The last day of the shoot - and everything felt very strange. Because of the shift from nights back to days (or at least lates - today was 12 till 12) and the travel day we had, it was nearly two and a half days since we shot, so that feeling that you get at the start of the week of having to gear yourself up again was magnified. Also it was strange because we're in London, and I'm staying at my own parents' house - in the bedroom I grew up in - and filming in a location that I've walked past a thousand times - a field at the end of a runway just outside Heathrow. Also, our unit base is at Bedfont Football Club, next to the Rec where I used to play as a kid. Suddenly I feel about 6 years old again.
The field is a great location - at least in some respects - it's facing the end of a runway, so planes take off directly overhead every couple of minutes, and it's got landing lights in it, these weird yellow plastic towers spaced along a line towards the runway. It's also got about twenty horses in it, which we constantly had to herd about during the day to stop them encroaching on the shots. Obviously, it's a bit of a problem for sound, what with the deafening roar of a jet overhead thirty times an hour, but luckily, there's not really much dialogue (at least not during the day stuff).
We started, as usual, slowly - Art Dept had to reconstruct part of a fence we made in Nottingham to sell the location, so that took a while - then there was rigging Barry's Steadicam which he was letting us have for the day, and then setting up the corner of the field we were using as a base. It was also blazing hot - meaning that within a couple of hours, I had a sunburnt face, at which point (despite about twenty people advising me to do it earlier) I put on some suncream. We eventually turned over at about 2 - then had to wait for planes to come into shot. I don't know if we managed to actually get any great stuff of jumbos roaring overhead (and it's something that we can also work with in the edit) but I thought that, seeing as we were there, we should try and get some if we could.
While we were doing the Steadicam stuff, my Mum and Dad turned up. I didn't get the chance to speak to them much, but I'm really glad they came and I think that the cast and crew kept them entertained. Although what they made of Perry's blood-stained dress I don't know...
Time seemed to vanish today (as usual) and when the blocking for the climactic scene wasn't working out, I had to come up with a quick alternative - not least because we were starting to lose light (losing light, gaining light - it's always something...). We ended up rushing through the final through shots, staging them in a slightly different way, but hopefully getting some good stuff. Oh, and we also managed to kill a sofa (not ours - we found it in the field.)
At lunch, I had a quick chat with a couple of journalists, (including Alan Jones - who has written extensively on Argento (I had to reign in my impulse just to talk about the new Third Mother film for the entire thing). He was really into the script - and said that he had it pegged as a 'Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girlie' homage from the start.)
Then it was into our final session - a night shoot in the field. Again, night exteriors seem to take forever - but we managed to get it all done - our final shot being a long lens shot of Lena, Birdie and Elbie walking silhouetted past the lights of the airport. And that was it - back to Bedfont Football Club for a quick drink and then back to my parents' house to have a long lie-in.
Everybody was asking me if I felt weird that it was all over, but really, it hasn't had time to impact yet. Also, the minute we finished, my brain started filling the void with a million other things - the edit, my next script, how to pay the mortgage while I finish the film - so that, in a way, the energy I put into the shoot is probably just going to morph into another set of concerns. Also, I'm so used to shooting now that the scale of what we've done hasn't really hit home. 17 days for a feature is really good going (especially picking up a day during the shoot), and I'm hoping that we've got all we need to tell the story. I know I've had to change things here and there because of time and budget constraints, but it's never felt like I've had to compromise the film too much - in fact, I feel that, with the aid of a great cast and crew, I've actually been able to make a lot more of some things.
I'm going to miss working with everyone on that intensive a basis - but it does make me really determined to get another filim of the ground as soon a possible, so that we can do it again. That's the trick - to try and make this a regular occurence, rather than just a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Even if it means working on a low budget all the time (although maybe not always this low), it'd be great to just carry on making twisted and perverse little horror films for the next few years. Although, I'm getting ahead of myself - I haven't even got this one done yet - and there's still a long way to go...