Friday, August 31, 2012

Sourcing The Codes

Welcome back, Acting Fans and Bloggers, it’s Friday so you know what that means. Yep, it’s the second blog post of the week.

Since Wednesday Chris has been busy sourcing and sorting sound effects for the first episode. He wanted to get his hands on some old school sounds which he found on AudioGo, he found the albums 'Essential Sci-Fi Sound Effects Volume 1 and 2'. The only problem was that his OS couldn't handle the download application on the site. Luckily my newly-resurrected PC came to the rescue and we finally got our hands on them.

So now the first episode has all of the sound effects in place and is almost ready to go with one exception, we still need to film the end of a short additional scene. Which we were hoping to try and do today but I have at the moment lost my in-character shades. I have ordered some new aviators and they are on their way to me but sadly they didn't arrive today.

What have I been doing then while Chris has been so busy? Well, I have been finalising the shooting script for the next episode we are filming. Writing up the changes that we came up with when we did the read-through last week and also doing a bit of tweaking on the next episodes script too. All in all we are still getting on with it but it's the quiet time of sorting out all the little things that have to be done leading up to filming which, hopefully, should be soon.

As always keep them home fires burning until the next time meet for a chat,


Vernon Harcourt

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Kindness Of Strangers

Welcome back, Acting Fans, once again it's the Wednesday blog post, so let’s get down to it. Since last Friday we have finalised the shooting script for the next episode and yesterday (Tuesday 28th Aug 2012) Chris dragged me out on another location scouting (Yep, I didn't learn from last time).
This time to find a pub that, it turns out, actually does, you know, exist! Travelling to place where I’ve never been before. Where was it I hear you ask? (I do hear you, I'm not crazy - I’ve been tested.) Well, it is the 'Cat I' th Well' pub, 15 minutes out of Halifax by bus, up in the sticks of Wainstalls. Oh, and what an adventure we had!

Sometimes you might wonder why you stay in Halifax, then you remember THIS is a quarter of an hour away
First, it turned out we'd gotten off of bit too far by stopping at the end of the line, and so we had to walk back down the road to the Crossroads Inn, which we found out after politely asking the bus driver where it was (yes, yes, we'd both totally forgotten to Google Map it). As we went on our merry way back down the looong road, the bus set off on it's return leg to town when, instead of just passing by, it pulled up next to us. The bus driver who had taken us up there offered us a free ride back to the Crossroads Inn and gave us directions from the bus stop there (What a lovely bloke, never underestimate the power of politeness, kids)! Then from the Crossroads we started the looong walk down the road to the pub and it was indeed a loooong way down.

Master of All He Surveys - apart from all the stuff he isn't the Master of
On the way down saw why indeed Yorkshire is often called God's Own County - just absolute stunning scenery. But, about half-way down the hill, a mild panic set in. Were we going the right way? Are we lost? What will happens to us out in the middle of nowhere, so far from civilisation (and booze)? Well, Acting Fans, in true actor’s fashion we marched merrily on (as The Show must) and, lo and behold, around the next corner, nestled behind a small wood of trees, was the pub we had been looking for the 'Cat I' th Well'. Hurrah!!!

So, after nipping in for a quick drink, we set about planning shots and taking photos for a visual storyboard, even though we did forget to bring our actual camera along, you know - the one that can take actually good photos, that one that we film with and shoots the correct aspect ratio and everything (Gah!). Instead we had to use Chris's phone camera. With all that done, we then started the perilous long walk back up the hill. Oh boy, that really did put us out of breath but we marched on ever more - onwards and upwards.

Though leaving wasn't easy - Good job the pub is closed between 3 & 5 on a weekday
When we arrived at the top of the hill we had just missed the bus back down (Damn it) and the next one would be almost a half hour! So we took up seats on a picnic tables benches by the Crossroads Inn car park. As it happened a bloke, who we later find out was called Charles and from South London, was moving some stuff into the pub for his mom after a family bereavement.
We offered to help him as the good honest chaps we are but Charles initially politely refused our offer. When he lost a couple of big books from the huge pile of things he was carrying, whilst struggling with the front door, he needed some extra hands, which we provided. As we were waiting for the bus to turn up Charles offered us lift back down into town as he was heading to the funeral directors at King Cross. What a(nother) lovely bloke (I mean, we could have been anyone)!
So, if anything, we did indeed prove that there IS such a thing as a Free Ride, in fact we got TWO!

And I saved pound too - a whole POOOUND, all in all it was a successful day and a grand one too.

Well, that’s it for now and, as always keep, the home fires burning until next time,


Vernon Harcourt

Friday, August 24, 2012

What's The Word?

Salutations, loyal Acting Fans, and welcome once again to the H&H Productions blog Friday update. As promised, Vern and I have managed to get our planning-meet-up-and-line-run in before this Bank Holiday Weekend hits.

