Monday, 15 October 2012

Day nine - structuring and scary first sharing

We begin the day gently by finishing the footage review. Looking over everything we've filmed is quite time consuming but it's a necessary task. Perhaps I could have undertaken this activity alone but had I waited until after the rehearsal to do this the four hours it took to go through everything would have meant that I would have had to stay up until the wee hours. That would probably have rendered me pretty useless for the following day.

Laura reports that she has really benefited from watching the footage so it seems that there is some value in sharing this activity. I certainly thought this could be the case and I had noticed that Laura and Kus were very engaged with the watching. There were lots of 'oh, I can see why that works now' kind of comments. It was a way of reconnecting the performers with the energy and feel of the material we generated earlier on in the process. We've tried to re-create some of the material and it hasn't felt the same. Now we can establish which kind of dynamics need to be brought back in.

Whilst watching Anna and I list all the material we've generated. Then we make an individual post-it note for each segment and lay out all the post it notes on the floor. From these we select the strongest material and think about how it might be structured into a satisfying through-line of action. Simple but effective. It's very rewarding to have a running order written up on big paper.

Anna has also kept a note of all the themes and a 'to try' list that we wrote on day one (which was actually less of a 'to try' list and more of a conceptual wish list of moments - such as 'sensationalise the banal and find the ordinary in the extraordinary'). Anna locates all the themes and our 'to try'/wish list in the structure we've laid out. We're confident that we have everything covered and again it's quite amazing how our plans have materialised despite often feeling that the process has a mind of its own (Cathy speaks of 'sculpting fog' - I wholeheartedly agree). It's as if seeds have been unknowingly planted and then sprouted up unexpectedly. 

We work through all the practicalities, what's needed when and where and set up for a first stagger through of the proposed structure. We're pretty happy with the raw material, unrefined as it is.Lots of detailed work is needed to make it as engaging as it could be, to tackle parts which have less of a logic (there are some clumsy transitions where material has been put next to other material that wasn't originally generated at the same time). It needs what I call 'fine work' (where we tighten the meaning, motivations, logics and align the action with the sound 'text') and also 'pinning' where the flabby raw material is stretched out so that it has energy and pace and shades if light and dark.

Anna and I give notes and set up again for a second run which is shared with Dick Bonham and Peter Reed. I am incredibly nervous about sharing the work. I'm happy with what we've made but there is niggling criticality in my mind which scrutinises every aspect of it. I recognise this position but it defiant make it any less nerve wracking.

So I'm very relieved that feedback is encouraging with Dick saying 'you're on to something there.'

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