watch the video footage from the day, one boy really catches our attention. Joseph Friend hadn’t stood out at the workshop as much as a couple of the other boys, although we had noted that he was very responsive and imaginative. However on camera he leaps out at us and sends a shiver down our spines. We’ll definitely be seeing him again.
  • Director's Diary
  • Friday 17th January, 2003

  • Our office in Sussex...
  • It’s a lousy day and we’re in a bit of a panic. Only 4 weeks left before we start filming and we really need a production manager on board now. But we can’t find one – we’ve been through everyone we know and all their recommendations. There’s only one thing for it - we decide to follow our motto of aiming high and start cold calling some very experienced Production Managers from ‘The Knowledge’ and ‘The Production Guild’ websites. I sell the production and Amulet as best I can and after about 6 calls I get a sniff of interest from a Production Manager called Richard Dunmore. Richard has worked on many big features including “Shadowlands” and “The Tailor of Panama” as a Location Manager and Production Manager. He grills me thoroughly about the film and Amulet, but despite a power cut interrupting our conversation halfway through (I continue the conversation on my mobile by candlelight), he sounds quite interested. I e-mail him the script and await his response.
  • Director's Diary
  • Saturday 18th January, 2003

  • A rehearsal room in London.
  • We’re recalling 4 boys for the part of Tommy. After our first workshop, we also went to Anna Scher and Sylvia Young and saw a few boys there. Although they were all pretty talented, there was only one boy that we felt was potentially right for Tommy, so he’s coming today. We’ve also recalled the 3 boys that we liked from the first workshop.
  • Before the audition begins, I get a phone call from Richard Dunmore. He’s interested in being involved and can come along and meet us today after the casting. Phew. Let’s hope that we get on with him and that he’s the right man for the job.
  • The audition goes well. All the boys are good actors, but Tommy is quite a feisty character and we need a boy who can boldly stick up for himself. In walks Joseph Friend. Joseph’s improvisation is excellent and he throws himself into an improvised argument scene with gusto. He looks perfect for the part and has a wonderfully innocent, squeaky voice. We all look triumphant as he leaves the room. We’ve found our Tommy.
  • The day continues well. We meet Richard in a pub nearby and we talk for nearly two hours. Or rather Richard grills us for two hours. He has a habit of very seriously asking you question after question without pause and there is a moment when I think “Hang on, shouldn’t we be interviewing you?” However, he is very thorough (which we love) and as the chat progresses it becomes clear that once he commits to the film he will be very committed. He also appears to have a soft centre under his slightly crusty shell, so I think he’ll be great. In fact I’m starting to think we were very lucky to find him. His only concern is whether we can make the film for the money that we currently have. We arrange to meet next week at BAFTA, along with a Production Accountant friend of his called Simon Windsor, to go through the budget thoroughly for an hour.
  • Director's Diary
  • Friday 24th January, 2003

  • A VERY long production meeting at BAFTA…
  • 7 hours to be precise. Simon Windsor, who is currently the Production Accountant on “Footballer’s Wives” and a very amiable chap, goes through every potential costing with us. It’s a tricky thing to do – all budgets are estimates and we just don’t know at this stage what sort of deals we’re going to get. We base our costings on what we paid for “Ghosthunter” and on a few phone calls I’d made that week.
  • The final tally up is not good news. Our estimated budget for “Moth” stands at nearly TWICE the amount that we originally thought. Richard and Simon look at us carefully. They both want to be reassured that we can get that amount of money before they’ll commit to working with us. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know if we can afford to make the film. And if we can, do we really want to spend that amount of money on it? We need to have a long think about it. We promise to call them after the weekend to let them know whether we can go ahead.
  • We finally leave BAFTA. It’s 9.30pm and we’re starving. We head out for a (cheap) meal. I’m nearly in tears. The tension of the day has got to me and I’m tired and frustrated about whether we can make this film. We’ve come so far already – we’ve got a great script, Shepperton, a brilliant child actor, some fantastic people already committed to the film – it seems such a waste to stop now. But…. it’s a lot of money….
  • Monday 27th January, 2003

  • Decision time...
  • It’s a long weekend. We think long and hard about whether we can afford to make this film for the estimated budget.
  • We debate. And sweat. And debate some more. We discuss all the various options with one of our mentors and investors from “Ghosthunter”. It becomes clear that this film means a lot to us and that we both feel a deep commitment to making it. We study our finances and realise that with a bit of creative credit card juggling we can make ‘Moth’. We look at each other, hold our breath and decide. Yes, we’re going to go for it. As we make the decision we are rewarded by our mentor/investor very generously offering us some money towards it. It’s a fantastic and unexpected bonus. It helps a lot and will ease the pressure on our own finances and credit cards.
  • So that’s it. Here we go. First thing Monday morning I let Richard know the good news and pre-production officially begins….
  • Director's Diary
  • Pre-production Part 1

  • 2½ weeks and casting…
  • And we don’t have our adult actors yet. Thank goodness all is going well with our Tommy. British law decrees that we have to have a licence in order for Joseph to work with us. It’s a pain and I know nothing about it, but without it we can’t use a child actor. Laura and Joseph’s Agent Linda Davies at Abacus kindly guide me through the process of filling in the appropriate forms. The Children and Young Person’s Act of 1963 also declares that because Joseph is only 8 years old we can only use him from 9.30am until 4.30pm every day. This poses a problem. Tommy is our lead character and is in nearly every scene. If we can only film for such a short day with him, how are we going to make this film?
  • We decide that we need a Tommy Double – a 9 year old boy, because 9 year olds can film from 7am until 7pm – who can stand in for Tommy, providing close ups on hands and feet and an eye line for some reverse shots for the adult actors. Linda comes to our rescue again and Tom Grant is cast. Tom is perfect, a very bright, intelligent boy who is exactly the same height as Joseph and a year older. We have to get a licence for him too, but now I’m an old hand at the process and the application is sent off promptly.
  • So that’s the boys sorted, but what about our Bill and Angela? Rehearsals are only a week and a half away and we need to get them on board. Laura’s been great and has supplied us with long lists of actors and actresses suitable for the parts. First, Angela. We wade through our out-of-date Spotlight and after much deliberating tick off those who look interesting and who look like they could be the mother of our Tommy, Joseph Friend. It’s ruthless, but effective, and after further consideration and suggestions from Laura, we end up with a shortlist of 4.
  • However, we don’t know any of these actresses and it’s important to us to meet them first to check that we’re all comfortable with each other. We feel awkward auditioning them as they’re all pretty established and we know that they could play the part, so we decide that the best course of action is to ask them to meet for a chat at BAFTA. We do the same for a potential Bill.
  • It works well. We initially meet 2 actresses (and are stood up by the 3rd). They’re both very friendly and very keen to be involved. Despite both having great CVs it appears that the chance to make a short film with a great script and an interesting, challenging part doesn’t come along very often. We like them both; however Simon prefers one actress and I prefer the other. We decide not to argue about it until we’ve met our 4th actress Julia Ford on Friday.
  • Friday 31st January, 2003