The Spoils, Practice
If there's one thing we've learned during production it has definitely been the value of practice. Not just rehearsing to learn our lines but also the actual reading of the lines themselves, such as on our first line run for the episode being filmed next. It may be one of the oldest saws that what looks right read on a page doesn't necessarily sound right when said aloud, we'd have to agree though - as they say, sometimes cliches are cliches because they are true. Today there's been more than a touch of altering lines, striking out words (then putting them back in again after removing other words), re-arranging statements and generally messing with the lines to get them more natural sounding or to get a better cadence or rhythm.
As well as the line run, we've gone back over the notes of the last meeting where we solidified what the pre-title sequence would be used for this episode, added a note of it on the script itself and written in a new first scene (one that has a stronger tie continuity-wise with the earlier episodes than the one originally planned) that Vern will type up into a finalised script later.

That's pretty much it for this week, we have our next line run planned for next Tuesday, some organising to do inbetween and we may be up for some more location scouting too. Until next time, then, have a great Bank Holiday Weekend (or, if you're not in the UK, a grand normal weekend) and Goodnight out there, whatever you are...


Christopher Haigh

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

For The High Jump

Welcome, Acting Fans, once again to this Wednesday blog. Let me tell you what's been happening since last Friday. Well, oh, hmm, erm, well, we did warn you - actually not a lot as happened. Really. I'm not going to lie to you. I’ve been learning my lines for the next episode (I have some loooooooot of lines to learn this time around) and Chris has been busy working away at his (part-time) daily toils.

Other than that, and doing some prep work for this Friday, there hasn’t been a lot going on but rehearsals are a very important task, and this one is going to take quite a bit of reading to get it right in my head and to keep up the high standards of the other episodes. Yep, that’s right folks. We have set ourselves some pretty high standards (we've a high metaphorical bar to clear, and I'm a solid bloke) which is always good as it keeps on making us try to improve our techniques.

That’s it for now - just a short stop to check in and let you know we may not be movin' but we're still travellin', until Friday’s blog keep the home fires burning and see you then (Well, sort of)


Vernon Harcourt

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ebb & Hustle & Flow

Welcome back, Acting Fans, it’s Friday and you know what that means it’s blog time - so let’s do this!
Since last time we have been (well, when I say 'we' I mean mostly Chris) putting in the sound F/X to the first episode and doing minor editing tweaks to the episode (I guess you could call it a sort-of 'effects shot' but that might be over-selling it). Chris then brought some rough cuts of the episodes to drop off at my gaff (AKA: H&H HQ ) for me to look over and say 'yea' or 'nay' to. I'm glad to say they passed my approval with just a few notes for minor tweaking, such as the SFX sound levels and one or two bits & pieces here or there.

After viewing the episode roughs and making the few notes, we did a bit of re-writing on one of the next episodes, we’ve just added small changes inspired by the development of the format of the two filmed episodes. But what? I hear you ask well, well, that’s a secret you’ll just have to wait and see what it is exactly. Let's just say a 'running gag' (Maybe a clue or not...ooooh, what am I like?).

Anyway, it's no stopping for us yet just because two are down, it’s straight on with the next one I am going to be spending most of this week learning lines ready for the rehearsal next Friday. Friday? That doesn't sound non-stop does it but, yep, our next rehearsal is a week away, well, we have to do our day jobs in between these rehearsals, shoots and such - this web show of comic genius don’t pay for itself you know, well, not yet anyways!
I think that's about it for now, until the next time we speak through the written word, keep them home fires burning and as always...


Vernon Harcourt

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Welcome back, bloggers and Acting Fans. Well, I am BACK, the Big Tease has returned to ride the keyboard once again MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
I survived the apocalyptic disaster of my PC breaking down. God rest her electric soul, she'd served me well - speed on the wings of a calculator to android heaven, my dear. I now have a new machine. Better, stronger, faster, oh, alright, cheap & affordable - so then let's get to it!

What’s has happened since the last time Chris talked to you (besides my computational woes)?
Well, we wrapped up shooting on the first episode last week and yesterday we went in to the editing room (as you may recall, AKA Chris’s bedroom. Note: To potential Slash-fictioners, there was no funny business - apart from the creation of a work of Comic Genius®, that is) and I am very pleased to say we now have two episodes pretty much completed. With just some additional sound effects for the first episode to go but once they are in, it's ready to go! (OH, yeah! Groovy!)

Getting ahead in filmmaking
But we did have one small problem when we were editing and that was with one of the 'Previously on Harcourt & Haigh' sequences which we filmed waaaay back in March.
We had the raw footage but we had experimented with separately-recorded sound, due to the camera we were using being a compact digital one with great video but sadly no Mic Socket (this was during our period of video camera uncertainty) and a lot of ambient noise, because of this some of the sound needed syncing up. Unfortunately somehow not all of the shots and/or sound files we thought we had were there, perhaps a lack of coverage on our part or the files may be lost in the shuffle, filed 'safely' somewhere in the recesses of Chris's hard drive.
We did, however, have a section of some of the line takes edited together with sound synced up thanks to Matt. With a bit of clever editing and syncing up some dialogue from the synced edit with shots from other takes we did in fact manage to make it work. (Yeah! Go us! We are like some kind of, I dunno, editors or something, we are.)

