I spent most of the day yesterday working with my publisher, Peter Paddon of Pendraig Publishing, on a couple of video promos for "Son of Air and Darkness". In addition to being a brilliant publisher, writer and lecturer, Peter is also very talented in the field of film production, it having been his major area of study at university in England.
We all arrived at his studio that morning to see the storyboards he had produced the day before with cartoons against the backgrounds that would be used and the voice-over of Peter reading from the book the passages that would be used for the film clips.. I had provided most of the costumes and props (chain mail, Roman helmet, spears, Celtic leaf blade sword, tunics and such) and Jenna Borgen had made up a feathery glossy surcoat to go over the black linen Morrigan dress. Jenna is both a consummate costumer and make-up artist and quickly applied the theatrical make-up including woad spirals to the cast, and some really scary make-up to transform yours truly into the Celtic Battle-Goddess, the Morrigan.
Ah yes...the Alfred Hitchcock moment...appearing in my own book promo!
It had started out as a joke. When we were auditioning people for the various roles in the promos none of the red-haired actresses who had signed up for the audition had actually managed to show up. Later that evening I started kidding around with an old friend about how the scene should be played and Peter said..."OK...you've got the part". After several Doctor McCoy-like protestations of "I'm a writer, not an actress" failed to work I gave in and started sewing for the role..
We were very fortunate to find two really great actors...Stephen White, whose intensity totally typifies Dubhghall, amd his friend Neil Etman, who was perfect as the Roman Guard.
Filming went smoothly, until we got to the capsules of theatrical blood.
Long ago, when Bela Lugosi was the most famous vampire on the screen, when vampires were in black and white and did not sparkle, they had a really tasty recipe for blood used in the movies: chocolate syrup. Ever since the day Dorothy Gale set foot in Oz and the world expected everything in Technicolor people wanted to see blood in shades of dark red, which would have been fine except that in order to get the colour and the consistency right they have had to go to something made with high fructose corn syrup and red food colouring, which somehow also has an undertaste of saccharine. It is perhaps one of the most vile tastes in the world...and when Stephen and I had to bite into the capsule the first time I am sure a tiny twinge of revulsion must have passed, however briefly, across our faces.
I'm sure the editor (Peter wearing yet another hat) will work it all out in post production. Having seen the takes against the green screen, I can hardly wait to see the final cuts.