25 November 09
It’s all very quiet. No distracting travels this week. Only a few days left till I struggle into a suit and try to look relaxed alongside Producer Sue, who will be devastatingly styled for the night by her two teenage daughters. I considered getting my 9 and 4-year-olds to do likewise, but I’m pretty sure a ‘Power Rangers The Musical’ look will not cut it. So now it’s just a sombre suit, my smartest pair of shoes and a waiting game we’re all trying not to think about.
This time last year it was all very different. Sue and I were in the final frantic stages of the 11 months it took to bring the film to the screen, and the crew was working seven days a week to meet the Channel Four deadline. It was a noisy, nerve-wracking and distracted time. Whilst our amazing production designer Amandine Pecharman was gradually getting the use of her drawing hand back, our lead animators were all coming out of character (Lucas Vigroux, Johannes Weiland, Perrine Marais, Fabienne Rivory and Klaus Morschheuser - you are all forever my penguins) and our Water Wrangling team (or Rob Chapman as we call him) had finally cracked the ‘third character’ in the film: the Ocean had arrived on set! Throughout the mayhem, our Lead CGI Supervisor James Gaillard, was remaining unfeasibly calm in the face of the mountain he still had to scale to get the film onto TV for Christmas.
Those last days were spent huddled around monitors watching the composited shots as they were rendered time & again from the pile of rented computers (strung together in the basement ‘Brazil’ fashion), to be further adjusted, corrected and tweaked just that little bit more, (who still thinks that animating in computers involves no human hands? Tsch!) all of us chasing the magic words ‘Shot Approved’.
We had practically the entire studio toiling away at some point on the film, and I’ve mentioned a few of them in these blogs. But if one deserves a name check... then all of them do! So step forward unsung heroes: Anna Kubik, Fabrice Altman, Marie Verhoeven, Adam Avery, Andy Staveley, Abraham Meneu-Oset, Will Eagar, Daniel Garnerone, Cristobal Infante, Steve Small, Raymond Slattery, Sander Jones, Jacob Gonzalez, Rob Latimer, Kai Walter, Nic Gill, Mic Graves, Dave Antrobus, Boris Kossmehl, Maarten Heinstra, Chris Rabet, Peter Mendon, Asa Shoul, Gemma Mortlock, Kaye Lavender, and Mr Ren Pesci! If you’ve still not seen their work then Amazon will happily oblige ;)
Throughout the kerfuffle of filmmaking, there was also a lot of waiting and thinking for me to do. Perhaps the quietest moment for me was when I found myself staring through the soundproof glass at the great Jim Broadbent, who was about to record his voice over to complete the film... I remember blathering on about motivation, character form, style, pace and inflection, in a stab at giving him Direction. Jim looked at me a long moment... A pin dropped. Then he corrected some of my suspect grammar in his script and cleared his throat, we hit record and he knocked it out of the park. Thanks Jim.
OK, that’s the whistle; see you on the other side...