|Me with the clapper board.|
As I squeezed through the door to the cinema, I ran straight into Nathalie - one of the co-owners of JumpStart and the woman who first approached me via email back in 2012 to ask if her company could turn my book into a film. Nathalie is also eight months pregnant (and did a bloody good job of staying awake until 3am. Something the rest of us really struggled with!).
|Me, Dave and Bec in the Duke of York's cafe before filming started|
As a Christmas tree was assembled in the corner of the room, tables were cleared and the camera and sound crew set up I was introduced to Jamie the director, Richey the soundman (who will also be creating the score for the film), Matt Beveridge who plays Aiden, April Pearson who plays Beth, Melissa the make-up artist, Georgia the production assistant, Cliff the camera man, Graeme Dalling who plays Creepy Carl, Shirley who plays Mrs Blackstock and so many other people I've forgotten their names (sorry guys!).
Excited to take some pics of everyone in action I reached into my handbag for my Nikon, only to discover I'd left the SD card in my laptop at home. Doh! Never mind, camera phones at the ready instead...
As everyone frantically rushed around getting ready we squirreled ourselves away at the tables in the corner of the room (where we'd later 'act' as customers in a scene) and were joined by some friends - the lovely Georgie D (if anyone needs a personal trainer in Brighton she's your woman!) and author and 5:2 guru Kate Harrison and her partner Rich.
|From left to right: Rich, Kate, Bec, George, Me, Dave|
I wasn't told the questions in advance so stumbled over the first one
'What's Home for Christmas about?'
I've spent so much time over the last few months telling people what The Accident is about that I'd totally forgotten the elevator pitch for my second rom com. I had a second go and managed to get through the rest of the questions without stumbling although I was horribly aware that the room was totally silent and everyone was watching. Rather them than me in front of the camera!
|Me being interviewed for the Behind the Scenes documentary|
It was so surreal hearing actors speak the lines I'd written and see a scene I'd played out in my head come to life in front of me - it was still my book but it wasn't, it had taken on a life of it's own and become something new, shaped by other people's interpretations and visions.
|I sneaked a peek at a page of Graeme's script (complete with his notes)|
|Watching filming of the first scene. That's April (Beth) by the door and you can just make out Graeme (Carl) with his arms crossed perching on the table behind the camera.|
After filming that scene from several angles (including with us in the background as customers) it was time for one of the really touching scenes in the film - where Beth and Mrs Blackstock (the owner of the Picturebox) say goodbye. Shirley was perfectly cast as Mrs Blackstock. She's got a lovely open, warm face and demeanor with an edge of steel underneath.
|Beth and Mrs Blackstock hugging goodbye.|
|April (Beth) and Matt (Aiden) practice their lines whilst make up artist Melissa checks her phone.|
|We drank tea (a lot)|
|We ate Malted Milk biscuits (and Haribos and jelly babies)|
|Dave did tricep dips on the bar!|
|We watched filming and Tweeted|
|And Dave refreshed his make up!|
Bec and George also went for a wander upstairs in search of the fabled Duke of York's ghost and both swore they could sense something weird in the balcony (George said she saw some cushions move!).
|Me and Beth (April Pearson) a figment of my imagination come to life!|
|Being 'papped' with April!|
|Kate and Rich - smiling through the tiredness!|
Then it was time for April to be 'turned orange' by Melissa for the aftermath of the fake tan disaster scene. She didn't thank me for writing that!
|Fake tan disaster in progress|
|The final scene of the night: Creepy Carl tells a very orange Beth that he's been invited to Aiden's 'engagement party'.|
At 2.47am Jamie shouted 'That's a wrap!' or maybe 'We're done' or 'You can sleep now' - I can't quite remember, either way that was filming finished for another day. I hugged as many people as I could and said thank you, thank you, thank you, then strolled out into the cold Brighton air and headed for bed.
It was one of the most extraordinary, exciting and enchanting days of my life and one that I won't forget for a very, very long time. Roll on December when the film will be premiered at the Duke of York's and I get to see the whole thing. And thank you again JumpStart Productions, for helping make one of my dreams come true.
You can see more photos and follow the progress of the film here: http://www.facebook.com/homeforchristmasfilm