I’ve been away!
There’s a good reason the blog’s out of date, honest. I’ve been away. Travelling, like. in Africa. It was amazing.
I’ve been working as a visual media specialist volunteer for ICS Progressio, in Malawi. It was great and I got loads done. Including a load of visual material.
I was essentially the team photographer, documenting the progress of the volunteers working the Mt. Mulanje area of Malawi. I’ll be putting those images together in some shape or form to tell the story of what we did, and to promote the charity. I’ll keep you post.
I also got time to shoot some really interesting video, and a new project is in the works. I’m currently editing a short documentary about some of the work in the area, and the challenges facing our partners… Its going to be called In the Shadow of the Mountain.
More on that soon!
Well, this is awkward.
Seems I’ve let this page get a bit out of date. Let me post some content…..
CURRENT PROJECT: SAVAGE- A PLAY
So creatively speaking, this is the main thing I’ve been working on. It’s a play about myth and identity, and the way we use both to our own ends. It’s the story of a long-forgotten tribe in the Belgian Congo, in 1898, faced with extinction at the hands of pale-skinned strangers on their shore. When they capture a lone member of the expeditionary force, they put him on trial… for crimes against humanity.
With a language and cultural barrier the size of a continent, and a legacy of nightmares and stories of the “Savage” on the other side, two different shades of humanity must find what binds them- or risk destroying everything around them.
Its been a busy month! Besides all the essay work that the life of a scholar (ahem, procrastinating student) entails, I’m in the process of sorting out all the projects I’ve been involved with recently.
The first is the Territorial Army project from the summer. Unfortunately, there have been complications at several levels of post-production, from rights ownership to arranging editorial facilities: such are the perils of student film. We’ve had great assistance from Capt. Hugh Beattie and his squad, from the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry. Because the film is shot on MoD territory with Armed Forces personnel, the whole thing must be vetted by them; thus, any editorial or broadcast control I had was effectively sundered. The footage captured looks strong, so hopefully Capt. Hugh will have a nice little edit he and his guys can be proud of… once it has made its way through the system.
Back with Will Webb, and INDIETRIX films, two new projects are underway: one is a very small project called Black Tulip, which I am producing. Set in an imagined alternate Durham, where the Soviets have been exerting control since the 70s, the script is bleakly ironic, and thus “really quite funny” according to Will.
Its a very small team for this, with three members of the principle production team and three actors. As a result, we’re running a tight, intimate shoot around our uni committments. We’re nearly finished; the last scenes will be shot in Epiphany term at Durham.
The most recent is a larger project we are taking on in the New Year: Its called A German Word and it promises to be really bloody good- but we need money for it. We’ve recived some bursary funding, and are halfway through our Kickstarter Crowdfunding campaign. I’ll be blogging properly about this soon, but in the meantime, please take a look:
Finally, an exciting new development for the collaboration between myself and Holly Churches, Bournemouth student and recent director of Gardens are not Made by Singing. We were at school together and first collaborated on our 6th Form Production: She directed the Wizard of Oz, which I co-produced and was Technical Director. Since then, we’ve remained good friends and have developed a successful working relationship… we know when not to tread on each other’s toes! Her major project is coming up, for which a 10-12 minute musical extravaganza. Holly has approached me to write the story and script, which she will produce, direct and edit… more than enough work for one person. I completed an initial treatment last night and all of a sudden, a new project is in the works…. very exciting.
Gardens are not made by Singing- RELEASED ONLINE TODAY
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Gardens are not made by Singing: The marvelous Holly Churches’ Bournemouth University short film project, Directed, Produced and Edited by her, and Written by myself.
You might recall me blogging about this whilst I was writing it (and if you don’t recall, see below….) but here is the finished article, released to Youtube as of today. I will be writing a more substantial Blog about the behind the scenes and such soon, but in the meantime, just enjoy.
Dreaming of Flight- Screenplay Complete!
I’ve just finished a screenplay for that new zero-budget short I was working on. Its called Dreaming of Flight and its essentially a contemplative thing- looking at the nature of dreams from the point of view of a man who can’t wake up from his. Its very, very simple, but that’s the point.
One of my best friends, Lucy, of http://thetangly.wordpress.com/, is a very, very proactive student. She gets an awful lot done. Now, she and I often have this conversation- I’m an ideas guy, I have lots of them, but very few actually get done. I have plenty of (completely justified) excuses, but its certainly true- I let the fact that I don’t have the funds, equipment or the manpower stop me from making things happen.
Well, this is a change. Its been written with the limitations of my resources firmly in mind, and I think its going to work. I’ve said before, film is restrictive medium, and as a writer you can often be forgiven for forgetting that. But a Director is tasked with taking the ambition of the writer and practicality of the producer, and making it into a vision that people want to see. The only way to learn these skills, in the words of Christoper Nolan, is to do them all yourself.
