Last Saturday we recreated Holi – the Hindu Festival associated with brightly coloured paints being thrown in the air (and over everyone in sight…).
Leaving aside the challenges for Art Department and Camera team it also showed the Production Team at its smoothest.
- 250 Supporting Artistes
- A one-day-only crane, with two operators and Steadicam
- Leicester’s Cossington Park sectioned-off and made secure
- Shelter organised for catering and a refuge, in case of rain
- Parking permits for the unit and the caravan of utility-vehicles
- Health & Safety and Risk Assessment checks to all the above
- Enhanced Assistant Director and Location teams briefed, radioed-up and hi-vizzed
Planning started early and all under the eagle-eye of Line Producer, Thea Harvey. She is ultimately responsible for the whole shebang. She is the lynchpin. Everything is approved by her. Nothing ruffles her.
She sits in the room with Rachel Donkor, our Production Accountant, who with Carla Gale, Assistant Accountant sitting opposite her, tracks the costs against the budget and tweaks the levers if we’re drifting. Even a little bit.
They are supported, across the corridor, by Nicola Morrow, Production Coordinator, whose job it is to know everything: every name, number, location, birth-date, preference. She in turn delegates out key tasks to Alex Carrodus-Cook, Production Secretary. They also sit opposite each other – matching Apple Macs perched on stands – serene, perky or intensely focused depending on the time of day.
Out-and-about is Graeme MacKensie, Location Manager and his team, Robbie Tarrant, Unit Manager and Locations Assistant, Patrick Waggett. Graeme has appeared on these blogs before because he works across on all departments: production, camera, art…
Locations is an ice-berg department. All we see are the pretty places on the screen but to get those shots Graeme and his colleagues have an enormous amount to get done to an immovable deadline: scouting; early, spontaneous and formal recces; negotiating fees and access; managing neighbours’ expectations; and assessing parking requirements, health & safety issues, traffic management. All the above is done in a calm, reasonable and empathetic manner, keenly aware that our unit will be invading someone’s home, business or frontage. And, of course, it all goes unnoticed. We got in, filmed, no drama, we wrapped and left … but only then can locations start breathing again.
Lastly, the AD’s, the Assistant Directors who feed actors to the set and in front of the camera ready to shoot.
They are led by the indefatigable 1st AD, Gareth Tandy – resplendent in Hawiian shirt and jester’s trainers – who controls the floor, monitors our well-being and maintains the shooting momentum. Giggles a lot.
Off-set there’s Nicole Chapman, 2nd AD responsible for getting the actors in front of the camera and anticipating their every need: make-up and costume call, early breakfasts, transport.
And they are met out of the car and led to set by Floor Runner, Ravi Lakhani and brought to 3rd AD, the ever-smiling Natasha Phelan. There the actors hover, just off-set, with Natasha making sure they are happy, watered and poised to move in front of the lens. All ably assisted by Nick Crane, our Trainee.
Key to Saturday’s success was the work of Rashi Lakhani (yes, the Lakhani’s have quite a big impact on this film, in one way or another) our Crowd AD who recruited, filtered, auditioned, briefed, booked and motivated our amazing Holi crowd. Not just Joe Public but our dancers and drummers too. A flawless job for an intensely exciting result.
Judging from the public’s Facebook feedback, The Engine Room did its job. The people of Leicester pitched up, danced and shouted, threw (water-soluble, non-toxic, hypo-allergenic) paint and then had a spot of lunch… and smiled from dawn ‘til dusk.
A really great day.