Now that we have been sedentary for a few months and given the fact that I quit my regular job when we embarked on our year-long journey back in July 2017, I needed something fulfilling to occupy my time besides my fitness classes and it is for this reason that, when our son – from here on to be known as PJ – invited me to join his company, PRM Studio (Phoenix Rising Media), I jumped at the chance, knowing that I would be learning something new and exciting in the process. I have never been one for turning down good opportunities and this was not going to be the first time.
Ever since January 2019, with the financial backing of a very generous donor, PJ, his business partner Tom, myself and a couple of very dedicated friends have been working very hard building a team to form a film production crew, as well as finding some actors to star in ‘Striativus’, a short film about mental illness written by the talented Chantelle Dickson.
I am very happy and proud to report that all our hard work has paid off and that shooting of the film started last Sunday, 26th May, at a location in Rustington, West Sussex, thanks to the help of an amazing crew with all kinds of talents. To tell you the truth, I’d never realised how hard it is to get even a small project like this off the ground or the logistics involved and this has been the most important thing I’ve learned so far. Everyone has a very important role to play, and I am not just talking about the Actors, Directors and Producers everybody hears about, but the usually unsung heroes like the Costume and Set Designers, the Make-up and Hair Artists, The Script Writer, The Script Supervisor, the Production Assistants helping with just about anything (myself being the Production Coordinator), the Sound Recordist, the Camera Operators, The Unit Stills Photographer, The Grip and Electric Team, the Editor, the Drivers… Everyone is vital on a film set; should any of them fail, the whole project could bite the dust.
The biggest challenge so far was to get all the Heads of Department together in one room to have a meeting prior to shooting in order to finalise details and this was achieved in the end, not in the flesh, but thanks to the advances in technology and Social Media, with some of them opting to Skype for various reasons. This we achieved last Saturday, a day before the first day of shooting, when we all had a chance to put our ideas and suggestions forward that would be of help the following day, from finding props for the set to catering and transport arrangements. After nearly 3 hours, we were happy with how things stood and settled to meet up at our office in Bognor Regis the next morning to load cars with equipment and allocated crew to the 3 cars we were using for transport to take us to the filming location in Rustington.
After picking the 2 cats that will also star in the film, Midnight and Mushroom, we finally arrived ready to set up and start filming at midday. There, I finally got to meet some of the amazing cast and rest of the crew I had been in touch through emails, texts and phone calls for months and I was overwhelmed and humbled by the high professionalism, commitment and enthusiasm of this very fine young people who were more than happy to give up their Sunday and work the whole day (first of 2) in order to make this dream come true.
Finally things began to fall into place and people ceased to be a name on a form or a database and became flesh and blood and with very large hearts. I felt very proud to be part of this project and things will get even more exciting next time we film in Bognor Regis on 7th June with a named actor some of you might be familiar with. And word has it that I might even be part of the cast! But more on that next time. Watch this space!