Tuesday 27th February 2007
Back to work and more exterior work. The drive in was not too promising as the empty roads were being pounded with heavy rain. I resigned myself to the usual experience of icy wetness.
When I got in the director suggested that we tweak one of the scenes so that it happened indoors, rather than outside by the pond. It would mean losing some funny jokes, but would ease us in our ultimate task of getting stuff finished in time.
I nearly agreed, partly because it would mean that I would at least get to stay in the dry (and I did check that the other actors who had to play frisbee in the background would still be outside in the rain, which made things even more appealing) but cheeky Claire Skinner, with whom I was doing the scene thought it was a shame to lose the stuff and the rain seemed to be calming down and so I asked Delyth if we could go with the original plan.
It worked out OK, though we were a little bit held up in places early on, but then annoyingly when the weather cleared a loud lawnmower-like noise started up next door. Ten minutes was wasted as we tried to find the source and get whoever was making the noise to kindly shut up. It's a difficult thing to negotiate, after all, why should someone be forced to alter their life and work because of us.
As it turned out someone was trimming the branches of next door's trees, but he finally agreed to halt at last temporarily.
By then though, the rain was coming down again and though we pressed on with filming everytime we got going a plane would fly overhead or a big drop of water would fall on Claire's face or I would fuck up a line. Which was a shame as I was really enjoying doing this scene with one of my favourite actors and I think we were doing a good job. After last week's nerves and self-doubt things have picked up and I am doing OK and enjoying myself.
Claire who has had a habit of corpsing me during filming was particularly looking forward to a bit where Gordon's character does a loud fart, just as we're talking about something serious. In the initial takes we just had to imagine the burly Scotchman jumping in the air to catch a frisbee and accidentally releasing an air biscuit. But when we had to watch him actually doing his stuff it was very difficult not to laugh. We both went on the first take, but I somehow managed to carry on on the next two, despite Claire Skinner's shaking shoulders and smirking face.
We got it all done eventually, but later in the afternoon as we were about to film the last outdoor section the Heaven's opened and we had to rush inside. We had been ten minutes away from getting the shot done, and actually rehearsed it with cameras a couple of times, but now we were faced with a heavy shower that showed no signs of abating.
So we had to use the time productively and it so happened that the director chose to do a wild track (just an audio recording) of a scene where Anton and Julia's characters are embarrassed to hear my and Sarah-Jane's characters having sex in the room next door. So we had to provide a thirty second sound snippet of the two of us making love (not literally- we had to act it, unfortunately). I joked that thirty seconds was twice as long as it would usually last, because I am amusing. And also scrupulously honest. But if there is a funnier way to spend a rainy afternoon, I would like to know what it is. Simulating sex for a man with a big microphone in front of an embarrassed puritannical director is perhaps the height of comedy.
After this brief sojourn I had a little think about the script and realised there was a way of bringing the scene we'd failed to film indoors, without losing anything important. As it happened we didn't get time to do it because of light issues, but it's there as an option if it's raining on Friday, which is when the scene now has to be shot.
We only have fifteen days to shoot, which maybe sounds like a lot for 72 minutes of actual TV programme, but it really isn't. So losing a quarter of a day could turn out to be a bit of a spanner in the works, but I am sure we will all come together to sort it out. Or maybe there will just be a scene of me standing against a white wall being forced to explain what had just happened - "oooh, it was exciting when Ken got hit in the face and fell in a bush and we found that box file with blood all over it in the garden, wasn't it, Pete?"
If that happens, you'll know that it rained all week.
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