It wasn't too hard to find the locations for the film. My DP Peter Ellmore and I went online and looked for suitable woods in the South London area. Pete came across Littleheath in Croydon, and this turned into our main location. We went on our first recce in late March, where we spent all day and into the early evening walking round different woods from Croydon to Dulwich. Littleheath is great because it has real variety in terms of grassland, woodland, trees and plants. It is also relatively small, so we weren't too far from an exit at any given time. And strangely it is quite deserted, which meant that we didn't have to deal with many interruptions from passers by. On these recces, Pete and I discussed things like possible lighting issues, sun position, framing of shots and so on. And I took the prototype pig puppet along, so that we could get an idea of how the cardboard might look in situe and also how we might be able to frame out the puppeteers in certain shots.
|A Map of Littleheath|
I went of a total of four recces before everything was decided. The first two were with Pete (21st March & 2nd May), the second was with my brother Toby to Beaulieu Heights - which ended up being the location for day three of our shoot. (12th May), and the fourth and final recce was to all possible locations with producers Rupert and Charlie, and production managers Sam and Caterina (from Independent) in order to make a shotlist, look at logistics and finalize everything (21st May). Beaulieu was the location for our hero Oak tree. Considering the weather, this location was also pretty deserted (except for the rustlings of a few gentlemen in the undergrowth...something which made bathroom breaks all the more eventful for the male members of our crew. Haha!). The woods really changed a lot during that time from late March to May, with all the leaves coming out on the trees and carpets of bluebells covering the ground in places. So it was really essential that I went back so near to the shoot date to check that I still liked the look of the different spots that I had chosen at each location.
|A Map of Beaulieu Heights|
I did have to apply for permission to shoot (from Croydon Council) and this took a while to come through. But fortunately I foresaw this possibility, and therefore started the application process very early on in production. Thank you to Rhian Sharpe at Croydon film office for her help with this.