The London Symphony Journals. #2.


A couple of weeks ago I wrote of Alex Barrett’s crowd funding campaign in aid of his new film, the silent celebration of the city, London Symphony. I’ve invited Alex to use Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second as a platform to broadcast his thoughts as the project moves along.

They say that time flies when you’re having fun. It seems it also flies when you’re trying to get the wheels in motion for a new film project seeking to capture the ‘essence’ of London. But while the effect is the same, I’m not sure I could totally say the cause is — ‘fun’ might be too glamorous a word to describe the complex nature of trying to wrangle a list of over 400 filming locations. That’s not meant to read like a complaint, though, so forgive me if it does. The time since my last entry in this not-quite-as-regular as planned journal series has been, all at once, busy, intense, frustrating, constructive, joyous, daunting and — most of all — exciting. Let me rewind and try to fill you in…

The crowdfunding campaign for the film ended in a flurry of activity — success, some might call it. Thanks to some very generous people, we managed to raise 116% of our initial target. The campaign itself had been one of the most emotionally extreme rollercoasters of my life, and it took me a few days just to recover. But with the deep, dark, depths of winter approaching, we didn’t want to waste time before getting our shoot off the ground. During the campaign my writer Rahim and I had both generated new ideas for the project, and had ideas given to us, that we hadn’t thought through properly, given that all of our efforts were focused on the campaign itself. So once the campaign was out of the way, Rahim set about redrafting the script. Once this was done, I broke this script down into a list of locations that we hope to include in the film. I also spent some time physically plotting out these locations, marking them down onto maps printed from the internet — the idea being to try and figure out the geographical spread, and therefore determine which locations could be covered in a single day. At all times, our aim was to try and capture what London means not only to ourselves, but also to others — a monumental task, all things considered. So it’s perhaps no surprise that this took some time.

And time it did take. In fact, there’s no denying it took longer than I had anticipated. But it soon became clear that more thorough preparation at this stage would save us valuable time during the shoot — and so even if it meant delaying things a little, it was worth getting it right, so as to speed up the shoot itself.

Filming finally got officially underway on 24th November, at the Havelock Road Gurdwara — a beautiful location, and one that we felt very honoured to start our shoot with. From here, our plan is to continue to film sporadically, on and off, until around May next year. We’ve always planned to allow for a back and forth between the shoot, the edit, the script and the music, and we plan to continue in this way. In fact, I hope to start preparing footage for the edit next week, alongside reworking the script, filming more material, and confirming new locations for further shooting days. So, as you can see, it’s a busy time!

I’ll be updating this Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second journal throughout the process, but for more detailed updates and exclusive photographs, you can still join the official London Symphony community here:

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