Yesterday I spent the whole day with the fabby Mark Wharton who is film-maker for the Watershed project. He is an ace guy - really easy to get on with, very professional, keen to try all sorts of things to get the best result, and always amazingly unobtrusive while filming. He's also a fanatical fell-runner, so he has a deep love of mud and the moors!
We worked all morning sorting through stills photos of all the groups I've worked with and all the shots I (and my partner Janina) have taken while out on Watershed walks - and figuring out a good set of short soundtracks and explanations to go with these. I wasn't at my most awake, having had a bad migraine the previous night, so I really hope Mark is able to edit some good nuggets from my drivvel!
Then I chose 6 of my Watershed poems - that seemed most relevant to the material we were working with - to read onto camera. We are both really hoping that the resultant series of short films will be like a chain of beads on a Watershed necklace - taking the exhibition audience into a deeper understanding of the moors, and how a writer like me works with both landscape and metaphor.
Then we went off down to the skatepark to capture images of skateboarders in action - they are one of the many groups I have been working with. Sadly there was only one skateboarder there, but the place was packed with a younger generation of BMXers and scooters who were all delighted to do their dare-devil stuff for Mark to capture!
Working at the skatepark has been the biggest eye-opener for me in the whole project - at first I found myself really nervous approaching all these very tall, late-teenagers who were so ultra-cool... wot on earth would they think of this white-haired 50-year-old woman coming up to them and asking them about the moors?!!! But how wrong could I be? They were a delight to work with - always polite, keen to help, interested and very interesting, and happy to share with doddery old me all the secrets of their skate-craft! Together we came up with the following rap - which sounds ace with them all chanting it together!
The language of wanting to fly
Inward heel flip
Fakie tail stall
Gap to tail
Fakie front Smith
And back for more
After filming at the skatepark, Mark and I 'hit' Mytholm Court - the sheltered housing scheme that I have been working with. Only 6, out of the usual 16, ladies were available cos of hols and hospital appts, but they were as delightful and feisty as ever - all asking which their best side was, and telling Mark that he had to airbrush them so they looked great!
So, exhausted, and with my poor ankle throbbing like it had been run over, Mark and I parted at 5pm, and he's now got a long editing process to go through to create that dreamed-for Watershed bead necklace!
Char March - I'm a freelance writer and tutor. I am Writer-in-Residence for the Pennine Watershed Project, and this blog takes you through some of the work I've done in that role