All work and no play makes Jack and dull boy.

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Autumn wanderings.

Some Riot

Finished shooting Joshua Glenn’s short film “Some Riot” two weeks ago now and the first cut of this is down. It needs some work – some pick-ups and refinement but it’s coming along nicely. We’re hoping to have it finished by the end of September but in the meantime have a look at the promo poster I’ve just done for the film. Joshua is rather please with it, as am I.

It’s just a case of thinking about a strategy for festivals once the film is completed. Which leads me to…

A Sense of Disappointment

Really disappointed that Georgia’s Angel was turned down for both Encounters at Bristol and Raindance this last week; and Land of Dreams was similarly turned down for Encounters.
In fact, a little bit annoyed to be quite honest.
But reflecting on this I came to the conclusion that, really, despite all of the planning for both films, what was never taken into consideration was a promotional plan. It has just been the case that I’ve submitted the films to whichever festivals popped up in the sidebar on WithOutABox. And here is the lesson, one I often repeat at the start of the film-making cycle and one I have now officially been burned by at the end.
I have failed to make sure these films were targeted at the right places. Take Georgia’s Angel, for example. Our test audience feedback from the UK was largely successful. However, the Canadian audience were a bit more challenging, in large part because of the nature of the film and – believe it or not – the accents of the cast.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Of course, this is not something I should’ve ignored. The film appeals more to a local (i.e. UK) audience an maybe it should’ve been submitted to small festivals there first to build up a head of steam.
But what is the problem with Land of Dreams? Feedback has been universally positive for that. I think the issue here has been the lack of planning and preparation. The WOAB profile is not particularly detailed and there is nothing in the way of a plan of direction for the film at festivals.
So… that’s this week job then!

Road To Nowhere – a music video

Doing a music video is something I’ve considered doing before. Sheffield band A Season of Secrets had wanted a video doing for their early single Coffee Girls, back when they were still known as Little Secrets. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my backside into gear, their line up changed and I really lost the first hand contact I had with the band so said music video never happened.
I wrote previously about the strange workflow of preparing for a music video. Phil’s song was not necessarily a narrative that I could map images and visuals to so I shopped around a bit with existing videos in the same style of music and after song discussion with Phil we agreed a general look and feel for it. It was a case of story-boarding for individual shots and short sequences rather than a through,  linear narrative; and then a case of getting the coverage out on the shoot.
Not all music videos have to be like that though. I supposed creating a video for something like Mardy Bum by the Arctic Monkeys, or Sally Cinnamon by The Stone Roses would be more like making an accompanying short film – that straight story-telling approach mixed with added creativity to present the band or artist.
This video was also the first professional piece I’d done using the HD capabilities of a DSLR camera too. Land of Dreams cinematography had convinced me of the ease and efficiency of DSLR shooting over conventional tape and so this was done using the Canon 550D. The post work-flow was easier too – no waiting for tape to transfer, just plug the SDHC card into the front of the editing suite et voila!
Anyway – here it is, my very first attempt at a professional music video. Enjoy!
P.S: It was shot in the Derbyshire Peak District before anyone asks… 🙂

Out of the comfort zone

Every year or so my good friends at the South Yorkshire Filmmaker’s Network run a competition called 2 Weeks 2 Make It in which various film-makers compete to create a winning music video for a local band or artist. Rob Speranza, from the SYFN, called me up this year and urged me to give it a go but in all honesty music videos just aren’t my bag (with the singular exception of the very simple music vid I did for Chris Baum way back in 2006).
I’ve never really thought what it is that’s turned me off from creating them to be honest. They offer an opportunity to be ultra-creative and inventive with both content and style; and they can inversely (if you wish) follow a pretty formulaeic style. They are something you can be pretty free with. When I think about it, it’s unusual that I’ve not ventured down this road previously, especially given the importance I place to the soundtrack in my short films and documentaries. You only have to watch the beginning to Waterfall or the A Shot In Time documentary to see how I feel about a particular track fitting visuals to help tell a story.
So this week I’m taking myself out of my comfort zone and shooting a music video for singer-song-writer, Phil Sinclair. I’ve known Phil for years – too many years he would say – and his style of melancholic folk music I do quite like. He’s a very talented musician and needs the support a video can give to get himself to that next level of achievement. I’m quite looking forwards to it. We have a Continue reading

"Some Riot"

I’m really pleased to announce that I will be producing director Josuah Glenn’s film “Some Riot” later in the summer, with Eye Films providing part funding and production facilities. The film is a short film that explores the themes of life, death and acceptance and will be the first run for our new equipment.
Joshua worked as an AD on Rob Yeoman’s film “The Room”, which we shot in December and January and is hoping to study film at Warwick University later in the year. He is an incredibly talented young film-maker and I am both very pleased and very proud to be helming production on his first serious film.
The film should be is due to be released in the autumn.

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