Thank you to the Germans

What an absolute bloody wonder. It’s nice being back on set.

Last time I filmed for the Germans they called the shots in English. “Silence on set” “camera rolling” “speed” “Action!”. This time they did it in German. “Achtung” “camera” “set” “Bitte!” I like that they say “please” when it’s time to go. It works nicely in a little room. My German has improved just in the two days I’ve had. It’s there somewhere, buried under my French.

I was dressed in one of the many suits I brought down – it’s a quirk of the wardrobe with this team that they quite like you to be dressed in elements of your own clothes. Today I wore a tie that belonged to the dad of my dear friend. It felt like a tribute of sorts even though my character was a total sleazebag. Last time I did this gig I played a literary agent who persuaded the leading lady authoress to fake her own death in order to raise book sales. This time I was channeling Bob Odenkirk as a slightly off key lawyer.

They’ve done 128 of these films. It’s got to one every two months sometimes. I have a feeling I’ll show up again in one when the part is right. A lovely strange thing to be welcome in. More time in front of the camera. You only refine by doing so the more the better. Man what I wouldn’t give for a good long shoot. Bring it.

We were moving around a lot from location to location. Yesterday was in St Ives at The Guildhall and today was Bodmin Town Hall, and then an exterior in the street outside. It’s so efficient. A mostly German crew very used to working together, with one DoP shooting on two cameras simultaneously and some key roles surprisingly English. They don’t waste takes here. It’s such an industrious game, the filming game. The more I do it the more I want to do it. Loads of Supporting Artists, a very involved and busy crew, teams of drivers. Click. Click. Click. It all just rattles along and so long as you don’t get fazed you rattle with it.

Yesterday night, as always before a line heavy day, I drilled my lines until they were burnt into the front of my brain and could come out in any circumstance. I knew that the director was gonna give me tons of business. I wanted to make sure I could eat and drink and open bottles and play with pens and remember what I’d done for continuity as well as say the correct things and listen to all the other humans who were responding to me in a language I don’t understand very well. Once I had drilled the lines, I went out and got absolutely off my tits on expensive wine with some of the other actors. I met my mischief man. It has to be expensive if I’m drinking like that. Wards off the hangover, or so I tell myself. It did today. I had lots of absorbent fish and chips in my cups and then attempted to write something when I couldn’t tell the difference between my fingers and my nose. Sorry about that, oh constant reader. It was literally almost impossible to stay awake. I’m astonished I scheduled it correctly. I passed flat out and smiling out in my well appointed four poster bed and woke feeling surprisingly happy and well at 7.50. The poor staff at The Headland had to witness me flailing for coffee and bananas having forgotten the possibility of breakfast and having to dress myself smartly, then check out and consume everything in the ten minutes remaining to me before Chris picked me up at 8am.

Now I’m in a train back to London, wrapped. I got a trashy German book on my Kindle in honour of the nation that have made my week lovely. Oliver Potsch, The Poisoned Pilgrim, Volume 4 of The Hangman’s Daughter. Atrociously written wonderful medieval guff. Every book the same with different words. I love them. I’m already halfway through it and I won’t remember a thing about it in a week. I read the previous volume twice by mistake and only realised it was a book I had already read when I got to the twist at the end and thought “hang on a second this feels familiar”.

I’m gonna get back to it. My train gets in in an hour. What a delightful gig. What a delightful lot the filmic Germans are. Danke Scon.

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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