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The making of The Party

Portrait of Alisan Beadie. most of the events in the film had, in fact, happened to me
Meet ... Alisan Beadie
her film
The Party won a Gold Standard Award, the Best Humour Award
and a Carlin Music Sponsored prize at BIAFF 2007

The Party came about because my sister said I should see her friend's film about a series of mishaps that happen to a woman the morning after a party, because most of them seemed to have happened to me at sometime or another. How right she was! I seem to stagger from disaster to disaster these days. After seeing the film I said "It must have been some party but what was it like the night before?" And the idea was born.

Still from 'The Party'.I have always been interested in films - even appeared in a couple - but have never had the time or motivation to actually make one. My friend Tania (Mathias) is a keen film maker and has many awards to her credit; she is also more technically minded than I am. During a conversation with her, I mentioned the idea of a film about the disastrous preparations for a party and she immediately said WE must do it and she would help. Knowing my life style and the sort of things that happen to me, she suggested it might be a documentary! So for the first time ideas were put down on paper, and over time friends threw in other suggestions, most of which usually started with : "Do you remember when you ... ?" Real friends wouldn't have remembered! I have to confess that most of the events in the film had, in fact, happened to me and putting them together, plus a little "actor's licence" formed the basic script.

I now appreciate just how difficult it is to make a comedy. Some things looked funny on paper, hilarious when filming but fell flat with an audience. Tania says that the most difficult thing in making a movie is to leave out your favourite bit, but if it doesn't help the film it has to go.

Still from 'The Party'.At the time I was living and working in the North East of England when Tania - who lives in London - phoned to say that she had some time off and would come up and we could do the film. Panic! Where would we film? What about the props? I don't even own a camera! All these problems were swept aside by Tania's usual calm attitude. With a shooting date fixed there seemed to be very little time to get things organised but friends and friends-of-friends offered help and said we could use their homes.

In a moment of weakness, Tania had agreed to play the heroine. When she arrived she calmly announced that she could only stay for the weekend. How could we get it all filmed in a weekend? "By being organised" said Tania. We were and it was. The weather was kind so we shot all the outside bits of her first and then moved indoors.

Most of the props were quite easy: we needed a burnt cake, so one was put in an extra hot oven until black. Joss sticks were used to provide smoke. Another cake looks perfect but then sinks in the middle - easy: all my baking does that.

Still from 'The Party'.In one sequence, Tania gets covered in goo. A mixture of Angel Delight and a couple of horrible things was literally thrown at her. Unfortunately this had to be done three times before we got it right. Between each take Tania had to shower, the dress had to be washed and ironed, and the walls cleaned. Not easy when you are working in someone else's home, but people are amazingly helpful.

One of the most difficult props to find was a wooden ironing board. Due presumably to the present Health and Safety regulations, most modern boards are made of metal!

My disaster prone life style reared its ugly head again when the zip on Tania's evening dress - a Calvin Klein original - broke. A quick needle and thread job and she was sewn into it.

Most other jokes were done for real - costly but effective!

The task of editing seemed rather formidable, even though much of the material had been done in only one or two takes. Again, with Tania's help and guidance, it all took shape on a lap top.

Next? Well this has been quite an experience. I found the judges' comments very helpful and enlightening, although it was suggested that some of the judges were offended by our heroine appearing in her (discreet) underwear. So far none of the audiences have complained. Yes, I've got the bug but everything will depend on time available, finding the right idea, and most importantly, how persistent Tania is!

- Alisan Beadie

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Page updated on 09 October 2011
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