  • WHAT!!!
  • We’re about to leave the office to meet Julia and a potential Bill at BAFTA when the phone rings. It’s Noel Tovey, our contact at Shepperton Studios, returning a call. Simon speaks to him and from the tone of his voice and responses, I can hear that it’s not good news. We’d rung Noel earlier to confirm that everything was OK with the studio and that we could start the set construction on Monday. Simon hangs up. “They don’t have a studio for us anymore”.
  • It’s the worse possible news. Noel tells us that Warner Brothers have moved a film forward (which never happens!!) and all their studios at Shepperton and Pinewood are now unavailable. What are we going to do?
  • Noel – fully aware of the miserable news he’s just given us – has promised to do his best to try and juggle things around. He swears to call us back later. It’s a gloomy train trip to London. Simon and I sit lost in thought, but I pull myself together and determine to keep optimistic. Strangely enough, I have a gut feeling that we’re going to be OK.
  • We endeavour to put our worries to the back of our minds as we meet Julia Ford. She is absolutely lovely and exactly what we imagined for Angela. She loves the script and is very keen to be involved. She is our unanimous first choice for Angela and she looks like Joseph, so is a perfect match to play his mum.
  • Our potential Bill is also very interesting, but the clock is ticking and it’s getting harder to focus. 5.30pm and no news from Noel. I call Shepperton, but Noel is unavailable. 6pm and I’m calling another studio to check for availability. They’ve all gone home.
  • Then at 6.10pm, my mobile sparks into life. “Hello!” I bark, rather too eagerly. It’s Noel….and? He’s spent the afternoon juggling things around, and news has come in that another film at Pinewood has been pushed back so… he’s 99% sure that we can have F Stage at Shepperton Studios.
  • Yes! I signal a thumbs-up to Simon. Good old Noel. I thank him profusely, it’s obvious that he’s done his utmost to help us. He hopes to fully confirm early next week and once we’ve signed a contract the stage is ours.
  • We have a very large drink and toast Noel Tovey.
  • Director's Diary
  • Pre-production Part 2

  • 1½ weeks and crewing…
  • It’s a wee bit worrying when you don’t have a D.O.P. a week and a half before shooting. It’s not for want of trying. We’ve had 2 already, but both have had to drop out because of work or family commitments.
  • So, Simon has been on the phone to a few agents asking for suggestions. I’ve left it pretty much to him as hiring the D.O.P. is more the Director’s decision. The agents are a bit aghast at our paying expenses only, but to be fair to them they still do their best to help us. After all if a D.O.P. is currently available, it’s better to be working than not, and the lure of an atmospheric script, shooting on 35mm at Shepperton (fingers crossed – still not fully confirmed) and of course working with us(!) is hopefully irresistible.
  • Anyway, Tim Palmer attracts our attention. He has a very solid CV (lots of quality TV work), likes the script and is very interested, so we meet at BAFTA. Tim comes across as a very professional and serious man who doesn’t give much away, but he has a lovely, deep, hypnotic voice that would earn him a fortune in voice-over work should he decide upon a change of career at any time.
  • The meeting goes well and Tim is our man. It’s a relief to me, because apart from the fact that our film will now be lit, I can now start getting costings for camera and lighting equipment.
  • After meeting Tim we go onto a screening of “Ghosthunter” at the first Rocliffe’s New Film Forum. It’s good to see it again, although it’s projected from a video onto a screen and looks as if it was shot on 8mm. Still the event is run very well and we get some nice comments and sell a few books, so it’s a good end to the day.
  • Casting is also progressing. Julia is now definitely cast as Angela, which is fantastic, but a problem has arisen with the actor we’ve cast as Bill. He has been offered another job which clashes with ours. We go back to another actor we were initially interested in to see if he’s available/interested. He is and he’s a friend of a friend (so he knows us and has seen “Ghosthunter”); he’s very talented, ideal for the part and we’re delighted to have him on board. So Brett Fancy becomes our Bill.
  • And to put the cherry on the cake, Noel calls to confirm that Stage F at Shepperton Studios is absolutely, definitely, unquestionably, categorically ours! HOORAY!!! BIG sigh of relief. We have our D.O.P., we have our cast and we have SOMEWHERE TO SHOOT OUR FILM!!!!
  • Friday 7th February, 2003

