Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Tip # 19: The unorthodox approach … Finding the flashback locations

By Sinéad Ferguson (Producer/Production designer)
This is part five in a seven part series on finding the right locations.

During the course of making Ambleton Delight we filmed in lots of different places like restaurants, gardens, in alleyways, in the beautiful countryside, car parks, a kitchen, a farm, in the streets, in an apple orchard and so on.

However perhaps one of the more strange or unusual locations we shot in was for one of the flashback scenes. We needed a room that John in a fit of rage could completely trash to pieces and so put the word out. Surprise , surprise..... we didn’t get many willing volunteers.

Then one day we happened to meet some real characters who as it turned out were squatters. We got talking, they were the first squatters we had ever met and I have to say I was fascinated by their stories and this lifestyle they had chosen. So of course, I bombarded them with questions. It soon transpired that they were living in a place other squatters had passed on to them. Apparently that’s what they do and they offered us an empty room to use in the place they were staying.

Above: The room to be trashed.

A little dubious at first eventually curiosity got the better of us so Dan, Itsuka and I checked it out. On first impressions the exterior was very run down and just creepy with boarded up and broken windows, it was like something straight from a horror film. Itsuka and I agreed it would make a perfect" haunted house". This was confirmed when we went inside, it had broken windows, creaky floorboards the lot, weird bits of dolls and children’s toys lying around just added to the eerie vibe and this was during the day. I swear you couldn’t have paid me to stay in that place over night.

Above: The room with props
strategically placed for destruction.

Then the guys showed us the bedroom and it honestly surprised me, someone had gone to the trouble of painting it, there was a bed and some furniture -it was perfect. We left and came back a couple of days later armed with our props and the guys just left us to it. We did our trashing, well Dan and Ben did most of it, and I had a feeling that they had a great time doing it. When all props were destroyed the place was a mess, but of course even in a squat we felt compelled to tidy up after ourselves and in the end, sure we left the place cleaner than we found it. Now admittedly it was perhaps an unorthodox approach to solving our problem, but you do what you have to do and we happily left with the shots we needed.

Above: The aftermath...filming is complete.

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