Ten Years Ago Today: Robot Overlords, Spitfires and Letting the Grass Grow

Long time readers of this blog will know that I’ve been looking back at my diaries from ten years ago, just as we were prepping to shoot Robot Overlords.

Pre-production was in full swing with location trips by the director Jon Wright and the production team. I could only sit at home and dream of such exotic locations…

Thursday 16th May, 2013

The Robots production and VFX team have been on recces to Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man this week. Some great 360°/180° photos from Paddy (Eason, VFX Supervisor). The one sticking point is the Spitfire: we can’t afford to park a real antique in the middle of a wood, and we can’t — apparently — afford to build a model. Thinking caps on…

The script had the Spitfire hidden from robot drones in a woodland clearing. Here’s the page in the script as the gang chase a boy through the wood and discover the Spitfire…

In the end, we set the scene on the edge of a wood and put the plane under camouflage canvas. Can’t recall who came up with the solution, but it works really well in the finished film…

From L-R: Milo Parker, Ella Hunt, Callan McAuliffe, James Tarpey

Friday, 17th May, 2013

Apparently the BFI are making noises like they might come in with extra dosh. Jon also reports that the locations and crew are great — he’s in good spirits.

A nice report from Screen International today — mostly on the finance, but a mention from Tim Haslam (Producer) on the strength of the script. Another piece on an Isle of Man news site looking forward to the start of production. It said the grass around the castle is being allow to grow after a request from the production.

See, we were into No Mow May long before it was fashionable! The grass had to be overgrown because no human had tended to it since the invasion, and gardening was not a priority for the robot invaders. They were more into harvesting minds!

Here’s that Screen International story. Not sure that ‘strength of the script’ quote is quite what I make it out to be. I guess we all see what we want to see!

The next entry will be on 23rd May where we lose a cast member and discover if the BFI are able to give us the extra money we need. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out…

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Author, screenwriter, and co-founder of the Bestseller Experiment podcast.

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