This week has been a bit exciting so far: Aside from annoying my neighbours with incessant clarinet pratice for The Cherry Orchard (more on that later,) I have been making a short film. (It’s almost as if I was an actor, isn’t it?!)
So let’s start right at the very beginning. If you follow me on Twitter,(and I would highly recommend that you DON’T,) you may remember me being in Dot Cotton (this is the name of a conference room, I have not been doing anything untoward to June Brown).
Well, aside from hanging around being starstruck by boardrooms and making hot beverages, I was actually there for a reason. I was lucky enough to take part in the Meet the Media:Broadcast Journalism event at Broadcasting House, run by Rethink Mental Health, Mind and The BBC and tackled the issue of the representation of mental illness and those of us with mental illness in broadcast journalism. (May sound a bit worthy, but when stuff like this is STILL happening, we know that the battle to end the stigma around mental illness is far from won). It was brilliant to see something like this even existing, but it was also really fascinating to see different ways of prtraying the same story.
As part of this, me and my good friend Will performed a short play Pressing The Right Buttons for Newfound Theatre, which looked at the glamorisation of celebrity suicide in the press. It went really well and as a result, a film director said that he would like to turn it into a short film and On the Edge was born.
Fast forward to yesterday and Will and I are at an undisclosed location (you aren’t allowed to publically identify potential suicide spots in the UK for obvious reasons) being miked and powdered up, ready to start shooting in the unexpected, blazing sunshine. The pollen was being a nasty Nigel during our rehearsal on Monday, so we consumed most of Boots in a bid to keep it under control.
IN YOUR FACE, HAYFEVER!
We were atop a hill with an uncanny resemblence to a cliff face. But it wasn’t, it was just an undercover hill with a really good disguise and cover story. We both managed the not-as-easy-as-it-sounds walking and talking at the same time plus not falling over the edge (it was still high enough to break an arm or three) and we remembered our lines and even managed the odd burst of acting (I jest, Will is bloody brilliant, actually!)
It was amazing the difference being on location made – we’re very good at imagining things but actually being on a cliff/hill/whatever it wants to call itself does make a difference because of a) the view and b) the fact that we both have vertigo, so there is genuine fear in there, when you eventually get to see the film.
It was a fantastic experience and we managed to get the whole thing done in under 8 hours (which is pretty impressive going!), the crew were mega and we had the usual perks of being fed (although the food on this shoot was rather more luxorious than usual! Nom NOM indeed!)
I can’t wait to see the finished product, even if it means I have to watch myself (which is the worst part of being an actor, I think!)
Today has been a bit less glam but rewarding non the less, I made two discoveries – the cupboard where I keep my coats makes a passable rudimentary recording studio, with the use of blankets and bike lights and I spent a good two hours in there this morning, recording demos to send to people. It’s amazing how fussy you can get over these things “Oooh, I don’t like the way I said “it’s” there”. But I got it done with only a minimal pool of sweat on the cupboard floor and managed to get it sent of with only a very small amount of swearing like a particulrly angry trouper. Hoorah.
The second discovery is that I am getting rather ancient. I spent a good 6-7 hours practicing my clarinet this afternoon and I feel like I have done ten rounds with the Marine Corps. Seriously, I don’t remember it entailing this much pain! I got to the point where I could not bend my pinky fingers any more *sob* WHEN DID I GET SO OLD?
However, on a more positive note, the music spunds more like an injured duck rather than a mortally wounded one now, so that’s good, in’t it?
If you want to see whether I manage to not die of musical related injuries, you can come see my show. IT’S PEAK, BRUV