The Voice Production

Day 1

The day before the first day of shooting was extremely busy. Firstly I had to pick up the van in Southfields, I hired this to cater for the equipment and food. I then drove to Deptford to pick up Cal’s equipment, then to Soho to pick up the camera from the rental company. Went back to Wimbledon for the food and drink shopping with Carly, then to Carly’s house in Southfields to unload it. By this time Carly was my Production Manager and was going to cook for the crew. After that I had to get a few final bits before I went home.

Day 1 call was for 9am at The North Star Pub in Ealing Broadway. The pub was great for letting us use their premises as a base for days one and two, we also ordered a big lunch there on the first day. When breakfast, make up, hair and costume was complete we set out. We got some establishing shots of the town centre and then commenced with a scene between Faye and Sophie when they are walking to school. The majority of this scene was shot without any cuts, which I wanted.

Next we went to Walpole Park and filmed establishing shots, which looked beautiful on camera. Then a few takes of Sophie which got held back due to some make up technical issues. The School Children played by Megha and Vaida was next and Paul Hughes (playing Mr Clark) was called to set and he did his scene with Sophie. His character was supposed to be creepy and Vani did a great job with the make up. We got a good selection of shots with this scene. The only issue was the weather: usually when filming you pray for it not to rain, this time weirdly enough it was the other way round! Because the whole scene was filmed when it was cloudy, when we came to the end of the scene the sun came out! For continuity reasons we needed the weather to be the same in every take, and with a twenty minute hiccup it became cloudy again and we saw the scene out nicely and then braked for lunch.

I had feedback from my cast and crew that lunch on day one was one of the best lunches they ever had on a film set. Because the pub was American themed, the food was ninety percent meaty and I bought more than enough sharer’s to cater for everyone with some left over.

After lunch, we set out at around 6pm to film the final scene of the day and only Faye was required. On the way we took some night time establishing shots and then arrived at the house to film a scene where Faye knocks on Courtney’s front door. Because we were shooting at night, Cal’s battery charged lights were the star of the show regarding lighting. A major thanks goes to the owner of the property for allowing us to use the front door. And we achieved a shot from inside the house which I really wanted.

Day 2

We was back at The North Star Pub for 9am, however due to timing issues we moved across the road to set up base in Cafe Nero whom were very friendly and helpful. Breakfast, make up, hair and costume commenced and by 11am we were ready to shoot the first scene.

We started with the School Children (Megha and Vaida) in a scene where they notice Courtney for the first time. We then shot the scene where Courtney and Mr Clark talk for the first time, located at Mr Clark’s house. The owner of the house, Louie, was awesome for letting us use his premises. This scene had a delay because of costume reasons plus it was getting cold and raining slightly. This caused the scene to feel rushed however we did achieve the most important details. After that, a very quick shot of Mr Clark walking past Courtney’s house then we braked for set change to Carly’s house.

Cast and crew arrived at Carly’s house in Southfields all relatively on time to the schedule. Carly prepared a lovely casserole. I really wanted home cooked food on this shoot, and a thank you to Carly in that department.

After lunch Kostas and I did brief voice over work with Paul, and then we moved onto the final scene of the day where Courtney and Fran argue. The Art Department had to dress the room and that took time, but it looked very professional. We used Carly’s room for this location. We got a wonderful looking master shot of the scene and it really captured the room and how it was dressed. What was on camera fitted the unsettled horror theme of the movie. I was really impressed.

Day 3

We were at Carly’s house all day for the final day. Again a 9am arrival to be on set for 11am. Vani couldn’t be with us for this day, so Make Up and Hair duties went to Jennifer. We started with the opening scene of the film where Courtney has a problem with her tape recorder. Cal’s equipment included a two metre long slider, my first time working with one on a Pattern Maker Films project. This piece of equipment makes a movie more cinematic and we made great use of it in this scene. We then had to catch a shot of Mr Clark walking past Courtney’s house which we filmed from outside. Technically it looked beautiful, but small details could limit the its chances of getting through the edit.

Back in the bedroom with Courtney was next. It was the first scene where she experiences something strange with her new tape recorder. I had in mind to shoot a creepy over the shoulder shot and we achieved that: it gave the feel I wanted for the scene. The lighting played a vital role in these bedroom scenes.

Lunch was next and once again Carly did a great job with the catering. What followed was the final bedroom scene with Courtney. A bit of trickery was needed for this scene involving the tape recorder, thankfully we had a pretty large crew and was able to help with the necessities here.

Michael Kinsey and Faye arrived for their scene. Carly and I asked one of Carly’s flat mates to use their room for this scene, but reneged on the offer at last minute! Thankfully the other flat mate agreed and saved my life! Earlier that day Dave and Noela dressed the room, which in the script was supposed to be the character Boyfriend’s bedroom, played by Michael. It was a sex scene and was going to be a ‘closed set’ which meant a limited amount of crew in the room. Both of the actors were really professional and got on with the job. Faye and I had discussed what and what not to do in this scene and we came to a mutual agreement. Michael was ace and both of the characters were believable as a couple.

And to finally finish off the day and shoot, we moved back to Carly’s room for the grand finale in the film. This was my first time working with blood and SFX and I learnt a lot from Vani and Jennifer. Courtney self harms and the make up team did a decent job with the scars. Also, the final scene includes a blood splattered corpse and Jennifer did an outstanding job with that, it was class. A POV shot from the camcorder Courtney uses in this scene was imperative and post production will finish off the effects.

I am a big fan of ‘setting’ when it comes to making movies, establishing shots are a favourite. When Carly originally wrote the script, it was supposed to be set in or around the eighties or nineties. I liked that and decided to set the film in the nineties, so the Art Department had to source props and dress the sets in that era. It was an interesting challenge. In regards to the film being shot in Ealing, I wanted the story to be in a well off, middle class area, and you usually find these places in West London. I specifically chose Ealing because it was an inspiration from the movie An Education, which was shot around the same area. I was a fan of the characters and where they were placed in that movie, everything fitted nicely and is what inspired me when making The Voice.


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