So! Much water under the bridge since my last post. Where were we? During late September / October 2020, following our decision not to continue with our original adventure film, we cautiously set about filming the documentary of our efforts instead.
We managed eight sessions face to face sessions at Otterhayes during September /October 2020. It was a good reunion and great to see everyone again! Initially we simply met in a socially distanced way and shared our lockdown stories because it seemed necessary to get acquainted again. At the same time we were planning our ‘documentary’ ready for when Simon Tytherleigh visited in order to video the group. We began that task in an obvious kind of way with the actors simply talking to the camera about the project. Although we got some useful comments, it became rather rather too anxiety-provoking and in later sessions we settled for some action methods. We got the crew to give the cameraman a tour of the studio and demonstrations of how things worked on the ship which worked much better.
All well and good – then the second wave / lockdown took hold.
During the second lockdown era, changes had been taking place place at Otterhayes – During March 2021, it had been sold and become ‘Otterhayes Sense’. Sense is an organisation which provides residential care and support for people with learning difficulties. The new managers were very cautious in their attitude to easing restrictions and it was eventually at the end of July when I was able to visit and begin sessions again – almost nine months since our last visits.
It was good to see everyone again but unfortunately four of the group were by then attending new activities on Thursdays and were already settled into their different routines. This left us with just two from the original group who attended the final eight sessions during August and September. We managed to film three set piece scenarios which had previously been prepared during lockdown. It was fun and all went well.
The next task was for Simon and I to look through all the filmed material which included rehearsals and also making workshops – there was quite a few gigabytes of footage! I then teased out all the stuff that did not work plus out of focus material ready for Simon to begin editing in earnest.
In addition to the actors from Otterhayes we have begun talking heads style interviews with the many outside collaborators who had been involved over time – myself as the originator plus videographer, actors, costumier, storyboard artist and makers in wood, electronics etc. The plan is to add these to the documentary mix in order to demonstrate the inclusive and eclectic nature of the project.
There is also the graphic novel / storyboard to finish. Marius our valued storyboard artist was unwell and out the picture for a long while during 2021. The good news is that he is much improved after surgery and is now able to continue with painstaking task of sketching out the film narrative bit by bit each week.
A film ‘showing’ where everyone involved can see the film seems essential and we are currently looking into this. Our plan is that everyone involved will receive a copy of the documentary and also a graphic novel of the original story at this event. We feel that this will make the best possible outcome of the project. The journey continues….