It was the producer who’d been throwing up all night. Thank God for that. (see previous post)
In the darkness of the early hours the sound was like that of a angry wild animal trying to escape from inside the bowels of a slightly smaller wild animal. Someone was seriously ill, that was for certain. The only uncertainty was the identity of the man – Producer or Director Of Photography? Both key positions for sure, but if we were to lose the producer at any time, the shoot was perversely not the worst time it could happen. But on a film where we were shooting some scenes in little more than an hour, we needed Peter our DoP to be firing on all cylinders. We’d lost Emily our lead actress the day before, and now Producer Adam, but we had to keep moving forward, to keep shooting something. Anything.
So, with a little trepidation, I headed down to breakfast. Had this virus claimed any other victims in the night?
No. All present and correct. But it wasn’t all good news. Reports were coming in of a newly formed indoor lake in the living room. Water was dripping down from above onto the set, in the process unlocking that indisputable Health & Safety equation of Water + Electricity = Death Trap.
So, now we had a leaking ceiling to add to a leaking producer. And, with a shower out of action, a crew with a grumble. Low-budget filmmaking is hard work, the least you can expect is to be able to sleep, wash and eat. But, whilst one of these key human rights was being compromised, we did at least have an ace up our sleeve. And his name was Clive.
Not so much an Ace of Hearts as an Ace of Stomachs, Clive was our caterer. Together with Michelle, they would produce meal after meal that would not have been out of place in a top drawer restaurant. Crucially for a crew that included one or two “nutrionally-enthusiastic males” the quality was matched by the quantity and – not to call into question the legality of the ingredients – the food seemed to have an amnesiac effect on the crew. However tough the schedule, disease-ridden your fellow crew member, or lethal the working environment, you knew that if you could make it alive to the end of a shooting day there would be one hell of a meal waiting for you. And in the troubled early days of the shoot, that just about kept us on track…