When some of us were Extras in the filming of The Raven at Midhurst, 27th February 2010

Photos taken by Vicky Meadows (or at least, it was her camera!)

Read Vicky's review of the day

We started by getting ready in the Rugby/Cricket Pavilion by the Cowdray ruins —

Rod Sharp, Jo Smith and Dil Smith dressed and ready to go …

… along with David Burnham, Steve White and Mel White …
… Rod (again) with Vicky Meadows.
The scene of the shoot – the gallows beneath the brooding ruins of Cowdray House
Steve and Rod (with real musket) on site
Dil and Jo sheltering under the mobile gazebo
Vicky and Mel
Close-up of the gallows
Cast, crew and extras mingle – later the Rugby pitch was in use for a match!
You can take a white horse anywhere – though we never really found out why! Still its coat brightened a dull day
Preparing the gallows for a shot of feet dangling. Worryingly, they seemed to know exactly how a hanged man's legs should twitch in his death throes!
The man with the beaver on a pole – and other members of the cast
Just like this …
Filming the mob's reaction to the hanging (which had been shot the previous day!)

Review of the day

Headley Theatre Club does 'The Raven'

It's Saturday 27th February 2010, the morning is damp but clearing, and several members of HTC head off to Cowdray Ruins in Midhurst, for a day's filming on a short film for new Director Matt Lambrou's professional directorial debut. 'The Raven': it's a story based on his own interpretation of Edgar Allen Poe's poem.

The plot in brief: a man has brutally murdered a women, is captured and brought in front of an angry crowd of peasants (us) to be executed via the hangman's noose.

We are dutifully greeted on arrival by Chris Cummings, the co-owner of the new production company 'TLC Media' for a quick rundown of the day's events. We enter Cowdray cricket/Rugby pavilion to the smell of tea, toast and croissants in plentiful supply.

The costume lady for the day, Tracy Elvick, a former page three glamour model, views our costumes and deems them perfect and that we and our costumes are greatly appreciated. Rod has taken his red coat re-enactment costume, this goes down brilliantly. So once again our Rod gets a leading role next to the gallows.

We chat with the other extras from Haslemere and wait until they're ready for us. We start out across the field towards the ruins which are spectacular and very emotive to the plot; great choice of location. We are positioned in front of the gallows on marks, and when everyone and everything is ready go for a take. Rami Bartholdy (Mamma Mia, 28 Days Later) the Director of Photography on this shoot explains to us what we need to do: when the camera rolls, scream and shout at the condemned man. We feel a bit silly initially, but soon get over that and get stuck in like the consummate professionals we are.

After several takes from different angles and a camera reload, they ran out of film (typical), we break for a quick lunch.

A mass of hot soup and a variety of sandwiches greet us back in the pavilion. Once fed, watered, and warmed up it's ready to go again, with some more shouting and stunned silences in different positions this time complete with a horse and small children. For some takes some of us seemed to be miles away from the camera, but we're told it made a great shot.

We finish off the day with a mass of us glancing morbidly at the condemned once he's been cut down. Poor Anthony Hodges had to lay on the cold damp grass for half an hour while we looked over him; he wasn't even in shot so he was a being true professional for our benefit and I'm sure it helped us immensely.

As the final take of the day for us is called, the rain starts to fall. We are shattered, a bit cold, but elated. Everyone had fun. The day was long but interesting, maybe because for most of us it was our first time – however it was great to see how things were set up, and I'm sure the finished film will show off our skills. (See you in Cannes?)

Here's to the next time. The members involved were: Vicky Meadows, Dil Williamson-Smith, Jo Smith, Mel White, Steve White, Rod Sharp and David Burnham.

A finally big thank you to Alex Hindley at TLC Media, for finding us on the internet and giving us the opportunity. Also to Helen Keech for alerting us to it in the first place.

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