Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Running up to the Read-Through

The cast read-through. Left to right: Paul Nicholls (Bobby), Nathaniel Martello-White (Tom), Jamie Di Spirito (Pete), writer/director Alex Barrett, Jayne Wisener (Jay), Hannah Tointon (Claire).

So, the whirlwind that I mentioned in my last update seems to be continuing. Yesterday was our cast read-through day, which was a brilliant experience for me. But before I get to that, let's rewind...

It's been a crazy few weeks, but it's a very exciting time and we are inching ever closer towards making this film a reality. Enough funding has fallen into place for us to make the film, and our shoot dates are now set. As is always the case with these things, this fantastic step forward for the project came with a downside: due to scheduling conflicts Jenna-Louise Coleman, Joel Dommett and our original cinematographer Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz have had to step away from the project. They have all been very supportive towards the film and I'd like to publicly thank them for their time and enthusiasm, and wish them the best with their new ventures.

As the eagle-eyed amongst you will have already noticed from the updated crew-list on our website, we wasted no time in finding a new cinematographer, and I'm very pleased to say that the very talented Yosuke Kato has taken on the role. I've brought him up to speed with the project and I think we're going to make a great team. If we can pull off the things we're talking about then this film is going to look amazing. Yosuke is not the only new crew member, and I'm very excited about the fantastic team that we've been able to assemble for the film, who include Production Manager Emily Lomasney, Production Designer
Niina Topp, Costume Designer Charmaine Parram, Makeup Artist Lisa Smith-Milne and our online social marketing superstar, Justine Priestley.

Equally exciting to all this is our new Claire: I'm very pleased to announce that actress Hannah Tointon has joined our cast. As the read-through yesterday proved, Hannah is fantastic in the role and a real pleasure to work with. It's brilliant to have her on board and once the film is done I know you'll all understand why I'm so excited. All the cast gelled so well at the read-through that I can't wait to get this film on screen so I can share it with you. I'd always imagined that it would take us weeks to get to the stage where the actors shared with each other in the way that the characters do in the script: instead it took minutes. There was a real generosity of spirit in everyone that I found infectious. Their input into the script and the characters (both through ideas for script tweaks and performance) is going to take this project to the next level. A character piece such as this was always going to live or die by the quality of the actors involved, and based on what I saw yesterday we are very much alive.

The cast after the read-through. Left to right: Paul Nicholls (Bobby), Nathaniel Martello-White (Tom), Jamie Di Spirito (Pete), Jayne Wisener (Jay), Hannah Tointon (Claire).

The read-through was very swiftly followed by a crew meeting (yesterday was something of a mammoth day, it's safe to say). I subjected everyone to an hour and half of me droning on about the style of Life Just Is as I see it. I talked and showed some clips and images from films which I think serve as references. I like to work collaboratively with my crew, so the idea was to try and explain my vision for the film in more detail: that way we're all on the same page and everyone can input ideas which lead in the same direction.

There's certainly a lot of work for us to do in the next few weeks as we lead up to the shoot. But after yesterday I am feeling extremely energised and ready to face the challenge head-on.
- Alex.

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