Friday, May 17, 2013
As the course got off to such a positive start, we'll be sure to run it again, possibly later in the year. So, if you're interested, pop your email into the form below (subscribe to the blog), and I'll keep you up-to-date with when the next date will be.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
UK Scriptwriters on Twitter
Friday, May 10, 2013
A couple of projects from the UK indie scene have me particularly excited this month. The first is from writer/director Justin Trefgarne. It's a name that's featured on the blog before in TWO Q&As, as I first quizzed him about his development role at Working Title Films, and then (2 years later) to check up on how he was doing once he made the bold decision to leave Working Title to pursue a filmmaking career.
Justin's now putting the finishing touches on Dreck, his debut feature, an ambitious British sci-fi thriller. "In a futuristic city where all drugs are legal, an unidentifiable body carries secrets to a terrifying conspiracy." Sounds good, right? It's got a great cast, too. Elliot Cowan, Jonathan Pryce, Harry Lloyd, Lenora Crichlow, James Callis, amongst others.
Justin's finished filming and is now in post-production (where he's got a Kickstarter campaign for the vital final stages, check it out). But in this tough and competitive economic climate, how did Justin even get this far, especially with an epic sci-fi thriller?
I joined forces with Eldar Tuvey, a tech entrepreneur, in 2011. Having looked at the official funding routes and production models (that for most Brit Films end in disappointment) we raised the finance 100% independently with a unique approach to production. We shot the film in 3 phases across 2011 & 2102, which enabled amazing cast combined with emerging talent (as we weren't booking people for large chunks of time) and keep productions costs low overall. At the start of this year we finally wrapped the main unit and are now in full-time post, aiming for a late summer completion.Looks great, sounds great, can't wait to see it! More info on the Kickstarter campaign page and the official website.
We are taking an equally maverick approach to sales and distribution. We're aiming to work alongside any distribution partners to a) ensure cinematic release and b) augment their marketing strategy with our own. Because we've kept the budget low it means that our risk is reduced overall, so the chance of going into profit is increased.
Perhaps the biggest difference of all is the film itself. We turned away from the orthodoxy of shooting three characters in a house and have assembled a film that tells a complex narrative across a range of characters. And it's sci-fi...
The second UK film is from my local filmmaking hero Suki Singh, who's ready to release his debut feature Emulsion. It's a cool noir thriller, David Lynch-style, about a man obsessed with looking for his missing wife. It's a thoroughly indie affair, produced by Suki and White Lantern Films (I directed After School Club, a fun short film for them last year). Hopefully we'll get to see lots more of Emulsion at the cinemas and beyond, but for now, soak up the psychological noir goodness of the trailer.
Way to go Justin and Suki. Now, where did I put my camera?
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Meanwhile, check out clip below from Dave's popular web series, Britain's Got People.
Monday, May 06, 2013
1. One Take Wonder
If you think you've got it in one take, move on. Don't dither about whether or not to do another take, as that's just wasting time. 'Cut, let's do another' and explain why, or 'cut, great, works for me, everybody happy, sound? camera? actors you were great, cool let's move on'.
2. Feed Me!
Go out of your way to feed people, even if it's with homemade sandwiches and flasks of tea.
3. It's Nice To Be Nice
Always be nice, always, especially to non-crew who you might have to deal with on location or wherever. Thank everyone for their time & effort at the end of each day.
4. Share Your Story
Get everyone invested in the story, and working towards the same creative goal. They'll respond to the passion & be more dedicated. Tech crew care about story, too.
5. Share The Excitement
If you can show the crew dailies, or playback the best footage so far, or fun stuff attached to the film (poster, website etc), that all helps, too.
6. The K.I.S.S. Principle
Keep it simple, stupid. If you've planned it right with the DOP beforehand, everything should be OK on location, even if you decide to ditch the shot list and improvise new angles.
7. Beware Too Many Shots
If a scene is two people talking but there's only one dramatic beat then you probably only need a wide master shot for coverage. It'll be more cinematic than the TV style of cutting into people's reaction or cutting closer to what they're saying.
8. Beware Edit Indulgence
In the edit, you can always cut *something* to make it shorter. Silences, pauses after scenes to see full reaction etc, CUT THEM. Well, as much as you can.
9. The Sound of Music
Sound FX/design is crucial, and so is music. Get them involved as early as you can. Invite the composer on set, e.g.
Allocate budget for PR/festival costs, at least £500.
Other posts about making short films:
What Do You Need To Make A Short Film? (5 Tips)
Mark Kermode's Top 5 Tips For Making Short Films
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
To celebrate Origin's 'birthday', you can now watch the film online in glorious HD, below, and right underneath you'll find links to my production and video diaries, should you wish to delve deeper into how production shaped up, and what I had to do to get it made.
Origin, shooting diary, day 1
Origin, shooting diary, day 2
Origin, shooting diary, day 3
Origin, shooting diary, day 4
Origin, video diaries
Origin, pre-production update
Origin, pre-production final
Origin, full cast & crew
Origin, blog contributors
Origin, cast & crew screening
Thursday, April 25, 2013
James and Mike are happy to accept submissions so I pitched them a story about cannibals in a post-apocalyptic world (what's not to love, right?), and they went for it. I'm incredibly excited as it's my first time writing a comic, so very much unfamiliar territory. And now I need an artist to work with me to bring my story alive.
It's called Feeding Time, a two-parter (twelve pages in total) about a ravaged post-apocalyptic world where the only food resource left is humans. A breed of cannibals has evolved – known as ‘vores’ – and they eat their prey alive. Some people aren’t as committed as vores, and they try to survive off the mangy remains of malnourished pets. One mother in particular is desperate to feed herself and her hungry son. She ventures outside into the bleak urban landscape in search of food. She gets accosted by a group of vores but escapes with a man who offers to help her. She decides to trust him, for now, but how soon before the vores attack again, and will the man reveal his true motives?
(still from The Road)
If you're an artist, and this sounds like the kind of story for you, then please do get in touch with VS Comics. For even more info, and to explore the world of VS Comics a bit more, visit their website. Thanks!