He's back...and this time, it's personal!
So in three single-day sessions we have filmed and edited an episode, we are indeed rocking on with this series. With a lot of luck, and a little bit of energon, they should be live soon. Well, once we cut together a new Intro sequence that is.

There we go, Acting Fans and bloggers, that's it for now so, as always, keep them home fire’s burning until the next time we meet up.


Vernon Harcourt

Friday, August 10, 2012

Computer Apocalypse Now

Well, hello again, Acting Fans - it's blog Friday and we start today with a bit of Bad News. During the sorting of Wednesdays footage, something went awry with Vern's PC. Whilst sorting through shots strange bitmapping and mouse arrow trails occurred before a sudden total shutdown. Fortunately no footage was lost but, after getting a bit of expert help, it turns out that his 8-year-old 80GB hard disk had given up the ghost (in the Machine), it spins up no more, it is an Ex-Drive, it spins with the choirs celestial.

Vern's a good soldier though and wasn't about to let total disaster stop us, so he decided to stick to this week's shooting schedule. After a bit of a think I realised my old laptop might come in handy and it did. Although we couldn't review the footage on it due to the outdated OS, the computer allowed us to transfer it to my flash drive to get it home to the Editing Suite (AKA me bedroom). It has put us a little behind on the reviewing of the rushes but we have still managed to get most of the first episode filmed with todays shoot. Praise Shatner!
Today's shoot was once again back at H&H HQ AKA Vern's Flat and was, for the most part, Vern-centric. Though there was some call for my appearance, full costume wasn't required. Yep, I didn't even need my pants on for my segments. Er, I mean I didn't need my ACTING pants on, of course. I was wearing trousers, honest.
After wrapping the interior shots we broke for lunch. Having refueled we returned to the flat for the final exterior shots for Episode 1. Before shooting outside we remembered there was a single pick-up shot we needed of the interior first. Then that was that job done. Next week we'll be getting down to editing the episode and it'll be 2 down, 4 to go! Woo!
Fings crossed Acting Fans the series could be here sooner than you think, stay tuned and...


Christopher Haigh

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Hello, Acting Fans and Blogonauts, once again it's the first Blog day of the week at H&H Productions. We're coming to you with a later posting today as we've just finished an on location shoot for Episode 1 (which, if you've been keeping tabs you'll remember, we are perversely filming second). We've spent the day here:

The Suh-Suh-Studio!
We had been having problems figuring out where in the flat to shoot a certain scene in Episode 1 before realising that we could use an alternate location for it. The question was where? My sister Beka had already kindly allowed us access to her studio space in Sowerby Bridge for some of our prop making and it dawned on us that it would be a great set for the scene, so we approached her again about filming there this week and she kindly permitted it. Lucky for us she was between making things.
Having finished for today we've packed up our things and headed back to the flat with a prop that is a major part of this episode (and that I finally got around to finishing off *Phew*) to leave it at it's new home. My room seems a little emptier now the little guy's gone. As I type about todays machinations Vern will charging up the camera to download the rushes (we really must have hammered the battery today) then he'll have a first pass at selecting the best shots for use. Fings crossed with todays shoot we'll have the entirety of the main middle scene done, leaving us with just the top and tail scenes of the episode to shoot at the flat this Friday.

Wish us Luck!


Christopher Haigh

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Brief Pause

Still hard at it, here at H&H HQ.

Hello, bloggers and Acting Fans, and what have been up to since Wednesday? Well, having edited the full first cut of episode 2, Chris has been sourcing and syncing some sound effects for it and that's about it, apart from a small wee bit of planning and me starting to learn my lines nothing has really happened.

I'd got it in me head (and the diary) that me and Chris were due to be meeting up today to have a line runthrough, though it appears I got the dates wrong in the diary and Chris was, in fact, working. Whoops, silly me! Flippin' day jobs! So I've made a pass on the script and have started to learn my lines instead.

We are hopefully still on for filming in the next week or so. So we are in fact still on schedule despite today's hiccup, and we should have two episodes down by the end of this month, only four to go. We might have even started the third, who knows. Fings crossed, Acting Fans!

Until the next and as always keep the home fires….you know.


Vernon Harcourt

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Steaming Along

Hello, Acting Fans and Bloggers, welcome back once again - let’s get to it!
So, I am very pleased to be able to say now that the second episode (of the series run) is now completed, minus the sound effects. I if I do say so myself (which I will) it is very good and funny. I really do think we have done a very good job with this one.

Our new digital camera has made worlds of difference to the production. Mainly being able to watch the rushes, there and then after shooting. So we can pinpoint any mistakes right away and get some re-shoots within the same session without the pain of re-setting the set for continuity on another day.

As a small note though I must say, out of all of the things I have edited, this has been one of the hardest one to do (definite thoughts of getting a second camera spring to mind) but in true Harcourt & Haigh style we have pulled it off (just). And it all works and flows the way I envisioned it to.

So what’s next? What are we up to and when can we see episode? Those are the questions you're all asking. Well, let me tell ya……………….. hahaha - not just yet, Acting Fans, tune in next time same H time, same H place to find the answers and maybe a little more!
Until next we meet, keep the home fires burning.


Vernon Harcourt