Archive for March, 2012

Below contains the link to my slide show presentation for my Creative Activism presentation.

creative activism

A few weeks ago, I came up with an idea about three ordinary students who have to go through a day with one of the sights missing. The idea being that they would see peoples aliments in a different light and no longer take for granted the simple things in life.

During this Documentary I also learned a lot. I learnt that no matter what, communication is key. Also, if there is a will, then there is a way. Meaning, if you have a boulder in your way, then you put find an alternate route. That sounds simple, and I guess it is, but putting it into practice and actually moving round that boulder is how you learn. That is what this documentary was all about.

For this task I operated the camera and narrated the scenes for the audience.

You will notice that there are some ‘comedic’ elements in the documentary too. I felt that this was necessary to add in because, no matter what affliction, you should always see the bright side. I always say that a day without laughter and humor, is always a day lost.

Above is a link to the documentary.

Doing this documentary has given me an idea to do a longer one called ‘Senseless’ which is where I will gather a group of five students/workers etc and get them to take away one of their senses. They will do tasks as a team too and try and go round the metaphorical boulder.

My research for this documentary was to look at Helen Keller. I was moved by how she managed to go through life with all of her disabilities. Watching a documentary about her, made me want to make a documentary that show people who take their life for granted and take away a sense, just for a day and see how they cope.

This was the documentary that I watched:

(This is NOT my documentary, I added it for research purposes only)

I can honestly say that I have learnt a lot from making this documentary. The main one being, you can never take anything for granted. No matter how small it is.

Flash mob #CreativeAct

A little while ago, I was part of a team that successfully managed to fool real members of the public. The ‘deceit’ was centered on two people who are in a ‘band’. the ‘ploy’ was to ‘spontaneously’ see the band ‘Audio Cheque’ coming out of a store in the center of Coventry. We then did an ‘interview’ with them too. My role was with a group of two other people; paparazzi. We would get the camera in their face and take photo after photo.

We manged to fool a fair amount of people into thinking that this bad was real. In order to enrich the lie, we made flyers, a FB page and a ‘song’.  To spice things up we even said that they was going to perform their latest single on to of the Ellen Terry building later that night… a la The Beatles.

unbelievably, we managed to fool a lot of people. People were asking questions, seeing what was going on and to top it off… getting autographs and photos! It amazes me sometimes how naive the British public really is. As soon s there is a new celebrity in town, we go week at the knees and have yearning to find out all about them.

The whole process from idea to taking out on the street took a little over two hours. Which, is great I feel. It just goes to show that you can create two fake people and generate buzz for them in no time at all, if the audience are willing enough.

At first I was skeptical about the idea, because I genuinely thought the public would be smarter. I was almost convinced that they would see through our lie, almost instantly. Incredibly, hardly anyone did. Those that did though, just walked off…

The thing that I learnt most about this flash mob, is that, if you sell something in the right way, anyone will buy it. No matter how ridiculous it sounds. I don’t know whether to be happy that I was part of a team that fooled the public into thinking two students from Coventry university were semi famous indi artists, or sad, because, in this day and age, if you are a celebrity… or even say you are, people will instantly flock to you and want photos and autographs….

Here is the video:

The following teaser trailer is part of a viral marketing campaign for my up-coming feature film, based on a story by Stephen King; The Boogeyman.
It was filmed on location in Warwick, using one of the actors from the film.

The intention of this video is to generate enough buzz about the film, so people will go and reasearch it, and eventually watch the film when it is released online later this year.
The film is slated for a 2012 (Autumn) Release

So, we had our re-shoot today. This is where we came up with a whole new idea (see previous post in the short film section)

I’m not sure I can think of enough superlatives to describe how great it was today.

Everything seemed to click, and work. We also had a very versatile actor too, which was fantastic. He was open to ideas and just made the role his own. He liaised with me on the script, and asked myself and the Director how he we see the character. From that moment, we knew we had a fantastic actor to work with.

I think that we made the right decision to re-shoot and re-write the script. I say this because, now, in my opinion, we have ironed out the kinks and went round those learning curves. We worked much smoother in a different environment too. I can’t put my finger on precisely what wen to well today, or even why, but all I know is that it was a fantastic experience to be part of such a fantastic crew today.

Here is the final script: Remember

Here is the rough cut for the film:

This film just shows that you can execute a simple idea effectively and with style.

In my opinion, the reason the first film didn’t go exactly to plan was that we were too complacent, or we didn’t see the boulders in the road. However, we learnt from our miss-en-devours and we have, in my opinion a great film.