So that’s what I’m setting out to do. Geronimo.
WWI short- Bournemouth finals project.
Everything’s in order to write the screenplay. I’ve just got to actually do it now. Should probably do some dissertation reading first. Sorry Holly. It’ll be ready very soon!
Bournemouth WWI Finals project
This is starting to get underway nicely. We have agreed on a basic structure and I’m just trying to start bringing details to the table. We’re working around two of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous poems, My Boy Jack and If. The former was written during the war, after the death of his son, and the latter before it, back in the age of imperialist jingoism and valour.
My current dilemma from the writing front is the extent to which the poetry is integrated. Should the characters speak the lines? Is it a voiceover which bookends naturalistic dialogue? Really, at the end of the day its about economy, in timing, visuals and words. So short, subtle, sweet, is the order of the day.
Chet and I have had a brief meeting which was as much a chance for two friends to catch up as it was about business. We are working towards and autumn collection and the pieces should be delivered soon. That gives me a target to work towards- managable, realistic ideas for stylish shoots and ad campaigns. We need to give this collection some direction and I’m looking forward to all the elements coming together.
Another new idea- a zero-budget, one-man production.
The noir short I’m cooking up is a bit on the back burner at the minute.I’m happy with the idea but I’m not ready to script it yet. In the meantime, I feel like I just need to make something. So I’m setting myself the challenge. Why feel hampered by all the things (cast, crew, equipment) you don’t have- take what you have and make it with that! So I’m planning a short shot on my phone camera, in predominantly black and white, that makes use of this super-minimalist approach. You know that dream of flying everyone gets? And the sensation of falling that wakes you up after? This is a story from the perspective of a guy living that flying dream- so much so that he can’t fall and wake up. I’m hoping to write this extremely quickly, plan it out and shoot it in the next few weeks. Editing will be trickier, especially in sound and ADR, so much of the time will be spent trying to work out how to keep that to a minimum.
Oh, and I’ll be doing my degree at some point as well…
I’ve been busy- too busy to update this, even though I know people have been looking. Sorry.
So a little run down of things of been working on:
Chet Alexander is an idea for a fashion design company dreamed up by my university friend, Chet. He’s asked me on board for creative input, and I’m currently working on media campaign ideas for his Autumn collection. Find Chet Alexander here: http://www.facebook.com/ChetAlexanderClothing and look out for us on Twitter: @ChetA_Attire
Short Exploitation-style revenge film- Working Title: “The Girl with Blood on her Dress”
This is shaping up to be some fun, and I really hope I can get it on. I’ve fleshed out a story and such, but I need to actually write a pitch and get some feedback on it before scripting it. I’ve been watching a lot of Tarantino, and some older Scorsese recently, trying to get into the mood for a dark, witty short thriller, that features a lot of recognisable hallmarks from this style of film. Its an experiment, but one I hope will come together in the next 6 months of so.
Writing projects: INTEL 4 STORIES and Bournemouth University Finals
2 writing projects: one I’ve completed, the other I’m about to start. The INTEL 4 Stories competition was referenced to me by a friend and I thought I’d give it a crack. You may have seen the excellent Kiefer Sutherland commercial that is part of the campaign, promoting Intel’s new Ultrabook series:
The competition is looking for 10-minute features based around a similar idea: promoting Intel’s new Ultrabook series in a stylish, filmic way. I’ve submitted my script, the finalists are yet to be announced. I’ll let you know if it goes anywhere!
The other is for a friend, Holly, who studies Film and TV production at Bournemouth University. She’s an excellent editor and has several acting credits to her name, including as a slaggy Bristolian on Skins (Sorry, Holl). Part of her final year course involves directing an original short film, so she’s approached me with an idea, and I’m going to work on a script for her. Can’t say too much because there isn’t too much to say at the moment, but I’m looking forward to helping out and its another thing I can point to on my CV.
This is a little cheeky of me because I didn’t do an awful lot on this, but I’m going to blow my (very small) trumpet anyway. Indietrix is the twisted production studio of my friends Will and Aaron, and their new Short, By Hook or By Crook, is released soon. I had a small part to play as an assistant Director, which I will happily play up to make me look good because its a great little piece of film- a really inventive, stylish piece. All credit and hats off to Will and Aaron and their strange little minds. Check ’em out at http://www.facebook.com/indietrix
That’s all for now. Hope that’s whet your interest!
Here, I’ll be scribbling bits and pieces about the projects I’m working on that don’t need to go on the main part of the Blog. I’m still fiddling with the formatting so this may end up changing, but instead of my usual abstract rantings, these are some bits that are a bit more pertinent to work I’m doing at the moment- shorter, more to the point, a bit of a diary for myself as well, I suppose.