“A weekend shoot that brought together about 45 people…What a crew!”
Something incredible, something miraculous happened this weekend in Manchester…no not City winning back to back league titles, something more impressive than that…we, The Claimants, shot a trailer for our film, and the burning question is …”How the fuck did we get here?”
This particular journey started at the back end of last year, a group of actors from act4tv met and started work on ‘a little research and development project’ weeks of meetings, devising, transatlantic video calls, scripting, re-arranging work and family patterns, and a hell of a lot of hard work followed bringing us to THIS….a weekend shoot that brought together about 45 people making one of the most professional and joyful sets I have ever had the pleasure to work on.
We had Ben Thornley of Sitcom Soldiers as our dream D.O.P, Theo Kirkpatrick his Gaffer, Andy Layfield sound recordist and all aided by a crack team drawn from student from both Salford and Bolton Universities. This was the first time on a professional set for a number of them, but boy did they rise to the challenge, they listened, they learnt, and they grafted their arses off…what a crew!
We had on set catering provided by Lloyd Li, who before our very eyes metamorphoses into his into his wheeler-dealer character ‘Chinese Dave’ – “Look at this hostess trolley I got, bargain, only £40”
“You need a pub sign …yeah I’ve got a mate…” Lloyd, early Saturday morning realises he’s left the tuna mayo for the jacket potatoes at home …no problem, ‘Chinese Dave’ is on the phone and in no time he’s talked his sister into making the hour long round trip to deliver it in plenty of time.
We had locations …God did we have locations! The Pack Horse in Culcheth , which for a few precious hours on Saturday morning became The Penguin in Pearls, and on one of the warmest days of the year so far, we celebrated Christmas, Noddy Holder has never sounded so good.
We had the wonderful Buxton family give up their home to allow us to shoot so many different rooms and exteriors. We had a perfect office …again ‘Chinese Dave’ sorted that with his mate Idris. “Yeah, I’ve got a mate…”
Oh… and we had a double decker bus!
Driven by Silent Bob’s stunt double – Craig, what a legend. Nothing was too much trouble for Craig. Each request made of him was met with a “Sure, no bother.” We drove all around East Manchester, and the Manchester sunshine shone down on these righteous filmmakers. As we drove through the streets of Droylsden, the shout went up that all the crew on the top deck had to get down on the floor to hide, because we had a drone, expertly flown by James Wilthew, of Airframes; the amazing drone shots were worth hitting the deck and hiding underneath the seats.
We had Steve Evets, bringing joy, truth and a real sadness, taking the mic as the perfect Gordon, landlord of The Penguin. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to The Turtles ‘Happy Together’ in the same way again.
We had Liam Fox, who gave up his season ticket for Manchester United’s last game of this campaign so he could breathe life into Mr Dulwich, wanker extraordinaire, hard–hearted bastard and head honcho of the insurance company about to let loose the dreaded loss adjusters set to “royally fuck up “our Claimants.
We had a scare, we had our hearts in our mouths, we had sleepless nights, when we saw that at the end of the day on Sunday there had been some technical issues and we had potentially filmed a silent movie that day…but we had joy, unbounded joy when Gino (Oh Mr Producer!) called and said the bloody heroes at Cheadle Data Recovery had saved the day …we had all the sound!
We had …d’ya know what, I could go on for hours and list each and everyone involved and everything we did over the weekend, because it was all so bloody good, but I would probably end up using up all the internet – so I’ll just finish with this, we had a cast who had created their characters and honed them to perfection. They were at turns, funny, truthful, dramatic, inventive and always, always massively hard working. Each and every one of them being totally committed, passionate and professional. The talent in the room was off the fuckin’ scale. The actors deserve to make this film; the actors WILL make this film. Welcome to The Democratic Republic of The Claimants – the new democracy in film-making.
So six weeks (give or take ) of post-production and the trailer will be done – BUT we have only just pulled out of the depot, this bus IS going places… Get on the fuckin’ bus people! We’re rolling…
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