Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Hollywood Inaction

I tootled off late this afternoon following the tinseltown trail to see The Wolfman filming in Lacock. OK, I had a bit of a thing about Sir Anthony Hopkins as a teenager (in his classic BBC serial/Alistair McClean action hero phase), so I was really after a glimpse of the beknighted one. What struck me was how so many people (at least 50) can do what seems so very little for so long. The pictured extras were positively animated compared to what didn't happen for most of the hour I spent there. The fact that we were outside and most of the filming was inside the Tithe Barn probably didn't help either. In addition, the crew's communication system was less obtrusive than Monday's, so I suspect they heard all sorts going on through their earpieces. They did react, rather zombie-like in my view, to unheard commands from time to time. Sometimes this resulted in a series of barked orders - 'Stand by guys, let's lock it up',... 'Rolling',...'Cut there'. During this sequence two actors (one of them a rather dishy Benecio del Toro) briefly appeared at the door of the Tithe Barn and went in (dialogue - 'Morning', 'Morning' quickly fading to a mutter, mutter, mumble) whilst a lady with a basket walked past the door. That's it. 5 times in half an hour.

Three newspaper photographers were there to capture it all. Judging by their conversation they'd had a pretty thin day of it and had resorted to discussing their kit, especially lenses. 'Is that a 35:70 you've got there?' 'Yes, but I've got a 28:35 - I can do anything with that'. So why weren't you using it then? I also got an insight into the Hollywood hierarchy - the pictures they'd got of Hugo Weaving and Benecio del Toro just weren't good enough. 'Is He (Hopkins) here then?' 'Oh yes, went past this morning in a silver Merc.'

Trouble erupted just as I was leaving. The filming was right by the village hall which was holding a craft fair. Stallholders were disgruntled that no-one was visiting them and were complaining bitterly to the film crew about blocked access. To be fair, the film crew did keep the footpath open during most of the filming, allowing access both to the hall and the scarecrow trail many children were following in the late afternoon sunshine. I think the scarecrow trail was more of a problem than the filming - plenty of people were going past the hall, but with kids in tow crafts weren't really what parents had in mind for an afternoon's entertainment.

Update: dnd, one of my regular Commenters was an extra in another life. I just had to pull out her Comment into this Post as it adds a further insight into what happens on a film set:

'One of the reasons it takes so long is that it is re shot with the focus on a different person each time, so they can cut to full face view. That plus getting exactly what the director wants can take for ever even on an indoor set. There is also the problems of extraneous noise, people, cars, planes that we filter out but the sound recordist picks up.

But you do sit around for a long time, I discovered I could usually crochet a pet blanket during one days filming.'

10 comments:

  1. It was interesting to hear what happens during the shooting of a film. I didn't realise it took quite so long to do so little. Odd that.

    A glimpse of Anthony Hopkins would have been so cool! My heart would have done a hop too ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. One of the reasons it takes so long is that it is re shot with the focus on a different person each time, so they can cut to full face view. That plus getting exactly what the director wants can take for ever even on an indoor set. There is also the problems of extraneous noise, people, cars, planes that we filter out but the sound recordist picks up.

    But you do sit around for a long time, I discovered I could usually crochet a pet blanket during one days filming.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm a bit slow off the mark.

    Is 'Veg Plotting' 'Star Treking' in disguise?

    Esther

    ESTHER IN THE GARDEN

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've done a load of 'extras' work too (or 'Supporting Artists' if we're being official about it lol) and the slow pace is the first thing you notice.
    Things move faster on TV series like Casualty than on big films for obvious reasons but even then you can come away from a days filming and wonder if they got more then 5-10 mins of footage.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Goodness, what a gorgeous blog. very tempting. I am trying to evade my husband's recommendations that we move to England, but you are making his arguments seem very valid...

    I'll let you know if one of your posts is the one to send me packing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Its interesting watching filming, my son and I watched some of the filming for Hot Fuzz when it was being filmed in Wells. Glad to be enlightened by dnd.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A lovely tale.

    I really enjoyed the shadows in the previous post, too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Kate - it's been fascinating both my visit and the Comments. Yes, I'd like to have seen Athony Hopkins too, but seeing Benecio del Toro was good.

    Deborah - thanks for your insights this week - I'm pulling this out onto the blog, so that others see it too.

    Esther - only occasionally ;)

    Paul & Melanie - I didn't know I had so many 'star' readers, first dnd, now you ;)

    Julia - good to see you again. I won't be surprised if you announce you're here the next time I see you :)

    Starnitesky - wow that was a good film! It's interesting to see how it's done and to hear other's tales about their experiences.

    Thanks David - kind words from a professional in both spheres is much appreciated :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fascinating insight but looks very tedious! Thanks for this. I'll show it to any star struck kids... ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi again Cath - only too glad to be of service!

    ReplyDelete

I love reading your comments and welcome thoughtful conversations :)

Comments aiming to link back and give credence to commercial websites will be composted!

4/4/2014 - Anonymous comment spam came back with a vengeance today, so sadly I've had to halt this facility for a while for the sake of commenters who like to read what the genuine follow-up comments say.

If you're having problems leaving comments, you can contact me using the Contact Form at the foot of this page, or via vegplotting at gmail dot com, or @malvernmeet if a quick tweet is more convenient for you. That way I can get things sorted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...