Friday, December 23, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year...

As the festive season is starting to kick in for reals, all of us here at H&H productions would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We will be starting the New Year with hopefully more 'Bang' than 'Whimper' with a lot more of the filming, blogging and general high jinks in the coming months.

Until January the Blog will be on a seasonal Hiatus while for us its back to planning, looking through what we have shot and editing. Now, H, pass me some more of the Eggnog and wine. See you on the other side,


Stay classily, 

TTFN for now.

Vernon Harcourt

"Did that keep them occupied long enough, H?"
"The Good News: It turns out they were out last-minute shopping anyway."
"The Bad News: All they had left in the drinks cabinet was half a bottle of Gallo and an opened vodka."
"Hang on, H, that does it!"
 Oi, you lot! Next Christmas get some proper booze in for us to nick, you gits!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Special Delivery

Well, Folks, It's that special time of year when nights have drawn in, the stars align and where we contemplate the sacrifice, the wonders and the miracles that have been, as well as those that have yet to come. The celebration of an entrance into the world, an unusual birth. What?! Christmas? Nooooo!

Aww, Isn't it cute? 8 Gigs of Acting Prowess!
We've got our footage together!
And we're ready to get editing a rough cut of the first episode! Now bear in mind there'll be a lot of re-shooting yet and this rough cut will be for-our-eyes-only as we figure out which shots to change, where we need new composition and what we've missed. Over the festive season we'll be beavering away behind the scenes (and between the festivities) and hopefully (fings crossed) we may have something to show you over the yuletide season/early new year.
Until then we've got someone in to take care of our Precious Cargo:
Thanks, Goku!


Vernon Harcourt
Christopher Haigh

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Learning Curve

They say the it's possible to profit from calamity, so here at H&H Productions we're hoping to put calamity to good use - we're good at calamity (not so good with profit so far, though). We're on a learning curve here and what we've learned thus far is:
We need to learn more.
What better way is there to learn than by doing and what we have done is look back at our filming so far and then realised what we haven't done, not enough rehearsing, not enough shot planning and not enough storyboarding.
We also experimented with the use of ambient natural light on the first shoot for a 'grim-up-'North' ambiance, this has proved, however, that it's TOO 'grim up 'North' (for shooting indoors at this time of year that is).
A plan of Action is required and that's exactly what we've got:

1. More rehearsing
2. More Storyboarding
3. Reshoot the Flat footage, with lighting, after rehearsing.
4. Keep learning
5. Get on with it

So we may be abandoning the first flat-shot footage but it hasn't been a waste, we've learned. In that senses we guess we've already profited from calamity. Now to get down to profiting from success!

Stay tuned, Acting Fans.

All The Best,

Vernon Harcourt
Christopher Haigh

Friday, December 9, 2011

Give Us Our Props IV

Of course, you know what has to happen now...

Yeah, That's right - We've made a Chekov Gun.

Stay tuned, Acting Fans


Vernon Harcourt
Christopher Haigh

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


"Uh oh."
So, this Sunday gone, the british weather decided to remind us we're at it's behest by pouring it on - the rain that is. We had to scrub the intro sequence shoot which, whilst annoying, sort of worked out OK as Matt, our trusty cameraman/soundman/pretty-much-everything-else-man, was unavoidably detained by family duties. Being a father of two has it's demands, Dad's taxi being a common one.
As we beaver away with the shot footage and other behind the scenes stuff we've often got one eye on the task at hand and one on the upcoming weather. So sometimes, we look a bit like this:

"Too late."
We are still hoping to have at least the pilot episode done in time for early next year, so wish us luck (and clement weather)!

Fings crossed.

Stay tuned.

See you soon.

Vernon Harcourt
Christopher Haigh

Friday, December 2, 2011

The New Guy

Well, we've been shooting again, this time at the flat (Vern's co-habitation that we are using as H&H's base of operations) as well as the wilds of Halifax, where any innocent passerby can suddenly have a mastiff puppy brandished at him by ne'er-do-wells in tracksuits (Poor Matt!). Leaving us with enough footage for a Rough Cut of the pilot episode 'Ships Ahoy!'.
As a brief aside meet the New Guy who's been helping us with the sound:

The n00b
He doesn't say much but he's cheap (as cheap as free!) and sure doesn't mind standing in the same spot for protracted periods.
Besides the New Guy we also still have our stalwart cameraman/soundman/just-about-everything-else-bloke Matt (the aforementioned Matt Birdsall, Photographer, Musician, Renaissance Man and Traumatised Puppy-Brandished-At-Bystander) who has had his work cut out for him by SOMEone having the bright idea of filming a scene in a phonebox (yes, it was ME....and I'D DO IT AGAIN! MWAHHAHHAHAHA! *Leaps out of window* *Sheepishly climbs back in window to continue blogging*). So the dialogue had to be recorded separately and in improptu fashion by Matt improvising with his iPhone.

