In the last post we learnt how the cast reacted to the presence of the camera and how Helen felt working with such a tight knit group of people.  In this instalment we look at things that Helen has more control over, namely her creative and technical choices when filming and editing.

Let’s talk about beautiful film score. You have a background in music – How did you choose the type of music and how much input did you have ?  Following on from that, how do you think this informed the aesthetics of the film?

I initially edited the first cut of the film to existing songs that fitted the mood I was after. However it was always the intent to have an entirely original score. While I was editing, the composers Spesh Maloney and Chris McGill were doing an amazing job creating musical sketches and ideas. When the first cut was done, we spent a long time developing these sketches to really fit and support the arc of each scene. We were all adamant that the music and the edit should compliment each other, so it was a long process of going backwards and forwards, tweaking things until we really felt that the music and the film moved together. My editing style is fairly musical anyway, as my background is in music, and Chris the producer is also a musician, so the score was at the forefront of our minds from the start. We always wanted it to be really integral, as well as beautiful in its own right.


•How did you choose where to shoot from? Did you have much time to plan?

In terms of shooting angles, I was usually limited by the space backstage! I would just look at the space and, knowing the production fairly well by that point, I’d figure out where I needed to be for different moments in order to get the shot but not get in the way. Generally though, there was no time to plan – the important thing for the story was to capture the moments, and you frame it as nicely as possible while making sure you get the moment!


•You also edited the film; did it make you see the material differently? Did you know how you wanted to edit it before you started shooting or did the editing style evolve from that?

I always intended to edit the film myself, as I tend to almost edit in my head as I go along – I know how I want to piece things together as I’m shooting. However there are always some surprises and things that reveal themselves later -like Josh (McGuire, playing Hamlet) commenting on the lovely weather right before they all got drenched! When starting out, it was hard to know how well we would get to know the company. I thought that if they kept me at arm’s length the film would have to be more impressionistic. However when I realised that they were going to let me  in, I felt that the story should be allowed to tell itself, and that it should be chronological, and quite episodic to reflect the nature of touring.


•How much impact did the globe have in the edit?

Dominic was more involved during shooting – we would occasionally chat about how things were going, and we agreed that the film should just observe the actors rather than trying to exert an influence on them. But when it came to the edit, I was a bit of a control freak, and didn’t want to show anything until I had a first cut I was happy with. The first cut Dominic saw was about an hour and fifty minutes. I think he was a little surprised that it had turned out so funny and joyful, but he loved it, and he had some suggestions about where I could cut scenes and whittle it down. Generally though, he very much left us to it! It was really nice that there was that trust.


If you enjoyed this post, you might also like…

Photos from the Isle of Wight Film Festival







A Summer Hamlet : How it started







A Summer Hamlet : The cast & the play








Follow updates via Twitter with #ASummerHamlet and #ShakesFF (covers the whole Shakespeare Film Festival)