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Wednesday March 7th 2012

“Having ideas is like having chessmen moving forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Some people have asked “why Mug 7?”

In setting up Western Edge Pictures (and producing Third Star) I wanted us to be as environmentally friendly as possible. I have always hated the waste on film sets. I think we are a particularly wasteful industry, because of the speed at which we have to produce our product.  One tiny way to do this, and try and make a difference, was to ban polystyrene cups. You may think it’s filmstock, light and electricity that make films, but I’m fairly sure it’s caffeine. Millions of cups a day – made one second before a cast or crewmember is called to do his duty and so disgarded, or else drunk out of sheer boredom, the cup tossed away, and a fresh one taken to replace it. In over a decade on sets  I never saw a polystyrene cup refilled.

In the week before shooting I sent the runners out into the locality to buy 50 mugs from charity shops. I told them to buy a few base-white mugs in each one. Spread the word that a local had come back to make a film, WITHOUT the money that Harry Potter and Robin Hood had had to throw at every problem… maybe they’ll cut us some slack when we ask them to wait with a hoard of other walkers while Benedict, JJ, Tom and Adam trudge past a seemingly empty vista.

Back at our production office in Stackpole, the runners painted numbers on them all, so each crewmember could choose a lucky number, or shape, or picture they liked.  We took photos of them to archive our lovely crew with ‘Mugshots’. One attempt at cutting our waste. And NO chance of our endless coffee cups blowing along the shore into baby dolphins… blow holes… anyway you get the picture.  Did it work?


We were so rushed, so understaffed, and so busy. Caring for the mugs went by the way side. Most ended up in unit base (still loved – but not on set) and recycled paper cups found their way on to the shoot.  BUT – heartbroken though I was – many of the crew took their mugs home with their crew t-shirts. I learned what I needed to do next time to make this work, AND I have so many more ideas of how to make our film making credibly friendlier for the planet, whichever bit of it we’re shooting in. We’d love to hear from anyone out there who has ideas to do that. If we can – we’ll try them.

So – Mug 7, was mine.  The 7th is my birthday. And there’s a rather blurred photo of someone’s much loved Jack Russell on the other side. I love making films, but it IS hard, and you have to be a bit of a terrier to try and get things done RIGHT. You just have to stay focused.

3 responses

  1. Wendy

    Always wondered why you were called Mug7! Love it!.
    This is my first ever comment on a blog, but I just wanted to say how much I loved Third Star. I have visited many parts of the Welsh coast since I was a child, but have never come across Barafundle Bay-even though my parents regularly took my sisters and I to Tenby and Freahwater. The beach is so beautiful and a true treasure of West Wales. In fact, shortly after watching the film, I have planned to visit this beautiful part of Wales this Easter. Really looking forward to it. Barafundle Bay-here I come. Now where did I put my walking boots?

    March 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm

  2. Liz

    Do you have a list with mug numbers connected to particular people or was it just random choosing? Can you give some details on who had which number? I think it would be interesting for us- fans of this production. I love this blog and this film so much. I feel personaly attached to this film… It makes a lot of people rethink their lives. There is a blog on tumblr thirdstarconfessions.tumblr.com and I think it’s worth for you creators to see what a great influence this film has on people…

    March 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm

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