Friday, 21 October 2011

Dead-On the deadline, but I'm not Moving On yet!

Technological failure couldn't stop me, and frankly, it might have done me a favour...

I was unable to upload the 90-second Ghost Film entry, 'Moving On', today at work but I had arranged to meet James at seven pm to drop off a data disc.

Good job I did; I watched the lo-res version on my phone and realised I had some sound-synch issues. Although I left work late after jump starting a car (belonging to one Jamie MacDonald, photography course leader and documentary film maker) I felt that I had just enough time to do one last tweak...

Well, you know how it goes; one tweak leads to another and before you know it, you're meddling in areas that didn't need attention.

Since the deadline of 7pm was drawing near, I managed to stop myself and whiz over to Writers' Block HQ to drop off the disc.

Job done.

Now, two things followed from this: I came straight home to work on the three-minute 'Ditectirs' Cut' - that's coming along nicely, thank you - and James Harris has asked me to partake in a film project they have planned for tomorrow... Excellent, it's been too long between projects and this is just the medicine I need to het my mojo back.

I'll blog back tomorrow when I know what the story is... Unless its under embargo for some reason!?!

Deadline Time...

As the Writers' Block 90-second film competition deadline looms large, technology has once again become my enemy, after having been my best friend all week...

The competition rules stipulate the film file must be uploaded to '' by today - and the computer firewalls at work are preventing this!?!

A few calls later and I've arranged to drop off a data cd with James Harris tonight - Phew!

I'll post pictures from the set this weekend - but no spoilers mind you!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Post production almost done, with one day to go...

So how can I possibly stop myself meddling until the last minute and ruining it?!?

The running time is now a perfect 90 seconds. The ADR we did yesterday is dropped on, additional sound effects added and a musical track created with a piano keyboard and my dads new violin..!

Tonights mission is to colour correct the shots and to balance the sound levels.

The last link in the chain is actually getting the film to the competition; the rules stipulate using a virtual drop box - I sure hope my Internet signal stays strong this week!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Editing going well...

My second night of editing sees me off to bed with a ninety-second version of 'Moving On' - thus time yesterday it was 2mins 45seconds, so I'm really pleased.

The story I wish to tell really takes a little more than 90 seconds to do it justice, to give the characters room to breath, but the necessity to crop it back has resulted in some more unexpected pleasant surprises.

What in most pleased about is that all the tough shots have stayed in. I would have been strung up by the crew if I didn't use the apparition-in-the-reflection bits!

Tomorrow night I'll add the extra sound effects then plan the music, which I should be doing with Curtis Rowlands... The longer version will benefit from music for sure but this shirt one, well, I might just fro a few piano keystrokes on and a little violin for atmosphere...

Anyway, that's tomorrow nights business, I've got a full days work and a night class to attend first!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

It's a Wrap!!!

Principal photography is over, phew!

We convened at my house pretty much in time yesterday; the idea was to meet at noon, shoot from one, pause early evening till dark then film some more until maybe ten or eleven.

Half past ten we wrapped. There were slight changes to the script in order to speed things up and we decided to save the external shots until daylight.

Everyone was brilliant on set - and patient. We did have enough crew to form a second unit but due to technological constraints (my camera only records directly to a laptop) we could only shoot one set up at a time.

If you ever need an enthusiastic, energetic and competent crew, I can't recommend the following people highly enough for their skill, ingenuity and professionalism:

Actors: Hannah Matthews, Harry Peach
Production Designer: Billy Cessford
Prop Mistress: Rachel Lee
Camera Op.: Peter Suttron
Lighting/Sound: Karl Keenen
Make-up/On Set Photographer: Hannah Prince

I'll be making a rough cut today and hopefully working with Curtis Rowlands next Wednesday on a musical score.

I'm not quite sure if this will cut down to a fully understandable 90-second film; we threw so many ideas into the mix both at the script stage and on set; character motivations evolved and unscripted backstory was filmed too.

The deadline is this Friday. There will be a 90 second cut for that. More exciting s the Directors Cut. There is no time limit in that and as of this morning, there's 63 minutes of tape to choose from!

Next up: breakfast. I didnt eat much on set yesterday; there wasn't really time but moreover, I wanted to 'method direct' - to have that hollow feeling of lost love inside so that I wouldn't stray from the point of the story: a study of a man shredded by his feelings.

First I was 'Letting Go', now I'm 'Moving On'...

A year ad a half on from my first film making effort, 'Letting Go', comes the companion piece 'Moving On'.

The project had been languishing inside me for a fee weeks when I saw a reminder for another 90-second film competition from writers block, the theme: ghost stories.

The story follows a man who struggles to accept that his girlfriend has left him - but has she really gone for good?

I wrote the first draft in a few hours on Wednesday evening and shared it with students on the Thursday - with a view to shooting this weekend.

Hurried phone calls and emails landed me a tight cast and crew, comprising of graduates of film and tv and a couple of first timers.

The script has seen four revisions and today we shoot what we've got - kick off is in around two hours!

This is my first film for months, a very cathartic piece for me, one that I could only have conceived at this very point in my life.
I think I'll call my next film 'Falling In Love Again'..!

Here's a link to the competition:

And here's a link to the first. Film, Letting Go:

Pics and stories tomorrow - it's gonna be a long day!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Thanks Dad, you're Super (8)

Were back at film school now and the projects are beginning to take shape.

The one we're most excited by is the Straight 8 film competition, the winners of which are premiered at the Cannes film festival.

The college has one super-8 camera but no user guide.
Enter my father.
Although my request was to use the projector that's been in the loft for twenty years, he offered me the use if his camera too, and get this: it's the same make and model AND CONES WITH FULL INSTRUCTIONS!!!

We now have the capability to film films and play them back, old school, rather than having them telecinied onto a DVD.

Time will tell how well we do as a competition entry but one things for sure, it's not the technology that'll hold us back.