I’ve been meaning to post this for the past week but just haven’t had the time. Just been crazy busy with various work which i’ll hopefully get a chance to post about soon. You may remember back in late April I worked as 1st AD on a music video for The Prison Library‘s latest single Liars. Shot and directed by Scott Coulter, the video takes place in a cinema screen where we shot the whole thing overnight from 10pm-6am battling tiredness and fatigue. It was tough but thoroughly enjoyable with the team around me.
The video is now finished and can be seen on youtube and below. Please do spread the word and help the view count go higher. As fantastic video by a good friend of mine Scott Coulter, very pleased for him and the band. A video to be proud of.
Well if you’ve been checking out my site for a while and reading the ramblings I post, well thank you for a start, but you’d also be aware of a project i’ve mentioned a bit before, a short film called Run. I began writing the film in February/March and lets be fair I struggled a little bit to get it going. The idea was there, the structure was there but I just needed to get up and write it. After the NYFA course in April and gaining the confidence and great feedback to the few scenes i’d wrote already, I really went about writing it.
It was a film I really believed in and it was much more personal than anything i’ve wrote and directed before. It’s a different genre to anything i’ve tackled before and is a very different style of filmmaking to anything before, but I’m ready for the challenge. With the great help from Liam Johnson, the director of the short film I produced, Reboot, we got together and started getting it all rolling.
Pre-Production is very much underway. Casting is nearing completion with locations very close to being locked. It’s all exciting stuff. The film will be funded hopefully by a large crowd funding campaign to build an audience before the film is even made. As a result one of the things we wanted to really do, which again was new ground for myself, was to get an illustrator on board to create some artwork to help market the film and give it a real image. We were very lucky to get someone on board and below and on the page you can see some teasers to the full poster.
We have launched the Facebook and if you’re interested please do head to http://www.facebook.com/runshortfilm for more into and to follow the progress!
Last weekend I went up to Kielder Water and Forest Park in Northumberland to film a short documentary alongside Act2Cam. The sports event included canoeing, high ropes, a king swing and a full relay cycle ride around the whole reserve, mimicking the olympic torch relay with a Northumberland flag. It was truly set to be a great day of filming. The content was to change from canoeing on the lakes to following the cyclists on their race, all exciting stuff.
Unfortunatley the weather played it’s part and the heavens opened. As any filmmaker knows, weather is your worst enemy. I somehow was able to master holding an umbrella together with my camera rig so I was able to continue filming but it did add to the difficulty and mobility of what I could achieve. What I did enjoy was how everyone just got on with it. You could imagine lots of children staying away from the rain but everyone continued on with smiles on their faces.
My other worst enemy that day was the bloody midges! I’d never even factored them into the filmmaking worry list but bloody hell it wasn’t nice. There were that many you can actually see them on some of the footage! I must have tasted the nicest as they thoroughly savaged my arms. Filmmaking is tough but try holding the camera still to get the shot when you can literally see a hundred midges feasting on your flesh!
Nonetheless the footage we captured looked great. It’s a quick turnaround this one, so expect a full video in only a number of days. Exciting stuff braving the elements!
Another day of shooting on Broken England went ahead last weekend with some continued scenes from the previous weeks ones in the shop, but also some new locations. The main new location was in fact a car. As a filmmaker car scenes are always interesting, mostly since you’re very restricted to what you can achieve. If you have specialised car rigs then that does make the options and shooting slightly easier, but you are still stuck on a few different angles. Without one of those rigs we relied on a handheld rig and the DOP getting in some very bizarre positions to get the angle right. Good thing I’m pretty skinny!
It’s difficult but it does give you some big challenges to try and solve creatively. They always say that restrictions make you become more creative and maybe that is the case, it definitely made me think differently with my angles the day.
The shoots seem to be going well, shooting around schedules and it’s been interesting working with a totally different crew and with different styles and ideas. I’ll leave you with a still I took from day one a few weeks back. Potential poster?
Sometimes in todays film industry you sometimes need to be able to do more than one job. This is definitely apparent for low budget productions and if you’re searching for work. You can’t just restrict yourself to a certain role, you may need to open yourself up to various opportunities to gain extra work. So when the opportunity came for my to be Director of Photography on a web series I thought i’d give it a go.
I have done a number of camera operating jobs previously and on a number of short films for Act2Cam helping the students, but i’d never been sole DOP on a bigger project. But hey, give it a go. Taking with the Director, Danny McCready, the style of the web series suited my camera skills and something that I knew how to achieve. Broken England is a gritty story about crime, race, love and war among the streets of suburban England. The director asked for a handheld style using the camera as a character so to speak in the action. Using a rig I think I was able to capture those moments and get some good performances on screen.
Unfortunatley the picture above isn’t a still from the footage (that’d be an insane shoot if it was) but I think we got some good stuff. The shoot was in a newsagents in Prudhoe and after a long shoot we wrapped at midnight. We’ll have more shoots upcoming, hopefully get some stills up in the coming weeks.
Last week I spent two days in Leeds shooting a wedding for DS Media. One day for the full ceremony and the second gaining the additional shots of the grounds and building. This was the first time I ever filmed a wedding so as you can imagine I was quite nervous to be honest. The idea of if you mess up when they’re exchanging the vows, their first dance. A wedding is a really important day and you really don’t want to be the one to mess up.
As a filmmaker I think you need to thrive on those situations. It’s the adrenaline that gets you through really. When filming Reboot there was a certain take which we couldn’t really do multiple times. The pressure was on to get it right in all aspects, the camera movements, the performance, it had to be the moment, and it was. Everyone ran on adrenaline, used their instincts and captured the right emotion. Sure it could have gone horribly wrong, but hey, thank god it didn’t!
