It’s been an interesting morning!
Getting permission to film on board Britain’s last surviving WWII submarine for my upcoming Ten Little Astronauts campaign was actually far easier than expected – the people at the museum were extremely helpful the whole way – but it was still a bit of a rush to get everything sorted on time. Because of that, although I only found out for sure yesterday that I’d be able to film on board, it was actually 6:30 this morning that I set out to record the pitch video.
If you go to visit HMS Alliance as part of the standard tour, you’ll see and hear much the same things illustrated in the video above. My visit to film from 7:45 to 9:45 – in the two hours before the museum opened – was a little different.
I prepared a script a while ago that I hope gives a little insight into what Ten Little Astronauts is about, the idea behind the book, and how I ended up on board an 85 metre submarine telling you all about it. Of course, in the video the HMS Alliance will act as a stand-in for the fictional U.N. Owen, and so it’s never explicitly acknowledged that the big metal thing I’m standing in is not a 3,000 metre starship. Recording the video essentially involved reading through the script a few times in a variety of locations to give the videographer, Jake Hawkins, plenty to work with. Jake is fantastic to work with, by the way: I was concerned that two hours might not be long enough, given that we absolutely had to have everything cleared out before the museum opened to the general public, but he was on top of everything for the whole two hours and we actually got the footage we needed with time to spare.
I was also a little concerned that announcing I was filming on board a submarine ahead of time would make it hard to see as a spacecraft once the video is actually released. While that remains to be seen, I’m a lot less concerned having seen it all set up for filming. After a few read-throughs in a few different locations, by which point I was more or less confident enough to speak from memory, I headed out to ask the museum staff to cut the lights.
Alliance may be really neat to visit, but it’s eerie in the dark. I don’t know exactly what the final video will look like, but it seems likely that a lot of the footage will be taken from this chunk of the shoot. Alliance was a massive influence on the tone and feel of the Owen in Ten Little Astronauts, so it was amazing to see things come full circle for the pitch video.
While the process of filming the video went exceptionally smoothly and I have high hopes for the finished product, I’ve not actually seen any of the footage myself yet: It should be all ready to go in a week or so, which means that hopefully the official launch of the Ten Little Astronauts crowdfunding campaign shouldn’t be too much further off.
As before, if you’ve got any friends who are fans of murder mystery, sci-fi or both, do pass on the message: the Ten Little Astronauts campaign may not be running quite yet, but it’s never too early to get involved! I’ll be doing my best to share any news as it comes up.
EDIT: The Ten Little Astronauts campaign has now launched on Unbound! You can find and support it here.