Day One: 8.55pm

One third of the script is in the can. One actor has wrapped completely. One village–Sarratt–has a major kcuffing attitude problem.

Within thirty mintues the self-important parish clerk had arrived to tell us we needed the permission of the parish council to film on the village green–a piece of open public grassland–because “it belongs to the parish council” and they “charge the BBC £500 to film”. What a wally. Simon, my AD, took him to one side and talked to him and he went off, although not quite satisfied.

As the day went on, we watched in amusement as regulars to the village shop pulled up next to our crew cars thereby completely blocking the road. Literally, they parked so that the road was impassable while they went in for ten minutes to buy a paper. This was rather than park in the empty spaces–several hundred yards worth–that were next to where we were and on the same side of the road.

Honestly, the number of cars in this tiny place was unbelievable. As well as the obligatory SUV’s and Landrovers there were two other sports cars parked outside the shop, then a BMW Z3 and then a red Ferrari. We also had a coach trying to get past the double parked idiots, a tractor, fifty parents collecting kids from school, four delivery vans, a post office van (which drive on the pavement into the shot!) and a milk float.

Oh, and down the road is even more bizarre. Another village, Chipperfield, has three shops–a newsagent and general store, a butcher’s (closed), and a Landrover dealership. Yes. You can no longer buy meat and produce in Chipperfield but you *can* buy a vehicle which does practically no miles to the gallon in order to get from your house to Sarratt Village Shoppe™.

About half way through the day, his pomposity, the Chairman of the Parish Council appeared (sans heavenly host) to tell us he wanted to see our public liability insurance cover and inform us once more that they charge people to use the village green. Despite us only have a tripod set up on this huge open space and all the dog walkers, it was too much for the parish councillors who clearly had nothing better to do with their leisure time than get up in arms because people were doing something creative and enjoying it.

“What are you getting paid?” the nosy shopkeeper asked one of my crew. “Nothing,” she replied. “Well, somebody *must* be getting paid,” the woman insisted. “No, it’s an amateur production. We do it for nothing. In fact, it actually costs us money.” The whole moronic village was totally baffled by the concept that people might actually make something because they enjoy it. How can you buy a £2m property in a place half a mile across and drive to the local shop four times a day if you don’t get paid? Mind you, how do these people afford to live there?

Sarratt was redeemed by the kindly filling station owners who let us get our last shot on their forecourt and were more than happy for us to film. Throughout the day my heroes were Michael, the actor, who was a real star and my camera assistant, Kate, who was fantastic and sorted everything out to do with the camera. All I had to do was take light readings, choose lenses, frame shots and roll the stock. Piece of cake.

In fact, all the cast and the whole crew were superb. It was a really good friendly fun atmosphere and I’m looking forward to working with them again tomorrow. Why can’t I do this for a living?

More film info here