  • A day in the Life of a Short Film Producer...
  • It’s my last day in the office at home. Next week we’re at Shepperton. I can’t wait. The jobs have been building up and I’m really looking forward to passing some of the nitty gritty stuff onto Richard and a Production Coordinator (if we’ve found one). Richard has been doing a sterling job and I’ve grown more and more impressed with him as time goes by. He’s secured a great location and has applied himself to finding some crewmembers (who'll work for nothing) with grim determination. I don’t think its job that he relishes.
  • Come to think of it neither do I. I’m also recruiting and it is tough finding someone who’s a) good, b) available and c) happy to work for expenses. However, we’re getting there.
  • Simon is out and about doing a recce of the location with Tim and Luke and then going on to Shepperton to recce F Stage and sign the contract. Once again I bless Noel Tovey.
  • Anyway, I’m office bound so the following is a list of the jobs I have to do today. Just a taster of A Day In The Life Of A Short Film Producer A Week Before Production Begins….
  • 1. Talk to Tracey at Panavision re: - camera tests next Thursday, the equipment list that I’d e-mailed to her from Tim, delivery details and an approximate value of the equipment we’re hiring from them for insurance purposes. Tracey is extremely helpful and friendly so this call goes well.
  • 2. Get another quote for insurance. The quotes so far have varied enormously. I leave a message with a company I find from The Knowledge Online. I never hear back from them.
  • 3. Send a contract for Tim to his agent. We have a fairly basic contract that we use for all our crew, but his agent has asked for a few extra details to be included, which is fair enough. I e-mail a draft to her.
  • 4. Send a redrafted contract to Julia Ford’s agent. God I hate contracts. And I hate negotiating them with agents, especially when you’re not paying much. Thankfully Julia’s agent has been pretty decent and it looks as if we’re close to reaching a compromise. I concede to most of her requests and e-mail a second draft through to her.
  • 5. Call Julia re rehearsals. And to say hello - we haven’t spoken since she got the job so it’s also to check that she’s happy with everything. She is. She sounds thrilled to have got the job and it’s a delight to talk to her.
  • 6. Get quotes for the lighting equipment. Tim has recommended that we talk to Tony Hester at Arri Lighting. Tony is lovely and we have a really nice chat. He’s delighted that Tim has recommended Arri and he wants to help us as much as he can. Hooray! I e-mail the equipment list through to him.
  • 7. Call Kodak re: getting a quote for the film stock. I do. Our contact Dan Clark isn’t available so I’ll have to call back Monday.
  • 8. Call Brett’s agent. Another agent. Another contract. Groan. I get it over and done with.
  • 9. Print out some scripts for rehearsals tomorrow. Pretty self explanatory.
  • 10. Update and print out the contact sheet for rehearsals and the production meeting tomorrow. Ditto.
  • 11. Call Erika re rehearsals. Erika Ökvist is our make-up designer. She’s hopefully coming in tomorrow to do some tests for the moth dust scenes. She promises to call back later to confirm if she’s available.
  • 12. Get a quote from a lab for processing. I’ve already had one quote from Deluxe, but I’d like to see what another lab can offer. I e-mail our details and wait for a response.
  • 13. Prepare a list of questions for the production meeting. I guess I need to look like I know what I’m doing…
  • 14. Chase up Matt and Sally Twyford to see if they can make the production meeting. They can. Excellent.
  • 15. Call Dean Thompson. Dean was our focus puller on “Ghosthunter”. Unfortunately he’s unavailable for the shoot week, but it’s good to catch up with him.
  • There endeth my day.
  • Director's Diary
  • Saturday 8th February, 2003

  • Rehearsals and production meeting at Ealing Studios...
  • I arrive at Ealing Studios with a feeling of satisfaction, excitement and terror. Satisfaction that we’ve got this far, excitement because today feels like we’re actually doing it not just talking about it and terror because of all the things that still have to be done with only a week to go. In the entrance hall Simon finds a dead moth on the floor. It’s a great specimen, quite big with its wings wide open. I hope its good omen.
  • It’s great to see all our cast together – Joseph playing on his Game Boy, Julia all smiles, Brett being very supportive, Tom looking very serious but obviously excited to be here. Some of our crew are here too – the lovely Jess (costumes) is doing fittings throughout the day, Erika (moth make up) has made it and starts experimenting with moth dust tests on Tom’s arm and Clifton (writer) who seems quietly thrilled to see it all happening and wanders around taking photos and bonding with the cast.
  • At first I feel a bit out on a limb. It’s the first time I’ve ever been at a rehearsal without being an actor. It feels a bit strange and as Simon and the actors start working through the script I feel a bit redundant. It’s an odd feeling. But after a while I remind myself that as a producer I have every right to be there and to contribute to the process. Although I leave the actual directing to Simon, it’s good to be able to step in and make a suggestion or add my thoughts to a discussion.
  • I also do what I do best – check that everyone’s happy and that everything’s running smoothly (and if it isn’t, sort it out). I talk to Jane Friend and Sandra Grant – Joseph and Tom’s mums and chaperones for the shoot week – and start to get to know them. I talk to Jess and increase her costume budget. It was pathetically low before; I’d been feeling guilty about it and could see that Jess was struggling. She looks very relieved, so I know I’ve done the right thing. I admire Erika’s make up test – it’s looking good – and I get to know her a little better. I touch base with Clifton – he’s delighted with our cast and keen to come and visit for the shoot week. And I make a lot of tea and wash up. Well someone has to do it.
  • So as the day progresses I relax and begin to enjoy myself. Our cast are fantastic – everything I could have wished for – and we have a lot of fun together. Around 4pm, some of our crew start arriving for the production meeting. Cate Arbeid is one of the first. Cate is our Production Coordinator, freshly recruited by Richard. She is very friendly and jolly and I’m astounded to learn that she’s just finished working on “Die Another Day”. Wow. Why does she want to work for nothing on this? “Well it beats staying at home watching ‘This Morning’” she says. I thank her profusely and wander off to try and find someone who can tell me exactly what a Production Coordinator does (we didn’t have that luxury on “Ghosthunter”).
  • Richard, Luke, Tim and Matt & Sally arrive as the cast finish up for the day and head home. This is our first Production Meeting for “Moth” and it feels very exciting to see our key crew sat around the table. I start the meeting with a short introduction, thanking everyone for giving their time and energy to “Moth” and wishing us all success with the project. Simon then takes over and works his way through the script, scene by scene, addressing any concerns from the various departments. The meeting goes smoothly and we finish at 7pm. I have a brief word with Richard and Cate – there are quite a few things that I need to bring them up to date on – so we agree to meet at 12pm on Monday at our office at Shepperton to go through them.
  • Our office at Shepperton - doesn’t that sound fantastic? Next week we move into 2 offices for 2 weeks – a week of pre-production and the week of production. I am really looking forward to it, even more so because of the great team we’ve managed to assemble.
  • Director's Diary
  • Sunday 9th February, 2003

