Ten Years In The Making: Adam Meet Eve

6 May

This time last year I was in SLV studios in South London shooting my debut short film ‘Adam Meet Eve’.
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Over 10 years ago, on May 1st 2008, I was living in a house share on Monthermer Road, Cathays, Cardiff and I decided to try writing an idea I’d had for a while. For some reason I decided to write it by hand on an A4 pad, and I also did a drawing of how I imagined the costumes and set would look. In case you haven’t guessed, that idea I started writing was ‘Adam Meet Eve’.
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So, near the end of 2016 I was feeling a bit listless, I’d been writing lots of feature screenplays for slightly ambitious projects and sending them out into the world, but felt like I needed to do something for myself, y’know to put something I’d written up on screen and to a standard I could feel good about (I’d made plenty of scrappy no-budget films before).
I was “fortunate” enough in that I’d been made redundant earlier that year and, as I’d been with the company for 6 years, got an okay redunancy payment, and I’d also started working full-time as a dad. So, was this really the most sensible thing to do with a sizable chunk of my ever diminshing redundancy money? We can have that discussion another day!
I sat down and re-wrote the script, a script I’d never written the ending of, and it all came together very quickly, so I decided to put a casting ad online.
I wanted to meet actors very informally, have a cup of coffee and a chat, see if we got on and trust – based off of showreels, etc. – that they’d be good for the role. I met about six actors in total, three for Adam, three for Eve, and they were all absolutely lovely people, but I had to find a pairing that would work.
The first potential Eve I met was Jessica Chloe Young, the last potential Adam I met was Jamie Lee-Morgan, and they seemed like a great fit.
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A few years back – 2010 I believe – I was living in a house-share in East Dulwich, London above a Pizza Gogo and was making a very no-budget, DIY web series called Captain Neon by myself.
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After a few episodes I thought I might open it up to any willing actors and was surprised that people were up for it! I met up with the potential actors and pretty much tried to convince them not to do it by emphasising how ramshackle the film was going to be, yet the actors I met were still up for it.
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One, Peter Revel-Walsh, played a villainous floating head called Bonce, and he seemed like the perfect choice to now play the disembodied voice of God in my first proper short film… Amazingly, despite working on Captain Neon, he was up for it!
Meanwhile, Rosie Martin – my friend and bandmate (first in BAANEEX, then in Giant Burger, now in Magic Mist) – was searching the fabric shops of London for the material to make the outfits I had designed for Adam and Eve (I’d updated my sketch since 2008). Eventually she found a sort of scuba type material in a few varying fleshtones and set about creating the final costumes.
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My partner Sam would spend spare moments – inbetween being a top mum for our then nearly one year old daughter, working full-time as a Sign language interpreter, and studying for a Master in International Sign Language – building the three puppet characters that would hinder Adam in his endeavours to chat up Eve.
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I would also spend evenings constructing the wooden frames that would then be covered in cardboard – most of which was found discarded around the streets of Hackney – and painted to look like a tree, bushes, a nightclub bar, amongst other things.
On April 23rd 2017 we had a rehearsal, it was the first time Jamie, Jessica and Peter would meet, so the first time I’d see if they had the kind of chemistry I’d hope they would have. It would also be the first time I’d hear actors peforming my script, so I’d get a good inkling of whether it sounded like absolute nonsense or not.
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It was also the first time Rosie would get to see if the costumes fitted Jamie and Jessica, and the last time they’d try them on before the shoot day. It was also the first time I’d meet Diandra Ferreria, who would be doing the hair and make-up for the shoot, and the one and only time she’d be able to try hair extensions on Jessica to see if a vital part of her hair / costume would work before having to make it work for real on the shoot day.

Two weeks later on Saturday 6th May everything had to be ready, the puppets and set finally came together at the last minute, and I booked a van to drive me – and all the set, props and puppets – from Hackney to SLV Studios in South London for the shoot departing at 6:30am.
The journey was stress free, the load-in was easy, and gradually my cast and crew all arrived; which, to be honest, I was worried about, I sort of didn’t believe that anyone would actually turn up and that they’d have this moment of clarity on Friday night, think the whole thing was a terrible idea, and just have a lovely lie-in instead.
We were booked into the studio from 8am to 6pm, including load-in and out, with around 61 set-ups to shoot, I wasn’t really sure if this was a lot or not, and – to be honest – I’m still not sure.
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The great thing about my cast and crew was that immediately they were pitching in with everything, people were making everybody teas and coffees, they were down on their hands and knees helping clean dirty areas of the white set, they were moving set – in one instance they were improvising a re-build of a piece of set that I had accidentally left at home! – actors worked as grips, crew members did puppeteering, immediately it became a very open and collaborative environment, and lots of fun too.

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It was also a lot of work, and a group of people getting to know one another’s working styles and idiosyncracies on the fly – which is obviously a regular part of film-making and undoubtedly a reason why established filmmakers try and work with the same crew members over and over if possible – I was very grateful to have a production assistant (Jenna Gold) who made sure I ate some food (she also took many of these lovely photos of the shoot day).

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My partner and daughter paid a little visit to the set too, and my daughter decided to take her first steps during the filming (though not in front of me, though she did re-enact the moment for me the next day).
In the end we finished ahead of schedule, I managed to film a handful of set-ups that weren’t on the schedule – including everything that happens during the credits (part of which was a joke based off an on the day re-write).

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Just before 6pm my van home showed up, everyone helped with the packing up, and off I went, feeling utterly knackered but in a sort of lovely transcendental way where I just stared blissfully out of the van window enjoying watching London go by as I travelled back to the East End.
Pretty much the next day I edited the film, and I had the final cut finished the following week.
Getting the sound mixed and the colour grade done proved to be a little time consuming, but obviously completely vital and in the end the film looked and sounded better than I had anticipated.

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The music for the film was composed by a Manchester-based singer-songwriter called Aidan Smith, back in 2003 the free music magazine The Fly had done a little feature on him that had drawn me to his brilliantly wonky EPs “At Home With…”, and I became an instant fan. Years later I made a music video for his song “In The Articles” off of his 2013 record “Phone Me If You’re Bored”, and was thrilled that he agreed to write the score for this short.

Adam Meet Eve was a great mix of things, whilst it was my first budgeted and “professional” short film it maintained that handmade DIY vibe of all my earlier forays into filmmaking. It took 10 years from that first draft for the film to be finished, yet, looking at those sketches, the concept was pretty concrete from that initial conception.

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The cast and crew had people like Peter Revel-Walsh who I’d worked with years ago, but also my school friend Carl Morris – who was lead puppeteer – who I’d been making films with since 1998. The cameraman Rich Merritt, I’d met through the company I’d been working full-time for up until 2016, and we’d long talked about working on a non-corporate project together at some point. Then there were all the brilliant people for whom this marked my first time working with them, and if I could I’d work with them all again tomorrow!

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Whatever becomes of this film now it’s “out there”, it is exactly what I had in my head, and yet, at the same time, the experience of making it exceeded my expectations thanks entirely to the phenomenal group of people who gave so much to help me make it. I hope they feel proud of the film and their work on it, I hope they enjoy watching it and remembering that one jam-packed day in a small South London studio.

 

You can watch the film online now HERE!

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