Wandering in Wandsworth (and Fulham and Victoria)

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Sign outside The Paradise Cooperative in Wandsworth

I rarely give myself time to wander; often my time is planned and filled with tasks from my ToDo list. I’d forgotten how magical life can be when I give myself a time boundary with no plans.

I was in London at the weekend, staying with a friend in Wandsworth and she was busy all morning. After trawling the internet for an hour (a whole hour of time wasting in a not good way!) I decided to go for a walk and see what it’s like in Wandsworth.

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I’d barely walked five minutes when I came across The Paradise Co-operative – a community garden. The gate was open so I wandered in and was greeted by a friendly couple who told me the history of the garden.

They invited me to stay so I did; I harvested some beans and tomatoes, some of which they insisted I take with me. All the veggies and fruit are organic and tasted amazing. I had the biggest smile on my face as I picked tomatoes.

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I left the garden and made my way to Fulham, this time in search of a vegan cafe – The Sanctuary on Fulham Road. It wasn’t where the Happy Cow map said it would be. Instead, there was a new cafe – Simply Vegan, which opened its doors a couple of days ago. I was after a savoury lunch, despite the tempting array of beautiful cakes and the owner directed me to a vegan pizza restaurant, Pickywops.

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Andrea and Cristiano, founders of Pickywops, and me

Oh my! It was amazing! I had the award-winning Vegan Temptations pizza, which had Violife mozzarella, kale, broccolini, almond ricotta and blueberries on it. I savoured every bite of each slice, especially the last because of saving the blueberry til the end, for the exquisite burst of sweetness. Yum.

If I hadn’t given myself time without plans, I would not have found either of these places, both of which promoted a healthier lifestyle and made me think about food, where it comes from, and my own buying habits.

Later, when I bought veggies from Sainsburys, I wondered about buying organic veg from farmers at local markets in Brighton, and about volunteering at a local community garden.¬†Research turned up both options: the Upper Gardner Street Market and the Phoenix Community Centre Garden. I’m going to visit both at the earliest opportunity.

As I arrived at Victoria Train Station to catch a train to Brighton, I saw I had an hour’s wait so I looked on Google maps for a coffee shop and headed off to find the one I chose. It was closed, so I wandered in the general direction of the station and stumbled across¬†Places for NOVA, an art installation by Saad Qureshi. I slowly made my way around all six pieces, photographing them from angles that I hoped would make nice photos. Then I sat on a bench and ate the vegan doughnut and drank the Earl Grey with soya milk that I gleefully bought from a cafe in the centre of the exhibition.

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I left London full of wonder. It’s quite a child-like feeling and it’s stayed with me almost all the time. I think it’s my favourite feeling.

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Editing – penultimate scene

Maybe less is more. Maybe instead of layering so much I could borrow from Michael Snow and let the tension build by slowly zooming in on the sofa fabric weave and change the colour every so often. But I don’t know how to do it. Perhaps I don’t need another layer. Perhaps it could be done with keystrokes. Some layering might be nice though. And the flickering could occur towards the end – flashes of Alice’s Uncle’s body tied up under the Christmas tree.

Editing – penultimate scene

Gathering random pieces of footage and montaging them doesn’t seem to work. So I’m wondering what a baseline would be? Which piece of footage could I place on the timeline that I could add stuff to? Could it be a still? I’m looking at the roses painted on my wall. Everything seems to have meaning when I look at it.

Group Crit

Feedback during group crit at uni today centred around the penultimate scene which currently shows matched audio and video of Alice confronting her Uncle about the sexual abuse that occurred when she was a small child. I had the idea, whilst listening to another student’s feedback, of using close up shots of the weave of the sofa and of the white roses Michael gave me that are now dead. I could drop red paint on the white roses and it makes another reference to Alice in Wonderland. Tim, my tutor, said I have leeway to go as abstract as I like in this scene because the repetitive voice saying “it’s over, he’s dead” brings the viewer back to the narrative.

Alice remembers

Alice remembers is the last shot of the first day’s filming of It Burns And Turns To Ash. I felt frustrated at myself while watching the rushes. During some of the shots I fiddled with the focus and zoomed in and out and ruined the shots by doing this. This particular shot was supposed to be blurry and then Alice’s face comes into focus.

It was good that I had set up a detailed shot list because I felt confident about what I was doing before the shoot. However, when I arrived at the location it wasn’t exactly how I remembered it. This required me to rethink some of the shots. For future film shoots I will go on location and take photos of the sort of shots I would like so that I can refer to them in planning. I’m still not certain about some of the camera settings and need to understand the way it works better. I’d like to take some time over the Christmas break to research this technical aspect of filmmaking.

Charlotte as Alice

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I received an email from Charlotte, lead actress in my film It Burns And Turns To Ash. She has a feel for the character of Alice and thought she would dress quirkily. The photograph is of Charlotte in the costume she has devised for Alice. I’m very happy with her choice and it fits the image I had of Alice too.

Charlotte also stated she’s going to try a technique she learnt at uni for creating a sensual/emotional memory of the flashback. I think this is a great idea; however, I have a concern about the subconscious believing the memory as a true one and asked if the technique includes a way of shaking it off or letting the mind know that it’s not real after the filming. I don’t want her to be traumatised by the work we’re doing.

Shot List

I spent the day writing a detailed shot list for the shoot next week. Currently, it stands at eighteen pages with one shot on each page which contains:

+ details of the camera position and any action that occurs

+ why the shot is there

+ what sounds are played during the shot

+ any questions I have unresolved about technical aspects of filming

It helped me get clear about exactly what I’m hoping to achieve and I emailed it to Charlotte, my lead actress.

It also helped me to prepare a list of sounds and props I’ll need too.