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23/01/2014

The Goob’s base camp – week 0, pre-production

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The Goob’s base camp – week 0, pre-production

As part of the production force of EMU Films, last week I joined 'The Goob’s' crew up in Norfolk to follow pre-production proceedings. Now back in London and with the shoot at full throttle in Norfolk, I was the only one with a bit of spare time to chronicle our pre-production days. Nothing will serve this purpose better than talking about our base camp, which in a sense has so many 'Goob-esque' qualities.

The first thing that stands out is how isolated 'The Goob’s' headquarters are placed. Of course they are conveniently located close to all shooting locations, but the nearest train station is a good half an hour by car (urbanites find it difficult to believe).  We are in the Norfolk flatlands, in one of those minuscule historic villages that dot the pretty countryside. Thankfully the village has been blessed with an immense number of options for accommodation considering its size.  But even then, and even keeping in mind the crew is small, it’s has been a real headache trying to fit everybody in the town. Until the last day the team is exploring different possibilities, mentally juggling cast & crew around with practicality and financial constraints always in mind.

Being a low-budget film also means that the choices for accommodation had to be creative. And creativity (thanks to Emu’s Tom Hardiman) was abundant. Most of the cast & crew are sleeping in dorms at the Old Red Lion. ‘Sharing’ is the key word – rooms, bathrooms, meals. Besides the price, the pluses are clear: the production office (a spacious multipurpose room) is located literally a few steps away from the dormitories. Maybe that’s the reason behind the authentic working marathons the crew has been undertaking. It might be 11pm (and the crew might be back from a short visit to the pub), but the office is still raving. A trip to the showers implies crossing the yard and parading in front of the production office, so an early start is also advisable if one doesn’t want to be spotted in pyjamas when the office is already buzzing with anticipation at 8 in the morning. On the downside we had to momentarily evacuate (including transporting all wardrobe - also stored in the multipurpose room) the lovely Old Red Lion to give room to a group of yoga enthusiasts for the Bank holiday weekend (yes, this is the kind of place where we are).

The final production meeting (all crew, and Chris Moll from Creative England and Emma Kayee from the BFI attending) also takes place this last week before filming starts. Goob’s emblematic Puch bike stands flashily in the centre of the room (the number of vehicles that will be used in this shoot – and the number of those that will be trashed – is rather exciting). Matt (1st AD) goes through the schedule day by day. Minor concerns and questions are raised by team. Nonetheless everything seems to be in order…

 But of course we are still missing one of our main actresses (Eva) since Guy Myhill’s first choice is unavailable for most of the shoot. But what would become of films if brave decisions weren’t made? A couple of days before filming it is decided that if we have found the girl, there is no point looking for anyone else. The whole scheduled needed to be altered and despite the stress that this caused in all departments, all pieces seem to be slowly falling into place and the jigsaw is once again completed. Cameras (or rather, camera) ready to roll.

Laia Senserrich - Emu Films

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