Planning a Shoot and Cooking a Curry: Key Ingredients

Several years ago when I was back in my hometown, I was employed at my regular in the neighbouring area of Eastcote, The Black Horse Pub. Or to be exact: Nico’s at The Black Horse. The rustic styled public house is famed for its unique and unusual cuisine on offer: Koroga

What is Koroga?

Translating from Swahili it means ‘to stir’. As a blend of Kenyan and Indian culture, it is a novel experience for many English visitors and regulars; as well as a welcome comfort of home to those who have grown up to appreciate it within the diaspora.

It is very much a social experience, only truly enjoyed with good friends and good beers  (If you ever happen to be in Eastcote, you won’t be disappointed if you stop in).         

But what happens when some of your group for the evening doesn’t stir their share?        

Or that they loose interest in the overall process and leave most of it one or two people?

Well luckily for Nico’s there is always someone on hand to step in and assist should the need arise. But this shouldn’t necessarily be the desired goal.

This is less desirable on a creative project by a large margin.

If you are going to shoot something, whether its a student film or a big budget corporate production, preparation is obviously key. But you can only do so much on your own. Often you will need others to make it the best it can be or to fulfil niche roles.                                    

Doubly important is, understanding the requirements of the project. The mood, tone, feel, composition and many more elements. Each of these needs careful consideration as to what you want to achieve on a project.

Too often I have noticed (especially amongst extra-curricular student projects) a tendency to think about a lot of the technicalities and requirements on the day rather than during the planning phase. Fortunately, Bournemouth University has a calibre of hard working students who want to be as creative as possible.

Whether this a symptom of Media students spending too much time in educational institutions and a lack of experience working in the industry, or a symptom of wider modern society, is not something answerable in the length of this blog post.

However it is something I wish to convey the importance of. Through the unlikely comparison of curry:


I am by no means a decent cook. However if I were to be, my specialty would have to be curry. When preparing the somewhat successful Mango Chicken Curry (an adaption on a recipe) depicted above, one of the main thoughts in my mind was how sweet would this turn out?

Balancing the different spices with the right amount of mango pulp took multiple attempts of adding both. And then required some cream to even it out. Fortunately my girlfriend has great discerning tastebuds when it comes to spice to balance my preference for sweetness.

Like the tone, mood and composition of a film, a curry has taste, texture and spice. The elements need to be considered carefully and preferably in advance, as too much experimentation in the kitchen could yield too many flavours; whereas a film may end up with ambiguous meanings.

Taking the comparison further, its true to say that when you are a filmmaker or a chef you are dependant on others to digest what you create. The tonality and taste could be met with disapproval or scoffed down greedily. 

That is why it is so important to know: The menu or the client brief, the right ingredients and the best crew for the job, which lens to use and how big the pan needs to be, If the tone for the film is right for the audience or if your customers have special allergy requirements. 

All of these things are best achieved before the day so to speak. Preparation being key.

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