How I Became the 12th Doctor
One problem I had not really thought about was having to do this all by myself. The production had been so secret and rushed that I had not really had the time or opportunity to ask anyone to help out with the actual filming part of the movie. My original plan was to just hang the backdrop on the rear wall and use a near cabinet as a support structure. This would have worked fine had my original calculations not been so massively wrong, but now instead of being made to perfectly fit the space available, my backdrop was now the size of a small circus tent and it did not go up as easily as I had hoped.
|GARHHHHHHHHHHH! This is why he has assistants!!!|
But I’m nothing if not creative, so I had another sit down and thought about it. I quickly jerry rigged all the excess material of the top of the backdrop into a roll around the handle of a kitchen mop. This allowed me to add a solid structural beam, which I could then position to act as partial support for the entire canvas print!
I placed the head of the mop onto a wall lamp that provided the perfect position to which support the material. I went to the other side of the studio (which was actually my parents living room) and started putting together camera and setting up the lighting for the shoot.
Half way through setting the focus on the camera I started to realise something may be wrong. Though I am not exactly Steven Spielberg, I was pretty sure that the smell of fire on a studio stage was not a good thing.
|No one could have seen this coming. Not even a Time Lord.|
I was suffering.In my haste to get the backdrop and lighting setup, it seemed that the two had crossed paths and produced an unexpected result.
|Somehow I bet I get the blame for this.|
Having decided that I needed to the wall lamp on to provide adequate side lighting, it never occurred to me that placing a sponge mop on top of a red hot bulb might not be the best idea.
Flames licked at the wallpaper as the head of the mop continued to combust into flames, heading directly for the highly flammable canvas. I panicked and sprung immediately into action, pulling down my jerry rigged flaming mop and the huge backdrop with it, quickly putting out the flames. I then realised that if my parents were to walk in on my at this point, it would be the most difficult thing and crazy situation I would ever had to explain.
There I was dressed as a 1950s throwback, trying to put out a fire, holding a flaming mop, covered in a giant badly conceived piece of set dressing, while I filmed myself.
Either they were going to assume that I was filming the world’s most specific and weirdest snuff movie, or they were going to think that I had completely snapped during the night and have me put away. And to be honest it would have been hard to argue with them. I had a brief moment of clarity where I wondered to myself “What the hell am I doing?”
Here I was, a grown man, pretending to be a time travelling alien and almost burning down a house in the process. It’s moments like this that make you re-evaluate your choices in life and question the roads less travelled…
Then the boring grown up part of my brain went back into his hole, leaving me to think:
“Fuck it. I’m here now. Besides, the children need me!”
“Fuck it. I’m here now. Besides, the children need me!”
Regrouping I decided to have one more go. I had spent a great deal of money on the printing, props and costume, so I would be damned if almost murdering my parents in their sleep was going to stop me from creating a priceless work of art. This was going to be my Citizen Kane. This was going to be my 5th Symphony. This was going to be my Mona Lisa! Though, obviously with slightly more fire damage.
Having learned my lessons through my first setup mishap, I removed the black and charred bulb from the wall lamp and reset my backdrop.
Finally, at around 2am, everything was ready. The Tardis backdrop looked great, I was dressed in my costume and the camera was ready and waiting to catch the magic that was about to unfold.
Ok, ready to go. Let’s do this!
I set the camera to record and bounded into frame:
I stopped the camera and rechecked my lines. “Hello children, I am the Doctor.”
What the bloody hell?
Shake it off big man. The children are counting on you.
I wish I could tell you that I channelled the spirit of all the great Welsh actors and tapped into an unknown well of talent and acting ability that would make Richard Burton look like a bum, but the truth was it was nearly 3 painful hours of take after take after take.
Having to say the same 5 lines over and over again so many times for nearly 3 hours made the words lose all meaning and subtlety. I said the line “Oh no, the Daleks have broken through the time vortex!” so many times that by the time I actually did manage to nail it, the sentence was just a bunch of random words coming out of my mouth.
|The genius of my script had turned to gibberish by this point.|
My accent, so carefully crafted and perfected was starting to suffer too. I drifted wildly between English Vampire and Welsh Pop Singer. Part of me is sure that in the future, people will study this video convinced that I was suffering from some severe form of multiple personality disorder. Each accent and character fighting to be heard from the mouth of the crazy man.
Finally, at nearly 5am I had all the lines and action scenes of me moving from point A to point B and randomly pointing my sonic screwdriver at empty space done. I was beat and exhausted.
|But there's always time to freshen the place up.|
Deciding I had pushed my luck as far as humanly possible that night, I quickly took down the Tardis backdrop, changed back into my regular clothes and removed all evidence of the fact that just a few minutes earlier, this room had been a movie set. I eagerly retired to bed knowing that there now laid many hours of editing ahead of me in order to turn my terrible acting into a passable movie.
Also, I had to figure out what the hell I was going to do with a giant alien spaceship interior backdrop. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that I would get much use out of if I’m honest.
I spent the rest of the weekend working like a maniac to a tight deadline in order to get my movie finished. Scouring YouTube for all the necessary music, special effects and sounds was a nightmare. Searching for that one perfect “EXTERMINATE” almost drove me mad.
But slowly the movie started to come together. Some clever editing and special effects even managed to make my performance seem not completely terrible. Slaving over a hot keyboard, I pretty much threw the entire kitchen sink at the movie in order to make it as professional and interesting as possible. It was only a few minutes long, but I’m pretty sure I used every explosion and laser effect the internet had to offer.
|She just wanted a few lines to the camera. I should have listened.|
Come Sunday night I was done. I watched the movie for the first time in its completed form. And it wasn’t terrible. I was happy with that
Considering my sister in law had originally only wanted a simple, short movie, she was blown away when she saw the final product. The few trusted friends who I allowed to view the movie also praised my efforts and admired how far I had gone above and beyond the call of duty.
The next day she played the movie for her class. By all accounts it was a roaring success and I took centre stage in a large “Dr Who helps you study” exhibition in the main entrance hall of the school; my movie playing on a permanent loop, ready to inspire an child that wondered by.
|My name being seen by 10's of people! I think it's safe to say that I have finally made it.|
So that is how I became the 12th Doctor.
Unofficial of course. But I hear there is a grass roots campaign by fans for me to replace Matt Smith should he meet with an accident…….
|You may be a fellow Blackburn Rovers supporter, but this has to happen Matt.|