Blog interrupted

Weeeeeeell… I don’t know where to start, really. Or indeed where to finish. I arrived at Hankley this morning, with dog and child, friend and dog, expecting our normal walk around the common only to be enlivened by the film shooting. I greeted, in naive innocence, the (lovely) lady on the main security gate, only to have her call after me “…are you [my name]…?”, and tell me that I was in (and had created) a lot of trouble. They kept me there while they radioed the location manager to come and discuss things with me.

As it turns out, I’ve been a wanted woman on Hankley Common since yesterday, when it became apparent that I had breached military byelaw 4(13). On reading and re-reading this byelaw, I can’t say I’m yet entirely clear about how I’ve breached this, but I’m taking them at their word, and certainly the military police were perfectly serious about finding me and arresting me – the military policeman I talked to later told me that if they’d found me first I would have been arrested, cuffed and charged. I do wish to extend my apologies to the lady with a cocker spaniel who matched my description, who had some tricky questions to answer this morning!

What did distress me is that I seem to have dropped some of the site crew right in it. This really does upset me, because everyone I’ve spoken to on-site has been absolutely lovely, and I’ve greatly enjoyed having chats with them. I certainly wasn’t trying to get anyone into trouble, nor was I doing anything deliberately surreptitious (except maybe sneaking a bit close to the chapel on Weds, by which time the headstones were already long gone). I have been genuinely enthralled by the development of the set, and the incredible skill displayed therein. I love taking photographs of beautiful things, and, to me, the creation of this fake reality was an amazing thing to witness.

I think I got a bit carried away with the excitement of it all and the enthusiasm of the Bond fans wanting more detail. I didn’t properly consider the fact that the people who were telling me these fascinating titbits were not expecting them to reach such a wide audience. I didn’t expect such a wide audience either! I am genuinely very sorry if I got anyone into trouble. In my opinion, no-one behaved remotely improperly and I’d be most upset if they suffered repercussions due to me sharing stuff on here that was common gossip amongst the Elstead locals and dog walkers.

The upshot of this morning’s events is that I certainly will not be taking any more photographs of the set, nor will I be divulging any more information about the filming or what that indicates about the plot. I have to say that this resulted in me almost chewing my fingers off with frustration over what I saw them filming at the lodge today. Oh my, I can’t tell you how much I want to share the details of what we were all watching through our binoculars!!

Anyhowdyhoo, you poor deprived Bond fans will just have to be content with some older pictures that I took of the set, and some pictures of SHOCK HORROR… NATURE! which was, after all, what my blog was supposed to be in the first place. I must say I’ve had enormous fun doing this blog and riding the unexpected wave of enthusiasm that resulted from the Skyfall stuff. I’d like to say a fond goodbye to y’all, and I hope that just a wee handful of you might continue to visit for pictures and explanations of the stunning beauty we find all around us. :-)

I will include some pictures with this post, and edit it a bit, but mainly I just wanted to get this up there as an apology to anyone I dropped in it with my over enthusiasm.

Edited to add:

I just want to make very clear that I did not at any point go anywhere that the public were not free to go, nor was I at any point asked not to take photographs. I did not at any point go inside any fences around the structures which were up during construction. Once the fences were removed, I assumed the boundary to be the ‘flooring’ around the sites (the plastic roadway stuff that protects the ground underneath). Only once did I set foot on that flooring, and that was with permission. There was full public access to the site throughout construction (it’s MoD land), and lots of members of the public taking photos and videos. It was only during filming that the security guys were present. I do feel that if the chapel site was such hot property, then the production team should have made the construction team very aware of this, and put security on the site. It’s not like I was skulking around – I was there with two loud children and a dog!

I was told by the military policeman that I had breached a military byelaw, copies of which are displayed onsite. This is the byelaw in question;

It is prohibited to…  4(13) deposit or distribute, or cause to be deposited or distributed any handbills, leaflets or other literature or printed matter of any description.

