Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Charismatic" / "The Exquisite Corpse"

“The Exquisite Corpse”, the production I was involved in last year, is about to make a return to the Wales Millennium Centre next week, prior to a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Sadly, I can’t afford to attend my long-awaited Edinburgh debut, but one hopes it does well.

In other news, I finally managed to make a new short film, after only a couple of months of intensive pre-production (mainly involving finding a cast), and in the midst of some serious family trauma. Entitled “Charismatic”, it runs for just under six minutes, and the high concept is that two incoherently street-ranting derelicts meet up, and find that they can communicate with one another. The script was originally written a couple of years ago, and specifically designed to be easy to shoot using non-professional equipment – as it transpired, a recently-acquired Sony Handycam. I was lucky enough to be able to secure the services of two experienced, professional actors – Claire Cage and Robert Gwyn Davin – whose stage training meant that they were well able to pull off the trick of projecting their voices (i.e. shouting, to cope with the camera’s on-board mic, and ambient noise, but appearing to be speaking normally). They were also kind enough to provide their own costumes. During the initial production meeting, my cast argued that they needed a hair/make-up person to help them to get into character, so with the help of Skillset Screen Academy Wales, I managed to find Hayley Reeves, who did an excellent job of being my sole crew-member. The evening before the shoot, we managed a full rehearsal, enabling me to choreograph my camera moves. The shoot itself took place on Wednesday June 25th, around Cardiff city centre, with the climax occurring in the Castle Grounds. We were able to wrap by 15.00 hours, and I wandered home with a mild stress headache. The editing was delayed for personal reasons, but once I began, it was fairly straightforward to stitch together the most useable takes of each scene; and a lovely, bi-tonal piece of piano music from my old school-friend David Windsor set the tone. I’m pretty pleased with the end result, and have submitted it to a couple of film festivals (via Withoutabox), and a few production companies, as a writer-producer-director show-reel. Even if nothing comes of it, I feel empowered for having been pro-active, and it gave me something constructive to think about at a difficult time.


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