We were officially “on location” here last week at Ednovean Farm when scenes from a forth coming Rosamunde Pilcher film “Almost Unmarried” were shot in the house and garden by a German film company.
At times it felt like a cross between a three ring circus and Groundhog Day as the painstaking process of creating a film slowly unrolled before us.
I have to say that the final result were quite magical and tribute to the filmmakers art and of course the film crew were quite charming, professional and courteous.
By the time the final scenes were shot I found myself thinking “My God! We really have built a film location”
Ednovean Farm has an audition that set it upon the road to become a film location
Things started gently for Ednovean Farm’s audition. First of all an exploratory e-mail, followed by a visit from a location scout. This was followed by a location manager, who in turn was followed by a mini bus full of key figures from the production including the director and producer………… And then we heard nothing for a year…. until suddenly the process started again with an e-mail from the location manager and two more visits and she passed her second audition for their latest production!
So the scene was set and days of frantic gardening and hedge trimming followed in any spare minutes that could be grabbed, in preparation for the big days of filming ahead but first there were Dressing days.
Things started gently enough in the morning with “Dressing the garden” as Lorries and cars began to arrive disgorging props and plants and people and the Props team quickly established a base in the garden room away from the persistent rain, spreading out ground sheet to protect the furniture.
It wasn’t until I heard a member of props say “I’m on location at the moment” to his mobile phone that it suddenly sunk in that Ednovean farm really was about to be a film location.
For the attention of Spud-cat!
Spud-Cat took one look and went into cat, overdrive meeting and greeting and generally getting underfoot while the more subdued Louis looked slightly lost and mournfully watched, no doubt suspecting we were moving house at least.
Eventually once the loo was vacant, I shut the two cats in there to commune with their cat dish for the rest of the day, while Charles revived the flagging props department with lots of tea as they laboured on, dripping gently.
“Dressing the house”
The second part of the process was dressing the house and the following day, our alter ego’s taste was inserted into our sitting room and the Four poster Pink room. Followed by last minute changes to the Blue room that overlooks the main lawn, scheduled to take place once our guests checked out the next morning.
That night Charles and I gingerly cooked supper not daring to move any of the dressing objects in the kitchen and after looking at the piles of sequined cushions on our sofas, finally sat on the floor to eat, student fashion.
And our bed and breakfast guests?
As I wouldn’t be able to use the Dining room in the morning we had arranged to deliver a substantial Continental breakfast to the guest sitting room for our German guests instead and I left out a thank you supper ready for their late night return from the Minack Theatre.
I must say our guests were fascinated in the morning to see the total transformation of the house before they left and were big Rosamunde Pilcher fans too, so it made it even more exciting for them to meet the location team as they arrived.
“Quiet on set” became part of our every day life Without our noticing almost thick black cables carried power from a glossy black generator truck rumbling quietly in the lane, to all point of the garden – the snaking black lines tucked unobtrusively besides lawns and paths became another part of our new world of filmmaking. Stadium style lights appeared and massive house sized screens would suddenly be erected to redirect the light. Rehearsal were made and scene were shot and reshot with the enigmatic director softly repeating “cut, and again” “cut, and again.”
Our plan to requisition the guest sitting room for ourselves came to nought though, as they mournfully asked where the actors could sit and then swiftly whipped out a sign saying “Actors Green Room” And was there somewhere the editor could sit? Well maybe the Apricot room.
Chatting with the film crew
By the end of the first morning I finally left the bustle of the film set and pulled out a bale of Miscanthus in the stable yard and sat chatting with local Cornish working on the film for an hour or two – it was great to meet so many local people who were involved with the project.
That’s was until the “Driving through the gate scenes” was announced and the director with his camera monitors and mobile console took up residence beside Danni’s stable. Danni watched solemnly, never moving, ears at ten to two, carefully observing every take – I could almost hear him saying “yes cut definitely cut and again” as rehearsal followed rehearsal and take followed take. Cut!! “Quiet on set” “And again” “Cut!” Quiet on set” And again! We began to develop an instinct for when silence was imperative and very good peripheral vision!
Cats in residence!
I finally taped a sign to the loo door saying “Cats in Residence” so that Spud and Louis could settle down in the lap of luxury and we had to make do with the office which had a nearly negotiable path to the desk and our bedroom.
Living on a film set
So by now we had a props room, a Green room, two incarcerated cats, a tent full of lighting equipment and a gentleman silently editing film in the Apricot bedroom. The young horses became adept at picking their way through the parked Lorries and negotiating various props as part of their daily routine and the weather was unkind.
Over the two days of filming, Chainsaws in the village were tracked down and silenced and builders were found and bribed because after all it was “quiet on set!”
The delicious on site catering were an unexpected bonus to our days! The never ending supply of wonderful ground coffee and open sandwiches on gorgeous German breads that arrived at intervals to the garden, not to mention the three course meals that were effortlessly served from a tiny caravan parked in their second base at the local Chinese Restaurant. We were delighted to be invited to join them and it did feel rather surreal to sit and eat at trestle tables under an awning in a local car park – after being chauffeured there in a glossy white fleet of cars of course.
All in all we were thoroughly spoilt and I think they thought we were slightly eccentric when we said “It’s Ok we’ll walk the quarter of a mile home!”
By the second day of filming we had found a routine and Danni was exercised and young horse fed before the film crew arrived and I had got quite used to helping myself to a cup of coffee from the catering table whenever I fancied one – the trick was to find the table as it tended to magically relocate around the courtyard or garden according to the scenes being shot.
Living under floodlights
Massive two story lights were used to turn night into day and when the sun finally came out it was night time of course, in the crazy topsy turvy world of filmmaking but it did start to seem quite normal after a while. And there was catering after all!
When they finally finished filming in the house we flopped in front of the TV for a while, until I glance out and though “Oh the suns come out” well not really a seven o’ clock with the nights drawing in and took a couple of snaps of the magical transformation that the lighting department had wrought to the garden
I finally managed to zigzag down to the garden between takes “No walking on the gravel” I when got there I wished I’d taken the camera of course but it was far too difficult to get back to the house as they approached the final scenes so I’ll describe to you instead. Picture the camera man with a cloud of black curly hair on a small train track under the palm trees attended by two more men intent on tracking down an only-just-audible squeak and the sound department earnestly crouched on the sunken lawn.
The garden looked amazing as each group of palms were backlit to frame the final scenes romantic scenes which really were a little bit of movie magic and I finally “got” the art of their work and also thought “My God we really have made a garden that is a film set”
The last person finally left at one in the morning……
I’m not going to spoil the film for you by telling you the story but our Continental guest should be able to see it some time after Christmas and I do believe older Rosamunde Pilcher films can be found on Youtube now for our British guests and they are occasionally screened in the afternoons.
The bones of one film prop has found a home with us and I think we’ll move it to the Italian Garden so if you holiday with us next year you will be able to enjoy it too. Alas Catering has gone now and the cohesive family of filmmakers who worked such long hours – we shall miss them here at Ednovean Farm they’ll be welcome back at any time and catering too of course!!