As an Executive Producer and Producer, production for ”Harvey Greenfield Is Running Late” first scene commences on 9th August 2021, a comedy feature directed by Jonathan Howard based on the critically acclaimed one-man play by Paul Richards. Paul reprises the title role in the film, directed by Jonnie Howard, who I previously worked with on A Cliché for the End of the World and The Knowledge.
The production is based in Cambridgeshire, and over the last couple of months crew have attended recces, rehearsals and meetings. Film DOP, Neil Oseman is aiming to approach the film the same way he did Hamlet, reading each draft of the script carefully and creating a spreadsheet breakdown. Scene by scene, the breakdown lists his ideas for camerawork and lighting.
”Harvey is a stressed and neurotic character who can’t say no to anything. The film takes place over a single day of his life when he finds himself having to attend a wedding, a funeral, a big meeting at his office, a school play and an appointment at a garage. Numerous scenes see him jogging from commitment to commitment (always running late in more ways than one) while taking phone calls that only add to the pressure. In the finest tradition of Alfie, Ferris Bueller and Fleabag, he also talks to camera.”
Talking of finest traditions, the budget is very low but ambitions are high! With 100 script pages and 14 days the shoot will be more of a sprint than a marathon. The UK film and TV industry is busier at present than ever, making up for lost time last year, so sourcing crew and kit has certainly been challenging. But thanks to generous sponsorship by Sam from SIGMA, we will be shooting using line of cine lenses PL 14MM T2, PL 20MM T1.5, PL 35MM T1.5, PL 135MM T2, 18-35MM T2, PL 50-100MM T2. When it comes to cameras, we couldn’t be more grateful to Global Distribution from Cambridge which allowed us to use the RED Ranger Gemini 5K with Hedbox Power batteries and Atomos for monitoring, all kindly supplied by Richard and Dominic, thanks Global Distribution
One of the first things Jonathan, the director, told Neil, the DOP was that ”he wanted to use a lot of wide lenses”, which makes a lot of sense for the story. Wide lenses fill the background with more clutter, making the frame busier and more stressful for Harvey. They also put us into Harvey’s headspace by forcing the camera physically close to get a tighter shot. We shot some tests early on with Paul, primarily on the Sigma Cine 14mm, to start getting a feel for that look.
Influences include Woody Allen, the Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, Terry Gilliam and Napoleon Dynamite, and as usual, watching reference films has formed an important part of prep for the DOP, Neil.
Based on the colour palette Nicole Stone has put together for her costumes, Neil has decided to use orange as Harvey’s stress colour and green when he’s calmer. For most of the film this will just be a case of framing in orange or green elements when appropriate, or putting a splash of the relevant colour in the background. For key scenes later in the story we may go so far as to bathe Harvey in the colour.
Right, we better get back to trying to sort out the lighting, which is still up in the air. Possibly this post should have been called Pre-production for “Harvey Greenfield” is running late.
Follow our journey and next blog post on what we’re planning to use for all that data storage and solution.