Splat is driven by the desire to make the fans happy. Yes it's a business but Splat really does want to please the fans. It would be very easy to do the same show each time, trust me it would make shoot days so much more straight forward, but I suspect that Splat wouldn't still be around if that's all it did. There are private shoots for the fans as well, where you can have your own Splat experience but sometimes, by negotiation, we shoot shows that fans have designed for specific models. So today's shoot with Malcolm was done "on behalf of", a show we were commissioned to do that would turn out to be huge fun to make even if things didn't quite go according to the commissioned plan...
So, going back a few weeks. Splat asks if I'm available to assist with shows on certain dates. If I am, then I get told who the model is and a brief outline of the show. Unusually for this one though, I'm sent the full initial outline. I'm told it's a commissioned show, so could I look it over from the "assistant" point of view and see if it looks doable within the limitations we have. I've been a fan long enough to know it's a great show in terms of the games but, now I'm an active part of shoots, I see it more from a technical side and can see a few logistical issues. More importantly, one game is great on paper but I know how long it would take to film and, more importantly, I suspect that Malcolmmight find it a little tough to get through. I send off my input and, between myself, Pete and the sponsor, we come up with tweaks and changes. We won't ever change commissioned games without lots of communication and yeah, I'm actually really happy when the game is agreed as it's actually similar to one I suggested to Pete a while ago but we never got around to filming.
We have two shoots booked in two days. It means that it's only when Beau leaves on the Sunday that I even get a chance to think about Malcolm. Pete checks that Malcolm is not going to trigger my body issues (seriously, Pete you are a bloody saint) and I look over the "final" script. Pete and I have nominally split the games between us in terms of direction and I spend the evening going over the bits I'll be doing so I'm happy that I'm going to be giving the sponsor what I think they want. A few more tweets are exchanged to double check and I then do my own trial run (without mess) to make sure it's doable.
Shoot day. The stills camera I'd planned to use decides not to work. That necessitates the first quick rewrite of the day. It's not a biggie to be honest, in some ways that was only going to be used for its look in the section about modelling. Just means I'll have to do the pictures on the iPad. Malcolm messages to say that traffic is a problem so he'll be slightly late. I'm actually relieved as it means I can really give thought to two of the messy segments that take place outside of the tank. If you want to commission a show then I'm all for it. I love the ideas in today's shoot... just suddenly standing in the room and realising that my spatial awareness means I'm now wondering if there'll be room. I'm determined that the segments I've volunteered to run will work though, and Pete is clearly buzzing for the day as he's singing. A few quick pacings out around the room and I think it'll work. Promise me if you design games you'll take into account that space is limited. Your imagination shouldn't be though
Malcolm... what to say? Within seconds of meeting him I know why the sponsor wanted him, I know that he's going to be perfect to work with and I know that, most importantly of all, I'm going to have to completely and utterly ignore his charm so I can gunge him guilt free. Utterly relaxed about things, he knows his audience and he LOVES the live feed. Most importantly of all though he's absolutely professional and damn good at his job. Especially when the gunge tank doesn't quite work as intended first time around. He's not thrown, he's not concerned, he turns it to his advantage to show why he's going to be a big star soon. I sort of feel guilty for stitching him up on the Gunge Tank Escape thing.
The first of the sponsor games. I admit I was actually really nervous doing this one. I have to remind myself of quite a few things to make sure my brain doesn't get anxious. There's a part of me that knows this is a sponsor game, so it needs to go well. There's a part of me that knows this is an unusual set up in that it takes place outside of the tank so not one any of us have done before. There's a part of me that also worries if the suggestions I made about it will actually work or not. And then there's the part of my brain that remembers there aren't rehearsals at Splat and what you see on the video is our first and only take. If you sponsor a show though we really throw ourselves into it and do our best to make it the game you wanted. Malcolm is an absolute hero, not only does he complete the game but he also helps out (again!) with minor issues that arise simply because it's a new game that we hadn't been able to try out in advance.
When you buy the Malcolm show, you'll notice there's possibly slightly more editing in there than usual. Not only did the stills camera not work, not only did the gunge tank play up.... but the main camera we use for shooting also decided to throw a hissy fit! Malcolm just took it all in his stride and never made a fuss, even if it did mean that he sat waiting patiently in the tank, semi gunged, whilst we sorted it out. I can't praise him enough. And if you buy his Splat Storm, or watch his bonus video on the fan club page you'll realise why he has my utmost respect for what he happily agreed to do. If you sponsor a show... okay, possibly please don't use eggs. We do promise though that we will give everything else a go. Within reason of course ;)
The show flies by. Pete re-plans things as we go along to make it run smoothly (he knows every way to keep things moving, get the show done and still have the working atmosphere great fun. One day, if you can, please try and watch the live feed. I'm guessing the Malcolm show will last about an hour but he was there for nearly 5 and live feed people will have got to see just how on the ball he is, how Pete sings and wiggles his bum and how I end up on my knees cleaning out bucket after bucket of gunge and we ALL stay smiling through it. At the end of the day, Malcolm heads off for his final thorough shower, Pete and I head downstairs for a chat and then we say our eventual goodbyes to someone who I really can only describe as an all round star. Then... the cleanup. Pete's in the bathroom sorting out the umpteen bits of lcyra, towels and other things that need washing. I'm on my fifth bucket from the fallout from the Splat Storm (Malcolm got SEVEN buckets' worth in total). Then there's a knock at the door. Malcolm has left his jacket behind....
Bloody actors, they've always got to have that encore haven't they.