When I was tasked with designing and building the set of our short film, THE THEORY TO TOMORROW, the first challenge was finding the right location for Frank’s workshop – which would be the centre point of our time travelling thriller. Because of our limited funds we didn’t have much choice in the matter... We would have to film it at our family home in Llanfaelog, Anglesey. Which just so happened to be the perfect spot. Attached to our home is an old, weather battered farm shed that would be nothing but brilliant to house Frank’s twisted laboratory.
We had four days. Two days for cleaning the shed (which turned out to be a nightmare!), trawling North Wales for furniture, set dressing and tools, and two days to put it all together. Including building a time machine!
I found most of the furniture and props I needed within the first day thanks to a lot of friends in the area (Theatr Fach Llangefni, Math Morris from Rondo Media and an amazing shop in Bangor called Relics). But a big problem came apparent pretty fast... I was in need of a van! And by the second day I’d rented one. An expense I had not foreseen. I needed to transport the larger Items; Frank’s desk and storage unit, and an amazing old industrial cabinet that would soon, somehow, become the time machine.
With everything we needed at our location it was time to get to work. Our brilliant runner Huw came on the first day and levelled out the uneven floor with chipping's so the desk and time machine would stand up straight.
As he got on with that, I got on with building Frank’s Machine. I needed to build a deeper back to the cabinet to fit a seat from a transit van inside – And our actor of course. I made the machine fully interactive with battery switches and leavers to pull, a control panel for Frank to punch in the time and a fuel tank for him to fill. And because we needed to remove the machine quickly and safely to allow the filming of the ‘experiment’ scene, the machine had to come apart.
With a few glowing lights and a lick of paint – IT WAS ALIVE!
One more day to go until the camera was rolling and there was still a lot to be done. Everything had to be dressed and distressed. My brother and I thought that the imagery of broken and dismantled clocks would be powerful, so I got Saran on the case, breaking and dismantling clock after clock. After a while the workshop started to take shape – ashtray full, paper work all over the shop, tools sprawled across the place, work lamp on and time machine in position.
One of the last jobs that had to be done was adding Frank’s equations on the walls. A friend of ours, Morgan Elwy, used to be a physics teacher and we asked him to supply us with anything that might correspond with time and space. With a dash of Morgan’s university files, and a sprinkle of science fiction, we went to work. And with charcoal in hand, we illustrated Frank's madness on the walls.
After four days of hard work, the day had finally arrived. Enter Frank and our talented film crew into the workshop. It all felt quite surreal. An idea that my brother and I came up with less than six months prior came to life in front of our eyes. All that was left was some fantastic acting, some movie magic and our vision had come to fruition.
Thank you for reading, we hope to share our film with you soon!
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