I’m awake. At 6am I’m awake, get up!
The second shoot day of This Is England 90’. The last time I was preparing for an epic dance off to “Fools Gold”, now I’m waiting to become the greatest on screen art student extra. That should probably be my credit on the show.
Conveniently for me the shooting location is Norton College (The college I study at). Perfect. A weird change was the TV Studio, used as a costume fitting room.
Still early I wander through costume straight to hair & make-up where a lovely hair lady (not sure what to call her) puts me through whiplash as she pulls my hair from my skull. I wanted to laugh because it felt unnatural but at the same time hilarious, you would only understand if you were in that position.
At first after hair & make-up I thought that I wouldn’t be picked for scenes, to endure the day sat in a room making my own entertainment with the other extras. But behold my calling. The next 3 hours I had to endure, yes endure again through freezing temperatures. Imagine standing on top of Mt. Fuji in a t-shirt. Yeah, that’s what it felt like.
There was a moment on one of the takes, we started walking and no one else was. “At that moment he knew he messed up”. So we had to improvise as though we were meant to stand around and chat, then decide to move on to the canteen.
A moment in the repetition of the morning, I worked with a kid named Dan. Later I’d find out he’s the son of Richard Hawley from Pulp. That happened.
Dinner time and we had the pleasure to eat on a bus dining room. Well, just a bus with tables, a unique dining experience for sure. It was weird but pretty amazing to be among Thomas Turgoose (Shaun), Rosamund Hanson (Smell) and Shane Meadows.
Heading back to college, I bump into Thomas and talk for a moment, only to find out that the trousers I’m wearing (MC Hammer parachute pants to be exact) has the effect of everyone around wanting to pull them down, Thomas started the trend and was almost adamant that he was going to.
For a while it seemed like I wouldn’t be in anymore scenes, until I get asked to take part in a scene that involves Shaun & Poppy in the series, the amazing aspect of my day came from filming this scene. I was in the background of the scene clear in view, no chance of being cut out. Walking onto set I was nervous, especially walking in and there’re at least 10 crew members present.
As part of the background I had to act as though I’d be packing away my things, walking over to my friend, asking the teacher if we could leave, pretend we forgot to get something and walk out. All miming, which is a lot harder than it sounds, being un-coordinated through out we had to plan what we would be doing and stick to it. It was the 3 W’s. Wes, Will & Will. We started with the route we would each take, a few times Will (other student) would kick the tripods he had to pack down and put away. Sometime my bag slipped off my shoulder. We were very professional, we kept going without stopping the take if I say so myself.
It was an interesting experience to see what a professional set looks like, how it operates, how well it operates too. It’s poignant to me in the way that it makes me even more thankful for every member of a crew, a team effort is the key to a great production. You see everyone in the role they are hired for, and it lets the Director direct, and the others work to the vision of his.
The last scene of the day involved attending a lecture which amazingly was filmed in one take, the actor who played the lecturer sold a 5+ minute monologue in one take as natural as possible, and it was a spectacular lecture because I wanted him to carry on after the take was cut.
It was sad to leave the set, but like anything it will come to an end, and it did. My time on This Is England 90’ was an eye opening experience and one that I wont forget.