The plan was a simple one. As I was living in a large warehouse space we could make a very quick and very cheap feature film there. (We did ignore the The Production Triangle *) This was to learn how to do a full length film, then we could make another bigger, better film the following year.
But things happened. It was all looking very good, so we carried on filming, for another three years, and then we did a year of post production, we also got our own yacht at the Cannes Film Festival, picked up a Best Director award at The Southampton International Film Festival, had a trip to Berlin for a Festival screening, a Saturday evening slot on London Live TV with the Evening Standard TV guide calling it ‘Pick of the day‘ and then a year on Apple TV.
So all in all a bit of an adventure for our cheap (still very), now not quick, but hopefully good first film. ( The Triangle still holds!)
* You can pick two, good, quick, cheap, but you can’t have all three.
Getting your own back on the Noisy Neighbour.
I use to live in warehouse in Stoke Newington and below was an alcoholic who use to stay up all night playing very loud music with his very drunk friends usually ending in a fighting in the early hours of the morning.
This neighbour had no sympathy for any of us as he said he was the first person to live in the area and moved there to make a lot of noise and it was our fault that we moved in after him. He had a point!
So I got my revenge by killing him in a film!
A Shooting Schedule of 1096 Days. That’s 3 years exactly (incl. a leap year).
Yes we did shoot over 3 years but not everyday.
Pre production started in earnest March 2010 with casting in May and rehearsals throughout June of that year; the aim was to shoot the bulk of the warehouse interiors during August 2010 and then the location scenes in September 2010.
3 years later we’re still doing pick ups!
There’s Nothing You Can Do About a Beard!
We had to delay one block of filming for 6 months as both Julian and Richard were about to do major roles in other projects that needed them to drastically change their looks. Julian had to have his longish hair cut very short and Richard had to grow a beard. Shorter hair you can cope with using a wig, but a beard!
Luckily after 6 months delay Julian’s hair had grown back just enough and Richard went to the barbers for us.
Need a metal door? Try using 2 cardboard boxes, 2 C-stands and some black paint.
We wanted to add a shot of Gemma entering the artist upstairs space but we
no longer lived in the warehouse and the artist space was built at Union Chapel, so 3 years after the first shot was recorded we tried to match the scenes up.
So we mocked up the connecting doors in 01 zero one studio using some of the original brown material draped over 2 large cardboard boxes painted with black paint and cello-taped to a couple of C-stands.
The effect is hopefully seamless once Erik, our sound designer, added the correct creeks and knocking sounds. Our grader Chris never spotted the join and he’s watch the film a few hundred times! So below is 3 different locations and a 3 year gap on Gemma entering the room and it’s my arm in the end bit that pushes her out.
How Many Costume Changes? … and in one scene!
We were warned – don’t have your actors wear their own clothes (Chris Hughes). Great for saving money and great for the convenience on the day, but when it comes to a pick up shot a year later will they still have that shirt!
Don’t have actors changing costumes if it’s not really needed (The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film).
We have Charlie in a white teeshirt, a grey teeshirt, a brown teeshirt, a white teeshirt with a collar! Now as we are editing and moving scenes around and cutting bits of one scene into another the ever changing shirts can be a real problem (3 shirts in one 30 sec scene!!!).