The story of Robin of Oakwood began when I first met talented actor and artist Andrew Polyviou last summer on the set of short film The Barbershop. He was playing the lead and I was the production sound recordist. We stayed in touch and a few months later I visited Andrew’s art exhibition with my mother at the Hellenic Centre in Marylebone. We got talking and he mentioned he had an idea for a TV series and my mum told him that I was a writer. Andrew enthusiastically launched into a description of his epic idea which would run for multiple seasons on Netflix and asked if I was ready to write it. I told him honestly that no, I had never attempted anything on that scale but I had made a few short films and wasn't quite ready for Breaking Bad Part 2. We arranged to meet for a coffee a few weeks later.
Andrew’s idea was a good one for which he had written a first draft a few years earlier, and over that coffee we distilled it down to the essence of that idea and how we could represent it as a short film. We came up with a lot of story suggestions over coffee and Andrew wrote a new draft. Based on that I wrote a second draft and the film was born. It took a few months to develop the story further and begin casting and finding locations. We had a few mishaps along the way, including having to postpone the shoot when it was scheduled for late March. Then we had to recast both the hero and the antagonist. These seemed like setbacks at the time but in the end the result was that we found a better cast and had more time to prepare the details, which proved all important for the production.
Andrew and I put together the crew based on people I knew, trusted and had worked with, a couple of roles for which I found excellent candidates on Shooting People, and Andrew’s own contacts. The cast were found on Starnow, Mandy and Backstage, all three websites offering some talented individuals. Andrew was instrumental in finding great locations around Cockfosters, Oakwood and New Barnet. I concentrated on sourcing props, finalising the script and writing the shot list and shooting schedule. We were finally ready to film over the late May Bank holiday in 2019.
We had a tight schedule for the shoot as we only had each location for a few hours and the timetable had to be followed carefully. Thanks to my amazing 1st and 2nd ADs Kathryn O’Reilly and Andrea Ratti everything went pretty well, with the exception of a stolen bike on the second day. The crew worked in harmony and with smiles on their faces and got the job done. The actors delivered incredible performances which went beyond my expectations. Day two was a long one with a lot to do in a short space of time and we overran slightly, but got the shots we needed.
The final scenes were shot in a north London park on Wednesday 6th June 2019. The weather was mercifully kind and with a skeleton crew we wrapped the shoot. I’m very happy having looked at the rushes and feel my vision was captured accurately. The Director of Photography Andrew Hillary is a man who I respect and trust deeply and he captured some beautiful footage. I am now very much looking forward to editing the film and slowly see it come together. We will also have a soundtrack composed by a very talented musician. I will keep the cast under wraps for now, but I can safely say they are a group of very talented people who if they aren't yet household names certainly deserve to be one day. Watch this space!