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Actors seem to stay with us at Phase 4 for quite some time. Kevin Walker had made his first one with us (A Spider`s Web) in 2000. From that time, Kevin had been in several comedies and thrillers and had always been an important and reliable member of the group. I was always impressed with his commitment. He would turn up for a shoot with no set time limit on when we should end filming, which for me was a real bonus.
Sadly for us, Kevin told us he was to move abroad to live in Spain and by the Spring of 2005 we knew that if we were to make one more film with him, time was very limited. We had all agreed, it would be good to make another one together if we could arrange it, so I began to make my plans.
He had always worked well with Yvonne Denton, firstly on stage at the local theatre and later with us on film. They had good chemistry together on screen and I decided to find an idea using just the two of them. It would have to be short, something less than 10 minutes which could be shot in a single day and so I set the grey matter to work.
As I may have mentioned elsewhere, my own method of working relies on inspiration and a form of creativity which occurs largely spontaneously and with little control from me. In other words, I wait for an idea to come to me, as actively seeking one usually has a negative effect. However, time was of the essence.
The window of opportunity seemed to be very narrow and I felt doubtful we could do it in time. I had some vague ideas, but was not sure anything was sufficiently strong enough to proceed with. However, we were all keen and so I came up with three pages of a script which had all our P4 hallmarks including the usual twist ending.
I e-mailed this to Kevin and he liked it. Yvonne seemed less certain, but agreed we should make it.
We basically had a single Sunday afternoon on the May Bank Holiday, to shoot the film. It was only 4 days before Kevin flew to Spain, so no chance of any re-shoots!
We had our usual trouble with exterior noise on location. We had hoped that we had found a quiet side street in the Wakefield suburb of Horbury, but no such luck. The shoot took twice as long due to traffic noise and passers-by, who I know are drawn to the area when they see cameras on tripods and all the film making paraphernalia.
We had many takes from different angles, which I knew would act as insurance if we had any continuity problems.
We ended after about 6 hours with the film "in-the-can". Kevin left our house after the final shots as he said farewell, seemingly the end of a 5 year successful collaboration.
It is a happy result that Encounter has been so well received by audiences and judges alike.
- Ken Wilson March 2006