The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Haunting House.

I have spent the past few days shooting a film. For me, the most memorable – and odd – part of the experience was spending Sunday, through to Monday at 11 am, shooting in an abandoned house far from Kuala Lumpur.

It is a horror film cliché, that a house is somehow “haunted” – well this house was haunting, for anyone who stepped within it. It had been abandoned since 1998, according to the last revealed page of a calendar on the wall. It was heaped with dust and decaying junk. Books and papers had rotted away, to become powdery ghosts of themselves. It has a strange smell, that was not quite comforting – a musty malodour on entry that one couldn’t quite define. Even more perturbingly, it had seemingly been squatted in, in the past fourteen years, since one room had a mattress free bed, heaped with clothes, that seemed rather newer than the house – and, in an unnerving detail, a baby’s nappies. Who on Earth would try to look after a baby in such surroundings? It should be noted, further, that the electricity had been put back on for the filming. So, whoever had been squatting there, had done so in a house without electricity. It couldn’t have been much fun, living in a rotting shell, in the dark, at night. As for us, filming, it was spooky enough, even with a whole film crew present, throughout.

In a darkly humorous gesture, nature provided an augmentation to the general spookiness. At several points throughout the night, a very loud dull thump was heard, as of a human body falling from a great height. It turned out to be from some kind of fruit tree outside, with very large fruits about twelve to fifteen inches long. God knows what it was, but it certainly added an element of surprise to the ill lit night.

For me, acting is often about experiencing the unusual. It has placed me in very unusual circumstances which have given me memories I could never have expected to have. This last weekend is prime among them.

It was a long night. By the time I got home, after the shoot, I had been awake for over 32 hours. Yet, it had been worth it. The director, Ignas Versinskas came up to me at one point in the night and remarked: “You have really created a character...I can feel it.” That was a cheering compliment and one that lightened the burden of the hours. Thank you Ignas.

So, despite the hours and the consequent tiredness, despite the darkness and general spookiness, I had succeeded in creating an interesting character, on screen – and no-one watching would have a clue about how long I had been awake or what hour it was during filming! I actually rather like the character: a detective who has seen it all and come to terms with the worst of life, but still managing to care, when people come to harm.

I look forward to further filming experiences, though I doubt that any will ever be as haunting as this one. I will write of some of them, in future.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 3:04 AM 


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