Friday, 21 December 2012

A Grand Job

Today I delivered the stand and graphics to the Grand Hotel, Hartlepool, for their Airport themed New Years party.

This work was undertaken in an exchange for hiring rooms for Championship Hunt; it was intended to be farmed out to students but the end of term hit too soon, so the ball fell back into my court.

Here's some pictures of it's development:

Intitial concept art

Concept art for VIP room

Working drawings

Pre-painted stand
The finished stand
This was a bigger job than I'd anticipated, although it was straight-forward and nothing went wrong, thankfully!
Thanks to the Entertainment Design team and the IT Technicians for their support, and thanks also to Kathleen from the hotel for trusting in me to realise her project within the limited timeframe.
The Grand Hotel, Hartlepool is a beautiful hotel and has served Cleveland College of Art and Design on many an occasion, and we look forward to working with them many more times to come.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

There's Something in the Fog..!

 We had a rather lucky break this weekend when a location scouting trip turned into our very own fox hunters-hunt! A visit to Castle Howard, rendered all but useless thanks to thick fog, was followed up with a trip into deepest Yorkshire and an abundance of horse boxes suggested there was a hunt underway. As we drove through the lanes - in the mysterious fog - we were quickly caught up in the procession of horses and hounds, taking part in a drag hunt. We spoke to one of the riders who allowed us to take some quick pictures and I feel these could be used in an early montage in 'Championship Hunt'.
Here's a couple of snaps:

Here's a link to Castle Howard on Google Maps:


Friday, 9 November 2012

Don't Shoot...

Until 25th January, 2013!

Yes, that's our official start date for principle photography on Championship hunt!

Although it seems an age away, the script needs to be locked down, costumes designed, locations established, sets dressed, props made... Gee-Whizz!

The Championship Hunt web site came online today too, check it out:

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Call The Cops..! No need, there's dozens of 'em!

Today i headed up a team of CCAD FdA Creative Film students as we shot a police training exercise at Tees Port.

We had five cameras; the emergency services had eight fire engines, four police cars, six ambulances and a helicopter!

It was a long day but between us we vaptured some outstanding footage.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Launch for 'Championship Hunt' Facebook Page

Yikes, that was scary..!

Halloween you say?

Nooo! Tonight I pushed the 'GO' button on the 'Championship Hunt' Facebook page that I've spent the last week building; it makes you feel quite naked, putting everything you have out there for the world to see and hoping that it's enough!

As a launch package I'm very satisfied with what I have; plenty of artwork and photographs, all with notes to explain what you're looking at and help someone utterly fresh to the world to understand what I'm attempting to turn into a film.

Here's a link:

And here's the teaser poster:-

In other news this week, I had a fantastic session at film school last night when a scene from Championship Hunt was filmed by two groups of students, with little-to-no input from myself. The results really helped me get a feel for the scenes and will allow me to add more action notes to the script.

This group wanted to use strong shadows to add character

 This group kept one character in shadow

The actor in shadow was playing the part as though he was Satan himself!

With all the social networking fuss behind me, I can concentrate on further script revisions and get back to prop making, costume and set design!

But first some pumpkin carving and light a few candles to celebrate the turning of the wheel once more.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Social Network Expanding

I've been 'off' social network pages for a while; I feared that they were a distraction away from the cause of making the best short film I can, but I always knew that one day I would return...

This week, I began to compile a Facebook page, dedicated to 'Championship Hunt', but I'm holding off on going fully public until it's a lilttle more developed.

I've worked with quite a few film makers over the past year, all of whom use Facebook to a greater or lesser degree and I do find that the regular updates really make the projects come alive - here's an example:

This is the Hydra-X films page; they recently shot a short film called The Bad Samaritain Must Die and at one point, were posting two or three times a day to update the production.

I will follow a similar template, by rolling out exclusive behind the scenes photos and news, design artwork, music links and opening up group discussions about the project.

I'll post a link when there's more content..!

Monday, 22 October 2012

VERY Early Screen Tests - A Modest Success!

There's nothing like time constraints to motivate a person and the onset of Autumn has certainly done that for me!

A few weeks ago we filmed James running through the countryside, lush and green - you know how it is; then Autumn hits and the trees start to turn orange, red and brown - well that's gonna wreck my continutiy!?!