  • The second day of rehearsals is much quieter – no costume or make-up distractions - so the cast are able to concentrate fully on the script. They work their way through each scene – this is the only time that they’ll be able to play each scene in sequence. The schedule for the “Moth” shoot breaks the scenes up quite a lot due to the limited shooting times that we have with Joseph. So it’s important that the actors get a sense of the rhythm of the whole piece. The day goes well and after a much needed drink with Brett and Julia, we head home and collapse.
  • Director's Diary
  • Pre-production Part 3

  • ½ week and counting…
  • And the Product Placement stuff has just arrived. This is always a treat, as they unload box after box of goodies that can be used throughout the shoot. They’ve been pretty generous – there are several props and toys that will be very useful in the film – and some foodstuff that will help to keep our crew happy. However, we are a bit unsure as to what we’re going to do with the very unappetising tin of Happy Shopper Hot Dogs in Brine…
  • We are now very comfortably set up in Rooms 303 and 304 of EFG Block at Shepperton Studios. We have four desks and phones, with Richard and Cate in 304 connected to Simon (Production Accountant) and me in 303. Richard and Cate have taken on the day to day organisation of the shoot, leaving me free to finalise deals and contracts and to go through the budget with Simon. It’s great having a production accountant as part of our team – we really missed having one on “Ghosthunter”. The budget is looking OK – if all goes well, we should be down on our last estimate by a few thousand, which would be great. We’re slightly over-budget on some areas like insurance (eventually I had found a reasonable, although still pricey quote) but down on others. Arri have been hugely generous with our lighting deal – not only have they given us everything that we wanted for a great price, they’ve also found a gaffer and two sparks who’ll be happy to work for expenses. I can’t thank Tony Hester enough – it’s support from people like him that make it all worthwhile.
  • In the meantime, Richard and Cate beaver away finalising movement orders, preparing unit lists and call sheets, finding the last few crew members that we’re still missing and making sure that everything will be in place for the shoot week. They’re terrifically efficient and organised (as well as being a lot of fun) and it takes a huge weight off my shoulders knowing that I can completely trust them to get things done. As their experience is mostly in features, it feels as if the “Moth” production office is being run exactly like a feature film (bar a few cost cutting measures). It’s a great experience for me and over the next two weeks I learn a lot working with them.
  • One of the great things about being at Shepperton is the fact that everything is tailored to make filming easier. Kodak and Deluxe (our lab) both do pick-ups and drop-offs of stock and rushes at no extra cost every day. This is a wonderful luxury after "Ghosthunter" where we had to find or pay someone to schlepp the rushes up to Heathrow every night. Desks and phones are provided (and even a fridge which Noel has kindly 'borrowed' for us from the ‘Harry Potter’ production rooms – I think they can afford to spare it…!). The canteen is more than adequate enough for lunch and our breakfast rolls - and infinitely more economical than a catering van. Security are very friendly and helpful - allowing us to work late some nights during pre-production - and to use their safe. We also have the use of outgoing mail, fax and photocopying facilities at the main administration offices.
  • The only disadvantage is the paperwork - specifically Health and Safety. Having never had a Health and Safety policy before it is a bit daunting to be handed a folder of forms and told that unless we fill them in properly we won't be able to film. I hand them over to Richard, who looks distinctly unimpressed, with the intention of picking his brains about them and working on them later in the week. It is an absolute joy to find him beavering away on them on Friday, without being reminded. I love my production team!
  • Form filling aside, it is just fantastic to be at Shepperton - nosing around the other studios, seeing sets half built, bumping into a well known face in the canteen, being able to 'pop over' and say hello to our dear friend Robin O’Donoghue over at the Korda Theatre. One day, Simon and I say, we'll have a permanent office here. I savour every minute.
  • In one quiet moment I take the opportunity to pop over to the main Admin building to give Noel a big hug. Without his perseverance we wouldn't be here. It is also smashing to have a visit from Robin (albeit with a stinking cold), although he is devastated to hear that his part in the film has been cut. In an earlier draft we'd had a scene that required several extras. Robin had extensively auditioned/pestered us for the crucial part of 'Man with Limp and Dog' and after a lot of debate we decided to give him a try (after all we like to help those starting out in the industry...) Sadly, the scene changed during the development process and all the extras were cut, so Robin's film debut will have to wait... until our next film??
  • The week progresses eerily smoothly, despite coming out in a rotten cold (thanks Robin). It is a huge relief to see that the boy’s licenses have come through without hitch. Without those, we wouldn't have been able to film. On F Stage, our set has finished being constructed and is now being painted. More crew arrive and I meet our 1st AD Toby, a very likeable and organised guy, and Minta a very efficient and professional Script Supervisor. Both are using “Moth” to get more experience in these roles, having worked on numerous features in other positions. By the end of the week I’m feeling pretty relaxed and looking forward to the pre-light on Saturday followed by a possible day off on Sunday to catch up on my sleep and get over my cold before the shoot week.
  • However, things haven’t been progressing quite as smoothly in the art department. On Friday evening it becomes clear to Simon and me that the set is a long way off being finished. A lot of this is due to cost cutting on the set build and a lack of skilled art department assistants. Luke is overstretched and understaffed and until now, we’ve been unaware of exactly how far behind he’s got.
  • It’s an intense and exhausting evening. There’s nothing for it but for Simon and I to pitch in and help as much as we can. We do our best, along with Luke and Tanya (a runner on “Ghosthunter” and now one of our only available art department assistants); trying to shift windbags (ceiling pieces) onto the set, moving furniture, and hoisting several huge, black drapes, but its slow work and there’s a limit to what we can do. By the end of the evening it becomes clear that we’re in trouble. There are some major jobs that still need to be done on the set and we don’t have the skilled crew to do them. If we don’t sort them out tomorrow then we won’t have a set for Monday.
  • It’s going to be a long weekend.
  • Saturday 15th February, 2003

