Thursday, 11 April 2013

I WOULD RATHER MAKE A FILM than go to the psychiatrist when fighting the menopause.

A year ago, women were complaining that there were not enough females in the film industry, their case has to be considered. Most of the important people in film are males. I wanted to see why? At the same time my ex husband raised him eyebrows when I said I was going to The Cannes Film Festival.  He did this in front of my younger son. I did not want my son to see that I could not do it. So with a dare in the back of my head, and a script I had from my play As I like it. I started shooting the following week. I asked all my friends at the time to work for me.  Phil Scala said he wanted to do the sound, Alex Webster my photography assistant said he would work with everybody helping them, and Fredrik Andersson would be the DP. He is from Sweden and I trust the Swedes, they are dedicated and hard working. Phil thought I should bring the play up to date and put in documentary footage. I wanted to use the actresses who had played the part of me in London, Justine Glenton, directed by Lyall Watson and in Los Angeles's Macha Theatre, Elizabeth Karr, directed by John Alan Simons.
My intention was to make a surreal but true version of my life, using six actresses to play me. There are 40,000 out of work actresses in England alone. Brilliant ones who never get work .  The casting in the world is quite rightly safe, too much money is at stake. I  just wanted to have a go, make a film, and through experience learn a business and see what it was like.
I used my ideas, my clothes, my feeling, for better or for worse, me. It was the only thing that was true.
During the first few weeks of shooting I had wonderful luck, there was beautiful weather, the girls looked fresh, worked hard. The boys insisted on using their own cameras. This has later caused lots of problems. Do not use anything but the same camera, one that shoots easily in the format it is intended for. It puts the editing room into a tizzy, if it is not,whatever anybody tells you. Some of the footage was old. I used everything.
Justine was hardworking. She tackled the script well. . It was tricky, she had played the part for three weeks, and rehearsed it for another three weeks before. The intention was to have pity for me, but I have too wonderful life to continue to feel this. Movie Pictures are just that, moving pictures but she had a charm, and an ability to play all ages. With the luck of finding a young actress who was eight years old Called Mimi Dean I was on my way.
I had a burglary on the first day of shooting, the equipment, cameras all footage was stolen, some of the actresses did not learn their lines. They know who they are and will not be mentioned here.  I felt I was patronised.This only made me stronger. When the first part of filming was done, I waited to do my next bit. I asked for the footage to be edited. After 9 weeks of waiting Phil Scala turned up with about two scenes. The men started to complain that the different cameras were causing a problem.. I had allowed them to use whatever they wanted. This was not a good idea. So I got another team. This time it was more solid, more up to date.  Not shinier than the old team just perhaps more me.  I just used the script to map out my ideas.
I was very stressed, so much work. Too much to do, and I did not understand everything, If you make your own film you have to be charming but tough. People can take you for a ride, with their abilities. Be ready to ride out hic cups.  It was a learning curve. I was not always easy. With money running out of the house, people originally not being professional, it was a nightmare. Now it seems a breeze. My advice would be always use people that you are interested in the film, experts in their field, and easy to work with. However, the best bit of filming was probably taken in Venice by Tomas Auksas, then aged 19, with no previous experience. So, also take some risks. 

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