On a misty Saturday morning in February I find myself outside a rural church on the outskirts of Exeter. There is a hive of activity. Yards of cable are snaking incoherently across the ground. People in shorts scurrying around with obligatory rolls of gaffer tape clipped to their belts. Clipboards and coffee all before 8:30 in the morning. It is a film set. I have become a stranger to this place over the last few years but not today. Today I am back in the saddle.
The film is called Samsara - a short film by the Dawlish based production company Inspired Toad. I have worked with them before. Back in 2014 I was in their horror comedy feature film Scareycrows (catch the trailer here and look out for the special constable with the most coddish West Country accent).
They are quite the familial setup. Brother and sister David and Diana write the screenplays. These are directed by daughter Lucy with various other family members providing gaffering, assistant directing and catering services. Centre of operations is a sprawling dwelling on the hill overlooking Dawlish. With an ever changing cast of family members residing at any time, the four walls scream 'family' in a way that is increasingly unique and uniquely comforting.
This extended family spills over into their productions. Samsara is a touching film exploring the relationship between a grandson and his dying grandma. I play the boy's Uncle appearing in only a couple of scenes - 1 days filming for me. Just enough to get back into the saddle yet long enough to feel part of the extended filming family they so expertly assemble.
I was worried about this - apprehensive acting again after such a long time - but this day taught me to trust my abilities just a little bit more - trust that I can still deliver something truthful - but most importantly to trust that a film set can still feel like a home from home.