  • A long weekend…
  • After a long discussion with Simon and a sleepless night, it becomes clear what we need to do. I call Richard first thing in the morning to see if he can get hold of a carpenter to work for us for the day. Richard promises to do what he can.
  • An hour later we arrive at the studio to find a carpenter already at work. It’s an immense relief and it’s astounding how quickly he works throughout the day. He concentrates on the skilled jobs that we were having problems with, leaving the rest of us free to work on finishing the painting, putting up shelves and dressing the set. Jess also mucks in, and her skill as a set designer and cheery disposition is a great asset.
  • I help out as much as I can, in between keeping an eye on things in the office and conducting The Battle With The Glaziers with Richard. You think it would be simple. Phone up a Glazing Company, get a quote, get a time for them to fix it, they turn up on time, do the job, sorted. Well it had all started the day before when I’d got a great quote from a company and fixed for them to come that afternoon. They didn’t turn up and when chased, said that the order hadn’t been processed properly by a new girl. OK, these things happen. They promise to come first thing today. It’s now mid morning and they’re not here. Richard chases them up. They say that their van wouldn’t start so they’re waiting for the AA. They’ll come a few hours later. Hmm. This is starting to get irritating. A few hours later and they’re still not here. Apparently there’s been a security alert at the AA so no vans are getting out. Richard calls the AA to confirm this. They don’t know what we’re talking about. Now I’m getting angry. Richard walks into the office to find me swearing at some assistant I’ve been fobbed onto. We try to find another glazier. No luck – no ones available today. Eventually we speak to the manager of our original glazing company. He absolutely promises that by hook or by crook, a van will be here by 8pm tonight to glaze our set. I’m not holding my breath, but we’ve no option.
  • In the meantime Tim and our gaffer David and sparks Roger and Chris get on with the pre-light. The atmosphere has lightened considerably (literally!) and when I’m not trying to battle with the glaziers or paint bricks I chat to our electrical team and thank them for coming on board.
  • 8pm dawns. It’s just a hard core art department team left. No sign of the glaziers. I’m about to spontaneously combust when at 8.15pm, miraculously, a van appears out of the gloom. My heart quickens, could it be… Yes! IT’S THE GLAZIERS!! The glass is fitted. The job is done. End of story.
  • Director's Diary
  • Sunday 16th February, 2003

  • The following day we’re back again, thankfully joined by Kathy another art department assistant. Its tiring work and I have a moment of anger and despair wishing I was anywhere but here. I’m crap at painting, I’m fed up of junk food, I’m tired and I’m still feeling yucky and I begrudge being here when I should be in a hot bath at home saving my energy for the week ahead. Unfortunately this is the way it works on shorts sometimes – ironically the cost cutting comes at a price. I head out to do some last minute shopping for the art department and pull myself together. I remind myself that it’s only a week and that it has to be done or the set won’t be finished. Thankfully the prima donna moment passes and by the time I get back to the studio we’re ready to start dressing the set, which is much more fun. The rest of the day passes a lot more pleasurably as we all regress to being 7 years old and gleefully cut and Blu-tack space pictures all around the room.
  • By 8pm we’re finished. It was worth the effort. The set looks great and we’re ready to start filming tomorrow. Let the show begin.
  • Director's Diary
  • Production Day 1 - Monday 17th February, 2003

  • We get up at 5.30am. The sun is only just rising as we drive into Shepperton at 7am. Already there’s a lot of hustle and bustle. Toby has been here for a while and the hot water boiler is bubbling away. I meet Fiona our cheerful 2nd AD, who has been recruited by Toby. She bustles off to get the bacon rolls that we had pre-ordered from the Shepperton canteen for breakfast. Cate nobly takes on the additional role of picking up the crew who’ve come in by train from Shepperton Station. I help set up the catering table with cereals, teas and coffees. More crew arrive – the sparks, Tim, Erika and Carrie (who’ll be doing the make-up for the week), Ivar the Runner/Van Driver, Trevor the Focus Puller, Stephen the Clapper Loader, Phil the Grip. The bacon rolls arrive, are devoured, and everyone dashes off to do their prospective jobs and start setting up for the first shot.
  • The actors start arriving. My brother Stephen has very kindly agreed to be a driver for Julia for the week. He looks slightly shell shocked by the experience of getting up at 5am to get her here on time, but thankfully their journey was trouble free. With him comes Mark, his son and my nephew, who at 15 is very curious about the film industry and has agreed to be a runner. Mark gets down to the serious business of making teas. Julia is whisked into make-up as Brett arrives. It’s 9.30am and there’s no sign of Joseph. He should have been here half an hour ago. His mum’s mobile is switched off. Her husband says she left with plenty of time. There’s nothing we can do but wait.
  • We wait. The set up is pretty much ready. It’s agonising, we’ve so much to do and so little time to do it in. And then, THEY’RE HERE echoes through the corridors. Poor Jane and Joseph have been stuck for 3 hours in two major traffic jams on the motorways. Joseph is whisked into costume and make-up and whisked onto the set while we soothe Jane’s nerves with a cup of tea. And then we’re into the first shot.
  • The day goes slowly. The first shot takes most of the morning. It’s a complex tracking shot, everyone’s still finding their feet and we go to 10 takes. We squeeze a couple more set ups in, but before I know it we’re off to lunch in the Shepperton Canteen. I sit and chat to Jane and Joseph who is devouring an enormous plate of beans and chips.
  • I spend the rest of the day to-ing and fro-ing between the stage and the office. On set I watch the monitor and add my opinion as to which are the best takes. It’s fascinating watching it unfold and it’s magical when everything comes together – the camera movement, the lighting and the acting. Joseph is doing really well – it must be quite intimidating surrounded by all these adults telling you what to do, but he seems to take it in his stride. Simon is incredibly patient with him and talks him though the action making sure he keeps focused.
  • Back in the office, I check that everything’s OK and that if there are any potential problems we nip them in the bud as soon as we can. Richard, Cate and Simon are diligently getting on with making sure everything’s in place and running smoothly.
  • The day ends. We’ve shot 6 set ups. We were supposed to shoot 16. It’s worrying as they’ll have to be carried over to the next day, and that’s already pretty full. I’m hoping that it’s just first day slowness and that we’ll pick up quickly as everyone gets into the right rhythm. We head home exhausted and I sleep like a baby.
  • Director's DiaryRunner's Diary
  • Production Day 2 - Tuesday 18th February, 2003

