The producers of TimeLock were aware from an early stage that the ‘restrictions’ outlined in David Griffith’s micro-budget manifesto called for shooting 60-80 percent of the film in two locations – and 40 percent of the film in one room. This meant that it would be vital that these locations married up perfectly in terms of the base look to minimise the need for set-dressing and time-consuming crew movements.
We had initially thought we would shoot in Glasgow where most of the cast and crew were based; however, we soon came up with a better plan – to shoot on location with Dumfries standing in for Glasgow.
Though we initially searched for appropriate hotel and bank locations in Glasgow, our lead producer, Inge Sorensen and locations manager, Lauren Lamar were having difficulty finding suitable locations at the right price in Scotland’s largest city. Hearing that the South West Scotland Screen Commission was extremely proactive in these matters, Inge then approached Mark Geddes to see if he could help. After reading the screenplay, Mark was very enthusiastic and was able to suggest two great locations in Dumfries that would be perfect for the film. These were the former headquarters of the Bank of Scotland, where there were underground corridors and critically a large safe , as well as the wonderfully eclectic Cairndale Hotel, whose management and staff were also very positive to the project. These two locations married up perfectly in terms of look and design, as well as with our third underground location that Lauren Lamarr had scouted for us in Glasgow.
South West Scotland Screen Commission were also able to offer us a grant to move our shoot to Dumfries, and so the deal was done. Though this grant only just cover the extra costs of moving the production to Dumfries, we judged that it was the right decision to take for a variety of reasons:
A. The locations were perfect
B. The Film Commission and people of Dumfries were extremely film positive and friendly (which is not always the case in other cities)
C. We would be able to both stay and shoot in the Cairndale Hotel location, which would minimise movement time and solve all catering issues
D. A location shoot would help cast and crew form into the type of close-knit team that would be essential if we were to meet our 7.5 page per day shooting targets.
While David Griffith rehearsed with the lead actors, John C. Gilmour and Alton Milne, Inge Sorensen’s production team set about the meticulous process of scheduling and planning the shoot. Rather than trying to cut wages to the bone, as happens on many micro-budget shoots, they took the view that the better way to economise would be through maximising on-set time and minimising equipment costs through meticulous planning.