Creativity

We are now officially halfway through the shoot – 2 weeks in and 2 weeks to go.  Of course months of post-production will follow the actual filming, but I suppose it is reasonable to say we are halfway through the project – if you count the months of pre-production.

Sloane and Henry (Stephen) discuss a scene, while Camilla (Jane) watches on.

It seems like a million years ago, yet only yesterday, that Sloane and I decided to take the plunge and act on all the conversations we had been having.  On a long walk with Harry (the one-eyed dog) we discussed the ramifications of selling our house in Twickenham and what our future might hold.  We decided that it was pointless to predict (best laid plans and all) and we should just surrender ourselves to the flow.  So far the ‘flow’ has been good to us.  We have met an amazing group of people, whom we will forever be indebted to – people who tirelessly give it their all every day and continue to amaze and inspire us.  We have had emails from all over the world, wishing us luck – thanks to the BBC and ITV news, and various newspaper articles.  We have been showered with support and well wishes from every direction.  Both Sloane and I want to thank everybody involved in this from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you, thank you!!!!

Rain delayed the night shoot, but finally we got some beautiful shots coupled with lovely performances. Harry the one-eyed dog can be seen wandering across the lawn.

I have been asked several times recently where the story came from, so I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about that.  A year or so ago I saw a video on youtube with Carl Sagan that talks about the Fourth Dimension (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9KT4M7kiSw).  I became fascinated with how we perceive dimensions and tried to imagine how it might be possible to see other dimensions.  After a little more research (I like the explanation of 10 dimensions here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkxieS-6WuA), it became obvious to me that my meager brain could never actually ‘see’ these higher dimensions.  The solution seemed obvious – I must work backwards and actually ‘hide’ dimensions from myself and then reveal them again.  This would be the closest I could get to a ‘Eureka – I can see another dimension’ moment.  I spent a fair amount of time squinting my eyes so that I could only see a thin line of colour, then if I kept my head from tilting, I could get a reasonable approximation of one of Sagan’s flatlanders.  After a while the squinting became annoying, so I cut a line in a piece of paper and made a mask (you have to get this just right, and position it carefully for the best effect).

DP Simon Dennis checks the light.

Meanwhile the Professor waltzed out of the shadows and into my imagination.  He talked me through the processes and helped me understand more about curving and flexing dimensions.  I immediately liked him.  Shortly afterward, the characters of Stephen, Conrad and Victoria followed  – and the garden party where they first meet the Professor materialised.  I could see the children so clearly – giggling at the Professor’s humour and opening their eyes in wonder as he offered them a glimpse of a world they never has even thought existed.  A world where time isn’t just a line between two points – it is a line, and a loop, and a tangle of threads.

Florence (hair and make-up) and Rose (costume) do final checks on Camilla (Jane) and Olivia (Annie).

Usually at these beginning stages of a creative project (be it music composition or writing) a series of sleepless nights follow.  Often I actively wake myself up after only being in bed for twenty minutes or so, as I know that then I won’t be able to sleep for a while (I am a master at power naps).  I lay in bed and let my mind drift, exploring the characters, getting to know them.  Sometimes I just watch them, sometimes I talk to them, and sometimes I gently push them in certain directions.  To me it feels like a subtle process – more unveiling then creating.  I have heard others say that they believe these stories already exist, and they just have to reach out and touch them.  I think their is some truth in that – perhaps a ‘collective consiousness’.  It certainly doesn’t feel to me that I have to come up with ideas (and again I feel the same way about music composition) – they are already there and I just need to seek them out.

Sloane and Sean (Conrad) prepare for a take.

Funnily enough, there is an idea hovering around me at the moment (its been clamouring for attention since I tripped over it a few weeks ago).  Now, if only I had time to reach out and touch it.

I’d be very interested to learn about how other people work, and where there ideas come from.  Please leave a comment and tell all!

Very best,

Ant Neely

Remmy, Alex and Sebastian on the other side of the camera for once.

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