Moth | Production Diaries

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

  • Introduction

  • My name is Mark Reddihough and I was the Production Runner for the Amulet Films presentation 'Moth'.
  • I wanted to be part of this because I am interested in working in the film business and gaining experience at a young age can only be a good thing. I am about to take my GCSEs and next year will start my Film Studies A level. This was my first experience on a film set and this is my diary.
  • I was unable to bring the reader such details as the number of teas I made during the five days I worked there, but I can assure you that it was vast. The only down side to it was the early starts but you got used to that eventually.
  • Production Day 1 - Monday 17th February, 2003

  • 5.00 in the morning, I began my week long half term job as a runner. I quickly got up less eager than the night before, jumped in the shower like every other day and as I began to become fully conscious, I realised that I still didn’t REALLY know what I was going to be doing. I was travelling with my Dad, Stephen, who was the production driver for whenever he was needed.
  • We left early because of the responsible job of picking up the actress for the production at 6:30 to eventually get to Shepperton Studios at 8:00 via the South Circular. Stephen thought it wise to leave early so if there were any navigational problems they could be dealt with without too much panic. First problem of the day was the first job of the day, Julia Ford, actress opens the door having just got out of bed with a confused look on her face expecting to see her lift in about half an hour. So I waited in the car for 25 minutes and once the star was ready we got going. Apart from a few navigational problems we got there quite safely and bang on time. Julia was asleep for the majority of the journey.
  • After several ‘rounds’ of the studio, we managed to find our way to F stage ‘Amulet Films’ (right next to the Thomas the Tank Engine studio.) My initial feelings were mainly nervousness of the unknown but as I got out of the car I was immediately introduced to the 1st Assistant Director, Toby Hefferman, who was pleasant but very rushed and seemed to be the busiest man there. He introduced me to many of the crew but I really didn’t take in any of their names, as I was still tired! The Director and Producer seemed pleased to see me and I remembered their names, Simon and Alison (because they are my Uncle and Aunt!) After the pleasantries, my jobs were introduced to me which included; stocking up the canteen, making teas and coffees, and controlling the red light (which is a light outside of the studio door to make sure no-one would walk in during filming) - and anything else that I was asked to do by anyone for the remainder of the week.
  • My first real contact with the crew was between the first few shots that morning. I spoke to Roger, a Spark (electrician) who told me about the pros and cons of the job and how long he has been involved. But this only ended up with me making him my first tea of the day, which he must have enjoyed because it wasn’t the last! As lunchtime came I sat with my Dad and enjoyed the detestable food that was served at the canteen which helped me learn to never have the burger again. The rest of the day went smoothly but slowly and we ended the day behind schedule. As 7:00pm approached, I was pleased to have a chance of a rest for the 2 hour car journey. I wasn’t kept as busy as I could have been, but the long hours made it tiring nevertheless. I kept an open mind and looked forward to the next day (and some sleep).
  • Producer's Diary Director's Diary
  • Production Day 2 - Tuesday 18th February, 2003

  • Tuesday morning came all too quickly and we left again before light. We took the Rotherhithe tunnel and were on our way. We got to the studios this time without too much hassle and we were there in time for a nice bacon roll, although I had already had breakfast at home.
  • It was nice to be back and I enjoyed the environment. My morning jobs were similar but I was running more errands as people were kept busier. I spoke to more people about the business and they all seemed interested to hear my future career ideas. At lunchtime I sat with Simon, who seemed in a rush considering he ate his food a lot more eagerly than the rest of us! He told me he was going to be viewing the rushes in the Korda theatre and invited me along (the rushes are the previous days film, which has been processed overnight). The cinema was fantastic, quite small, but extremely comfortable and I enjoyed going behind the scenes for a quick look at what goes on that you don’t even know about. The rushes seemed very professional and the crew did as well - they were surprisingly concerned at little things that I didn’t even notice. My interest in the film industry began to grow as I saw more and more how enthusiastic the people were and how well they got on as a team of people that had never seen each other before.
  • Producer's Diary Director's Diary
  • Production Day 3 - Wednesday 19th February, 2003

