Not just one group of students but two – this time we were approached by a group of third year filmmaking UCLAN students, needing somewhere to build a couple of sets and make a film. Quite a lot of space was needed and even our project space could not easily accommodate that. As it happened however, a couple of resident artists who had spaces in the basement, were due to vacate at around the same time due to various reasons, so when Naomi then moved up to a vacant space on the first floor, the entire basement area became free. What an opportunity!
When we explained this would happen, the students jumped at the chance to take the whole space and effectively became residents for two months. Again, their approach was very professional, with a full proposal on what they wanted to achieve, the script, a proper health and safety policy that had clearly been thought through and a schedule showing what would be done and when and who would be responsible for it. They paid their rent and utilities contributions in full and up front, signed an agreement and we let them get on with it.
In the time they were with us, they built an amazing film set consisting of two separate filming areas. The first few weeks consisted of a lot of banging and drilling as the sets were built but they kept us informed at all times of what they were doing. They invited us to take a look once the sets were built and we were pleased to see they had done a very professional job. Evelyn, one of our resident textile artists, was able to assist with sourcing some materials and props and soon the sets were dressed and filming was ready to start.
They made use of our meeting room as a ‘green room’ for the actors and we tried to ensure that when filming was on we kept all other noise to a minimum. They were pretty self sufficient and cleared up after themselves.
This happily co-incided with a quiet time for residents at Oxheys, with 3 artists less (due to vacating the basement), another away on family business and another with very little time due to heavy work commitments, so timing was ideal.
It all seemed to go well – they worked long hours and finally, they were done. They all seemed really pleased at what they’d been able to achieve and it was a real pleasure having them with us during March and April.
When they left, they cleared everything out but offered us the opportunity to retain the set builds – we jumped at the chance as it now makes the basement area a much nicer space and gives some clearly defined studio areas rather than the open-plan space that existed before. It has also made it warmer down there. We have also gained some much-needed storage space. The guys also kindly left us some of their unwanted materials such as wood and MDF – much appreciated.
They have deadlines to meet and assessments over the coming weeks but once that is clear, they will return to Oxheys for a showing of the film they made in our basement – do watch out for details and dates! Meanwhile, we wish them – aka Triple J Productions – the best of luck.