Old books on set

I’m sitting in a very quiet room full of books in Manchester, wearing a vintage suit. Forty people are crammed into a corridor just round the corner, moving equipment. There’s the hum of activity and the occasional squawk of a walkie-talkie. Space is limited. There’s a lot of crew here and they’re all busy. We have a few things left to shoot, and an hour in which to shoot them.


This little peaceful room has been designated the Green Room for us. As Green Rooms go it’s not so bad. Thousands of ancient tomes from the days when printing was not commonplace, collected by an earl and bought for a few hundred thousand in the 1890’s. Now they’re stored here, in sealed climate controlled glass cabinets, worth a good million now I expect. Operatic prompt books, scriptures, histories, books on philosophy and annals and languages. They are pretty even in their cages. So are we. We all look lovely all dolled up.

A few of us will sit here until we’re needed. This is often the reality of filming for an actor. Hours of sitting. Intense moments of activity. More sitting.

There are lots of extras somewhere as well. God knows where they’ve put them. They usually fence them off in a bus or a dungeon somewhere, but wherever they are I bet there’s tea.

Artificial light is streaming through the windows in the corridor outside confounding our body clocks once again. Outside the land is dark. The storm is rolling in. The wind’s gonna blow…

Once we’re done here I’ll have to go to back to unit base through whatever the weather has turned out to be. It’s on the other side of town. I’ll change clothes. Then I’ll have to come back – back to a hotel just round the corner from here. Sod it. I should’ve brought my stuff to set.

I’m hoping that Nathan and Dean will still be awake by the time I’ve checked in. I fancy a stormy night on the town in Manchester. It’s Saturday, and I don’t get to come to the city very often. It’ll be a good chance to catch up with old friends.

Even though time is running out, I have faith in the machine of this set finishing on time. They are very sharp at speeding up when they need to. My first time on this set a few weeks ago I was blinded by the efficiency of the unit, as they whizzed through the shots but got every one of them nicely done in time to wrap us bang on cue, not a minute to spare. I’m expecting they’ll work similar magic in the 45 minutes remaining.

There goes the call. “Rolling!” They’re shooting something which means they’ve set up.

Yep. Sure enough, lots of walking and I’m done for the day. It’s raining. I’ll throw my clothes back on and hopefully I’ll get to hang out with the lads in Chorlton. If not I’ll be me vs a 5 star hotel bar, which will leave me shirtless and still sober at 4am.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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