"The things I get myself into......" Matt Birdsall
So with luck this Sunday we'll be filming footage for the intro sequence and possibly a bit of re-shooting, let's see how what we've shot hangs together.

Stay tuned, Acting Fans!


Christopher Haigh

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Can't Blog, directing...
Always consult your script.
Frame the scene...
Always consult your script...again (Who wrote this dross?!)
Stay tuned,
Vernon Harcourt

Friday, November 25, 2011

This Is Just a Tribute

This week see's a couple of historic milestones for us here at H&H Productions, one of them a little sad.
So let's start with the bad (and now pretty old) news first, this week sees the anniversary of the death on 24th November, 1991 of (IOHM*) one of the 20th century's finest showmen, Farrokh Bulsara AKA Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen. As late 70s/early 80s kids Freddie and Queen were at the forefront of our formative Pop Cultural experience and, of course, besides great hit tunes as geeky 70s/80s kids he (& the rest of Queen) also provided the soundtrack to not one but TWO firm favourite cult films:

Forget Star Wars (remember it started off as Lucas' pitch for a Flash Gordon film) plus Max Von Sydow, Peter Wyngarde AND Brian Blessed in one film - no computer-controlled FX models can compete with that sort of cast. Anyone who disagrees gets the Bore Worms.
And then the film that spawned a far-spanning franchise of infinitely reducing returns but it's so good we forgive it it's rubbish sequels:

A sad day but a great one to remember the talent of the man and as he himself once sang, the show must go on. So long, Freddie and thanks for all the tunes.

While we're talking about 'shows going on' that brings us to the happier news. This week also saw the anniversary of a groundbreaking television series that first hit the TV screen on 23 November, 1963. That day BBC 1 broadcast the first episode 'An Unearthly Child' and two unwitting schoolteachers and the British public were introduced to a certain mad man (who's not really a man) with a blue box.
Despite the hiccup of being laid low in the 90s (yeah, thanks a lot, Michael Grade, we don't think *shaking fists towards London*), thanks to Russell T. Davies and BBC Wales the Doctor has enjoyed a wildly successful revival these past few years. Here at H&H we are always ready to salute the sort of fiction that stops staring in the kitchen sink and gets you to look out the window at the stars above, so Happy 48th Birthday DOCTOR WHO, long may you transcend Time and Space!

(The only November broadcast Christmas advert that we support, plus it's for charity, innit?)

A Happy Whonniversary to you all!

Stay tuned for more Harcourt & Haigh-centric news next week,


Vernon Harcourt
Chirstopher Haigh

* = In Our Humble Opinions but of course, you figured that out, didn't you? After all, You're not total n00bs are you? What, you ARE?!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Guerillas In The Midst

After filming on the fly, during the shooting this foggy weekend gone, some simple rules to follow when you’re a Low-Budget/No-Budget feature came to our attention.

Rules of Guerrilla filmmaking according to Harcourt & Haigh:
  1. First choose the location or locations (scouting it/them BEFORE the shoot is very handy in case, oh, I don’t know, say when you arrive there they are now out of bounds to the public and/or inaccessible, also see Rule 2) 
  2. If big trucks are moving in and out of said location it will not be a good idea to use the location as injury and/or death could and probably will occur.
  3. Always remember to get permission (or do it on a Sunday and be quick about it but remember Sunday’s are no longer sacred and most places you think will be closed now run 24/7, hence large trucks moving in and out, see Rule 2.)
  4. Always maintain a polite demeanour and leave the location as you find it. (or Sneak in and film it and sneak out.)
  5. Props will never behave how you want them to no matter how you train them to.
  6. Always try and get hold of stunt doubles if possible.  (Stone steps hurt when rolling down them, if you don't know how to fall properly.)
  7. Always have back-up tripods, as they might go walkies. (Always remember the War Of The Worlds, they may be smaller these days but the little buggers are still not to be trusted!)
  8. Always make sure to film plenty of close-ups, a good choice to be able to intercut easily with other takes.
  9. 3 is the magic number, of course I mean always do at least 3 takes (and two writer-come-stars plus one cameraman equals 3!).
  10. If you can wing a location then do so.
  11. Improvising can be your friend. (Not at all due to messing up lines, you understand.)
  12. And just remember if some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favourite head up against the barroom wall, looks you crooked in the eye and asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Arthur Harcourt always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Art?" "Yes sir, the check is in the mail.”

