Fears of a Clown

Spending 12-14 hours a day in haunted tunnels, preparing a serial killer’s lair and tying a man to a rusty counter. We were back for another week on Clownface. Read our previous posts about it here and here.

Drakelow Tunnels, Clownface

Mickey at the entrance to Drakelow Tunnels

When Producer Mark messaged us before filming even began months ago, he asked if we knew of any abandoned nuclear bunkers or tunnels that would be perfect for a serial killer’s lair. Naturally, we said yes. Two years ago, we spent a night ghost hunting in Drakelow Tunnels, a huge labyrinth of tunnels built into cliffs of Kidderminster to house the Rover Shadow Factory during the war. People died there and paranormal teams investigate it regularly. You can read our blog post about our visit here. What better place for Clownface to take his victims? Luckily, Mark and the director, Alex, loved it as much as we did and it became Clownface’s lair.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceMonday morning was a 5 a.m start for us as we had to fetch Phil (Clownface) and the mountain of food that his partner, Ella, had cooked and prepared for cast and crew. We took one look at the bags and thought ‘that is not fitting in the Mini.’ Luckily, being Tetris champions and owning a Smartcar meant we fitted everything in then headed up to Kidderminster for a 14 hour day of filming. It was cold in the tunnels. The warmest the tunnels reach is 10 degrees C. And there’s only power for part of it. As the actors would not be wearing much, we brought heat patches with us they could stick under their clothes to provide some warmth. And we brought a portable heater. We loved being back in Drakelow and between shoots and on our lunch break, we went exploring. It was weird seeing it with lights on. When we went, we were told there was no power. That was a lie. Most of the rat holes we used as shortcuts to other tunnels had been bricked up. Mostly we filmed in and around tunnel 4. One of the haunted tunnels. The room which became one of the sets is actually a room we did a vigil in.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceCat assisted the second assistant camera guy, Josh, writing down scene numbers, takes, slates and camera lens for each take. Lynx took behind the scenes photography and we both did set dressing, which is our main job on the film. As again, there were no runners who could drive, Lynx had to fetch two crew members from Wolverhampton. Having a driving licence is actually a requirement for a runners’ job so it was annoying that one of us had to constantly be pulled off set to do this. Unfortunately, there is no phone or internet signal for two miles around the tunnels, so she had to drive for a while until maps came online. Driving new places on our own really heightens our anxiety, but when the only people who can drive are the camera crew, the producer and us, there isn’t a choice. But forcing us to confront our anxiety is a good thing. Later, Lynx accompanied Mark back to the converted barn we were staying in to check in and try to cook the jacket potatoes that wouldn’t cook. We generally only use the microwave to melt our ice cream, and as they were pushed for time, only some of the potatoes cooked.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceWe finished filming at 11:30 p.m. and that was only because a scene had to be cut due to lack of time. We got back to the barn at midnight, but didn’t get to bed ’til gone 1 a.m. as we had to refrigerate the food and wash out the slow cookers. The barn had separate dorm style bedrooms, so we shared a room with the actress, Hannah, and the makeup artist, Brooke. Ours was a lovely, peaceful room.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceTuesday was a 9 a.m. unit call, so we were up at 7:30 then had to wait for everyone else to get up, so didn’t make it to the tunnels ’til 9:25. Lynx continued photographing behind the scenes then fetched Hannah from the barn at 1, while Cat was Josh’s assistant, and took over the photography and set dressing when Lynx was driving. We also helped the gaffer, Ben, set up lights, rather than just guarding them. We were in a different area today. The owner had added metal beds and bedside cabinets which weren’t there when we visited the tunnels two years ago. Lynx thought she was seeing things at one point when she saw glowing green eyes and a shaggy dog. It turned out to be one of the owner’s gorgeous Spaniels. Not a ghost dog. We finished filming at 10:30 we think but didn’t get to bed til 11:35 after doing all of the washing up, even though off set, it’s not our job.

Jay, the gorgeous Collie at the barn

On Wednesday we got up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. to be on set by 6 a.m. We did more washing up and cleared away all the crisp packets that had been left outside. Ten feet from the bin. Seriously, even our dog knows how to pick up rubbish. We took Alex to set and were there at 6, ready to start. The owner wasn’t. Neither was anybody else. We had no phone signal to warn the others who arrived by 6:45. The director of photography, Ben T, was blasting My Chemical Romance from his car so we danced outside to pass the time. He kindly cleared his back seat of camera equipment so Alex and we could sit in. We danced to his great music and napped. Somehow, we knew this would be the best part of the day.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceThe owner arrived at 8. We could’ve had an extra two hours in bed! So not only had we been deprived of sleep, we’d also lost two hours of filming time so scenes had to be cut. We were back in Tunnel 4 today and again helped to set up some of the lights. We covered the crash mats in blankets to make a bed but then had to fetch a bed from another room and dress that instead. Lynx went to fetch the actor, Tom, from Kidderminster train station. Most of the day was spent re-dressing the bed and checking continuity. Lynx took Phil back to the barn in the afternoon then took over on sound after the sound guy left at 6 to do a night shift. Cat took over on behind the scenes photography and continued set dressing alone as well as being Josh’s assistant. Ben T reckoned we’re really good at doing sound and that we should go into it 🙂 It’s times like these that having anxiety can be a good thing. We get so anxious about getting things wrong that we channel it into being extra cautious and doing the best job we can.

