Some time in late 2012 or early 2013, I casually mentioned to a friend, Clare, that I’d long harboured the idea of getting together with a bunch of friends, one week in Summer perhaps, and making a movie. Not with any great ambitions, but just for fun.
Well, Clare’s a very fine writer and, a few months later, had a script. We started gathering people as cast and crew, only one of whom had any experience at all of filmmaking (apart from the one semester I spent on film during my degree course).
The one week grew into more than two during Summer 2013. But we certainly had fun. The resulting film, Impasse, was better (I think) than it had any reason to be, given our almost complete lack of knowledge, experience or equipment (it was shot on my Nikon D800, as were the subsequent films).
In fact, it was so much fun. We decided we’d try again in the Summer of 2014. In the meantime, we held a couple of workshops. For one of these, Clare again wrote a script which we shot over the course of two days in a neighbour’s gîte. Albert was meant purely as a learning experience, but in the end we decided to edit together the film. This time we had the benefit of a couple of experienced and talented actors.
The next film, Cigarette, was written by me based on a short story by my wife, Trish. It was shot in April in a friend’s house over the course of four days and one night. Because it’s all set at night, we had to black out the house – which shouldn’t have been a problem except that we had an unseasonable heat wave!
Finally, Clare came up with another great script and The Garden was shot in three tranches – in February (for the winter scenes), June (for the roses), and July (for obscure reasons). For a lot of reasons it was a challenging production. And by the end, Clare and I had become too busy with other projects to continue with what was, after all, just a hobby. So that was the end of Zolascope. But creatively it was a great experience.