I walked in to find most people already there. That's when it really hit me that they were all there to shoot something I'd written, which was a crazy feeling! But there was no messing about - within 10 minutes I was helping to dress the set and running around to a mens clothes shop to buy a bow tie for one of the waiters. We were low on extras so I found myself appearing as Chocolate Dessert Woman 3 (although it was actually some nice meringue). And the producer Alan ended up playing a restaurant critic (and doing some great acting with some unappetizing, stone-cold food!)
Everyone did a fantastic job in such a short time - and with pretty much no budget. I was really blown away by the spooky kitchen set they managed to come up with out of nothing. There were pig parts, a fake human hand, a half-naked man in a cage (the chef's next victim!), something horrible bubbling in a pot and lots of fake blood. Oh, and a homicidal chef, played with great gusto by an American actor called Mark in a blood-spattered vest.
Unfortunately, by the time they came to shoot the kitchen part the security staff were already asking when it was going to finish. So some placating had to be done and eventually, after all the fake blood had been cleaned up and the man in the cage had been freed, we all finished up at half twelve.
Apart from it being a great experience to see my script filmed, the shoot taught me a lot about being a writer on a low or no budget film. If you're going to be on set, you'd better be prepared to pitch in and help out! And not necessarily on the glamourous stuff, but the essential things like washing up. And carrying boxes. But it's also brilliant fun - you get to meet some great people. And you get to see things happen and to meet the filmmakers who make your script come to life.
Thanks to the whole Darklight crew and to everyone who made Regards to the Chef a reality!