It was May 2009 and we’d set a date for four weeks shooting in July, when the kids were on vacation. I had some amazing cinematographers and HODs gagging to get involved, truck loads of gear on offer at minimal cost. Casting of the three, 14-year-old leads was uncovering some exciting, unknown talent. I went back to the guys with money and asked for another £25k on the same terms. Of course they gave it to me.
In retrospect I can see the whole endeavour had become my Frankenstein’s monster – a lumbering, dangerous brute of an enterprise with a will of it’s own. I’d conjured something amazing that now had it’s own precarious energy and trajectory. I was sitting astride it like gnat on a velociraptor.
In late June 2009, I was about two weeks from principal photography on my debut feature, which, at that time, was called Nowhere Fast.
Not only was I both producing and directing it, I was also writing it. Or rather, NOT writing it.
I was so busy with the financing, casting, crewing, costume, locations etc that I kept putting off actually writing the script. But I was confident of the story and that was enough, right?
No. But at the time I didn’t realise that; and besides everything else was SO much more demanding and seemingly urgent.
With my days crammed full feeding my Frankenstein’s monster, I took to writing through the night with only my kid’s hamster for company (You’ll notice it also has a role in the film).
Finally, a couple of days before we started shooting, the script was done. Kind of.
It was a decent script but it was way too expansive for the money we had. I tried to comb it through to weed out anything superfluous but some things (eg certain expensive and distant locations) just wouldn’t go away without compromising the whole.
But only a fool would have derailed everything that had already been paid for and committed to. So, wired from sleepless nights and the incessant, abrasive scraping of hamster wheels, I jumped with both feet into a four-week shoot.