Jane Austen Country
Location: Near Alton, Hampshire
Bodies present: Henry Burrows, Ian Lindsay
The past couple of weeks have consisted mostly of preparation for our biggest shoot yet, the technically challenging "final battle" scenes, where the surviving students come face to face with a swarm of the vicious alien creatures. Spare time in the evenings and weekends has been devoted to the construction of some of the props we'll be needing. Many more aliens have been built from foil and fishing line, some rather unusual brightly coloured mushrooms have been sculpted and painted, and Mark Flitter has organised the pyrotechnics.
About the only thing we were lacking was a suitable location for this battle. The script originally stated a graveyard, but that had since been altered to the generic-sounding "Hangman's Ridge". This, we decided, would be a hidden location in some woods, supposedly in North Wales but in fact we'd be using some woods local to the rest of filming, in Hampshire. Today Ian and I set out to find it.
Our first option was Holybourne, where we had previously filmed one of the dream sequences (on March 8th). We made our way up a very overgrown path (a good sign, indicating a lack of people to disturb filming) for about twenty minutes, heading for some ideal-looking woods. When we got there we were faced with barbed wire and a sign reading "Keep Out". A disappointing start.
Returning to the car, we headed off to another possibility. This wood was fantastic! It was quiet, had a good density of trees, it was possible to get a fair distance from any paths and it even had a small "crater" in the middle which would be great for part of the chase scene. Was this our final choice?
As it happened, no. After lunch we explored our third option, a wood just a few miles from Jane Austen's house (hence the title for this diary entry). This was ideal! The trees were very similar to the last place, it was possible to get even further from the main paths than we could at the previous one, and there was a ridge running through it - a ridge that would become Hangman's Ridge.
The date for the battle scene has been set (next weekend), everything is just about ready, but the weather forecast is not good... if it rains, or if rain is predicted, we'll be forced to cancel, and because of holidays and other commitments we may not be filming again until the 18th or 19th of July! Don't hold your breath...