Fri, 25 September 2009 on set

It's Dark In HereWednesday’s shoot of my script “Hotel Training” went well. This is one of the longer scripts that will be part of the Hotel Darklight anthology film (there will be eleven short films in total). It’s ten and a half pages long, which will probably translate into 10 – 11 minutes, although a number of factors can affect the final running time.

It was a demanding task for the director, Conor McMahon, to shoot all the scenes in one day. He, and his crew, began quickly and locked down the exterior shots. The protagonist of “Hotel Training” is called Glenn, and actor Chris Gallagher played the role. Chris was in almost every single scene in the film, and he did a great job maintaining the character during a long day. I was struck at how exhausting it must be to tap into the right emotion for a scene, and then to play the scene repeatedly, and tweak the performance each time depending on direction.

I didn’t watch every single scene. There were times when the physical location didn’t allow for a lot of on-lookers. I made suggestions when I was needed. There were minor changes required due to the demands of the shoot. Overall, I observed and let Conor, and the cast and crew, do their job.

Everyone worked hard, but there was a fun atmosphere on set. I was impressed with the talent and dedication from everybody involved.

It’s a bizarre – but cool – experience to see and hear actors playing characters I invented, and speaking lines I wrote. It is an act of magic. Although, the actors and director bring their energy to the rotes and the scenes, so it is never as quite as I imagined. It’s my story, but filtered through other people.

It’s certainly reinforced to me that writers should continue to be part of the process after they have delivered the script if at all possible. This is dependent upon everyone involved being open-minded and wanting the best possible end result.

I’ve a few pictures from the shoot on Flickr, if you like that sort of detail.

At this point there isn’t too much else I can contribute. The film will be edited – I hope to see a rough cut – and then special effects, sound, and music will be added. The sound design is particularly important for my story. All of this falls outside of my control. I won’t really see how it will work out until the première on October 10th.

It’s been a great experience. It’s re-affirmed that this is an industry I love and want to continue to work within.

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