Cass’s blog, written in Jan 2017, with Jonathan’s comments in manly blue, and Cass’s rebuttals in lady-like pink.
People kept asking me how we were going to tie-in the candles to the film, but we all agreed that putting them in shot, on tables, was a bit crass, as you’d never see that in a normal Spanish village (principled people – pah!) so we renamed the bar that we were renting to work as our canteen, production office and occasional set as Bar La Montaña, with our logo, which I thought was just about perfect.
It became abundantly clear to me that for a micro-budget film to get made successfully, absolutely everyone involved in it has to be passionate, selfless and phenomenally hard-working, all day, every day. During the shoot, I was outside of the epicentre, because our extremely elderly dog Dixie couldn’t be left alone and it was too hot to keep her on the set, so I remained mostly at home with her, while people came and went. That’s the other thing about a micro-budget shoot, for it to be successful you need loads of unsung heroes.
All the expensive cameras and sound equipment had to be stored at our house overnight, so I became used to clambering over piles of stuff everywhere, plus Nic, Alex and Candela (our female lead) were all staying in our spare rooms for the duration. It was INTENSE. Some days I didn’t see JH at all, but usually they’d start wandering tiredly through the door at about 10.30pm, having been shooting since breakfast, and my job (as I came to see it) was to make sure that we had plenty of ice-cold beers in the fridge and an encouraging smile on my face. Swigging from those icy bottles, and aah-ing appreciatively, we must have looked like a commercial for the beer company I’m not known for my patience usually, I feel I should comment… I feel the contrary but these guys worked SO hard, and wanted to do the best possible job they could for us, that it wasn’t difficult at all. Phew, close call!
There were various stand-out moments for me, just in terms of weird and memorable experiences. There was when Candela was rehearsing flamenco dancing up in her room and I kept nipping outside to stare bemusedly at the sky, thinking it was distant thunder (she’s tiny, but in flamenco you do a lot of stamping). There was the time when they were filming a funeral scene in the cemetery, absolutely pivotal to the story, and the sound of the trumpet solo came wafting up from the valley to our terrace – it was so beautiful, I was almost tearful.
There was also when a small team turned up one morning, and started spraying black graffiti on the white wall outside my house. I was taken aback (shall we say) until it was explained that for the story, there had to be a shot of graffiti on someone’s house, and we couldn’t exactly spray it on anyone else’s. The graffiti says “maldito Inglés”, meaning “bloody Englishman” and it’s still (January 2017) there. Very first job when we get back in the spring will be to get that painted out! Very sweetly, all the Spanish who came up to the house to see us after the shoot were outraged and appalled – assuming that it had been done by vandals! Javier, our local delivery guy, who brings the embarrassing amount of wine I order, literally leapt out of his cab with his fists up, looking for the culprits!
The biggest stand-out of all was when they actually filmed the flash mob, JH’s initial inspiration, on the final day of the shoot. This was a gamble, because by its nature, it involves a lot of people, all doing different things, with music and dancing and if it had rained, or if no extras had turned up, we’d have been in deep trouble. As it was, the villagers, if they weren’t already involved in some way, were wonderful troopers, who put up with a whole day of repeating the scene over and over again, dancing in the heat of the sun – a good 300 or so men, women and children. A day I will never forget! I managed to get someone to take care of Dixie, so joined in the fray and frolicked about, drinking in the atmosphere. There was lots of confetti raining down, which was great fun until we needed to shoot the scene again, because then the confetti had to be swept up, put back into bags and thrown back into the air. It all looked a bit dog-eared by the end, but I don’t think you’ll see that in the final edit!
Finally, we heard the immortal words: “that’s a wrap!” and there was a genuine sense of euphoria – not because we’d survived the punishing schedule but because we all felt that something truly special might just have happened. It’s hard to imagine our tiny film being any kind of a ‘hit’, but if even a small amount of the joy we had in making it ends up on the screen, we will at least have a film that will entertain, and a film we’ll be proud of. And that Barx will be proud of. We’re watching the first edit this afternoon – fingers crossed!
P.S. We DID watch it – and it’s GREAT!!!
P.P.S. Don’t forget, Jonathan has done a blog of the entire film making process HERE