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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 October, 2003, 13:31 GMT
Director's diary: Shreepali Patel
Documentary film-maker Shreepali Patel is spending six months shadowing Roger Michell as he directs a film version of Enduring Love.

The scheme is part of Women in Film and Television 's Directing Change programme, to increase the numbers of women in feature film making.

She will write a monthly diary of her involvement on the production.


September

Week One

Patel (centre) watches rushes with Roger Michell (left)
The film is based on an Ian McEwan novel
Monday morning - still jetlagged from two months of filming 12 births up in Birmingham - and not one arrived on time.

I travelled down to London the night before and got caught up in the usual M6 nightmare. Woke up still in a catatonic state suffering from strange dreams (placenta and forceps featured heavily) and nerves.

I arrive for my first production meeting at the Caledonian Road and meet the small team led by Roger Michell and Kevin Loader (Producer) clutching the script and storyboard given to me by Roger eight weeks previously.

The film Enduring Love is based on Ian McEwan's book, which I love dearly. The screenplay is penned by Joe Penhall.

The production meeting speeds through the puzzle of the film coming together. The storyboard has been fleshed out, the balloon for the pivotal opening sequence is being made, the locations being firmed, sets are being designed and stunt men are being booked.

The rest of the week is spent, sitting in on castings, location recces, seeing the strange world of special effects and witnessing the frenzied world of the production team - especially the assistant directors - scheduling, booking, rescheduling and rebooking for the production.

Week Two

The next week I find a flat in North London and catch up on some sleep. The production kindly suggest I make the EPK (electronic press kit - the making of) whilst shadowing Roger. Fine, back in my element with a camera in my hands. I can start recording what I see around me.

There seems to be an emotional pause - and then a huge round of applause from everyone as the opening scene from Enduring Love was bagged in the can.
There are several visits out to the Chilterns, where the balloon accident takes place. As we edge closer and closer to the first day of filming - everyone seems to become more and more engrossed in the weather forecast, understandably. I pay a visit to the special effects team, the creators of the dead mangled body which falls from the balloon.

Lee, our stunt man has had his body cast and the prosthetics team have succeeded in creating a bloodied and broken hero who has fallen to his death.

Week Three

Final production meeting before the shoot - the informal gathering from just four weeks ago of 10 or so people has quadrupled at the very least. Each head of department with all their crew - art, cinematography, production, publicity and even the financiers.

Angels seem to be smiling down on the production, as the weather is just wonderful.
Three hours to go through every single scene in the film - ironing out every minute last detail from the bruises on Joe's hands to rain effects. At the end of the week a read through by the entire cast followed by drinks marks the end of pre-production

Week Four

It's the first day of principle shooting in the Chilterns. Call time has been brought forward.

After all the worry and tension of the weather - the angels seem to be smiling down on the production, as the weather is just wonderful.

The blood red balloon flown by Robin looked glorious against the blue skies. By the end of the day most of the cast and crew are covering themselves in suntan lotion. I noticed Kevin, the producer, talking to a strangely familiar looking figure.

Ian McEwan has come down to see his book come to life. Fantastic for me as I spend time talking and filming Ian as he watches the balloon inflated, getting ready to fly the stuntman up and over the Chiltern Hills hanging on to a rope 50 feet below the balloon basket.

It has been a strangely perfect day - as the balloon floats away out of sight with four cameras filming, crew and cast watching. There seems to be an emotional pause - and then a huge round of applause from everyone as the opening scene from Enduring Love was bagged in the can. Only two more months of filming to go.




SEE ALSO:
Boost for women film-makers
07 May 03  |  Entertainment
Women directors fight back
08 Nov 02  |  Entertainment


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