Last Contact : Blog 10 : Location

Oct 16, 2015 by

Last Contact : Blog 10 : Location

Last Contact : Blog 10 : Location

Wow. There are a number of things I’ve learnt so far on the Last Contact journey, but one of the big ones is how not so easy it is to find the perfect spot. No wonder cats take so long to settle down.

One of the things that was definite in my mind was where the sitcom was set. In a university, in a large room that could house three people’s desks with a kitchen off to one side. Wood panelling would be good, but it had to have a lived in feel, as if our protagonists had been there for years.

One thing I can tell you about locations for filming, they’re expensive. Super expensive. Prohibitively expensive. Basically, unless you know the person who owns it, or you just don’t tell them, you’re going to find it difficult to shoot anything.

And, typical of me, I wanted to film six episodes, around two hours of usable film. And like the 80/20 rule, but much worse, 120 minutes of usable film equates to about three years of filming. All right, maybe not three years, but a while. Two weeks worth of filming almost non-stop. And then maybe a little bit for editing.

So I needed to find a place to shoot that we could have for three weeks. It also needed to have other rooms that we could use for Bernard’s office and Nina’s office. At this stage, I hadn’t put any action in the kitchen. It was just a door that people went in and out of. But I’ll come back to that.

And hopefully, it’d be somewhere we all could stay, otherwise the expense bills were going to go through the roof. It was a long shopping list. Just so you know, when I was enquiring about locations, they were coming in at least £1000 per day. At least.

Not having £21k to spend on locations, I had to think of something else.

I turned to holiday cottage sites, since at least most of them would have accommodation provided so long as they were large enough. I looked at quite a few, and arranged to see one of them. It looked okay. Just okay. None of the others did, and I was getting worried.

So, on a dark evening we drove the hour or so to the place, which was off a country lane, off a country lane, off another country lane. You’ve got to love England.

But we saw it, and we walked around it, and by golly it was exactly what we needed. The main room was perfect, tall ceilings and lots of space. It had a couple of rooms we could use for the other offices, but the best part was the kitchen. The kitchen was great. It inspired me to move a lot of the scenes into the kitchen, which is a good thing.

And whilst the cost of renting it was not cheap, it was far, far cheaper than anything else.

With bated breath, we contacted the owners the next day with the proposition of us filming there, and thankfully, they said yes.

We had our location. That’s not the end of the location story. But the rest I’ll leave till another time.

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