Friday 21 October 2011

Film Done

Well, we did it. This time last week, our short only existed on paper and now it's all done. We shot it on Tuesday with the help of a lot of brilliant people to whom I am extremely grateful. I spent the last few days editing it together and fixing some of the sound today (I have a few issues with what I did soundwise, but it's done).

So, here it is, Everything You Need from a script written by David Turner:

It looks fabulous thanks to Simon Vickery behind the lens, shooting on a Canon 7D DSLR. I'm amazed at the results we got and any flaws are down to me. It's a constant learning process. I'm also amazed that I simply decided to make a film and then went and did it. What with the new short and completing a feature screenplay recently, this his has been the most productive couple of weeks for about 10 years for me.

And I want to do nothing but make another, longer film now. Got to keep moving.

Monday 17 October 2011

Plunge Taken.

We're shooting a one minute short film tomorrow. It's weird - I've made films of varying lengths before, fiction, documentaries, even a corporate for the Scottish Government which was to be watched by the then Minister for Education, and yet I'm more apprehensive about shooting one minute tomorrow. I guess that's me taking it seriously. But it has been a while since I've made any films. The last was in 2006 and was a mock version of those old public service films we used to get in the UK. Except that one was about zombies.

I have a great crew, a great actor and a lot of goodwill on my side. It's mine to fuck up.

Here we go again.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Filmmaking again. At last.

And so, I'm finally making a film again. Even if it only supposed to be one page long. I've finished the latest draft of my current feature screenplay and want to take advantage of the time available. I feel I've got loads of energy now I've done the draft which is now sitting with the Powers That Be.

We're entering the Four Days in August competition, being run by the chaps at Living Spirit Pictures and The London Screenwriters Festival (an event I really need to get to but the wallet disallows). The first half of the competition was about entering a one page script and the winner would be selected to be made by entrants to the second half of the competition. The theme is the riots in England a few months ago.

Still with me?

As it turns out, two scripts have been selected and we've gone for one of them (obviously). I've not made a film for quite a while and want this one to be good. Well, you should want every film you make to be good. I've teamed up with an MFA student at Screen Academy Scotland and a few other folks in the Scottish filmmaking community. We've literally no budget but will get the job done.

We're keeping a production blog and also have a Twitter feed dedicated for the film. Twitter still kind of baffles me but you have to take advantage of as much as you can these days, not that this will affect the outcome of the film or the competition but we want the film to have a presence outside of the competition. I've my own tweed feed as well, which I update even less than this blog.

We're shooting next Tuesday, most likely in Glasgow. One location, one character onscreen with no dialogue, another character offscreen with dialogue. It may be only for one minute but there is still a lot of work to do to get it up onscreen and ready for the competition deadline, Friday 21st October. I'm anxious that this goes well and am pretty nervous about it all. I just need to keep on top of it all and make sure our 60 seconds really count.

I want this ball to keep rolling and make more films after this. I've definitely sat on my arse too long in that respect.

Thursday 6 October 2011


I have never owned a single piece of Apple tech in my life. My wife has an iPhone. She's never far from it and I see how important it is to her.

But what I do know is that I love Pixar. The proper marriage of technology and true, honest storytelling. Something the rest of Hollywood, or even the world, fails to get right time and time again.

Reading Steve Jobs commencement speech to Stanford in 2005, specifically his third story, I feel like I really need to make major changes. Losing a good friend two years ago gave me a kick and I often think of the loss of Neil and what he wasn't able to accomplish. But old lazy habits still prevail. However, Jobs' speech puts it into more concrete terms

So, Mr Jobs, thank you for Pixar.

And I will endeavour to stay hungry and foolish.

Monday 3 October 2011

Geek Parenting Done Right

I could not let this go by and let other folks miss it. Guys of a certain age will remember the thoughts going through the minds of these kids (and I'm sure some girls too, but it always seemed to be a boy thing when I was young, so no shouting at me, ladies).

So, how cool is their dad?

Amazing. Obviously, their dad has started them with Star Wars (I resisted calling it A New Hope when I was a kid and still do to this day) and then proceeded in production order and not the order Lucas now wants us to see them in - does he not realise the power that this revelation still holds? Obviously not. Well, regardless of the prequels, we can still watch them in the order they were made and see how the story unfurled in its most effective way.

However, when The Empire Strikes Back first came out, a kid in the year above me in primary school, who had all the toys and assumed the position of biggest Star Wars fan in school (seriously, he got fucking snobby about it to other kids, like he was better than us.) saw Empire on its opening day and proceeded to tell everyone in the school dining room about all the big secrets in the movie!

Y'know, just in case...
I believe his smug words went something like, "Yeah, I saw The Empire Strikes Back and Luke Skywalker gets his hand cut off and Darth Vader is really his father and Han Solo gets frozen."

As we say in Scotland, what a bawbag. If that happened today, he'd get a proper slapping about.

I don't have kids and will always be eternally envious of other guys who get to share this moment with their kids in this way.

Still one of the greatest shock scenes in movie history.