Location, location, location

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20130706-0004Spent a pleasant afternoon scouting locations for No Evil — for scenes 2 and 3, anyway. We’ve yet to find the perfect spot, but a couple of the places we saw today might do at a pinch.

It’s a tricky task. When I first read Clare’s script, which has the character Luke walking down a country lane and then sitting by a lake, I immediately saw in my mind the lane I wanted to use. It’s a footpath Trish and I walked last year. And since that moment, every time I think of that scene, I see that lane. And it was in my mind as I drew up the shot list.

And that’s a dangerous thing to do. Because the pre-production for that scene is now tied closely to my memory of how that lane looks. The problem is, I haven’t had a chance to go back and scout that location, so I haven’t been able to check if my memory is faulty, or if the location has changed in some way (for example, the bocage hedges might have been chopped down – they are frequently coppiced).

I’ll try to get there tomorrow to refresh my memory. But it does highlight an important point. When writing, editing and even during most of the pre-production, it’s a mistake to get too fixed an idea of what the shot will look like.

There’s a saying in military circles – a battle plan never survives first contact with the enemy.

If all your planning is built around too rigid an idea of what the scene will look like, you don’t leave enough space for improvisation, for creative input by other members of the team, or for inspiration on the day of the shoot. Such rigidity is a recipe for failure.

And unless you have a massive budget you can use to beat the location into appearing the way you imagined, it’s unlikely ever to appear on camera the way it did in your mind. Of course, it might be better than you could ever have imagined, so it’s better to keep an open mind.

In the meantime, I still need to find a suitable lake. But I think I know where I can find one…

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