Attached below is the narration tape from the film ‘A bit about Angie’. Sara Galvin the actress and voice over artist has been amazing throughout the entire process. She took all the advice onboard and endeavoured to be better after each take. I hope you enjoy the video.
Scene 1 –
‘See I’ve always loved summers I have. For me it was a time to relax… you know, a time to soak up the glorious east London sun. Well I say sun, giggles. (Almost day dreaming) But I remember this year in particular because it was the summer we almost got promoted back to the big time. See I was always there… promise!, not always present… (Pause) We used to watch on from the terraces we did (excited) and even in the midst of all that claret and blue I always managed to see you. Okay, I lied it was once. But I did see you. Promise! Sigh. I can’t for the life of me seem to put my finger on what it is. You know. (Pause) That thing, that thing that makes us women so. so incapable of letting go. I’ve heard some call it love, but I wouldn’t go that far.’
Scene 2 –
‘I hope I’m not boring ya, (sigh) now Fast-forward almost decade to about this time last week, smack bang in the middle of all this mess. See I was doing me laundry at the time. You know I had the tough task of separating me coloured from me whites and me knickers from me delicates, not knowing that this mothers meetings down my old local boozer would change my world forever, …but you he was there.’
Scene 3 – ‘During kitchen scene special)
‘I’ always knew he were fighter, too brave for his own damn good! I remember this one time, when he was almost 2. True story I promise (ANXIOUS) you know Terry? My youngest brother, well he dropped him down a flight of stairs. He didn’t cry a single tear, not even a moan or groan. He just got up and got on with things.
Scene 4 –
‘See I’m not crazy ….I promise, so you don’t have to comfort me or tell me its going to be ok. (If I knew) and I know it’s hard to lose something you never really had, so I couldn’t. I shouldn’t cry… But that’s my… you know (Quiet and sad) But it isn’t only me that lost out, the whole of the east end does too’
Scene 5 –
(Walking and talking on the phone walking towards the doctor near graveyard) ‘He probably still hates me (Don’t say that) nah It’s true. They both do. I choose my dreams over my responsibilities. (Eh you were brave) I was young and selfish; see my son died not knowing how much I cared. That hurts. He will never know how I finally planned to surprise him for his 21st, or how I spent almost 4 months trying to get in touch with Daniel just so I could know how my little trooper was doing. You see I truly loved that boy. Pause (You never actually told me how he died) Pause (Behind him) there’s something’s you just cant say over the phone.
Extension (Final scene between Angie and the Doctor/ Michael)
(Doctor turns around) (They hug and kiss) Sigh and embrace. (Rubbing her head as if she has a headache) Danny his best friend was saying how Billy found out about Franks illness through a letter, and went behind Frank’s back to do this kidney operation with some proper dodgy doctor. (Under her breath) The cunt. (The doctor looks guilty) Not you Hun, the doctor. Ah I dunno what to believe he was all over the place. But I thoughts things like that only happened on the tele. Silly me. But my Billy he died true, you know scarfed up in west hams Claret and blue. Giggles. (Doctor looks frightened) Baby what’s wrong with you? (Nothing darling, ..I’m just imagining what you’re going through) I’m fine love I have you and plus you wouldn’t hurt me, (Yeah, Of course) but Frank on the other now has nothing (that’s not your fault) I certainly didn’t help. Sigh. Luckily he survived the ordeal. Both Pause. (Doctor get caught starring at Angie’ what is it? (I…) (Looks at him for an answer) (I love you Angie, c’mon this is no place for Broadway star let’s go home). The pair leaves and walks off into the distance.
Above are two scanned pictures of the narration text annotated. The picture on the left was annotated by Omar Dick the sound engineer. He marked down all the good and bad takes making it easier for us to know which audio clip is appropriate to use. He also made a key describing what the different colours on the sheet means. The sound engineer and I worked closely to decipher what needed to be changed on each round. For example the actress Sara pronounced her ‘P’S’ too harshly whilst recording. Omar and I picked this up by the second take and we told her to be subtle and she did so on the following takes.
Sara and I annotated the sheet on the right. When going through the narration we found various little words and pieces of punctuation to change and edit in the aim to make the text feel natural and authentic to the character. The fact that Sara is from the east end like the character ‘Angie’ made it easier for her to implement change. As the director and narrator I gave her the freedom to express herself. I complemented her when she did well and was also very precise with her about what needed to change. At times we would just instinctively know we had the perfect take. She was honestly a pleasure to work with. She was patient and articulate in her work. We built a good relationship which will only carry through into filming her scenes in the coming days. We used the narration as a blueprint to bring the text to life. I was reading in a book that said ‘The accomplished screenwriter selects those few details, out of all that come to mind, that will best describe the essence of the character.’ (Pat and Ken 2005: 40) I think between my first draft of the narration and the evolution which Sara and I incorporated into the text you can really begin to understand the ‘essence’ of the lead character ‘Angie’. She is filled with so many different kinds of emotion throughout this conversation and this is evident to hear through the manor in which Sara portrays her. ‘Sounds used as a metaphor can create a whole new dimension of meaning not immediately apparent in the visual images of a scene.’ ( Pat and Ken 2005: 32) This is what I was aiming for whilst writing this narration. I wanted the powerful words accompanied with the emotional tone of Sara’s voice to speak for it’s self, to the point that the audio could play over a blank screen and still cause a reaction. Powerful lines like ‘I know it’s hard to lose something you never really had’ ultimately drum home the pain and feeling in this text which was my initial intention.
In some respects I am relieved that we have finally got the narration done as it now feels like we are progressing, although now it means we can’t change anything. The success of the film will rely partially on how well the narration works with the visuals to tell the narrative which puts tonnes of pressure on this piece of text, which I had to write in a short space of time. In the next coming days I will focus on shooting the remainder of the scenes then eventually move unto editing. Time is flying by as I type, which is scary but I hope it all falls into place.
Pat Cooper and Ken Dancyger (2005). Writing the short film. 3rd ed. U.S.A: focal Press. p39-40.
Pat Cooper and Ken Dancyger (2005). Writing the short film. 3rd ed. U.S.A: focal Press. p32.