The Making of Lawn

Lawn was made for £3000 with a crew of four and a cast of two. During preproduction I (or rather ‘we’ — the immense Mr. William Barker made it with me) lost two producers, who were more interested in talking about cryptocurrency and the Depp-Heard trial than producing the film, three directors of photography, one of whom was a rather dour gentleman who sneered at everything I said, one of whom was a fellow who pulled out after reading one of my essays and one of whom was a young man who pulled out, two weeks before shooting, after reading another essay. We then lost our lead actress, three days before the shoot because she fears acting (and wasn’t too keen on me?) and had to replace her almost literally at the last minute. On the day of the shoot we discovered that a local aerodrome, which we had been told would be quiet, launched noisy vintage aircraft every few minutes, that throwing a new actor into a script at the last minute without rehearsal inevitably leads to irrevocable problems of pacing and delivery, that without a script supervisor / continuity person it’s extremely difficult to get takes that can be elegantly edited together in post production and that a new, extremely aggressive mosquito, the tiger mosquito, which likes to devour human beings in the early hours of the morning, has established itself in some parts of rural Berkshire. Fortunately — thank the Lord — my last-minute cameraman, an utterly unflappable, and unoffendable, young fellow from Romania, was not just a genius of efficiency but, unlike quite a few DoPs out there, has actually watched and thought about great films. We were also blessed with the almost miraculous presence and energy of Will Harrison-Wallace who gave absolutely everything to the principle part. Here’s our little crew at work:

Darren whispering to sound man: Is that another sodding plane?

When it came to editing, colouring, sound mixing and so on more problems occurred which were impossible to solve without compromise, although I got a lucky break with my editor, who was a real pro (and extremely patient with my poor production skills), and with the sound mix, which a very nice man at a high-grade post-production house did for next to nothing.

I’m amazed we ended up with a film at all. Having said all that, everything that’s wrong with the piece — including, the worst failing of all, a missed post-credit punchline (both characters lying down) — was entirely down to my inexperience. I made a few dreadful errors; but never again! Hopefully I’ll be able to start work on something else sooner rather than later.