All this seems to revolve around the fact that the mailonline bought 8 of my pictures to go into the artice that had already gone up on their site. At the gate I was told  that it’s to do with ‘commercial gain’ and that if I hadn’t received money for the pictures then they wouldn’t have been able to stop me blogging. I don’t know how that relates to the byelaw though. It’s all a bit mystifying really and not at all worth the £200 the mail paid me.
start of construction

start of construction

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34 thoughts on “Blog interrupted

  1. As a local too, its a bit galling – isn’t this our land, albeit army land ? Aren’t the military of the people ? Fine if they are practising lobbing bombs to defend the country but if they are making profits from a film company…? This isn’t a real war thats being fought.

    And in the end what about the old saying that all publicity is good publicity. Hints of plots and storylines can surely only stir up interest…

    But maybe even commenting here will have the military police heading in my direction…

  2. Thank you so much for your photos and reports! And I’m sorry about your detention. It’s an unfortunate end to this journey.

  3. As a Bond fan I just wanted to say thanks for the insider info. Don’t go getting yourself into any more trouble on our account!

  4. As a bond fan following production, it seems so far that there has been more secrecy and lack of official publicity than on previous productions. That might account for extra sensitivity around release of photos or plot info.

  5. Thanks for giving us an insight on how movie magic is created.

    It was very interesting to see how the Lodge set was created by the production team in such a short time but what I don’t entirely understand is why they did not create a no go area perimeter from Day one if it was all such a secret. It has after all been constructed on M.O.D. land.
    Nothing that you have photographed, so well, however, will spoil mine or countless Bond fans enjoyment and enthusiasm of the movie when it opens.

    Perhaps they can offer you a job as a Stills Photographer in Turkey, their next “port of call” location !

    Big-Gee

  6. It seems to me that a legal professional (maybe there is one amongst us?) could tell you whether you really were breaking any laws. It seems to me that the MOD are on sticky ground here. Were they just trying to scare you off? What harm were you actually doing? As for the film company, surely the publicity can only been good for the film. Spoilsports!

  7. Nobody could have foreseen this. The carpenter who said too much, have no secrets revealed, though, I suspect, have signed to say nothing. that’s not your fault. If there is no ban on photography, then EON made ​​a mistake. Barbara Broccoli is a sweet woman, she will forgive you ;-)
    Hmm, too bad it ends a bit here. Well, we have your great nature photos … I continue to visit.
    Charles, The Netherlands.

  8. Pingback: Blogger ceases taking photos of Skyfall set (SPOILERS) « The HMSS Weblog

  9. Pingback: Wildlife Photographer in trouble for Skyfall Pics | Daniel Craig is not Bond.com

  10. A shame they’ve handled it so heavily, sorry to hear you’ve had to go through this kind of stress. Thanks for all the photos and reports, it was all appreciated.

  11. You may have exposed some key factors about both production and plot, but on the other hand we were treated to a great exposé that is your photography AND writing. It has been thoroughly enjoyable to follow, because of your pure interest and fascination with the whole event, it is the same kind of rush we get form seeing a motion picture being created. I certainly hope this will lead to something for you in the future, although Unit Still Photographer does mean months away from home and long hours on set where dogs are not allowed unless they’re actual talent, but I do think you could send some samples of your nature photography to corresponding magazines. You never know!

    And when we finally sit down in our local cinema to watch this latest installment, when the lodge scene comes, we’ll all smile remembering how a Hankley Commoner got just a little too close to stardom :-)

  12. As a huge Bond fan I really appreciated the pictures and the information you have shared over the past few weeks. The way you shared the information was nothing more than totally gracious and i’m sure nobody could be remotely offended by the way in which you’ve reported things.

    I want ot say that I’ve also enjoyed looking at your other pictures and for therefore allowing Mr Bond to introduce me to something equally beautiful:-)

  13. Thank you for entertaining and inspiring the JB community. I myself like to engage with nature through photography, and have a favourite nature reserve I like to visit. If a movie production moved in I would photograph it like mad, so good on ya! The publicity they’ve got is brilliant, soput your conscience at ease – it does everyone good to promote our favourite superspy,

    Keep your conscience clear – they should be more careful in future if want absolute secrecy – its not your fault they recklessly left revelatory plot points – the props – lying around for everybody to see.