  • It’s good to be back and to have got the first day over with, but the pressures on today. The morning gets off to a much quicker start, everyone arrives on time, a few shots are got through but it’s not enough and we’re still a lot behind. Just after lunch my mum and dad turn up for a visit. They couldn’t have come at a worse time. There’s not much to show them on set as they’re in the middle of setting up a fairly complicated shot, and I’m feeling pretty stressed. I’ve just been told that we’re using film stock like there’s no tomorrow and that the stock that should have lasted for four days is going to be used up in two.
  • This is not good news. The one thing you do not want to go over on is film stock because it is one of the most expensive things in the budget. It also means that you have more stock to process and processing is the second most expensive thing in the budget! Aargh! But without stock, you’ve no film. I wearily dig out the credit card, phone Kodak and order some more. Simon promises to try to be more conservative with his takes – although we are now down to an average of 3 or 4 a slate which is pretty good – but ultimately it’s important to get the film right.
  • It then becomes clear that we might not have enough stock for tomorrow and the Kodak truck doesn't deliver until mid morning. The last thing we need is to be hanging around waiting for stock to arrive. Good old Stephen comes to the rescue and is packed off to Kodak.
  • And we’re still behind. Way too far behind. We’ve got a huge day on tomorrow, with lots of special effects shots and full body make-up for Joseph and there’s no way we can squeeze any of today’s setups into tomorrow. We HAVE to get it done.
  • I pace up and down, all sorts of negative thoughts churning through my head. If we don’t speed up then we’re not going to finish the film. It’s as simple as that. And if we don’t finish it this week, then it won’t get made. All this money and effort will have been for nothing. It’s a grim scenario. I turn to Simon for reassurance, but he’s even gloomier than I am. So I decide to stop being pessimistic and I determine not to worry about it. Worrying is infectious; it only adds more stress to the situation which makes it worse. I make myself feel calmer and I think positive thoughts instead, hoping to inject a little perspective into the circumstances. For a few minutes I feel better. Then I start worrying again.
  • Strangely enough though, things do get better. Suddenly everything speeds up and we’re whizzing through shots. I can hardly believe it as the day draws to a close and we’re getting back on schedule. We’ve still a few minor shots to pick up, but they can hopefully be squeezed into Thursday or Friday. It’s amazing how quickly it’s changed and I end the day feeling much more positive.
  • The gods must have been smiling on us, because on his way back from Kodak, Stephen narrowly misses a horrendous traffic jam that would have kept him stuck for several hours. However the jam will affect Jane and Joseph's route home, so it is felt that it might be a good idea for them to stay locally for the night. It’s an unexpected cost, but any doubts about it are wiped from my mind when I see the look of glee on Joseph’s face – it really makes his day.
  • Tomorrow looms – it’s going to be a big day and we’ve a lot to accomplish. I’m going to need a few more positive thoughts and smiling gods I think.
  • Director's DiaryRunner's Diary
  • Production Day 3 - Wednesday 19th February, 2003

  • After a thrilling night at Staines Travelodge(!), Joseph arrives full of beans and very excited about today in anticipation of his big ‘stunt’. Marc Cass, a very nice Stunt Coordinator, has kindly agreed to watch over the moment where Joseph has to jump out of a window. However, poor Joseph has to wait until much later in the day before his big moment and to make things worse he has to spend the rest of the day covered in sticky glycerine and make up. Tom’s in today and also covered with glycerine, but both boys endure it very well and are amazingly patient.
  • Luckily I am not covered in sticky glycerine but I do get my hands dirty in the make-up room, helping Erika, Carrie and Jess to cover Joseph in ‘moth dust’ and fake dead moths. They’re almost ready for him on set and it’s taken a lot longer than was thought to get him ready, hence my lending a hand. And Simon wants him simply caked in the stuff so someone’s gone running off to get some clay and another layer of liquid, powder and moth wings is slapped on.
  • Meanwhile the special effects shots are being overseen by Matt. It’s good to have him on set and he makes sure that we’ve got all the set ups and angles that we need to make it work. It’s looking really good – Tim’s doing a wonderful job with the lighting and Luke has constructed some great ‘fake’ moths that bounce off the boys’ bodies in a cloud of dust.
  • Mid afternoon and I’m worrying again. The clock is ticking once again and we’ve still got a lot to do. Time for some more positive thinking. Once again it works, things pick up and before I know it we’ve got to Joseph’s big ‘stunt’. He’s a bit disgusted that he doesn’t have to jump further – the rostrum and crash mats come up to the windowsill - but still we can’t be too careful and Marc is on hand to make sure nothing goes wrong. The camera whirrs at 200fps (it’s in slow motion) Simon yells ‘Action!” and Joseph leaps up and flings himself into the air. He does a great job and after a few takes covering it from two angles we’re finished for the day. We’ve done it.
  • It takes Joseph four showers to get the make up off. At one point I go up to his dressing room to check that he and Jane are OK and find him surrounded by lovely ladies Fiona, Carrie & Erika all massaging him with cream to get the last bits off. His mum ruefully says "remember this moment Joseph", but at 8 years old he is distinctly unimpressed -'girls' are the last thing on Joseph's mind.
  • It’s been a good day but I’m relieved it’s over. Although the schedule still looks tight and there are still shots to make up, I feel the worst is over. Let’s hope I’m right.
  • Director's DiaryRunner's Diary
  • Production Day 4 - Thursday 20th February, 2003

