Thursday, 3 May 2012

Review - Toby Haynes Lecture at UC Falmouth - 3/5/12

This was a limited audience, free ticket event at the Tremough Campus of UC Falmouth tonight - Toby Haynes did his Foundation Course at Falmouth and his parents also taught in the area. It was very relaxed, very open and it was titled "From Graphic Design to Doctor Who". And that's exactly what it was.

Toby talked about his Foundation Course in Falmouth, the films he made with friends - and we were privileged to see his first ever film (completed when he was 17 and starring friends). It was called "Nam", had no dialogue and was filmed in Kimberley Park, Falmouth. We watched clips of a few more of his old films before the talk progressed to his first television job for Channel 4 directing "The Baader-Meinhof Gang Show" - only getting that job because everyone else turned it down.

From there it moved to "Hollyoaks" - which gave him invaluable insight and help in keeping to schedules, "MI-High", "Holby Blue", "Spooks-Code 9", "Being Human" and "Five Days". We watched clips of all of these before the talk moved on to "Doctor Who". Toby loves the show - that much was obvious. He talked at length about how "Doctor Who" books were the first books he read - how the show had fascinated him and led him into many other areas.

It's probably best to do the "Doctor Who" notes in bullet points:

It was a harsh lesson in how to manage huge scenes for a big franchise on a limited budget.

Although initially paranoid about the "Doctor Who Confidential" team, he soon realised that they were there to show the team and the programme in the best light. He also said that if it wasn't for "Confidential" he would not be able to stand up in front of a live audience and give a lecture.

The worst part were the "dreamkiller meetings" where various sections were cut from the script. They wanted the Cyberhead sequence in "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang" to be cut but a few people "fought tooth and nail" for that to stay in.

As regards "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang" - they negotiated to use Stonehenge for one night only so all scenes had to be done in a few hours. They had 3 or 4 stones to work with and had to build their own "Foamhenge" to get some scenes done.

For "The Christmas Carol", Toby admitted he found Michael Gambon both "awesome and scary".

He approaches "Doctor Who" with the aim of making it "less television and more cinematic" and concentrates on the small, personal moments which provide the "humanity" in "Doctor Who".

Very important in "Doctor Who" to use the right camera angles and completely involve the audience by showing them scenes from the Doctor's viewpoint or the companion's viewpoint.

In "Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon" - he loved working with a new baddie, The Silence - and felt it was important to highlight the evil in them by having them kill someone in a never before seen way.

For the end "battle" sequence in "Day of the Moon" they only had 3 of the Silence - and had to use "creative" camera angles in order to give the effect of a room full of them.

The hardest thing he's ever done...was getting Alex Kingston to spin her gun at the end of the above mentioned Silence battle sequence.

Obviously, the talk moved to "Sherlock" - and he did say that the end of Season 2 will definitely pay off in Season 3. He also mentioned that the scene near the beginning of the Season 2 finale with Sherlock and Moriarty talking was one of his favourite "Sherlock" scenes. He wasn't around for the sound mixing/dubbing and was sent a copy of the episode afterwards. Toby noticed something that should have been there - and sent numerous emails to get this particular thing added in later. What was it? The sound of Moriarty taking a bite out of the apple.

We also saw a clip of the upcoming "Wallander" but all Toby would say about it was that "there's a nasty sting in the tail" of this one. Interesting.

At the end, Toby was asked the question: "the geek in me wants to know which show is more fun to work on: "Doctor Who" or "Sherlock"?" The answer, obviously, was "Doctor Who" - it's fun with the props and monsters and everything he wanted to do as a child.

It was a great evening - it was scheduled for an hour and a half...and actually over-ran and lasted 3 hours.

One thing I will say. We watched clips of all Toby's shows on the big cinema screen. Please, please, Steven Moffat...when Season 7 premieres can you get cinemas across the country to show the opening episode? There really is nothing quite like watching "Doctor Who" on a big cinema screen.