Jetsam principal photography

28 May 2006

The shoot is over and I’m left looking at 28 DVCAM tapes on my desk, or rather they’re looking at me: “Come on then, we dare you…”

It’s been an interesting three weeks. Simon (writer, director, producer, prop master, everything…) stayed with me during the two-week London shoot, so I was at work in the day followed by debriefing and rushes in the evening. There was a lot of energy coming back from days spent at Zac’s flat (director of photography), dodging security guards in the City and CCTV on the Tube, not least of all from a great cast off whom Si was bouncing the script, transforming it into a film. Because the script jumps around in a complicated way, each day’s rushes provided only scraps peppered throughout the narrative for me to get a handle on. Slowly however the shape has emerged.

Then the action moved to my flat, transforming it into both the home of a frantically tidy spy and a surveillance watch-house (overlooking Zac’s flat in West London – all thanks to the magic of cinema). Chaotic squat-like espionage base came quite naturally to my upstairs room, uncluttered spy’s flat did not – a lot of things had to be stuffed away in cupboards, some of which I have not yet relocated including important culinary items such as my flat wooden spatula. One should never of course allow a film crew into your home, even a friend’s – the art department left a big hole in my balcony door architrave where a blind was hung.

During the Saturday shoot I made my technical debut holding Zac’s reflector board to light Alex Reid’s face in my kitchen: editor AND gaffer, my credits grow.

Then the action moved East to the North Kent coast in and around Margate. I joined the crew again for the last two days of filming, further increasing my list of credits by adding soundman (Sam the soundman had returned to London for some paid work). Running around with the boom microphone trying to keep it out of shot was good fun, though if I was going to consider a career change I would need to work on my ‘boom stance’ as I ended up with a mysteriously sore knee.

For sheer grit (both metaphorically and literally) the best moment was the final shot of the shoot – Alex waking up in the sea and staggering ashore at 8 o-clock on a chilly Margate morning. Though as she pointed out over breakfast at The Harbour Café, being in the North Sea isn’t the problem – it’s getting out when the gritty sandy cold hits.

Now I’m back home in the edit suite/surveillance watch-house/whatever with the task of putting together the first cut.


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