  • Cate is playing Tetris on her computer. Things are fairly quiet in the production office – everything has been organised for the location shoot on Saturday and my team seem pretty relaxed.
  • I wish the same could be said on set. Its Joseph’s last day at Shepperton and we have until 4.30pm to finish every shot with him. Toby is looking anxious, but determined. However, the crew seem to be settling and they work steadily through the day, getting through several set ups pretty quickly. It seems a shame that just as everyone is getting to know each other and establishing a working rhythm, we’re close to finishing.
  • They say never work with children or animals. Well I’ve found working with children a delight - so far so good. But today will be the real test. Today is our butterflies’ big moment. We’ve bought 20 butterflies (that closely resemble moths) from the London Butterfly House for some close up shots in jars. Stephen has once again been dispatched to pick them up. With great aplomb he arrives back from the Butterfly House and presents us with nothing more than a tiny cardboard box. Inside the box, flat packed in plastic pouches, are the butterflies. Apparently it’s the best way to transport them – they just go into a sort of hibernation. Runner Mark gingerly takes control of the box as he has been appointed ‘Butterfly Wrangler’.
  • An hour later and we’re ready for our insect stars. The moth trap by Tommy’s bed is ready and waiting for them and the crew are almost ready to film. A small crowd gathers as a couple of butterflies are gently persuaded out of their pouches into the moth trap. We all watch expectantly, waiting for the moment when they burst into flight and we can film them gloriously fluttering around the trap.
  • We wait... and wait… The camera team are all standing by with bated breath. However, the butterflies, instead of bursting into glorious flight slowly stagger around the moth trap like two drunks at closing time on a Saturday night. Time is ticking by. Drastic measures are called for – the jar is tapped and Toby gently blows onto them. Suddenly one of he butterflies starts to flicker unenthusiastically. It’s not much, but it’s better than the drunken stupor and the camera crew spring into life too; “Quick! Turnover! ACTION…” The words are barely out of Simon’s mouth when the butterfly decides that that was quite enough activity for the time being and comes to a complete rest. It defiantly sits there, as the camera rolls, with its wings wide open, looking very much like a butterfly and not a moth.
  • Eventually we realise that we’re not going to get the mad fluttering that we wanted and that we will have to make do with the odd quick flicker. It’s enough to get the shot, but a bit disappointing.
  • After we’ve moved on to the next shot, the butterflies are all carefully let loose into various jars with some sugar water solution to feed on. Now that the performance pressure has gone, they decide it’s time to party and they all start fluttering like crazy. Unfortunately it’s too late to go back.
  • The day moves swiftly on and before I know it it’s Joseph’s last shot. He’ll be with us again on location on Saturday, but the law decrees that a child can only work 5 days out of 7, so he has to have a day off. Tomorrow we’ve got his double, Tom, in all day. We’ve managed to pick up most of the shots that were left over from earlier in the week, so we’re back on schedule. We’ve made great progress and tomorrow should be a much lighter day.
  • Director's DiaryRunner's Diary
  • Production Day 5 - Friday 21st February, 2003

  • I feel fairly relaxed about the day ahead, which is a great feeling. With no Joseph today, we’re shooting hand and over the shoulder shots with Tom, other pick-ups, close ups and some reverses on Julia and Brett. Although there’s still a lot to do, it doesn’t feel as pressurised on set and after the last few days, I’m confident that our crew will get through everything without any problems.
  • Tom is enjoying being in the limelight although I think one of the highlights of his day is having lunch in the canteen. He performs his shots diligently and professionally and impresses us all with his poems and stories. I ask him to write us a Moth poem (and the amazing result can be seen on our website).
  • Once again the butterflies are brought onto the set, but today they’re seasoned performers and behave much more professionally. We get some good footage of them fluttering in jars which helps make up for yesterday.
  • All is well in the office – we’ve plenty of stock to get us through today and tomorrow - and everything seems to be ready for our one location day. The budget isn’t looking too bad; obviously the extra stock and processing costs aren’t helpful, but thankfully we’re managing to save money in other areas.
  • We have a visit from Robin today and it’s lovely to see him again (despite the fact that half the crew now have his cold, which has spread like the plague). He politely “oohs” and “aahs” at our set and to compensate for cutting his part in the film I get some ‘exclusive’ video footage of his ‘limping man with dog acting’ in the corridor outside our office. We are also visited by Laura (Casting Director). It’s lovely to see her again and good for her to follow up the work she did during pre-production. She gets the guided tour (more “oohs” and “aahs”), has a chat with Julia and Brett and watches some of the rushes.
  • The day draws to a close with a bit of drama. One of our rolls of negative has been split. Hopefully it’s a clean tear and we won’t have lost much, but we won’t know until we get the rushes back tomorrow. Despite that, the day ends on a positive note - we’ve got all the shots and we are now officially finished on set. I’m both relieved and sad. It’s been a fantastic experience working at Shepperton Studios and despite the stresses of filmmaking, I’ve loved it. Now a packed day on location looms and I hope we have the same good fortune that we’ve had so far to get us through tomorrow and finish the film.
  • Director's DiaryRunner's Diary
  • Production Day 6 - Saturday 22nd February, 2003

