Category

Filming

Have some bl**dy fun!

By Dressing up, Filming, New ventures, Talking art

I’m going to say it quietly but I have a sneaky suspicion that I’ll look back on these weeks of lockdown with, if not fondness, then a sense of satisfaction. Okay, so the consecutive days of walking more than 10k steps have waned although I did (annoying boast alert) walk to see the sun rise over London this morning. Not only was it was glorious but I did all my ‘steps’ before 6am. Naturally I then went back to bed and was woken up by a very bemused postman. I felt that I had to explain in detail why I was in my dressing gown at 10am. I really, really didn’t!

Anyway, my sense of satisfaction won’t come from a newly honed Olympian-worthy fitness regime, nor from my massively reduced outgoings. It will come from a feeling that I’ve learnt so much about how to do things differently. Sometimes this has come with a realisation that I need to let myself ‘go’ a bit more, in a manner of speaking. Actually, this ‘letting go’ thing wasn’t a lightbulb moment as much as something that was put to me from a friend who has a lot of experience in the entertainment industry. Have some bloody fun, he said, and if it all goes wrong blame it on lockdown.

So, having settled nicely into a way of working with the green screen, I changed everything and started a new version of ‘Pepped up by Paintings’ called ‘Curated canapés and cocktails’. I cannot tell you how hard I find working with props, if you call piping devilled egg filling into perfect opaque white half spheres ‘working with props’. Except that these ‘props’ weren’t perfect to begin with; some of the spheres were so far to the edge that I was extremely doubtful that the filling would hold, and then I completely fluffed EVERYTHING I was supposed to say, to the point that it became gibberish, and had to start again which entailed scraping all the filling out before the next take. Twice. Now you know why I didn’t want to eat the eggs. And also why the bag eventually collapsed.

The biggest revelation from all this was that I shouldn’t try to ‘act’ ever again. A slightly exaggerated version of myself is fine, but I’m absolutely not an actress. Meryl is safe for which I’m certain she’s profoundly grateful.

I suspect that I’ll be tweaking the presentation and production of these videos for some time until I’ve honed my craft to the best of my abilities (!), but for now I’m loving the fact that I’ve sort of been given permission to play. I’m not sure who is doling out this permission but I really hope that the result is something that is fun to watch. And if it goes badly wrong, I’ll blame it on lockdown.

Making movies (in my kitchen)

By Filming, Instagram, Talking art

My kitchen is now masquerading as a film studio for half the week. Seriously, I have lights, a green screen, microphones and a big sturdy tripod with a bracket for my phone. It’s hard to open cupboards, the fridge is out of bounds and if I turn on the gas hob it’s likely that something will either catch fire or melt. But a challenge is a challenge and this is a challenge!

I had the crazy idea to start filming at home at the end of last year when the gallery made it clear that they were less than delighted with me coming over all Sofia Coppola in their hallowed halls. I get it, and I certainly don’t ever want to fall out with the National Gallery, so you won’t see me there with a microphone any time soon. At around the same time, I was chatting to a friend about their upcoming exhibition, ‘Love, Desire, Death’. It will bring together six Titian paintings that I adore and, as such, I was waving my arms around excitedly and gabbling about going full on crazy cabaret in reverence to them… I wanted to write a show, and find a location, and make it award winning and completely fabulous.

After a deep breath (it may have been a sigh) my friend said:

‘You’ve got three months until the exhibition opens, have you started this project? Umm, it’s quite big!’

‘Well, not exactly. Actually, no’

‘Okay. Well, maybe scale it back a bit? How about making a start with little videos about the paintings for your website and social media?’

Eh voila!, the plan was hatched. Six paintings, three videos a painting, all launched into the world to a strict timetable at regular intervals with the last video planned to coincide with the opening of the exhibition in March. I had three weeks to get ahead of myself – until I got ill and spent two and a half weeks staring at daytime television with glazed eyes and my mouth open!

So, fully recovered, this has been my regime for the last two weeks: research, write scripts, film, edit in paintings, edit out the bits where I’m going ‘durrrr’ (thank you dear editor, these videos would be absolutely rubbish without you), fiddle around with Instagram and YouTube on the appointed day until they have been successfully posted. Do it all again. Thanks to my January cold I am only filming a week ahead of each launch date… eeeeek. It’s a bit stressful and ridiculous and huge fun and immensely satisfying.

I am, by the way, thinking of making a full length feature film of the f*** ups. Believe me, there are enough of them. The photos are stills of yet another take biting the dust!

Anyway, if you’d like to see the fruits of my labour, head to the media and gallery page. Goodbye gallery films, hello green screen. It’s a brave new world and I love it.