Monday, February 13, 2006

Hooray for Hollywood

As part of my day job (as opposed to my blogging superhero alter ego) I am required to go on set when they shoot the bit of the movie to which the company I work for is going to add visual effects. We will be creating a giant for a film that is going to delight children young and old next summer. You can probably guess what it is.

Anyways today was my day of Hollywood glitz and glamour cooped up in a giant tin shed that stinks of diesel just north of London. It is a pretty strange experience when you first walk on set as you enter half another world. Everything on the ground and up to ten feet or so is a fairytale fantasy world and from ten feet to the ceiling is a mixture of building site, scaffolding and Christopher Wray's Lighting Emporium. Look down, fantasy; look up, go blind. There is a pleasing tangibility about it all though which becomes especially apparent if, like me, you earn your crust by making movie trickery on a computer (that's how we're doing the giant). It is exciting to wander around touching the surfaces and then go around the back to find that it's all made of girders and polystyrene; even so it's physical.

What's also very physical is how long everything on set takes. It's very akin to fighting a war the old-fashioned way. You sit in your trench for months ready for a frantic half hour charge over the top toward the enemy guns. Film-making is mostly waiting which is why I stopped being a camera assistant and went into visual effects because in effects you always have something to do and I'm very bad at sitting around waiting for the opportunity to do my bit. Still it was interesting to see what we'll be working with over the next year or so and I have to say that I was pretty pleased with what I saw there. I think we're going to get some excellent material to work with and do our magic on. Let's hope we don't screw it up...


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