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The Reading Room

NORTH SOUTH DIVIDE? by Norman Bull.
During the summer attempts have been made to produce two separate club films for the North v South Competition with the theme of "TELL ME ABOUT IT". Diggy has been very busy writing and producing his film whilst I, not so clever, have had to appeal for scripts from different quarters. As it happened, out of the blue came an e-mail from one Charlie Gosden asking if I would be interested in producing any of his work. I invited him over one evening and read through four scripts. Truthfully two were a bit beyond us, one had possibilities and the fourth slotted in very nicely with the theme. After showing the scripts around to various members it was generally thought that we could run with the last one. Next we had to think about actors but luckily we only needed two talking parts - a man and a woman. For the male part, Charlie offered his pal Robert Myles who was keenly interested in amateur dramatics. Then in response to one of Jack Ligertwood's adverts in a local rag calling for people interested in acting I received a phone call from a lady named Rhona Topaz who had quite a bit of professional experience on stage and wanted to keep her hand in whilst resting. The thought of killing two birds with one stone crossed my mind when I thought about the perennial problem of how to fill a summer meeting at the club. And so after a good deal of phoning around a rehearsal was arranged to take place at St Mary's Church Hall on 22nd July which had been allocated for one of our club meetings. But wouldn't you know it! As soon as you try to arrange anything like this the devil seems to take over and turns everything upside down! A couple of days before the meeting Ron contacted me to say that the Hall was unavailable because during some kitchen renovations asbestos had been discovered in the fabric of the building and would be out of use until it had been cleared. Good old Glyn Hall was quickly booked in its place but this meant another round of telephone calls, emails and a notice pinned up outside our regular venue informing everyone of the temporary one. Charlie had indicated he would be interested in observing the film being made and volunteered to bring Robert along. I picked up Rhona from West Ewell station. Rhona had started out from Balham which was rather brave of her really, as that was the month when suicide bombers blew themselves up in London. After a slightly awkward start the actors and members attending gradually warmed to the theme and I can say some promising trial footage was taken. Later these clips were roughly edited together to give a very good idea of how the finished production would look. Immediate responses were good. At another meeting at the club later on in August, this time in St Mary's Church Hall, a period was given over to reviewing the rehearsal footage and experimenting with lighting. The first building blocks were now in place and then all fell silent for a time as I waited for members to return from summer breaks and gradually raise support for the project. I had hoped to do the filming at home but realised that more room was needed to fit in everything and everyone so once again Glyn Hall was called into play. This happened on 18th September which was on a Sunday and only the day after our return from holiday. On the day everyone turned up and gave their full support and even Charlie lent a hand wherever he could. Additional footage was added later on involving further complications and drama which I will not go into here but entailed more telephone calls and re-shooting. The film is now in the can and I await the club's response and opinions before we send it off to Orpington Film & Video Makers who are organising the competition at this end of the country. The film was eventually entitled "THE READING ROOM."

SECOND TAKE October 2005.

 

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