Directors’ Notes – Pre-Shoot

We have met our wonderful-we-still-can’t-believe-we’ve-been-lucky-enough-to-have actors. We have had the support of our generous sponsors. We are getting to work with crew that we have loved working with in the past and we are marvelling at how lucky we are at every step of the way.

What can possibly go wrong?!

Sonya is already cosily ensconced at Neil’s in Liverpool when the news that the Isle of Man is ‘in the eye of a severe storm’ hits. We picture Zoe and Jane being flung from pillar to post like Dorothy and Toto… and we’re not far wrong. Of course, we hear nothing of that. Soothing reassurances come down the phone from OGPs (Our Gorgeous Producers) and we are allowed to carry on in blissful ignorance.

John Craine’s flight has been cancelled, so we won’t get our DoP a day early as planned and we are so disappointed but there is still so much to do that we don’t have time to think about it for long.

Production Designer Martin has been driving us from prop house to prop house. There is a five hour stretch of motorway at one point and a tense ten minutes, three hours into the journey when we get our sums wrong and think we have no budget left! We are all pretty drained by the time we arrive at the Trevor Howsam prop house, but it is like being in Wonderland. They are so generous and helpful, and give us everything we need, including the fabulous Harrods lampshades from 1914 and (literally) the kitchen sink, for exactly what we have left in our budget. The trip back to Liverpool is a cheerful one.

Gail and Heather are working away back at the studio on the practical things with Joe and the chippies and Paul the spark. Every time we nip back on set, they are making things happen as if by magic. Once the IOM Art Department, Dawn and Gemma get stuck in too, Margaret and Frank’s home is ready with literally minutes to spare. Every piece of glass and brass gleams and everybody responsible beams with pride.

Laura appears in a corridor clutching ready to go outfits and we have a complete re-think of Eileen because Laura’s done her job so well that she gets her even before we do.

A quick nip into make-up for a laugh and calming words from Jill… It will all be fine. It will all be fine. It will. Fine.

She’s right. We know it will really. Because wonderful people like her are all around us  just getting on with it and making it happen.

Happy Times.

Somewhere in the middle of this, we manage to meet with our 1st AD, Gareth. Co-directing is ambitious, especially because we both nod happily towards the higher end of the OCD spectrum and so we need a strong but understanding 1st AD. Sonya says, ‘I was in the room with him for approximately thirty seconds and realized that every concern I had (storms and boats and budgets aside) was melting away.  Neil had told me that Gareth would be perfect for us and he was right. I might love Gareth.’

We might love everybody on our crew.

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