The main battle when shooting the wedding was easily the heat. I guess we shouldn’t really fuss, it’s not often you get to run around with film cameras and not be freezing and battling the elements. Especially not in this country. I remember in the US when I was on a shoot, everyone was wearing shorts and suncream. At that time, the idea of that was crazy! I’d always been used to filming in the cold and wrapping up in layers. I guess it all just shows the differing moments you get as a filmmaker. From hot to cold, from drama to corporate, from happy to sad. One things for sure, we love filming it all.
The start of a very exciting process began early this week as we entered pre-production for my next upcoming short film. Tentatively entitled Run, the film follows two characters, Lily and Adam, as they both for their separate reasons run away from it all. The two strangers meet at their lowest of points. What happens in their next 36 hours together, may shape their future.
It’s been on hold for a few weeks now while I work out the different possibilities in terms of funding. Now it’s became a little clearer and I’m happy with the plan and progression to get this film made. I’m very lucky to have found a handful of people with whom I share a great bond with as a person and a filmmaker, and with that comes great collaboration. I’m very happy to be working with Liam Johnson as my Producer and Scott Coulter as my Director of Photography, the same team behind the short film Reboot, shot earlier in the year.
We even managed a quick bit of location scouting. You’ll be able to see some of the pictures on this page and you’ll see how interesting and different this location, certainly different to locations i’ve used in previous films. This film’s locations differ mostly from my previous directorial films, simply in the amount of locations on offer. Exodus was purely contained within a single bunker, whilst the latest differs entirely in contrast. It’s an exciting prospect in scale and creativity. We’ll be hopefully announcing quite a lot of info in the coming weeks so stay tuned!
The last script I wrote was for Exodus, which was shot over a year ago in late February 2011. Quite a bit has changed since then and I have had many more new experiences. With everything happening after Exodus I stopped writing for a while. Whether it was lack of ideas, motivation, or something else entirely, I didn’t feel confident writing.
I ended up reading a lot and trying to learn as much as possible so that when the idea came I felt comfortable enough to run with it. I got that final push when I was asked to pitch a concept as part of my audition for the National Youth Film Academy. I didn’t have one. I sat and thought and thought trying to get one going in time. I did, but truth be told, it was incredibly rough. Sometimes ideas float in and out. You may think it’s brilliant and the wake up the next day and see it from another angle and not be so excited anymore.
Luckily this idea has stuck with me and I have developed it. Maybe it was a fear of what I was going to write but I sort of stopped on it a little bit. I talked about the idea but nothing more. In the end though, i’m happy to say, I did start typing it out. After talking to some people and gauging reactions I guess my confidence came back. Since then I’ve wrote it all out, planned it all and even re-drafted.
Now I guess is the time to head it out my hands and get opinions. So far it’s all been positive and I really believe in the story that I want to tell with this film. It’s more personal, it’s more human. Hopefully this is the start of something quite special in the coming months. Fingers crossed. If you’d like to be involved and maybe even read the script, send me an email, email@example.com.
I’ve currently been awake for over 33 hours and counting. Why? Well last night, at a call time of 9pm, I was helping to shoot a musicvideo for north east band The Prison Library entitled ‘Liars’. I actually feel quite fine, had a very productive day and I won’t really be going to sleep till a normal hour I reckon. But anyways, the reason for the evening and overnight shoot was that the location was actually a cinema. Due to the cinema hours the only option was to shoot overnight. So that’s what we did. We wrapped at 6am. I went home and continued my editing work.
There were stacks of energy drinks on the go but the main thing that kept everyone going was the people. It just shows you, you can do some crazy stuff if you have the right people with you. I never once felt tired enough to warrant a sit down or to even entertain the notionof resting my eyes. We were all hands on deck! In terms of the crew it was a sort of mini Reboot reunion with Scott Coulter directing and shooting with Liam Johnson and Tom Evans assisting on camera.
What was also exciting was that we were shooting the video on the new Canon C300. I won’t go into a technical review as to be honest I wasn’t on camera, but of what I saw, it looked phenomenal. I know it’s much more pricey but the image quality did look stunning. Looking forward to seeing the final result. A good days work i’d say.
Inspiration. A Flash of Genius. A Spark. Whatever you like to call it, it can definitely take you by surprise and crop up in bizarre situations. Currently i’ve been busy doing lots of editing tying up some corporate edits, but I have also been writing. Now I lost a large amount of confidence in my writing ability last year after the completion of Exodus. I’m not really sure why, maybe it was the lack of ideas, i’m not sure.
At my National Youth Film Academy audition back in November I found out about a week beforehand I had to pitch a film idea to them. I had none. I panicked. I sat down in a Starbucks, laptop open, a black word doc open, and I forced it. I guess you should never really do that but I had to. In the end that particular ideas has spawned off into the current short script i’m writing. It’s not exactly like the pitch was back then, but the core theme is still there and I still love the idea of it, always a good sign.
Moving on from that I got some unexpected inspiration for a feature script of all things. I was helping in a workshop for Act 2 Cam and with the first session of the new term the main aim was to get a solid idea going for the short film that the kids will make (well i’ll shoot it) in ten weeks time. Kids have such vivid imaginations and creativity that really that early on a Saturday morning they were firing on point much better than I was. In turn though they sort of got me going on a bit of an idea. It’s something that could be done on a highly low budget and fits the type of films I like to make and watch. I have no idea what will come of it, whether it’ll ever be written, hopefully, but isn’t it just great getting more and more ideas?