TRUST ME BABYDOLL
A naïve new to the industry eager actress allows her senses to be seduced by this world, trusting a well established director which leads to dramatic consequences
Modern film noir set in London, it begins at a film screening. The main character Dannie thinks she’s alone in the theatre. The rest of the story is told in flashback. It centres around the soft spoken protagonist Dannie who is turning 30. She’s had enough of racing up the corporate ladder and wishes to fulfill her dream in the arts. She gets called into a last minute meeting with a famous film director called Him at a plush bar. She bumps into the famous actor Balthazar Jolls a couple of times, starstruck and dazed by the experience, he is the tipping point to her trusting Him. Her conscience personified by the character The Trustee tries to warn her of impending doom. After a couple of drinks she recounts a recurrent nightmare involving babydolls . After she gets the acting job she’s dazzled by the dizzying heights of where this opportunity will take her. She’s given strict instructions by the director the night before the shoot, it will be improvisational .The director has entrusted her to be brave and carry out one task .
On the day of the shoot a nervous Dannie has to carry out this task with fatal consequences,Him dies and Dannie is broken as she tries to defend herself. Back to present day we’re in the last scene in the cinema. Dannie senses a prescence in the room, she runs out unaware that Him and his dog have been there all along.
The Me Too movement has unearthed deep seated customs that exist in patriarchy, gradually eroding women’s power by taking control by any means necessary preying upon vulnerable individuals. My own experiences when I started out in the creative arts as a singer of how I trusted a manager who was established who I thought knew better .
I’m passionate about meshing parallel realities, real with surreal. The themes of seduction, trust and death are covered.
A mix of different races are featured in the story to convey multicultural london and multicultural britain. It is estimated that in the uk by 2020 the mixed race demographic will be the dominant population.
We follow the main character Dannie’s POV in slow motion with a long take encouraging introspection (potentially from a distance using a high angle) introducing the seductive lush colour palette and soft lighting to set the tone of the first meet in a plush bar that begins the seduction . The director is shot from a low angle to demonstrate his strength whilst Dannie’s vulnerability is shot with a high angle.
The dream introduces the baby dolls with people cheering highlighting voyeurism in today’s age. It also examines the the nature of competition , being self-sufficient in today’s age by having to deliver their own births as well as a metaphor for the birthing of desires.
A chance encounter with a famous actor Balthazar Jolls is the tipping point to being fully seduced and trusting the director Him. Magical light/warm music conveys this strong passionate feeling welling inside Dannie.
At the mid point we return to present day and colour in the last scene until the end when all characters become stylized noir . What happens to Dannie now, how abuse of power can harden one’s spirit and change the course of their destiny.
Dannie’s bedroom the night before the shoot starts the desaturation of colour that follows to the end, conveying the downturn that is about to follow.After the film set is shot in black and white, a fan of french new wave so the use of the free flow of shooting handheld with potential jump cuts to the babydolls and talking directly to camera. We experimented with a fish eye lens shooting cinema verite style. The fear and tension builds
I was literally sitting in a café in cannes telling myself that le the magic of cannes help me write a dramatic script. As a defaut comedy writer I hadn’t tackled other genres.( I always strt new work/have meetings/move forward after each visit). A combination of enetering a competiton revolving arounf a biblical theme Icame across the story of Rachel in the bible who I sometimes forget I was name after…. My entry didn’t go anywhere but it had borne this idea that kept lingering trying to bear fruit. It is difficult to track but by early 2019 the script was ready and it turned out to be noir, a modern film noir.
I knew it would be both in black and white and colour but we shot in colour. I like delving in real and unreal (drema/nightmare sequences) as so much of our subconscious bears in reality so we are constantly getting previews of what’s to come in our lives,not quite a crystal ball but more gauging one’s emotional state at the time of these insights.
Trust Me Babydoll was shot on location in in the north London borough of Haringey ,over 3 days. 7 local locations all in one line on google maps was a vital piece of pre-production given the low budget. All the locations owners were excited to host a filmmaking crew with one locations giving it to us for free.
As this was my first time working with a child actor and dog this was top if the list in preproduction. The dog Arya eas found easily through a dog agency, another dog initially was chosen but he was unavailable due to another shoot(this dog’s life) but Arya was available and so cooperative. Christian who played the child was found serendipitiously as the director had walked into a potential location and witnessed a child being dropped off to his mum by a babysitter. His character in the film was being babysat so it was a perfect art imitate life. I pitched the story to mum and non actor Christian and they were both eager particularly for Christian who said ‘I want to do it’ and also asked ‘will I be getting ice cream’(which is in the script).
Day1 – It got off to an early start at the cinema as 3 locations were being shot thatday, we had lovely efficient drivers Paul and Toto. I was glad we got the shots of Arya the dog on the first day. It was an easier day in term of non-dialogue scenes. We were shooting day for night at the cinema. The café scenes later proved a welcome relief in terms of food and drink!
Day 2 – The warehouse scene was shot cinema verite style and we had extras and dialogue scenes. There were so many props that were there already lying around that we were spoilt for choice for what to incorporate in the scene. The loft and bedroom scenes were shot at my house so a tick in terms of budget saving, these non-dialogue scenes only requiting a skeletal crew. The cinematographer Dan had an idea for how to shoot the homage to scottie’s nightmare in Vertigo which worked for the scene.
Day 3 – There were a lot of cast and crew including souble the number of extras on the last day in the lift and bar scenes. We had to cheat the bar lift scenes which were actually shot on a disused floor in a hotel. It was also the day shooting with Christian the non-actor child who was a natural on his first day on a set, he wasn’t phased at all and took direction well.
It was a nice location to end on as the inhouse food and drink was appreciated, as each character wrapped and we said our goodbyes it was like the circus had left town. We were blessed by the cinema gods, any problems we faced were minor and the expected budget/time issues so I was relieved, exhausted but all essentially went well.
Over the next two weeks we had a couple of pick ups for an eyelight scene and and an exterior, we were then ready for the edit to meet festival deadlines.
Behind the scenes Part.1