Wednesday, 12 May 2010


The original, 2012 version of the time-travel adventure serial UNIVERSAL EAR is considered - by those few who are aware of it - to be the greatest act of filmmaking folly to have ever been committed to celluloid.

I beg to differ. After eight days of attempting to "prehabilitate" the same series in a public film studio no bigger than my flat (tiny), whilst putting up lead actor Stewart Lockwood (mansize) in afore-mentioned (tiny) flat, a full two years before the original was even made, our endeavour seems follier. Francis Dove, the director of the 2012 original, at least had some finance behind him - even though he never seems to have made up his mind whether the finished work would be destined for TV or cinema or internet, or even whether he intended it to be seen at all. We have only donations of junk (some really fantastic junk), and it is little consolation that Dove - who was in something of an emotionally bankrupt state when he made UNIVERSAL EAR - would have considered the physical accoutrements of his own set to be little more than the flotsam of a sinking reality.

Furthermore, it's difficult not to feel the pressure of time constraints when one begins the reconstruction of a series that had over 1,000 episodes. You can imagine how Dove was actually quite pleased when his leading man Byrne boycotted several episodes, leaving Dove to cut together performances from outtakes from shoots gone by. We don't have that luxury - we're working on a strictly first-take-counts basis, which means there's nothing left on the cutting room floor at the end of the day.

All of which is to say, we've rather jettisoned the idea of shooting a whole episode every week, and are instead basking in the luxury of time and tightly parametered space that residency chez Nexus brings us. We've shot maybe 15% of "A Flea Orchestra In Your Ear" which was meant to wrap last Sunday; we're reveling in the spirit of our 2012 alter-egos; trying things out and enjoying the company. Certain disciplines (morning meeting, warm-up/L'Institute Zoom anthem, closing analysis "What have we achieved? What went wrong?") remain, have even begun to stretch out over the so-called productive hours in between. We may add more - rhythm is important. Join us, and we can beat out time together.

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