We’ve been in a film. I say we but actually it was my youngest that was in front of the camera whilst I loitered out of shot trying desperately not to come across as a ‘stage mummy’.
As with all these things we kind of stumbled into it. Someone dropped out. Someone knew someone else and before we knew it we were in. A script and shooting schedule arrived quickly afterwards. Half a day of rehearsal followed and then we were off. Five days and one evening of filming in and around our local area.
As the only person on set with no designated task except to ensure that my son was being properly cared for, I have been in a perfect position to just watch what happens. I have never been involved in anything like this before. Almost my entire experience of acting has been obtained vicariously through my children or from standing in the wings of a stage. It’s been a steep upward learning curve.
So here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Making a film is a very slow process. Even the smallest of scenes seems to take forever. There’s a lot of hanging around whilst lights and sound and camera angles are sorted. Then the take. Then the take again. Then from a different angle. Then again because the light outside changed. Then again because a plane went overhead. Honestly. It takes forever.
2. Everyone has a job. We have a small crew here – just 12 and a gaggle of University students and then the actors – but everyone knows exactly what their part is and they all buzz around each other without seeming to get in each other’s way. And woe betide you if you do someone else’s bit or even suggest how it might be improved. This is tricky. He is my son. I know how to get the best out of him but that is not my job here and I have to bite my tongue.
3. It doesn’t do to fall out with people or have a hissy fit. Whilst we breeze in and out, the rest of the cast and crew have been here for twelve hours a day for two weeks and are only half way through the shoot. A couple of them are even sleeping here so they have no escape. But despite all that, each time we come there is a really positive buzz. They are all keeping each other going. It would take nothing for the morale to drop but not allowing that to happen seems to be high on everyone’s agenda.
I have no feel for how things are going, what the finished product will be like or whether it will ever see light of day but even if it never makes it out of post production (whatever that may entail) just having the experiences that my son has had is of huge value. And I have been so proud of him. His focus has remained sharp throughout, even when his bedtime sailed past hours before and no one has had to say a harsh word to him. For an eight/nine year old boy (birthday on set) that is quite some achievement in itself.
And guess what? They really say ‘Camera’s rolling….Action….Cut’ and “That’s a wrap’!