  • We arrive at the location bright and early on a beautifully sunny, crisp day. So far so good. The good weather makes unloading and catering a lot less pain free. The owners of the house we’re using for the day are thankfully very gracious as we start to unload and set up all the equipment. It’s quite an invasion – lights and camera equipment are only the tip of the iceberg – most of the rooms are being used for wardrobe, make-up, sound and continuity. Thankfully it’s quite a big house and we fit in without too much hassle.
  • It’s the first time that I’ve seen the location – although I’ve seen photos – and I’m very impressed. It’s a lovely house, decorated with great care and character and I could quite happily move in. It’s also perfect for our needs; it’s exactly the right look and size.
  • Richard has done a great job with the catering, setting up the trestle tables in the front drive and organising hot breakfast rolls from the local café. There’s not much for me to do as the crew set up, so I take the opportunity to catch up with our cast. It’s lovely to see Joseph again – it felt very quiet on set without him yesterday – and he’s on good form and looking forward to his last day.
  • At last we’re ready for the first shot. It’s mid-morning and later than I’d hope we’d start and I can feel the tension starting to creep in. The scenes today are quite complex – they’re some of the most demanding scenes for all our actors and the crew are restricted by space and time. However, our cast throw themselves into the argument scenes with gusto and our crew manage to manoeuvre gracefully in the limited space, so slowly but surely we move through the shot list.
  • Lunch is pizza or Kentucky Fried in the church hall down the room. It’s not very healthy I know, but the catering options were limited. We either had to cart everyone to a restaurant, which would have taken too much time, or hired a catering van, which would have been hugely expensive for a small crew for one day. I hope the cast and crew will forgive me for our junk food day, but everyone seems to be tucking in and Joseph is positively delighted at his pizza, so I don’t think I’m in too much trouble.
  • During lunch we get a chance to check the rushes from yesterday and see what damage the split negative has caused. Unfortunately one whole slate has been scratched and is pretty much unusable. Fortunately it can be reshot today on location, but it does mean adding it to an already tight schedule.
  • The afternoon progresses slowly. There’s not much for me to do, bar supplying the crew with Lemsips (The Curse Of Robin’s Cold). I can’t wander around in the limited space, although I do my best to check that Richard is happy with everything and that there are no major problems. As usual, in mid afternoon, we start picking up shots much quicker and although things get a bit rushed towards the end of the day, there’s no sense of panic as we fit the reshoot in and finish the final few shots.
  • So that’s it. It’s all in the can, our shoot has officially finished. As the art department beaver away packing up and restoring the house to its former glory, I say my thank yous and goodbyes to the crew. They’ve been a great bunch and I’m immensely grateful to them. They’ve worked long, intense days for no money and I hope that they’ve all got what they wanted from it, whether it’s a few new contacts, more experience or another credit on their CV. And not forgetting our cast too, who have been more than we hoped for. Joseph is a true rising star, a wonderfully natural child actor and a delight to work with. Brett and Julia also enchanted us and have become firm friends. It’s been a great week and there’s only one thing left to do. Head off to the pub for a much needed celebratory drink.
  • Director's DiaryRunner's Diary
  • Sunday 23rd February, 2003

  • The Aftermath…
  • I thought I said it was finished? Of course it’s not as simple as that. Someone has to strike the set, someone has to get all the props back to the appropriate places, someone has to de-rig the lights and load them in the lighting lorry, someone has to take down the drapes and return them…
  • And of course there are few volunteers. Well I can’t blame them. It’s a rotten job and who in their right mind would give up their Sunday to do a rotten job for no money? However, Simon and I are very nobly assisted by Luke, Tanya and Robin, our Camera Trainee. Thank God, it would have been impossible without them. And amazingly, Tony Hester, bless him, our superman from Arri has personally turned out himself to de-rig the lights.
  • It’s a really tough day. I’m already exhausted and it’s hard, physical work. Firstly we help Tony load the lighting lorry. My respect for gaffers and sparks increases even more as I help lug the incredibly heavy and cumbersome lights, stands and leads into the lorry. Tony is amazing – it’s been a while since he’s done this work too – but he never complains and works tirelessly.
  • Then Tony and the lorry depart and it’s onto the set. Once again I manage to demonstrate how useless and girly I am in these situations. While Tanya (who’s half my size) gets stuck in with a claw hammer, I skirt around the edges picking up the debris and getting a pile of rubbish ready for the skip tomorrow.
  • Tanya and I then load up our rental van with all the furniture that has been borrowed from our house for the set. There’s a lot of it, it’s heavy and it takes ages. By the time we’ve finished, the boys have pretty much got the set down. It’s sad seeing our set reduced to a pile of rubble on the floor. But my sadness is quickly swamped by the dust and debris and the mind-numbing task of taking the drapes down, shaking them out (more dust) and folding them up. It takes every last reserve of energy but eventually we finish. The studio is empty apart from a pile of rubbish and few more props that will be dropped off tomorrow. We head home grubby and exhausted.
  • It truly has been a grotty day, but at long last it’s over. And someone has never relished a hot shower so much in her life and someone sleeps very well that night. No prizes for guessing who.
  • Director's Diary
  • Monday 24th February, 2003

  • Loose ends and final thoughts...
  • Back to Shepperton again on Monday, this time to clear out the office and tidy up any loose ends. The last remains of our set vanish – the stock flattage is picked up by its owner, the dust is swept away and the rubbish is piled into a skip. Meanwhile, Cate and Richard are in the office helping to iron out any last minute problems, of which there are several. The hire van gets a puncture, one of the props gets broken, the camera truck that we hired for the location is nearly double what we thought and the skip is way too small for our pile of discarded set. It’s irritating, but if that’s the worst that has happened then we’ve done pretty well. We then say our goodbyes to Robin and Noel, thanking them profusely and wistfully take one last look around the now deserted F Stage.
  • I chat over lunch, one last time in the Shepperton canteen, with Richard and Simon (Production Accountant). Their consensus of opinion is that it went very well, that we had a great crew and a bit of luck and that they both enjoyed the experience.
  • I agree. It has been a lot of fun, despite the moments of worry and exhaustion. I’ve learned a lot from the “Moth Experience”; chiefly learning about working in a studio environment and building upon my knowledge of producing a film. I feel more confident about developing a script, casting, working with a production team, budgeting and (not forgetting) folding drapes and I’m now a convert to the power of positive thinking. I’m looking forward to post-production - it should be very exciting – and I think that the end result will be very special. And I feel that I am now ready to produce a feature film and that I’m good enough to do it and do it well. Let’s hope I get the opportunity.
  • Director's Diary

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