Now where were we? ….

Thought I would update you all on where we are at with The Life of Reilly Pilot etc. I’m so busy at the minute but I’ll try and update as often as possible.

The crowdfunder was a success! Thankyou!! £5000 was the bare minimum we needed to produce the pilot.  Since we raised the money we have put the team in place under the direction of Stephen Woods from Act2Cam, we have sourced locations and last night we auditioned for Reilly.

I had thought about Reilly playing himself but the more I thought about it and the challenges it brings the more we can’t do it. Firstly they are long days with lots of repition, lighting, strangers, new sounds etc it would be way too much for him so we decided to find a Reilly and invited children along to audition last night.  Alison has been very ill so I had to step into her place and do some acting with the kids which was absolutely horrific.  Its a good job I’m creative in other areas!

I talked to the boys and their parents about Reilly.  How he behaves in the morning (that’s when the pilot will take place).  His mannerisms, his sounds, his outbursts, even how he counts his bits of toast for his breakfast and they all listened intently.  They were left to practice with Mam while we took them in child and parent one at a time to play out the scene while being filmed.  They were absolutely awesome.  Some of the children had family members who were autistic, some classmates, some hadn’t met anyone autistic but the Mam’s had been reading the blog and had talked to them about it.  We didn’t have any autistic actors audition, maybe for the same reasons as we have.

I felt a bit emotional watching these kids becoming distressed at the sight of their school shoes, pushing Mam, kicking, screaming.  It’s just part of our morning now and has become the norm but I think some of the Mam’s may have been a little shocked.  Epecially when I’m shouting really stick it to her that’s what Reilly would do.

Kids were great Mam’s were lovely and I’m looking forward to spending more time with whoever gets the part.  we are all meeting tomorrow to go through the tapes and decide.

We have a screen play writer and author involved now who has worked on a BAFTA winning programme and he is going to be working with Alison to get the really Northern, realism  that we desperately want.

Crissy Rock who will play the school escort who is sent to collect Reilly but never met the family before and hasn’t a clue about autism is excited to get cracking.  Crissy is a lovely lady and I know she’s going to do an amazing job.

We’ve been incredibly busy and my eyes have been well and truly opened as to how much work goes in.  I cannot imagine what it will be like working on a full length piece but can’t wait to find out.

Shooting starts on 12th February and we are using my friend Lisa’s house as the location, god bless her is all I can say.  There will be a premiere of the pilot at hopefully the Tyneside Cinema and we hope to make this an event and invite along some awesome speakers from the autistic community more on that to follow.

Busy busy times.

The play is onto its final seats and it will sell out so please if you want to go and see it make sure you go online and book your ticket at Northern Stage.

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Christine Stephenson

Really busy mam who runs her own charity, has 3 sons and learning about autism every day. Contact me at alphaautistic@gmail.com

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