    They’re in your garden – not the other way round! I absolutely love your blog – its inspired! Looking forward to more of your thoughts on all things in life!

  14. Well, thats a real shame. But, as a Bond fan, and a nature fan, I’m sure your photography will be equally interesting/appealing as always. J :)

  15. Pingback: MOD Hankley Byelaws

  16. I am connected with this film, and need to tell you that for your own benefit, you really need to stop taking pictures and video of this production. Anybody caught doing this will no doubt have the wrath of EON come down on you. If you have unlimited funds to defend yourself, then great. EON are extremely powerful. I strongly suspect that the issue of you taking these photo’s will not be dropped as you have cost the film company a fair amount of money by your act.

    This production has cost a mind staggering amount of money and time. The planning of this type of production is huge. What you have done, although seemingly ‘innocent’ to yourself, could result in this footage being scrapped due to this breach. I seriously hope you have a good legal team on stand-by but hope more-so that you will not be needing to hire them. It is unlikely that you have heard the last of this at the moment though. People are kept out of places for a reason, whether this is a military base or a film set. I cannot add any more comments, but good luck.

    • Thanks for the advice. As I’ve said on the blog, I was not ‘kept out’ at all, and nor have any other members of the public been. During filming there’s an exclusion zone around the set, manned by very on-the-ball security guys, but when I took the set pictures there was free access and many other members of the public doing exactly the same thing. At no point were we told not to take photographs or to stay away. Yesterday they were filming the helicopter sequences and there were hundreds of people watching. They were kept back to a safe distance but neither security nor the MPolice were telling people not to film or take pictures. It’s not a military base, by the way – it is land owned by the MoD with full public access (subject to byelaws).

  17. Unfortunately, our industry (film production) is a rather strange ‘creature’. I do all mainstream films and have witnessed people taking video and photographs. It happens. However they tend to post them on YouTube for a while, before they are pulled by the powerful production companies. The Lawyers tend to pick bones clean, and then some.

    Unfortunately, when an individual places media onto a public ‘gallery’, then everybody who has an interest in ‘shooting them down’ will do so. The film industry is a fantastic place to work in. It can be fun and it can be very demanding, with an average crew day being ten or more hours. Add the cost of camera hire (some of these cameras can cost as much as a house. Honestly!), throw in a thousand crew members, insurance, helicopters, etc etc, and the initial outlay becomes horrifying.

    The set that you took photographs/video of, would have cost a fortune. EON have spent a fortune getting all of the set built and props sent there. And then along comes someone-with-camera and takes pictures of it. Oops. All that planning is now hanging on whether the photo’s are kept secret or not. Then along comes the press. You make £200. The media makes 100 times that in extra newspaper sales and EON loses even more than that. So quite rightly, they are annoyed. Big time. EON have employed a vast number of people for this shoot/production, including me. What you did (and others have done) is risk the jobs of everybody on that set. For £200?

    Anyway, this isn’t a rant. I just want to warn everyone that taking pictures of an active film set can, or will have its fair share of problems. Either those scenes will be cut, people could get hurt by being aware of you taking pictures (everyone on set knows what everyone else is doing. It’s like a family kind of thing. Add members of the public, and people tend not to concentrate on their job. Even worse with helicopters around and pyrotechnics around.

    Anyway, setting those points aside, you took some good photo’s with a Lumix. Keep taking them, but not this type of subject. What you have in effect done is technically what the paparazzi do.

    If I was also in your shoes, to try and minimise any potential issues that may be heading your way, as a courtesy gesture, I would remove all Bond content that you presently have posted. It’s your call obviously. Just keep it all safe until the film hits the cinema and maybe then you could repost it with EON’s permission.

    Well, bets of luck to you. Remember that the film industry is almost like any other job. It employs people, it creates a group of followers and it generates money to allow those followers to continue ermmm…following their favourite films. It’s all about bridges. Each scene is bridged to the next to make that story coherency. Damaging one of those bridges, brings everything to a sudden halt. It can also totally kill a film due to loss of funds.