Follow these simple rule and your shoots shall be successful, until next time.

Keep it classily.

Vernon Harcourt

Friday, November 18, 2011

Give Us Our Props III

Our brief hiatus on series shooting gives us the opportunity to catch up on a bit of the old prop production. Progress on [REDACTED MYSTERY PROP] continues at a slow but steady pace.

Whatever could it be?
We're taking our time with [REDACTED MYSTERY PROP] as it's pretty demanding on our very basic carpentry skills (flat-pack furniture = a doddle, handling a Jigsaw (the power tool, not the perennial grandparent-preferred puzzle, you mook!) = I have never been more afraid in my life) and it has a very large possibility for error but, if we pull it off, it'll be brilliant (if we say so ourselves).
As we've said before though some stuff comes to us easier, take for instance this little beauty, BEHOLD:

Originally we envisioned something of a standard armoury-style gun rack for our two criminally-inclined actors. Further thought made that seem a bit too professionally criminal/possibly psychotic (as well as difficult to construct) we decided something more whimsical or comical was called for and so the concept of 'The Umbrella Stand Of Dooom' was born. Hang on, where do we get an Umbrella stand from? Well, it turns out Poundstretcher, the budget filmmakers' boon.
On a random scouring of the budget stores for stuff that is a) cheap and b) possibly useful (and not at all for cut price collectible toys), Chris came across a neat looking fake-leather laundry basket and, like an idiot, promptly took a picture of it and left it there.
You may hazard a guess as to what happened next after Chris consulted Vern and later returned to the shop to pick it up. What did you guess? It wasn't there? Well, you're almost right. SOME of it wasn't there, the lid in fact, which also had the price on it, had been nicked. It was then that Chris's inner yorkshireman came to the fore, as he realised, not needing the lid, he might be able to get it... cheaper!
After swift negotiation with the shop manager he soon left bearing his prize, a formerly £17 Leatherette Laundry Basket now lidless but a seven whole pounds (seven pounds later squandered on booze) cheaper. VICTORY!
And thus a Legend was born!
If that Epic Tale Of Successful Shopping hasn't thrilled you enough, we leave you with another sexy image of Hearthrob Harcourt on the Rocks:

He's thinking of you, ladies, always of you. Yes, ALL of you...
See you soon,

Don't have Knightmares,

Vernon Harcourt
Christopher Haigh

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Power Struggle

It is my sad duty to report a hump in the road in the series production for Harcourt & Haigh:Actors At Large. Production has come to a temporary hiatus due to unfortunate circumstances.
Matt has sought it here and sought it there, the damned elusive power cord, and it remains nowhere to be found. Never fear, acting fans, Vern and Myself are going over the production budget (in other words trawling through our spare pants pockets, clearing the moths from our wallets and having a look down the back of the sofa) to cobble together the funds for a new one.
Meanwhile the writing of two more episode scripts for series 1 is underway and we are looking at setting up the next scene for shooting, perhaps with an eye to using our backup (maybe it's time to polish off the promos). While you wait for more tangible updates here's an elliptically related tune by Sunna:

 Stay Tuned


Christopher Haigh

Friday, November 11, 2011

On The Rocks

So last weekend the series' second shoot took place on the outskirts of Halifax at scenic Albert Promenade, which on one side has a street of rather nice houses like this one:

 And on the other side of the street nothing but this spectacular view of the Calder Valley, some places to sit and admire the view:

Prepare for total aesthetic immersion
And some jutting Gritstone rocks (locally known, rather creatively, as 'The Rocks') and a sheer drop down to the top of Copley Woods:

Ye olde Halifaxe
All of which meant it was an easy location within our range where we could shoot an imperiled-looking Vern in a safe and non-imperiled fashion. Which is exactly what we did, though Matt as cameraman did get pretty close to the Edge. But that's Matt, dedicated to his angles...TO THE EXTREME!

Vern Rocks
Of course the series is called Harcourt AND Haigh, so I was there too. Where, you ask? The answer is [SPOILERS] .

 Stay tuned, Acting Fans.


Christopher Haigh

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hot Off The Presses

It's HERE! The first (& quite possibly only) issue of 'HARCOURT& HAIGH:Actors At Large' the Magazine! Strap yourselves in for what quite possibly may be the one of the greatest illustrated epics yet produced, a photostrip prequel to the upcoming web series...