Drakelow Tunnels, Clownface

exploring with producer, Mark

We got back to the barn at 7 then went to Sainsbury’s to get ice cream. We only got internet and phone signal when we were driving so we took the opportunity to contact our mum and sister while sat in Sainsbury’s car park. We did more washing up before going to bed then Mark took over washing up duties. We swear the washing up breeds when our backs are turned. We should start charging for cleaning duties. Those who refuse to wash up have to pay us £1 per plate and 50p per mug and piece of cutlery. During this week, we could’ve bought our hearse with the proceeds. And had change left over for a coffin.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceThursday we got up at 4:45 but had to wait for gaffer Ben C and Alex, as Ben C had the keys. So at 6 a.m, we were doing flexibility stretches to pass the time. Yoga at 6 a.m. Next we’ll be going on retreats. We moved everything out of the storage cupboards and took the lighting equipment and our prop box to the new set: Clownface’s lair, which was in a rusty industrial kitchen. We were in our element set dressing this with our creepy props and torture tools. That was our favourite part of the entire film. Lynx took over on sound briefly for the afternoon while most of Cat’s time was spent blowing out and relighting the tealights on set. She’d be told to blow them out then relight them almost immediately. This happened a few times and she was tempted to start setting people on fire. People burn longer than tealights, though they’d have to film without sound, as this scene didn’t require agonised screaming. Then she was told to clear the front bench for a killing scene, so she did. Then immediately got told it should’ve been the back bench. So she had to use the continuity photos on her phone to re-dress the front bench exactly how it had been. After rehearsals, they decided it should be the front bench after all. Again, people were lucky they were not set on fire. We had a whole range of torture tools. It is not wise to piss off the props women. Josh was impressed Cat managed to keep up with the note taking whilst constantly dressing the set and tending to the candles.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceWe got to shackle Clownface and tie him up. He insisted it was done properly. In between takes, we were throwing his dressing gown on him to warm him. We also got to briefly be makeup assistants. Filming finished relatively on time. Our evening was spent doing *drum roll* yes. A shit ton of washing up. Where the fuck does it all come from? There’s 16 people, not 1600! We retired to our room at 9 to do flexibility stretches and hide from any more washing up, but that meant Mark did it in our absence. We’re so glad there’s only 3 humans in our house. And we have a dishwasher. Plus the residents of Casa Raven know how to use water and a sponge.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceOur last day, we got up at 4:45. Unit call was again 6 a.m. We knew no one else would be up early but we also knew there would be yet more washing up to do. We were right. This was despite us doing 3 or 4 sinkfuls the previous night and Mark did more than us. And there were countless beer cans scattered everywhere. Ten feet from the recycling bin. Checkout was at 11, so we couldn’t leave until the barn was clean and tidy. Us and Mark were sick of the constant washing up. Then we discovered someone had drunk our soya milk, leaving us with none for breakfast. That was it. Cat ended up yelling at people after overhearing that we should apparently be doing stuff as everyone was late. Think tiny Welsh Hulk bollocking a room of men. Not even sorry. We should’ve unleashed the Hulk earlier. Lynx then got sympathy hugs from Josh, Alex and Phil. So due to the clean up, Cat was late bringing actress Dani to set. Lynx and Mark stayed behind to clean the barn and throw late risers out. On route, Cat was sent to fetch gaffer tape, only for people to be angry that the actress was  late to makeup. Then don’t send the actress’s driver to fetch gaffer tape, knowing the actress was in the car! Lynx yelled at people for that, defending Cat who still wasn’t back. The logical thing would’ve been to get Cat to drop the actress off then send her to fetch gaffer tape. But logic was clearly having a lie-in that morning.

Drakelow Tunnels, ClownfaceWe were back in the original set so moved the bed back in and dressed it. We had to do a lot on continuity and blood clean up between takes. And hold a ladder so Ben T didn’t fall off and die, or more importantly, break his camera. There was enough time to film a scene that got dropped from the previous day. After we loaded the car, a police car drove in. Us and Phil went over to speak to the officer. Apparently it was unusual for the blast door to be open at that time. We told him about the film and assured him that the death scenes and blood were not real. He looked at Clownface’s makeup and asked if he was a victim. We replied “he’s the killer!” You know it’s a proper indie film when the police stop by. We drove Phil home then returned to Casa Raven, regretting that the next day, we would be doing an hour’s polefit lesson, followed by an hour and a half polefit workshop then driving to Hastings for an overnight ghost hunt. Providing we could stay awake.

But despite the rage we unleashed on Friday, we did enjoy working with everyone. Again, we were amazed at how excellent all the actors are in their roles. Their emotion is so so realistic, take after take. We cannot wait to see the finished film.

Oh and we got some good news: our travel article about our misadventures in Paris won second place in Writing Magazine’s travel writing competition and our burlesque ghost story has been shortlisted for an anthology. On Saturday we start working on Dave’s Emoji of Horror film. We’ll not only be crewing it, we’ll also be acting in it. Then in Spring, we start filming our own film! The Black Kiss. A story from our Romance is Dead trilogy. We’ve already written the script and started collecting props. Not that we’re excited or anything. So our writing career has taken a bit of a curve at the moment and we’re thoroughly enjoying the new challenges and experiences. And for these two films, there will no more washing up!Drakelow Tunnels, Clownface

 

Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s