I decided it was time to completely overhaul this website so that’s what I’ve done. Hopefully it will make for a site thats easier to find your way around and take a look at my work.
This past weekend I took a journey to London to take part in the Guerilla Filmmaking Masterclass a very intense (and long) look at what really goes into making a film. The event was run by Chris Jones who’s short ‘Gone Fishing’ was ohhhh so close to Oscar glory last year.
Chris has worked in the film industry for over 20 years and has a hell of a lot of interesting and often funny stories to tell (such as his time spent in jail) about all the features and shorts he’s worked on. The course was really insightful it literally covered everything ranging from finding a script to financing, producing and actually selling the final piece.
Before the class actually started on the Friday evening we had a really interesting bonus.Gareth Unwin and David Seidler the Producer and Writer of “The Kings Speech” respectively came and spoke to us about their experiences making the film. What a great pair of guy both funny and interesting in equal amounts. Gareth only recently got into Producing with his background really lying in AD work so what a hell of a project to suddenly produce. David was a character and a half deciding he wanted to get into screenwriting at the ripe young age of 40 his first major screenplay was amazingly Tucker directed by Francis Ford Coppola (or as David lovingly called him Franny) you can tell this is a man whose life could be a film in itself. I’m not going to go into too much detail about what they said but David did tell us his main inspiration for writing The Kings Speech was that he also suffered from a stutter when he was a young boy. All together it was an amazing evening and Gareth even bought an oscar with him. I’ve got to say it was shiny as a bastard.
The masterclass didn’t take any prisoners, it was made very clear that this is an industry that can and will take over your life and you may well never get that lucky break. Come on though if you’re reading this you were probably bitten by the film making bug long ago such as myself and if afraid there’s no going back. We spent the whole of 2 beautiful, sunny, hot days……sat in a lecture theatre, at least there was air conditioning as 350 people sat in there for 2 whole days could have gotten bloody ripe by the end.
I think it’s really a testament to both Chris’s teaching style and the dedication of everyone involved that we all managed to stay so glued to what was going on. 9am till 7pm sat in a hall is a hell of a long time to keep people interested but Chris managed it even when the subject got a little heavy.
Other than the masterclass there was another essential element to the weekend, networking. This is a great opportunity to meet a whole host of like-minded people so why not take advantage of that. I’ve got to say I met a whole host of people who I cant wait to work with whether they’re writers, directors or producers. A nearby pub and pizza hut made for our usual destinations in the evening which gave plenty of time to talk to people from all walks of life, there were some people still at university and other people waiting for their new film to premiere. I think I must have handed out about 30 business cards whilst there and these weren’t just quick “Here’s my card” moments they were all people I sat down with and had a good talk too.
I’m sure everyone that attended the course came away feeling like that film bug had just bitten them all over again. You could feel the amount of passion in the room by the end of the event. We all just wanted to get out there and bloody make something. Without a doubt I would recommend going on “the Gorilla Filmmakers masterclass” if you get the opportunity I’m sure you can tell I had a hell of a time and for the price of £60 you really can’t go wrong. One last massive thank you to everyone involved whether it be Chris, everyone else behind the scenes or just the people I met during our time together. In those immortal words ‘it’s been emotional’.
This really is a quick look over the whole event and I could go much more in-depth but to be honest I’d rather leave that to someone else and get making something. If nothing else the course taught me that now is the time to get working on my film, no more waiting for tomorrow.
carpe diem and all that.
Well it’s been a bloody long time since I’ve written anything on here so sorry about that I’ve been damn busy with work so thought I should get my finger out and do an update.
Last time I updated I was on my way to Canterbury to work on a short film. Fast forward 6 weeks (or so) and we got the great news that “Kitten in the Cat Trap” has been shortlisted in the ‘2 Days Later’ film festival so would definitely be screened at the event which was great news, our film even featured on the poster for the event (which I’ll include in this article) Not so great news was the fact I never actually got to go to the screen ing as I was stuck on another shoot but so is the life of a cameraman. From what I’ve been told the event went really well with tons of people turning up in costume and apparently the film looked great on the big screen. It would seem then that these cameras can live up to the challenge of being blown up which was something I was initially a little worried about. Unfortunately we didn’t end up with any awards but hell we made the short list so every cloud has a silver lining and all that.
I thought I’d take a look back at some elements of the film so why not start at the beginning.
The shoot itself was a pretty hectic one we worked over 4 days and I finally had my full rig to try out. As we were shooting in the woods with a lot of POV shots from a small child it was a real life saver for keeping the camera steady whilst being able to see my monitor but at the same time that rig is one heavy bastard which you definitely notice as you’re running round holding it at your waist
One word of warning however if you do decide to invest in one of these DSLRs then been really careful with the HDMI out, one small knock against a tree stump and mine had broken (luckily it was just the connector and not the actual port but it did mean filming for the last day with no monitor so make sure you get some extra HDMIs before you head out to shoot.
We spent the majority of our time either in the middle of the woods or in a basement which gave two great locations to test the 550D out. Some of the woods footage was shot during the night and the rest shot day for night (which was great fun for me in post) I have to say the 550D with a f1.4 28mm lens held up really well when shooting in some REALLY dark woods though the ISO had to be ramped up to 1600 which in post really started to pick up the grain but over all I was very impressed. I’m sure if I’d been out with the regular Video Camera I wouldn’t have picked up anything. One word of advice if you’re out filming in the middle of thick woods late at night take some insect repellent by 3am Jeeves (our director) had become an insects buffet.
The later half of the shoot took place in a dark cramped basement again the 550D was a life saver here as we were working with so little space I’d never of got a larger camera into a lot of the spaces we used, half the time as it was a had my back pushed up hard against a wall just to get everything in shot. The basement was lit almost entirely by candlelight which made for a great effect (which actually needed very little grading) but again was a little grainier than I would have liked.
There was one big accident on the shoot and that was when I took a bit of a tumble on the morning of the last day literally on my way to take the first shot. As you can probably see from the picture it left me very an ankle looking a little like a potato but oh well it was just another one of those fun little things sent to test us. It also gave everyone else a great excuse to laugh at me whenever I came hobbling over to them. It’s fine now but the 5 hour journey back from Canterbury was pretty hard on it.
Overall I was pretty happy with my input into the production which also included editing and colour grading (I might go into a bit more detail on these aspects later on) I really liked the look of all the footage and this production really reinforced to me that DSLRs are the way to go if you want to make something that really has that film look about it.
I’d also like to say a massive thank you to everyone else that was involved in the project whether you were acting in it or part of the crew. It’s always nice to meet people with a lot of passion and trust me for the long days involved in this without passion we’d never of gotten anyway.
Anyway everyone I hope you enjoyed taking a read over this and I promise that I’ll be aiming to make my updates far more regular from here on out. I’ve got a lot of interesting projects in the pipeline so make sure you come back and as always feel free to drop me some comments.