The Making of Blitz And Bananas – A Personal Experience Pt 2

The Making of

Blitz And Bananas – A Personal Experience




Yup, it’s part two!!


Part Two: Littler’s List


Thursday August 5th 2010 is a day that not only will the cast and crew of “Blitz & Bananas” will never forget but neither will the staff and regular patrons of Ripley Arts Centre in Bickley. Much like Hitler arriving in Poland and taking it over, we pretty much did the same to Ripley House – the only difference being that we succeeded in taking over Ripley House (although they did know we were coming and we gave it back voluntarily). If we weren’t preventing cars from entering the car parks because we were shooting a parade of vintage cars, we were disturbing the yoga classes while our junior cast were running around exploring the darker reaches of the building; if we weren’t occupying the main halls for the party scene we were running riot around the picturesque gardens or invading the main offices to use their plug sockets which just happened to be the most convenient for our lights set-up.

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With only a couple of faces familiar to me, I joined the team of early starters who were already on set getting the equipment ready. Not being the most gregarious of people I had to make a concerted effort to appear like I deserved to be among with what I could see were a fairly knowledgeable and experienced bunch of filmmakers so I ingratiated myself with the three guys hanging around the cameras in the small side room which was to be the set of the first scenes to shot that morning. The first person I introduced myself to was called Mike. As it turned out, the guy next to him was also called Mike! Next to them was an older gentleman with wild white hair, dressed in a suit and tie. “I suppose your name is Mike as well is it?” I joked, hoping to break the ice. “No!” he barked “I’m John” and promptly wandered off! Oops! I should point out that since then I’ve spoken to John (Alford) on many more occasions and he’s not such an old curmudgeon after all! And as the two days progressed I did get to mix more with everyone and have since got to know them all better, making it easier for me to join OVFM shortly after this filming session.

l to r: Mike Littler, Mike Shaw, Mike Graham, Mike Kolver and Mike Coulson. Just out of shot: Mike Rophone.

By now the main room of the top floor – the whole of which was at our exclusive disposal – was filling up with equipment, cases, props, costumes and people and despite being the largest room was still too small for everything “B&B” related. Thankfully the kitchen and the spacious landing with comfy sofas provided some relief from the threat of overcrowding. In order to help me integrate more Chris (Coulson) gave me his digital camera and asked me to take photos of the activities off camera. Well, it got me out of his hair at least until the arrival of pro-photographer Simon “Snapper” Earwicker (whose work you will see all over this site, including these articles) so I was given an upgrade and was now the creepy looking giant guy no-one knew with a camcorder! Suffice to say I made even less friends after that!

“If we ignore him maybe he’ll go away!”

One thing that never ceases to amaze me about film making is the wonderful transformations and with “B&B” being set during World War II the necessity for authenticity and verisimilitude is essential. As with the props, Anna had gone to great lengths to ensure the costumes were equally accurate for this time period and the modern day cast also need transforming into children of this bygone age. When I saw this motley crew of tracksuit wearing, ipod listening youngsters and teens filing into the room I did think “Hmmm” but once they were in costume, I have to say the kids “got it” and seemed to have been possessed by the wardrobe of the age as they all came across as natural 1940’s kids. They genuinely gave the impression of being equally at home playing with a raggedy old teddy bear as they would a computer game, which was not just exciting to see but a definite positive presage for the final outcome. The adults were also just as good as the kids but then again a lot of them were around in the 1940’s so they had a bit of an advantage!

“Don’t worry, give it 50 years and I’m sure someone will invent the Internet!”

Over the course of those two days at Ripley Arts Centre, a huge portion of the “B&B” story was brought to life and captured on film, setting the project off onto a great start with the standard set incredibly high for future shoots – which I shall discuss next time!

To be continued….

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