An overview of the whole project

Overall, I feel that we worked well as a team, when things seemed to not go our way and people started to get disheartened, we all picked each other up. We always looked out for each other. We really cared about our films, and I hope everyone sees that when they are watching them. It would have been easy, after the shoot of ‘The Actor’ to say… OK, that’s good enough, and then sit on it. But we didn’t! as soon as the crit was over, we sat down as a group for a couple of hours and looked back over our ideas, evaluated what went wrong and what we could improve and ultimately, if we should re-shoot. I feel it was a testiment to our integrity to not accept ‘The Actor’ as our finished film. We had several online meetings over the weekend to discuss what we was going to shoot and where. We all pulled tighter as a group and found new depths in ourselves.

The easiest thing to say next would be that, we didn’t have to be in this situation in the first place if we had eitehr got the right location or more versitile actors. That however, would imply that we were lazy and didn’t do anything. That is simply not the case. From day one we all worked hard in trying to make our original film a success.
The way I look at it, we now have two short films for our show reel, because, ‘The Actor’ was not bad, just didn’t meet our personal standards.
I will reflect upon what I personally could of improved on, and they are the following:
My availability.
There were a couple of times during the pre production process where I was unavailable due to my (then) upcoming film in Iceland and also rehearsal for my upcoming stage show. This also effected my script writing schedule. I feel that if I could have managed my time quicker, then the script would have been written sooner. It was still done on time, but not as quick as I wanted it to be.

In conclusion, I feel we have a very fine short film in ‘Remember’. I am very proud of this film. Not just because of how it looks, but because it is a statement of of desire as NU Film productions, to not make A film, but make A Film to be proud of. I think we have just done that.

Just to say…

… Isn’t it amazing when you are doing something you love? I know I’m not doing it “professionally” but I still love writing and making films for an audience. Even on the days when the words are not flowing or the scenes are not right, to me it still beats most days when I’m not doing that.

So far this year, I have already been apart of two short films, with another one being made tomorrow. Wrote three scripts (short film) and one feature film script. (The Boogeyman, based on a story by Stephen King) I have also came up with three other film ideas, that will hopeful bee written and filmed by the end of this year.

I know I have picked a very hard filed to try and jump into, but hey… The challenge itself is going to be one great ride!

Over the past few weeks, our group of four, grew to six. Overall, I think this was a good idea, because, in my opinion, more people = more creative input. I feel we worked well in a cohesive unit. We hit a few learning curves, but that was only to be expected. As a whole group we had never worked together before, so it was all about finding each others groove.

during this project, I was the scriptwriter. I did many different versions of the script, so reflect on different feels and avenues that the script could portray.
Original Synopsis:
The original script focused on our main Character, Jake Deschain. A lonely actor backstage, going through his lines before his big night. He shows the epitomy of nerves on a big night. We see other acts coming and going offstage. As he get’s more into his role however, his confidence grows too. He is sat down on a chair backstage. A ballerina (of a large size) comes off the stage and goes to sit right on-top of Jake, He slides away just in the nick of time. Jake beings to pace up and down the narrow corridor backstage. It’s finally Jake’s turn to go onstage. He takes in a deep breathe. Let’s it out. An actor coming offstage, bumps right into him. The actor doesn’t notice. Jake walks up onto the stage. It is dark. He is disorientated by the darkness. He steps up to the mic and the spot light comes on. He fades away.
Alt ending: The audience wait in anticipation. Jake tries to speak. Nothing comes out but air. He tries to clear his throat. He steps closer to the mic and it gives feedback. He steps back. The spotlight comes on. He fades away.

The above synopsis was simplified when we filmed it. It was mostly because we could not get ‘the right’ location. We knew from the start that it was a film that could potentially be hard to shoot. We did the best we could under difficult circumstances.

Here is the rough cut of the film:

After reviewing the footage and editing it, we decided to do a new idea. We all pulled together and came up with some ideas. in the end we opted for a veteran in a pub, reflecting on life. For me personally, that was a difficult one to write (much like my ‘Together’ script) because it is a subject that I am close to, I have relatives who have been in wars. I hope I can do the memory justice.
Only time will tell.

I know, I know, It’s been a long time coming. I wanted to make sure it had the right ‘feel’ to it. Whilst shooting the teaser, I kept thinking to myself, I can’t wait to make this film. it has been a long time in the making, but I don’t want to rush into it, or make it ‘feel’ rushed.

It is almost time to roll the cameras now though, and I couldn’t be more excited!

