The Making Of Colours - Part 3
Being a dramatised account of the filming of a music video clip
Based on a real life story
by Neville Davies

Spellbound - Vol II Iss IV
© February 1996

The Characters

Well, here we go again. Ho Hum! This tale really does drag on, doesn't it? Still, there is quite a way to go yet, so we had better get on with it; otherwise, heaven knows how many more episodes we might get to.

To keep you on target in case you have lost your earlier issues of Spellbound, here again is the cast list, duly updated to denote by means of asterisks, the characters who have already been introduced in Parts 1 or 2. However, there are still no prizes for the guessing competition. That's your idea, not mine.

The Musician * The Wardrobes Person * The Make-up Person * The Dream Girl
The Old Man * The Staging Person * The Hairdresser * The Dancing Partner
The Real Artist * The Producer * The Light Measurer * The Specialist
The Director * The Heavies 1 & 2 * The Catering Person The Older Sibling




Day 1 Continues - Into The Night

Location 2 proved to be the deserted and empty second floor of a warehouse building in Darlinghurst, a suburb close to the heart of Sydney, but just far enough away to be devoid of anything resembling bright city lights. Access to the filming site was via a dingy doorway from the narrow and feebly lit street, followed by several flights of narrow wooden stairs. The Old Man and Real Artist arrived in good time to add to the mounting frustration of the Heavies struggling to steer their railway tracks and other machinery on this thin and tortuous route. It has to be said to the credit of these two worthies, that they most politely declined the elderly couple's offer to wait until they had completed their task before proceeding upstairs, by some miraculous means made space for them to pass, and then cheerfully resumed their gut-busting occupation.

The robing trio and Staging Person had already arrived and set up their equipment and props ready for the next bout of filming, the returns from which were already being forecast with the aid of the inevitable pocket calculators and notebooks.

The Old Man was quickly and easily dispensed with by this group with scarcely a beat being missed in the calculating and required but a brief touch up and a change back into painter's garb. In any case, he was not going to be much more than a stage prop himself for this phase of the proceedings. He was set up with his easel, palette and brush in the foreground of the set that had been arranged in front of the warehouse windows, to be included in occasional shots of the main action on stage as a sort of recurring reminder that this song and film clip were about an old fellow that painted. There he remained for the whole evening, alert and ever-ready to start painting actions whenever the camera lens looked as if it might point in his direction. On a few rare occasions it did.

However, the primary purpose of the night's filming was to capture the sequences involving two other performers, the Dream Girl and the Dancing Partner. This information was spreading through the ranks of the filming crew, evoking fresh complaints of nepotism from the robing trio.

"Now we're going to have the girlfriend," quoth one.
"What can she do?" asked another.
"Huh! huh! hurrr…" from the third.

These mutterings were temporarily suspended on the arrival of the performers in question, fresh from a twilight performance of the current dance production at the Opera House. After a brief consultation with the Producer and the Director to settle all the preliminaries, this couple went to work in such a quiet and efficient manner as to unconsciously provide a worthy (and timely) demonstration of stagecraft professionalism.

The robing trio were promptly called upon to apply their skills to transforming them into a graciously attired Edwardian couple. It was fortunate that they had arrived with appropriate garments borrowed from their dance company, as such would have hardly been procurable from the filming crew's resources. This, and the fact that the Dream Girl and the Dancing Partner were quite used to dressing themselves, reduced the load on the Wardrobes Person no end. On the other hand, the Hairdresser and Make-up Person were kept quite busy all through the assembly of the railway tracks, camera mounting and lighting for the night's filming.

Finally arrayed, coiffured and otherwise made-up, the Dream Girl and Dancing Partner again approached the Director, who by this time seemed to have gained sufficient command of his various appliances to recommence filming operation. He promptly indicated the area in which the two performers were to operate and handed them over to the meter-flashing-cum-shouting attentions of the Light Measurer. Then, all being ready in this regard, he requested the Dream Girl to take the stage first and issued his directions in one short word, "Dance."

Followed a minor delay in which the Dream Girl endeavoured to extract some clearer understanding of just what sort of dance action the Director had in mind. This naturally precipitated, in the robing trio ranks, another sotto voce snickering session which ultimately condensed into the audible expression of the sarcastically intoned question, "Can she dance?" This seemed to have an electric effect on the Real Artist who knew much better than this. She immediately turned and squarely faced the trio, then quietly, calmly, but ever so icily pronounced, "Just you wait and see."

Meanwhile, back at the filming area, the Dream Girl had obtained answers to her questioning of the Director. They added up to something along the lines of, "Just what you feel is appropriate for the music." Actually, she seemed to be quite satisfied with these terms of reference. So, this being settled, cameras etc. being ready, the Director issued the call "Music" and again from the ghetto blaster emerged the strains of "Man Of Colours."

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Dream Girl stood motionless, head bent forward, hands together in front of her and pointing down to her feet, as if poised in meditation. She remained thus for the first dozen bars, apparently absorbing the spirit of the music into her very soul; then, suddenly she glided into action, head rising, feet moving into graceful steps, arms stretching forth in sinuous patterns, her whole being weaving and twirling in a breathtakingly beautiful dance.

No one noticed whether the camera started rolling or not. All the mutterings and chatter which had been filling the stale air of the warehouse ceased, as if the switch to which they had been connected had been snapped off. The music gained full possession of the soundscape, save for the merest hiss of exhaling breath from the quarter where the robing trio stood motionless. The solo continued through to the end of the song. Only when the last cadence of music died away and the Dream Girl returned to her initial statuesque pose, was the silence again broken, this time by a spontaneous burst of clapping from the whole filming crew.

It is a matter of record that, in all of her prowlings and listenings for the rest of that evening and, indeed for the whole remaining film sessions through the following day, the Real Artist detected never a further grumble or mutter reflecting on the suitability of any of the cast - nor did anyone else. The Dream Girl, in a few short steps, had silenced them forever.

With the format of the scene thus established, the filming proper commenced. The Dream Girl glided and twirled, at some times in solo mode and, at others, in the arms of the equally skilled Dancing Partner. The couple worked on so for the next hour or two to the accompaniment of the inevitable light measurement, manipulation of props and camera, shouted directions and a certain amount of actual filming.

The Old Man stood at the easel patiently dabbing at the portrait of the Dream Girl, except when the camera moved to positions where it had no earthly chance of catching him unawares. At those times he abandoned his station at the easel and assumed an alternative role of a silent, smirkingly-satisfied observer of the real Dream Girl in action.

"And so to bed"

At last, the call to cease filming for Day 1 came. The performers were divested of their stage robes and make-up and sent off home to rest and prepare for the rigours of Day 2. The film crew, of course, had much to do before they could sleep that night; the robing trio to collect and sort the discarded finery, stuff it back into the black plastic bags ready to produce again the next morning (and perhaps a last final calculation of the day's takings), the Staging Person to collect, carry off, and service all the props, lights, etc., and the Heavies to disassemble and cast all the bits of the camera equipment back down that breakneck stairway to their trailer waiting in the street below.

The Old Man and Real Artist drove off home, immersed in heavy discussion as to what could be left to absorb filming Day 2. They agreed that something would have to be done by the Musician. He really ought to be part of the action. Then, perhaps there were other bits and pieces. Anyway, they did seem to be gearing up for something big the next day, even if they, themselves, had received the direction that they did not need to be on the set quite as early as on Day 1. The couple went off to bed firmly optimistic that they were participating in something which, in dramatic content and duration, was likely to rival, nay, surpass no less, the epic "Gone With The Wind."

To be continued - yet again...