Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lights! Camera! Traction! - Father to Fall Production Diary #1

It is Monday, the 4th of January, 2010.

(These are the kind of fascinating insights that keep my readers and listeners flocking back for more. That and some very powerful psychotropic drugs.)

As some of you may know, over the last few months, production has been gearing up on a film what I wrote - "Father to Fall". I'm always one for a new challenge - even if a large part of that challenge consists of trying to make sure that my performance is more Tom Waits in "Short Cuts" and less Sting in "The Bride". We shot the first scene just before the holidays, and will be heading into full-on film madness over the next couple of months.

I'm hesistant to give away too much of the story - NO SPOILERS! - as I'm assured by the cast that the ending is a bit of a surprise. Not in an M. Night Whatthefuck stylee, but... No, you'll have to wait and see.

Seeing something you conceived in your head slowly becoming a reality that can be shared with other people is, and always has been, a strange sensation. With the band, for instance, there is always the joy of hearing a song over which I've been agonising over suddenly being played properly and rewritten so that it no longer causes spontaneous nosebleeds.

With the film, it's - dare I say it - even stranger. In some ways, however, I am finding the process familiar. When we were recording Toothpick Bridge, we were blessed by a producer, Jay Burnett, and a cast of supporting musicians that brought so much to the table of themselves. It was an intensely creative time and shit-loads more fun than setting it loose and dealing with the idiotic vagaries of the music industry (however necessary).

With "Father", we have a wonderful director, Clare Speller and an excellent cast. We're growing and learning together and, so far, even in these early, stressful days, I'm having a ball. Yes, the downside of setting up one's own projects is not getting paid upfront - or, often, at all - but you can't beat it for a feeling of bringing something new into the world.

Some notes, however, to the aspiring screenwriter: Try to remember how many nude scenes you've written for the lead character before you decide to play it yourself. I've been at the gym since November and I'm still begging for those scenes to be moved as far down the schedule as possible. It's not vanity, well not completely, but I would rather not make you throw up into your popcorn. This isn't Saw XIV or anything starring Miley Cyrus.

On the same point, more or less... I never realised it would be even more nerve-wracking to persuade women to PRETEND to sleep with me as it used to be to try and get them to ACTUALLY sleep with me. Especially in the context of an audition. Finding myself in a situation of sitting demurely at a table whilst one woman, our director, asks another how comfortable they are with taking their clothes off and NOT enjoying it - well, that's just cruel. But it's an emotional story, and the scenes in question ARE necessary and tasteful. It's just that if my 15-year-old self realised that if they WEREN'T, I'd take them out, he'd beat me to death with the well-worn Betamax copy of "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" that he used to keep hidden under his bed.

So, yes. I now go to the gym every day - which still feels a little like being an undercover journalist. I've lost track of the number of people who have said, "Hmmm. I wouldn't have pegged you as a gym person," in the same tone of voice they might employ if asked to comment on the revelation that their next-door-neighbour's cellar contains a number of unmarked graves.

I may have worked a little too hard on the development of my Dylanmoranesque persona.

And yet, I have not yet injured myself at the gym. Not anymore than my pride, anyway. However, I am still recovering from the first shoot of the film, in which I was shoved to the ground repeatedly over the course of about 912 takes. In true method fashion, I did little or nothing to break my fall, which has left me with a spot on one of my elbows that makes me jump a foot or two in the air amd shout in Italian when I rest it on a table.

Okay, it's hardly a De Niro level anecdote, but it fucking hurts. And frankly, suffering for my art and whingeing about it afterwards are two sides of the same Kentonesque coin.

The ist boys and I are, of course, writing some brand new music for the score... which sounds - so far - utterly unlike anything we've ever done. New challenges abound.

I shall endeavour to keep y'all up to date on progress as we go along. Well, provided the next scene - in which I get a brick thrown at my head by a rabid dental assistant* - goes to plan.


K. x

* Not really. But I'd kind of like to see THAT film now.


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