The film of the prologue was shot over two nights by my son Tom, operating a borrowed camera; the lighting, white van (blue really) and location site we used were all generously donated gratis too. It was freezing in the van on the late November nights in question, and of course we had to turn the engine and heating off during takes. Our primary aim was to find a means and style of presentation that would enable us to convert a seven minute piece of book-text, written in the third-person, into something that not only grabbed the attention of a viewer but which might also prove quirky and (hopefully) unsettling - we basically wanted to produce a shop-window for the writing and mood of the book. We’d never done anything like it before, although I do of course have the advantage of being experienced before a camera. Even so, it was very much an experiment and not something we felt confident we could achieve.
I did the film editing over a week on Adobe Premiere Elements and at times I admit I almost came close to despair, as I not only had to acquaint myself with previously unknown software, but needed to join together the different takes in what might otherwise have been a straightforward monologue. The trouble with attempting this, it seemed to us, was: that seven minutes is an awfully long time for things to go wrong; lines might easily be dropped or forgotten; a car or plane might suddenly whiz past; or someone might walk by giving a cheery wave to camera; it would also have been a completely static shot. However, I may well have risked this, as the sense of claustrophobia created by one unbroken shot might have been quite chilling - a homage to that master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, perhaps? However, we were very lucky not to have chosen this one-take option, as I, in my naivety, had not yet discovered that the royalty payments that would be required on the three tiny snippets of song originally written and subsequently filmed in the prologue would cost far too much to be viable. The songs were cut from the text and had to be edited out of our film - this would have been impossible to do if we had gone for the one take idea. Phew! We got lucky!
If you haven’t watched the prologue before, I hope you enjoy the experience. US readers will have to wait until the end of February to get a discount copy, however, UK readers can still download a Kindle copy of Niedermayer & Hart for just 99p for a short time. Here’s the link: Niedermayer & Hart on Kindle