With a script still being tweaked, extablishing shots to capture while there's still a little green on the trees and character development work to do, time is tight. This weekend I drove down to Nottingham to work with Luke on facial hair creation and script improvements. Luke is currently sporting a seven-stitch scar on his forehead thanks to a fight scene he filmed a week previous - he was a trooper though and allowed me to glue a fake eyebrow over the wound!A scriptwriter himself, Luke offered suggestions to enrich the characters' backstories which sent me away buzzing - I will try and write these additions into the script tonight - so much for cropping it down - or my other film school homework!

My time in Nottingham was cut short due to family business but this afforded me the opportunity to film some landscape plates in and around North Yorkshire and Teesside, to use in the montage sequences.

I was using the Panasonic P2 camera on my own and, for the second time running, forgot to check every single switch for every single shot; top tip everyone: check that the ND Filter is where you need it to be for each shot - these things can get knocked and your images may end up a little darker than you want them... very rich colours in the clouds mind!

I am in a good position this week to sculpt a stage #1 and #2 fox makeup on the bust I made of James but obviously the way I draw Jonny Fox allows me to distort the proportions of a man - with James I might need to adapt the mask or employ a little computer trickery - or a combination of both!

Jimmy Hagri contacted me with script feedback earlier in the week too, his suggestion was that Lord P and Sebastian Delaval ought to be drinking fine old whiskey; Luke would like to see a gamne of chess being played as well - I think both are great details and both shall be included!

One big piece of news from mid-week - we now have a producer onboard: Sophie Crawford, CCAD graduate from 2011. Sophie will make sure locations and cast and crew all function correctly, leaving me to concentrate on creative... on a different day I might need to employ a production designer and model shop manager too!

Here's a look at Sophies work:

And here's a few photos from the past week:-

Roseberry Topping Sunset - with the ND filter set quite high!

Building facial hair

Add more layers and comb through

Trim the hair to a little longer than necessary so that it can be fine-tuned with the actor

I have a couple of copies of James' face with which to make prosthetic appliances

Friday, 12 October 2012

Getting a Head Start

Here's a sneaky look at the early stages of, what I hope will become, the Jonny Fox mask!

Thus far I have a cast of James Kent's head, some concept art and a lot of good intentions. My usual barrier is myself - I want to do a Hollywood-standard animatronic fox-man costume but time and budget says I should simply aim for a very basic mask, without snarling lips, moving eyebrows and snapping jaw...  Boring!
This is what I want - and here's how I'm going to get it..!
Removing the plaster head from the alginate/modrok cast

The plaster cast was cleaned up using drills, sanders and knives

Holes were filled with polyfiller and the head sealed with shellack

A latex coating has been painted on which will eventually become part of the mask
Overlaying the artwork to the actor - it's going to take a little 'tweaking'!
Many thanks to my model, James, and my 'right-hand-men' Rachel Lee and Simon Burgon who assisted me during the three-hour casting session.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Championship Hunt is On!

This is the big one folks; my final major project at film school and the next stage in the ongoing history of Jonny Fox - Championship Hunt has started pre-production! So far I have a script, actors, concept art, musicians and a tight film crew - now what I need is the time, fortune and energy to pull it all together for an April deadline. Championship Hunt will feature make-up effects, puppets, digital composites, all in the service of telling the story of when Lord P met John foster...

MThere's loads more concept art, makeup tests, script previews and news to follow over the next few months, stay tuned to this channel: Foxhunter TV..!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

major project twists of fate

Tonight was the latest in a string of coincidences that should contribute greatly to my final year project - a place in the crowd at the Hollywood premiere of Expendables 2! Almost all of the stars were present; Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Statham, Norris... But the real bonus was filming the crowds themselves. In my script, there is call for paparazzi and fans to witness the arrival of the racecar driver. Oh, I also had a drive around a racetrack in the back of a training vehicle. And filmed some rabid crowd scenes at a UFC event and a football game. I have all the flashbacks and cutaways I could need - now I've got to finish the script and lock down my actors. This thing is just making itself!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Grainger Market Expo - Jonny and Lord P make an appearance!

Many thanks go out to a colleague of mine, Mike Myers for organising a special effects exhibition in the Grainger Market, Newcastle this week.

Mike generously offered my the opportunity to promote The Grand Scheme of Things at the event and I whipped up some posters, concept art displays and a couple of small-scale busts of the two main characters: Lord P and Jonny Fox.

