Directors Blog: A Monstrous Production – The Trailer is HERE!!!

Good Evening Everyone,

Those who are following the blog will have noticed that there was no post last week – apologies. You know that we’re a community group so everyone has other commitments, and mine last week was work. It pays the bills so kind of has to come first. But I’m back this week with a bumper edition for you!

So, the week before last not much happened in the way of rehearsals – I had to cancel my first ever rehearsal and then the second one we had next week almost all my cast was struck down with the winter bug! It can’t be helped. this time of year people get sick. But now they’ve all had it I’m looking to jump start January and go into full steam before the end of the month.

This weeks rehearsals we all got a bit of a shock. You know a few weeks ago I told you that the troll was a conundrum – well, we got to see it, in the flesh, or stone as the case my be. Cue me demanding to have a troll selfie before rehearsals started so I could send to SH to show him. He’s the only one outside of the cast who gets to see him. The rest will have to wait. But I was bouncing, he was better than I could have imagined our troll being. So, next week – I’m having a blog Christmas break and we have Adam W taking over to tell you all about it. It’s one not to miss I promise!

Marketing went into power mode over the last few weeks, special thank you to Bridget who is our Marketing Wonder Woman (MWW from now on). There’s even a rare free tickets competition going on – so if you’re on twitter, follow us and RT the special message for a chance to Win.

First rehearsal back after Christmas is BOOKS DOWN! This is usually very scary for the cast, I’m hoping to make taking away the line safety blanket more fun by running a very quick cue to cue for the first one – the idea is you all fit in a circle and start with a ball, as you say your line you have to throw a ball to the person who is speaking next – meaning that you should know the person speaking before you and the person speaking after you. I’m going to see how many throws we can do before the ball drops or gets dropped. I’ll let you know next week.

The next thing I’m going to do when we get back is set up a camera in a separate room and give everyone a list of questions that they have to go and answer in character. This is part of their Christmas homework (there had to be some catch for the lines extension). Once I’ve got the best bits I might post some on here.

In the last post I talked about the top 5 things I learnt about making a trailer – the differences between stage and screen, and there are more than just five but I had to limit it! After many versions and talking back and forth with Yoni the final one is here! I have to admit, it wasn’t the sitting back with coffee that I thought it would be. As the director you’re very involved in the process – does this work, should we do this, what if we cut this bit here or that bit there. But we’re done and I’m really happy with the finished product! and I promised that you guys would get to see it first. I shall stop rambling now and show you… Those first five views – they’re just me…

Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments & don’t forget to book – we’re Limited Availability on Saturday now!!!

Directors Blog: A Monstrous Production – The five things I learnt about filming

Evening all! 

So, Saturday morning (early, way too early) we congregated at the Uni to make the trailer for Monstrous. I can probably count on one hand the times I’ve been involved with filming anything. So I’m going to share with you the bits I leant.

Be generous with your time scale.

When Yoni sent me a 3-4 hour time scale for filming I gulped. I mean I’ve never filmed anything before – I have no idea how much time everything is going take. But I guess in my head I was like 90 seconds of filming – how long could it take? Turns out he’s an evil genius. When we had access issues and people having transport issues, I’m worrying and stressing and Yoni is just strangely calm. There’s me thinking 3-4 hours is going to turn into 5 and I’m going to have an angry mob of cast members about to turn on me. Actually Yoni had factored in things going wrong and we managed to wrap filming in 2 and half hours! See. Evil genius. 

Film acting & theatre acting are way different. 

When you’re on stage you have to think about the furthest audience member from the stage – which in the Nuffield is faaaaaaaaar. So tiny movements and quiet voices just arent going to be heard. But with filming it’s the total opposite, everything gets picked up by the camera. Which means you have to totally change what you’re asking people to do. But the nice thing is – if something isn’t quite right you can do it over and over again till you get the perfect shot. Then when people watch it, it’s perfect every time.

There is a lot of waiting around.

Ok… maybe not for me, I was checking shots and getting things ready and stuff. But for everyone else there was lots of waiting around. Thing is you don’t quite know how long everything is going to take and if you want to make use of all the time you can, actors have to be there when you need them. Which when you’re filming 5-10 seconds at a time with different people I can imagine can be very frustrating. But the guys handled it well. 

Relationship with your filmographer is key. 

I was really lucky – Yoni and I get on anyway, but we’ve never done anything professional together. My feeling on it was to defer to him, although I’m directing as mentioned above – film & theatre are totally different and Yoni was my resident film expert. But it worked out much more of a collaboration. No friction, no arguments, no clashes of creativeity. Working with Yoni on the trailer actually made something that was stressing me out a really enjoyable experience – I learnt a lot too which was cool. 

Work doesn’t stop when you finish filming

Unlike theatre, when you finish the performance it doesn’t mean your jobs done. Yes the actors get to go home, and you somehow still end up with a bag full of odds and ends and bits of someone else’s costume (which reminds me – Paul I have your shirt). But now is the part where all of those sections of film get put together with sound and animated text and stuff (I’m not very technical…). So now all I can do is sit back with my cup of coffee and wait. It is not the immediate gratification of theatre performance which is perhaps the hardest lesson to learn. It’ll be worth it though. 

Don’t forget to check out Yesh! Video.

I’ll check back next week and hopefully I’ll get to show you all the trailer!!

Imogen signing off for this week.