I will leave you now, with the teaser trailer, I hope you enjoy.

24th Feb 2012 (Friday)
So, it’s 3am. I’m up two hours before my alarm. There is a reason though, because today’s the day I go to Iceland for 10days to make a short film!
I’m going to be co-producing a short film called ‘Snowblind’. It’s a psychological thriller, with a mountain as it’s backdrop. It’s going to be  a challenge to film, but all the crew are up for it!

Upon arriving in Iceland we see a rainbow, now if that’s not a sign of things to come then… well… what is? The flight was a smooth 3hours with no turbulence.
The short coach journey from Keflavick Airport to Reykjavik was filled with stunning views of volcanic land and mountains in the distance.

After settling down in the hotel, we all went out for a meal in one of the local restaurants. I stayed away from any typical Icelandic dishes (Sheep’s head, Puffin, Shark, Whale etc) and opted for a very nice burger…. Yeah… I know… typical Brit….
After the meal, we all had a meeting to discus the plan of action. It was great to see everyone up for this challenge.

25th Feb 2012 (Saturday)

Today was a day of new experiences.. I experienced a very underwhelming breakfast and the Icelandic milk… (which, I will not talk about, anyone who knows me, knows that I love milk… however, just not Iceland’s….)
Next on the list was to take in the sights and location scout. It was a great day, filled with great sights. At the end of the day the crew went out for a meal again, at another local restaurant.

26th Feb 2012 (Sunday)

Another day filled with excitement. After a day of taking in the the sights the town had to offer, we all went for a meal at a fantastic Scandinavian restaurant in the heart of the city center. I discovered the joys of a ‘Swiss Mocha’ and delight of an Icelandic slant of  a typical British meal.
On the way back to our hotel (which is approx 25 mins away from where we ate) We got caught in a snow blizzard. Don’t get me wrong, it was ‘fun’… From out of no-where a huge gust of wind, which lasted perhaps 40 seconds blew us up the street… and me into a lamppost… fun times in Reykjavik indeed.

27th Feb 2012 (Monday) Filming

So today was the first day we would shoot our film. The  drive to the location was stunning, the location itself, breathtaking. the team did a fantastic job in finding this location.
The actors and crew were fantastic on the night, we hit a few learning curves, but hey.. that is how we learn. On top of that we saw the Northern lights!

28th Feb 2012 (Tuesday) Filming

So today’s shoot went A LOT smoother and it was just amazing to see it all come together. EVERYONE on the crew should be proud of themselves. It  got very cold, but seeing the Northern Lights again, made up for it! I can’t wait until everyone see’s the edit!

29th Feb 2012 (Wednesday)

Everyone was still in a Jovial mood after a successful shoot. We took this day pretty light. We saw some more sights, had another snow blizzard, and at night we even felt an earthquake that measured 3.5 on the rictor scale.

1st March 2012 (Thursday)

Taking in the sights of the amazing city again. It truly is an astounding place to visit! Just make sure you pack a few bank cards because it can get very expensive if you don’t be careful. More snow blizzards and also a rain storm too! It felt like home with the rain.
We had a meal at an American diner on the harbor, one of the best meals f the week.

2nd March 2012 (Friday)

We had another crew meal tonight, in the oldest restaurant in Reykjavik, our female actress works there too so she recommend us on the best dishes.  I decided to try the Lamb tenderloin with blueberries and the all important… ‘swiss mocha’
Another snow storm on the way back too, people fell over left right and center. It was a great night.
3rd March 2012 (Saturday)

Today was a day of zen. While some people went off to the Blue Lagoon (I refused to pay over £40 to sit in some hot and lumpy porridge… I will one day, but not on this trip)
The rest of the crew took in some more sights. We climbed to the top of the stunning cathedral and saw an aerial view of the city, we then walked to the observatory, where we saw some more birds eye views. They were astounding! We also had a fantastic meal at the restaurant at the top of the observatory, The Pearlan’. Also, next to the observatory, was a man made Geyser, that was fun to see.

4th March 2012 (Sunday) Home-time

So today is the day I go home. It was a fantastic 10 days where I was part of an amazing crew who shot an amazing film.
The flight home has an interesting talking point… We had to take an emergency landing! We also ‘dropped’ about 30 feet too. There was a lot of screams form some of the passengers… and some giggles from me… We hit the ground with a thump, but no one was hurt, luckily.
I got home at around 1.15am. then up at 6am the next day to go to Uni…. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I look forward to going back very soon.