Over the course of two days, Mike and his talented CCAD Entertainment Design Crafts students, Sam, Bethany and John Dawson, entertained and informed the public with gruesome displays of SFX makup and sculpting.

Also on show were sets, prop and costume from recently graduated students Daisy Prout, Billy Cessford and Laura McClurg.

Check out these links for more info:

Mike Myers:

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Foxhunter TV: The Legacy Begins to Rise...

I can't believe it, I've barely ten months left at film school; ten months to create the mother of all trailers and secure the deal at Cannes 2013!

Foxhunter TV is part of the world of Jonny Fox, and Jonny Fox is a character I've been working on with film maker Martin Wood for over a decade; and this is the year he breaks free!

I'll be enlisting the best of my student contacts to make props and costumes and as many of my acting buddies as I can fit in any one scene.

The idea is to make a trailer, to secure funding for a trailer, to secure funding for a trilogy of films - an earlier version of the story can be found at this link:!__episode-1

I've been working on character designs for years but now I'm moving into real life, I'm looking for inspiration everywhere and anywhere - and that includes Helmesley, North Yorkshire - where some of the action takes place.
While passing an outdoor clothing shop, I saw this fantastic display...

There will be plenty of faceless henchmen to take down and all the best movies feature masked bad guys - I'm thinking Equalibrium, Captain America, G.I. Joe to name but a few. Well it cuts down on the need for so many extras and costumes and catering if we use the same five performers a dozen times over!

Plenty more news to follow, keep 'em peeled!

Here's a link to their website:

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

And the winner in the entertainment category was...

Some really cool little film about facebook, well done them!

Nothing left to do now but smile sweetly and go home!

Good night!

And the first runner up in the Animation category is...

Jessica Shaw from Cleveland College of Art and Design!!!

Jess was a fellow student last year and is now one of MY students on the Entertainment Design Crafts course - and a very good one at that!

Jessica Shaw: one to watch.

The Entertainment category is up after this short break...

My nerves are tingling!

RTS: York (Student) Awards Tonight!

It's the big one... (following yesterday's 'Big One' - a showing of 'Moving On' at Clive Tonge's Short Horror Film Night at the Arc...)

Back in November 2010 I attended my first RTS Awards; just over a year later and I'm suited and booted up again and ready to rock!

This event has been postponed from last year so the suspence has hit fever-pitch as to whether or not my offering has been shortlisted. I entered the Regent Cinema promotional film into the category of factual, as a first year piece of work - even though I did it in year two for me!

Fingers crossed then; a short listed screening would be nice but a win would be a perfect start to spring.

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

'Moving On' at The Arc - Next Monday

It's nearly time, so here's a quick link and a little reminder that Clive Tonge's Big Horror Night is nearly upon us... Come one, come all, for a fun-filled-fright-fest!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Going Back to 'Moving On'

The juggernaut that is 'Moving On' just keeps thundering forward, most recently it was selected to be screened in it's Director's Cut format at Clive Tonge's Short Horror Films Night at the Arc, Stockton.

As this was a last minute submission, I can only assume that the decision committee were utterly blown away by what they saw onscreen. This is a testament to the talented team I worked with on the day, most of whom I've worked with again since...

Well if this is the result, "Viva La Team Moving On", says I!!!

Check out the event at this link:

Monday, 13 February 2012

BOOM! We're off the blocks in 2012 with EXPLODING HELICOPTERS!!!

This may be slightly preemptive but there's a very good chance that my next film school project will be approved tomorrow - and it's all about the exploding helicopters!

I'm just putting together a short pitch video to show my lecturers that will without doubt convince them that blowing up little models is the best thing for me as a student on te 'Creative Film making' course.
I've been planning this shot for about five years now, and every year another thing drips into place to make it an inevitable outcome.

Now in fairness, I don't NEED to blow up a helicopter - I just WANT to!
It'll be enough of a challenge to bring the futuristic models to life in the trailer but in for a penny, in for a pound and all that...

Hollywood is being threatened daily by bedroom artists producing tip notch SFX on home computers, and I aim to join them.

Test shots started five years ago; in seven weeks i hope to have the skillset down to make all the aerial vehicle shots in my trailer look a million dollars.

No pressure then.