Shrewsbury School

School House film: Giles Bell's exclusive behind-the-scenes preview

Thursday 6 June 2013

Having had to wait seven years since ‘Gary Otter and the Trunk of Blood’ hit our screens, the news that a new film from School House will be released later this month has caused a flurry of eager anticipation around the School...

Owing to the pressures on the School Theatre, it has become necessary to restrict each House to one dramatic spectacular every two years. This is both a shame and a relief! It is hard work putting on a house play but it is almost always a very rewarding and worthwhile project. With so much creative talent in School House and a bad weather forecast for the winter months, we needed something to keep that creativity channelled in the right ways! Enter Brian Parsons the School’s new Head of Drama and a new tutor in School House. As it was seven years since the critically acclaimed ‘Gary Otter and the Trunk of Blood’ had been created by another generation of School House boys, it seemed right to bring the Bell era to a close with a première of another film. The wind of change is in the air; ‘Evolution’ had to be the title and according to the residents of School House it had to be a Zombie film.

School House camera crew Ape about‘Gary Otter’ was made on a hand-held camera and was, if truth be known, a very amateur effort. Mr Parsons with his LA background demanded higher standards. The School House budget has been blown on a new camera, clapper board, lights, tripod, editing suite, make up, costumes and cans of deodorant! The film needed writers, directors, cameramen, editors, lighting technicians, special effects experts, composers, not to mention lots of actors many of whom had to portray Zombie-like tendencies. The variety of styles has been incredible, although I was slightly concerned by those who have used method acting as a basis for their character development.  I am hoping I am right in stating that everyone in the House has had a chance to be involved in some way in the production.

The story is a complex web of intrigue, betrayal, Zombie indifference to mortals and an Educational documentary. I cannot tell you more without ruining the plot. There is also a preview of another film ‘The Invigilators’ and here are plans for a sequel ‘Invigilators 2 – Extra Time’. The filming has taken a long time, as a variety of shots and takes have been required to catch the drama as it unfolds. The editing is taking place largely in Josh Wong’s study on B floor in School House but we have had to bring experts from as far afield as Churchill’s (Finn McCormack) and Dana Parsons in LA to help. There are some guest stars in the film but I do not want to give too much away, suffice to say Mr Vicar’s portrayal of pure unbridled authority in its rawest form may never be bettered! The Directing team, ably led by Jack Doyle, are confident that it will be a triumph of its genre and we are all gearing up for the première on Friday June 21st at 7:30pm in the Ashton Theatre.

There have been a lot of laughs during the making of the movie. Peter Stanley found it difficult to describe the apparent death of his Housemaster without laughing; (at least nine takes) – he has been dealt with! Jack Calvert plays himself in a scene which will give you a glimpse of what I have had to deal with for the last five years. Miss Whittle is just awesome as a tough, no nonsense history teacher, and watch out for Aidan Corbo’s Zombie death scenes – they are just pure cinematic gold! There will be opportunities to watch the film in the Ashton Theatre on Friday 21st and in the Science Lecture Theatre on Saturday 22nd at 7:30pm and Monday 24th June at 8:30pm.

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