  • Wednesday morning came and it was the day of the stunt, where Joseph, the young actor who plays Tommy would be jumping out of a window - with the help of a stunt man. We arrived at 10.00 instead of the usual 8.00 because Julia wasn't needed until then. This day was when I first became friends with Joseph and we played about between takes - whilst he was covered from head to toe in Moth dust he was full of energy and probably needed to get some out of his system before shooting again. By now I had realised how talented Joseph was and how natural his acting was on camera and how patient he was between takes - he was a good choice by Alison and Simon, and Simon seemed to treat him well and keep his interest up during takes.
  • Today was also a full day for Tom, the body double for Joseph; he was needed for shots such as chest and hands, where you couldn't tell that it wasn't Joseph. Tom was an intelligent boy who was very enthusiastic about filming and he was prepared to wait as long as it took for his shots. I had the job of getting him his lunch whilst he was in make up and I read the menu to him which I had written on my hand.
  • Luckily Wednesday was the day when Stephen had to go and get 10 malt loafs from Tescos (buy one get one free!) and these went down well with everyone. My work was increased slightly, because I was given the task of cutting up the storyboards for the next 2 days and sticking them onto the board ready. I was now used to my role of making teas and was comfortable with my job. I was told by Toby that "Any time is a good time, to make tea", and there is something strangely satisfying when people are pleased to see me on my frequent rounds!
  • Producer's Diary Director's Diary
  • Production Day 4 - Thursday 20th February, 2003

  • Thursday, the earliest start of my life - getting up at 4.30 to get there for 7.00, even though we got there at quarter to! But Thursday was probably the most enjoyable day of the week. I was settled in with the surroundings, people kept me busy plus I knew what I was doing! I was told as soon as I got there that I would be in charge of the live butterflies, so I was busy from the word go. I started the day by making the butterflies their cotton wool beds and some food - 9 parts water, 1 part honey. This took me quite a long time but I had done it before the butterflies had arrived. Stephen was sent to the London Butterfly House to pick them up and he came back before lunch....with a small square box. Inside, the butterflies were all packed separately in flat envelopes. And he had different instructions for looking after them making all the previous instructions incorrect. So the beds were a waste of time, and the honey water wasn't needed until the end of the day.
  • However as the day came to an end I had grown to like the film business more than I had imagined, and enjoyed talking to some of the crew and hearing what they had to say about the film industry. I had a conversation with the sound mixer Brian Greene and was surprised at how much went into the sound department of a film. I also spoke to the Script Supervisor Aminta Townshend who told me about continuity and what was involved in that. I had never heard of this before, but it is very important and consists of making sure everything is running smoothly and properly. I looked forward to the 5th day of filming and my last day.
  • Producer's Diary Director's Diary
  • Production Day 5 - Friday 21st February, 2003

  • My last day on set saw a promotion! I was now in charge of the Video 8 assist, which was basically recording the camera shots onto a Video 8 recorder so the Director could see them to make sure that everything was perfect, which was exactly what Simon had set out to do. I had got there at 12.00 that day because Julia wasn't needed until then and I was told to have lunch straight away, so I could control the red light while some sound was being recorded. The climax of the film was being recorded and there had to be absolute silence for this. It was immensely important and horrible to listen to. It made the hairs on my neck stand up. This finished a lot sooner than I expected and as I came out from behind the set, I saw Alison and Julia crying - that’s when you know it’s a moving story.
  • After this was my biggest duty of the week and could make or break me in the film business. I had to collect the Directors lunch. I had delivered his Chilli Con Carne to him and all was well until....I had forgotten a drink and was strictly ordered to get a Pink Grapefruit Lucosade drink, and if I didn't I wouldn't be welcome back. I swiftly moved to the restaurant and clutched the drink tightly as I ran back in hope that I was not too late. I managed to get it to Simon without too much hassle and he was satisfied. Phew!
  • Friday was quickly coming to an end and the malt loaf was gone. I tried to help out as much as I could with the final shots of the day and moving the set around. Eventually we had finished before the usual time of 7.00 and most of the crew/cast were celebrating except for some of the camera crew who were busy loading the equipment into a truck ready for the next day on Location. I packed away the Video 8 equipment and helped load the truck but I had to go because Stephen and Julia were desperate to get to bed ready for the next morning which I wasn't a part of.
  • Producer's Diary Director's Diary
  • Conclusion

  • For me the week was full of interest and surprises and I got a better insight on how a film was created than any text book could have given me. The cast and crew were great and Simon and Alison seemed pleased with the way things had gone. The film now lies in the hands of the special effects people and the editing of the film which could take a while. I believe that this film will be a great piece of work and I hope to see it at the presentation sometime this year. I enjoyed working there and felt that I was part of a team that was brought together by enthusiasm and love of the business and not for money. I can't wait to see the final result and expect a big future from Amulet Films! I can only hope that everything goes well in the final stages and that I have the chance to be part of any future projects.
  • Mark Reddihough
    Production runner
  • Producer's Diary Director's Diary