Exploring, By George Maddocks
Its 12.38 on 29th July in Kilburn. We are thirty six hours into the recording of our very first on-location play ‘Rat’.
Not content with breaking new ground by recording on location we’ve also decided to make a film of the process.
We have set ourselves a deadline of 48hrs to deliver both film and play.
Exciting times but necessarily fraught times as well and I think that everyone in the team is quietly happy that we’ve been forced into taking a break by a burst of rain and depleted batteries.
I’m sat in a crowded living room that looks like a overdone advert for mac computers and coca cola. Dotted in and around these digital artists’ essentials are piles of audio equipment, boom mics, field recorders, tripods cameras and LED lights.
There are two blogposts being written and a film and radio play being edited in this room, in the kitchen photos are being lifted from yesterday’s video footage and Annie the writer is on the phone contacting a friend about recording a soundtrack.
We are all still a little tense, things have gone well but in the manner of many projects the quality and success of the initial aspects of it simply passes pressure on the later aspects. So, having recorded some beautiful performances yesterday we are now all feeling the pressure to do justice to them in the edit.
Simultaneously directing and producing something like this is a bizarre mix of elation and fear. Every shot that is captured right is a success, every bit of kit that we brought that solves a problem gives the ego a bounce but still there is always the thought sitting at the back of your head that all the kit and schedules in the world can’t deliver the performances you want.
Doing that requires something else. Its about the atmosphere in the room the people your working with and the way you use both.
I’ve directed many times, so I should be more comfortable with that, but this time I have a camera on me as well, racking up the pressure, recording my tortured analogies and (I strongly suspect) making me look distinctly chubby.
The batteries are flashing as charged now, and the rain is holding off so it is time to get back at it. Reading this back it sounds more tortuous than I had intended. In all honesty this is joyous working with a team of hard-working, dedicated artists who are all committed to doing something exceptional. It half brings to mind a quote from Samuel Butler (so I Googled it) –
‘Exploring is delightful to look forward to and back upon, but it is not comfortable at the time, unless it be of such an easy nature as not to deserve the name.’
Quite. I very much hope you enjoy the play.