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The making of Picasso of the Pier

friends and colleagues were very helpful and patient
Meet ... Clive Atkins, FRPS
Picasso of the Pier won a Gold Standard Award and a KPM Music Sponsored prize at BIAFF 2007

One of the postcards.The idea to make a film about Donald McGill and his naughty seaside postcards came from visiting postcard fairs with my daughter, Susan, who is an avid postcard collector. I used a friend from my table tennis club, who is an amateur artist, to portray Donald McGill and made visits to Llandudno, Blackpool and Rhyl to shoot the seaside locations.

I obtained permission from our local town hall, to film the magistrates' court scene in the Council Chamber. We were shown into a large panelled room and left to our own devices. I rearranged the furniture to make it look like a magistrates' court and lit the scene with two 1000 watt lamps on tall stands.

The leading man and my three 'magistrates' arrived on time and it took about two hours to shoot the scene, which in the finished video, runs about one minute.

It was more difficult to obtain permission to take exterior shots of our local magistrates' court, but it was finally achieved by having my IAC membership card scanned and taken to the manager's office. During this shoot, I was watched the whole time by a security officer.

I managed to find an out-of-use post-box in our local garden centre and asked permission to use it. I printed a false set of collection times relating to Llandudno, on a card that slotted into the holder on the front of the box.

Some of the postcards were recreated on blue backgrounds and seaside shots were keyed on using Bluebox or chromakey as it is sometimes known.

Permission was obtained from the organiser of a large postcard fair, to film my daughter asking for and buying a McGill card.

I wrote the script using information gathered from two books about Donald McGill together with internet research.

A card on a green screen background.

A still from the film.

Luckily, I had filmed my friend's wedding a few months ago and I managed to persuade him and his new wife to allow me to use some of the footage for the 'hen-pecked husband' scene.

As usual, my friends and colleagues were very helpful and patient - they had to be, it took seven months to make!

- Clive Atkins FRPS

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Page updated on 09 October 2011
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