Friday, 5 August 2005

Part Three - On Set

Read Part One and Part Two.

It was an early start on Monday morning: 6.30 am. A full hour and a half earlier than for work! What one has to do for one's art, really!

From my past experience, I knew there was going to be a lot of waiting and I was not disappointed. Getting to the bar where the scenes I would be in were going to be shot for 8.30, we only started shooting at about 11.

I was not the only one from the Chorus, who had reply to the invite, GM, our General Manager was there too. For the same reason that I was there: get away from work and do something different. Slowly other extras starting to trickle in. One girl and half a dozen poofs. The first scene was going to be a gay club scene.

It turns out that the guy who sent the email is also the lead. Looks like it is going to be a very small budget affair. Soon we are introduced to Dean's flatmate, errr Dean, who has been roped in to be an extra too. He looks taller then he is, lean, toned and tanned. The sort of guy I would say I like the idea of but not the execution. The most striking thing about him though, is, I think, his energy. He keeps on talking. Talking nonsense that is, always on the verge of not being funny. He is that sort of annoying person you sort of like but is also always slightly going on your nerves. As the day progresses, I get a feeling the man might actually be fancying me... Perhaps from the fact that he keeps coming back to talk to me (something people usually don't do) and that he "rubbed" himself against me (standing very close in front of me with his back to me) a couple of times when there was no call for it... not sure... I am crap at reading that sort of signals.

The most notable thing on the set is how nice everybody is. This seems slightly unatural but at the same time it doesn't seem forced so we go with the flow. Soon the wardrobe woman (Vanessa) comes and introduces herself and start transforming us into her own vision of what punters of an "alternative" gay club look like. I end up wearing an bright orange low-cut V-neck T-shirt (just me!) with bracelets, a golden brooch with pendents and, on the back of my head, a black Agnes B leatherette hat with what looks like home made paintings in white and what can only be described as traces of Tchernobyl pigeon diarhea (bright green). One of my sleaves gets rolled up and cut-offs cut from someone's stockings become an armring around my bicep. The rest of the "cast" get the same sort of makeshift treatment. We got made up and signed our release forms.

Finally we are all set and shooting can beginning. We are led to the area of the bar where the scene will take place, asked to spread ourselves. The two main characters are sitting at the bar, talking. After a while they move to the dance floor where they join a woman and dirty dance with her. This is more or less all the action of the scene. The background music starts (a "specially commissioned" mix called Romeo Rodeo!!!) and then fades away again until we are left dancing in silence to allow for the recording of the dialogue... Slightly sureal experience. The scene is reshot several times and under different angles. After a good two hours, the thirty seconds of film are in the can. Time for lunch. While we are being fed with as you wait sandwiches, another scene is being shot in the toilets where no extras are required.

More waiting. Everything in the bar is reshuffled to allow for the next scene. A day time bar scene. We all become cliche straight people. Wearing horrible UNCOORDINATED clothes. Arrrrrgh!!!

Another two hours of shooting go like a flash, lip talking and that is two more scenes in the can (one of which I sat out). Soon it is time to pack up for the day. The crew has to relinquish the venue by 4.30. Before going we are asked if we will come again the next day and we get instructions on what sort of clothes to bring. We are taking part in a media party (the launch of a film called Beat Commando). The colour scheme is "bright acidic unnatural colours" (read: dayglow) with a "beckhamy" sort of look. I coudn't wait!

Not wanting to renew the previous day's exploit of having to get up at 6.30 and baring in mind the amount of time we spent waiting in the morning, I decided to ignore the 8.30 call time and to get up at my usual time. I got to the set by 9, nothing having started yet. The day was actually more or less a repeat of the day before: getting dressed in nonsensical garbs, waiting and shoot. The different this time is that they seemed to be taking much more time and we had to reshoot several times. So far I had been very impressed by how fast they had been working compared to what I had seen on Gay Guys. This was probably due to the even tighter budget and perhaps to the fact that they were using digital cameras. This scene however took the whole day to shoot and was very tedious. Dean, contrary to what he had said, did not reappear that day, so we didn't have much entertainment.

I was paired up with a (gay) member of the crew who had been volunteered to make up numbers. We got chatting (which is what we were supposed to do anyway), exchanging our coming out stories and the usual "when did you know" one. It turned out he was trained as a photographer so I introduced him to GM who is a professional photographer as well as the Chorus' General Manager. The guy also experessed an interest in joining the Chorus (he finds it hard to meet gay people in London) so I will probably seen him again in September with our new intake.

Finally, around 4, the shoot finished. And I was not sorry to leave. Tuesday was a bit of let down compared to Monday to be honest. On the whole I rather enjoyed the experience though.

Looking forward to to spotting myself on the silver screen in about six month (so I am told)....

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