The Making Of “MEET DEXTER” – Part One




Part One:

Damn you, Brain!

Sometimes I wish I my mind would switch off when we discuss project ideas or here are calls for a film script to suit a competition theme at our club meetings; it always ends with many sleepless nights and unnecessary stress – for me at least. Yet, rather annoyingly when the end product comes together so well and I realise something pretty good grew from a brief image flashing in my neurologically aberrant brain, perhaps I should cut my fertile imagination some slack.

For the uninitiated or those with short memories, way back in April, our club treasurer David “Offshore Account” Laker was hosting the club meeting and mentioned former OVFM Chairman Chris Coulson has acquired a live(ish) dinosaur which he named Dexter and had kindly offered to allow the club to film his new pet one club evening.

"If it wasn't for me, he never would have even heard of Oscar Schindler!"
“If it wasn’t for me, he never would have even heard of Oscar Schindler!”

The annual North vs. South competition was also a point of discussion and we needed scripts to fulfil the theme of “Out Of The Blue”. David quipped that if we could combine the two ideas it would save a lot of time. So of course my brain defied all orders to sit quietly and let someone else respond to David’s call to arms, and immediately produced an image of Dexter leaning over two shocked and scared looking people.

My deviant grey matter also decided these people should be parents of a young woman introducing her new boyfriend to them, Dexter being the boyfriend. By the time I got home that night a half-formed scenario occupied my head, and eventually I was forced into submission. A few days later I sat before my PC, opened up Celtx and began to transfer the mini-film playing in my head into script form and within a matter of hours I had the first draft completed.

At the club meeting on June 7th I bravely submitted my script – now entitled MEET DEXTER – to the club for consideration. I’m the world’s worst public orator so heaven knows how my pitch sounded to my fellow club members but I wasn’t confident I had conveyed my idea successfully, yet somehow I was persuaded to keep working on it and begin the storyboarding and blocking.

With MEET DEXTER apparently going ahead after all, we needed to begin securing the vital assets of the production, such as location, crew and cast. Simon “Snapper” Earwicker, our chairman and reigning Hide & Seek champion, suggested we contact Olive Allen, widow of OVFM stalwart Derek, to see if we could use her garden which I was told was “quite big”.

Quite big? Try @!%*$?# HUGE!! It ran on for miles and would divert off into another spacious hideaway which in turn would reveal a verdant labyrinth, shaded by a canopy of towering trees and divided by thick hedges. I actually discovered a tribe of pygmies settled in the undergrowth behind the garden shed, who thought they were in the Amazon, blaming their Sat Nav for not suggesting they turn left at Albuquerque.

Dexter defies biology by giving birth
Dexter defies all biological reason and precedent by giving birth

But it was the centrepiece of the garden, a stone paved square with surrounding low walls that sold me on this wonderful expanse of land being perfect for the shoot and Olive was gracious enough to confirm her permission for us to use it. So August 16th was marked in the diary, the day OVFM, the actors, Chris and 7 ft dinosaur would descend upon Chez Allen.

At this point it seemed that only I was aware that this was a club film and not a personal project so I was getting a little worried no-one had volunteered to help as per the request on the website. Thankfully David put the word out at the annual garden party and without the use of incriminating photos, managed to secure our crew.

Next was the casting. I had asked a few people that I had worked with on prior films if they would be interested but they were either on holiday on that filming date or were still traumatised from working with me before. I put out casting calls on social media with sadly little response, aside from two women I had to pass on for logistical reasons.

Luckily Anna Littler came to the rescue by referring me to Blitz And Bananas alumna Sue Gray to play Sandra and Hannah Whitehead, a budding actress and model to play Tilly. Rather fortuitously, Hannah has an older sister Beth, also an actress, so that was an extra role fulfilled too. The final piece of the puzzle was our male lead, the call answered by David Wrighton to play Ron after I e-mailed a number of local theatre groups for actors.

This is what happens when you let OVFM into your garden!
This is what happens when you let OVFM into your garden!

How would the shoot go? Find out in part two coming soon!


Words: Lee Relph

Photos: Kuldip Kuar




When you think of the great partnerships in film, the names that usually come to mind are Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Hope & Crosby, Lewis & Martin. But at OVFM the names at the top of our list are Reg & Annabelle Lancaster. Forever at the heart of OVFM’s activities the Lancasters have been given the opportunity to host their own club meeting.

Here’s Reg to tell us more:


At the committee meeting to plan the last year’s programme we had one date left to fill.

In the absence of anyone  else volunteering something for the meeting of March 29th, We offered to show four films that Annabelle and I made some years ago which have never been shown together as they were intended to be seen.

Firstly one of the 8 or 9 films that I made with Dutch filmmaker Vladimir Murtin, and  another when Dutchman Jan Schoonen joined us. On two of the Cross Channel film trips, Annabelle came along and shot film of what was going on.

The first is a comedy, Aloha and then Double Date which experiments with time. Annabelle’s are called Aloha Take 2,  and Double Take.

Our films were aimed at UNICA at a time when Britain was not a member. So they do not depend on language and represented The Netherlands successfully. Though amateurs, we tried to take a serious attitude to film making and the words “we’ll get away with that” were not to be heard.

We did have a lot of fun while being determined to try and get things “right,” so Annabelle’s films show how difficult that can sometimes be. Murphy’s Law is often close  at hand.

Above all we intend the films to show what fun there can be in a small, enthusiastic group of people can have in collaborating with like minded people to make wee films together.

We feel it should make an interesting evening.


I’m sure it will too.

Also, don’t forget to collect your copy of the raw footage for the latest club project, as detailed HERE while this meeting is the last formal date to get your nominations in for a place on the committee ahead of the AGM next month.


Hope to see you all this coming Tuesday to see “The Making of…” with The Lancasters!