Pitch-perfect: filming from a writer’s perspective

My laptop is balanced on top of a stack of boardgames, on top of a chair, on top of a glass coffee-table. I’m wearing lipstick, a pin-stripe jacket, and half a can of hairspray. Safely out of shot, i’m also wearing tartan PJs & slippers. The two large pictures that normally hang on the wall behind me are stacked precariously against the sofa.

‘Try with the over-head light off.’

filming the pitch video

Despite our best efforts, filming has overrun and we’re losing natural light in my sitting room in London. Samantha is instructing me through various different counter-acting methods until she’s happy with the colour and the shade on the screen and we can film the next paragraph in the script of our crowdfunding video.

This is our second filming session. We’re filming ‘live’ in London and New York, recording a Skype call with a cheap (but not free) application called Call Recorder. This allows us to film audio and video from both sides of the conversation ‘in-screen’. Working through the script and editing it as we go along like this is important: if we filmed separately, we’d be heading off in separate directions. It’s also easier to have someone there to bounce ideas off. Phrases that sounds natural for me to pronounce trip Samantha’s tongue up, and vice-versa. Partly it’s cultural — America vs British – and partly it’s just our individual cadences.

I remember sitting in on Samantha’s shoot for Dirty Laundry 12. ‘I’ll get the lamp from my bedroom, would that help?’

First time we filmed, we thought it would be good to have our everyday ‘stuff’ in the background, but the final result looked messy. We’d prepared a script, but hadn’t asked for feedback on our campaign from impartial observers and so we hadn’t honed what we needed the money for and why we were worth backing. the edit that Samantha produced was a great introduction to the processes of our work together, but it said little about the technology we’ve been developing and what makes it useful for other people.

This time, we’ve honed not only the script but also the process of shooting it. We’re recording on both our computers, so we have two audio streams to pick the best quality from. We’re breaking the shooting into small chunks, and filming each one about eight times, swapping the sentences we’re saying from each chunk and repeating the process. Even so, the script changes as we go along, and we swap between the draft in our shared Evernote notebook and our personalised versions open on the screen in front of us.

Campaign filming screenshot

Samantha’s happy with the light. I re-centre myself, and put one leg up on the sofa next to me. If I don’t do this then I start moving when I talk, swaying across the screen. I do it for any form of public speaking, probably a nervous tic to help distract myself. On the small screen it looks odd, seasick. Even with my leg up on the sofa, edging me into place, every so often Samantha has to pull me up for drifting and we have to re-shoot. I can’t picture how the final piece will look, my attention is distracted by the ways in which the room around me has been disrupted. It sets my imagination off — what would a nosy neighbour think I was doing, if they peered in the window? If I left the chair on top of the table, how long would it take before one of my flatmates tok it down or would they leave it there for days, assume that it was needed there, that it wouldn’t be left there without good cause?

The two.5  crowdfunding campaign will be going live on 4th February, 2014. We’re raising money to cover final production costs for On The Same Page: an innovative app template designed to display image/text collaborations. We’ll be using OTSP to publish our Dirty Laundry series in Summer 2014.

If you’d like to support the campaign, please leave a comment below or email us and we’ll remind you when the funding campaign goes live.