I recently completed a day of filming on the upcoming British movie Wasteland. I thought I’d jot down a few words about the experience. Note; I’m not going to be talking about plots, scripts or famous faces – if you want to know about them, go and see the film 😉
I spent the night before in a swanky Leeds hotel but, sadly, the unfamiliar surroundings and the excitement of the new project kept me restless past midnight. In an attempt to lull myself to sleep, I began channel hopping – I ended up watching Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”.
This was not a great idea.
With swirling visions of scalped Nazis and burning cinemas rolling about my head, I finally got some shut-eye, ready for a 7am call.
Rising the next morning like an extra from Dawn of the Dead, I quickly showered and made my way through the eerily quiet centre of Leeds to the shoot location.
After a brisk 30 minute walk on an empty stomach, I was greeted by the smell of eggs, bacon, hash-browns and toast – God bless movie caterers!
Fully fed and coffeed, I made my way to costume and make-up. I was promptly given a neat “short back and sides”, to get the look of the character just right. I was later used as a fake-tattoo guinea pig, with the make-up team covering my right hand in various inks and sprays. Y’know, this acting lark is just an excuse for us adults to play Dress Up, I swear.
I can’t tell you too much about the shoot itself (Rowan, the director, knows people; scary, scary people!*) but the sheer scale of a feature film shoot always amazes me – even for the simplest of scenes. The morning shoot had 4 actors and one location but there must’ve been nearly 20 crew members milling around – cutting off traffic, winding cables, holding light reflectors and re-touching makeup.
My scenes ended up being pushed back in the running order so I spent much of my time watching the filming from behind the camera. I love to see how it all works; the steadicam cameramen and their runners, the gaffers, the director, the 1st and 2nd AD’s, the sound people all working seamlessly together like a well oiled machine. And by “well oiled” I mean “highly caffeinated”.
It was a lovely sunny day (see if you can spot it in the film!) but the wind was sharp and biting. Happily, the thoughtful costume team provided us delicate-skinned acting folk with fluffy puffer jackets to keep warm. Which was nice.
It was late afternoon before I got the other side of the camera, dodging curious school children and making friends with an excitable Alsatian. Filming went well and hours seemed to zip by in the blink of an eye. I was soon getting back into my civvies and heading off for another night in another hotel.
10 hours on set, who knows what will end up in the final edit?
Such is the life of an actor.
Tim Austin is an Actor working nationally and internationally from his base in the UK. You can find his Spotlight CV here; http://www.spotlight.com/8218-3497-0502 and watch his showreel by clicking here.
*okay, he doesn’t really. Unless you count Timothy Spall.