Back in August, we were approached by TiE It Up Theatre’s co-founder and producer David Chafer, to produce a filmed version of a powerful and moving stage production entitled, I Love You, Mum, I Promise I Won’t Die.

A collaboration between TiE It Up and drug awareness charity The Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation, the play was written to raise awareness in young people about the dangers of taking recreational drugs.

From the moment we saw the production, we knew that we had quite a task on our hands, to not only create something that showcased the quality of the performances and writing, but that showed respect to the challenging subject material.

Writer Mark Wheeller had already done an astounding job at compiling real interview excerpts into a moving piece of drama, one that still brought on the tears more than five viewings later. The biggest challenge we faced during the production was retaining those key facets of live theatre, while bringing the show from the stage to the screen.  The plan was to film the show from three wide angles a number of times, and then return to key moments with close up cameras and the Steadicam. This meant that the two-day process was grueling not only for us as a team, but for the actors, who performed the same emotional sequences over and over again. 

The process couldn’t have been smoother however, and after two days, more than five full performances and a number of moving interviews for the marketing and trailers, we had everything we needed to start the edit. 

I Love You, Mum was easily one of the most daunting edits we’ve faced at Astor. At just under an hour-long, and full of emotionally devastating moments, we knew we couldn’t miss a beat. The initial rough cut from the wide angles was straightforward enough, but after that, we had to go back through and make sure that every key story beat was conveyed as well as it possibly could be.

After some close collaboration with producer David Chafer, and a series of notes from the play’s director, Elliot Montgomery, we had an amazing piece of film on our hands, ready to be shown in schools up and down the country.

Final thoughts 

Filming I Love You, Mum ended up being one of the most challenging, but most rewarding jobs we’ve ever undertaken at Astor. Thanks to the talent and absolute professionalism of everyone involved, the show was a joy to work on, and its tragic story is one that we won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

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