    Okay, I hope you get my point. Just leave US alone and we’ll give YOU something in return. Entertainment.

    All the best.

    Mike

  18. Thanks for your further comments, are you sure you’re not the lady who called me from EON’s PR dept.? ;-) She also suggested I take down the photos and content as a ‘goodwill’ gesture, which I gave serious consideration. I decided not to because the images are already out there in the public domain; they’ve been reblogged and reproduced all over the place – removing them from my blog won’t make a jot of difference to that.

    I do appreciate your (and EON’s) point of view on this, although I must respectfully disagree with the premise that the leaks and spoilers do actually spoil things for the fans. From what I’ve read on the fan forums, those people who don’t want to discover plot details go out of their way to avoid spoilers. For the fans who want the spoilers, these details only serve to further whet their appetites for the film. Similarly, in my opinion leaks in the media drum up interest in and publicity for the film. If nothing appears in the media about the film, how are people’s interest and anticipation fuelled? Surely it’s the tantalising titbits that pique people’s interest. Obviously I don’t have any knowledge of this business, but I don’t see how this could kill the film due to loss of funds.

    I wonder if you could clarify for me what law is being broken when people take pictures of filming occuring in a public place? I’m curious as to what grounds the production co.’s lawyers have, to insist that footage be removed from youtube, for instance? I may (or may not, I’m still not entirely convinced about this) have broken a military byelaw, but what civil or criminal law have I broken in taking a picture on land I had permission to be on, of something that noone told me not to photograph? Sorry I’m not grilling you here – just musing aloud to myself, really.

    Anyway thanks again for taking the time to share your expertise in this field.

  19. Hi again. No, I’m not a lady haha. I’m a key member of the crew, as all of my colleagues are.

    Well, the first ‘law’ that has been broken is the fact that to photograph or video somebody for public viewing, you need signatures from all in the photo/video on what is known as a release form. Everybody in the shot, whether in focus or not, needs to sign your release form document, stating that they do not mind you publicly showing them. This includes all riggers, handlers, crew and as far as the helicopter crew too.

    I cannot comment anymore on this I’m afraid, as I heard of something heading your way. It is because you were the initiator of the leak and the first to publicly post images/footage of the production. I was in the production office today and overheard a conversation going on. The people in the room are unaware that I have communicated with you. I would be dismissed if they knew.

    Regarding the conversation I overheard, I cannot give you any information on their legal plans, except just to say that I really hope you have a very very good lawyer. Unfortunately, you are going to need one. Sorry to be the bearer of this news but as I suspected, they have no plans on dropping this due to the cost of the damage.

    I can only say that they have a very powerful legal team that are extremely busy on this ‘saga’. From eavesdropping the conversation, you’re in for a bit of a rough ride I’m sorry to add. I’m just sorry that I cannot specify ‘points raised’ by them with you.

    Hopefully, others reading this will take note that large production companies need to show the world that they don’t take this lightly.

    • Great I’m glad they’re on the case – I contacted EON on Tuesday to ask them to clarify my legal position for me. I also contacted the MoD to ask the same thing. I’d like to know exactly where I stand. I’d hoped to hear from the yesterday, so it’s good to know they haven’t forgotten about my request. ;-)

  20. Eon, if its really you piling pressure on this woman, please stop. Yes I realise for health-and-safety and intellectual property reasons you need to keep the public off your sets, but I can tell you, as a Bond fan, that its not damaged my anticipation of the film at all. In fact quite the opposite. However, this unbecoming behaviour – using your financial muscle to harass a young lady who just enjoys making beautiful photos of wildlife – is really leaving a bad taste in my mouth and of my of my friends who are bond fans. If you persist with trying to harass her, I will be boycotting this film, and through my website I will encourage others to do the same. This could become a PR nightmare for you, and in particular could turn women off seeing this film. Please leave her alone. Thanks, and I hope you continue to make what looks like a great film.

  21. Mike the Grip….get a grip more like…..I have been down to Hankley several times with my dslr and loooong lens, I was even standing next too and talking too Colin, the boss of C&M security, there was even a guy there with a video camera on a tripod. Lawyers indeedy….

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