So, how did it do? Well, it’s still got a while to go yet on its festival journey and so far its been an official selection at ten festivals. It has been up for Best Short Film in five of them… And that’s it 😊 See
However, the thing that’s led me back to this blog is a small period of filmmaking disappointments and a feeling of ‘what now?’ And, a little bit of ‘what if?’ To be honest, creative clouds have been hanging over me for a while and, although enthusiasm never diminishes, anxieties over the plan and execution often curtail any real impetus.
I began my filmmaking journey in 2001, when my dad gave me a Sony DV camcorder. I’m not quite sure how he got it, but I imagine its own story might well make for a film. Anyway, I made some stuff. It was fun. They were shit. I learnt a lot. I loved films and filmmaking even more and I even won a few things. The most notable prize being a national competition, sponsored by the Orange mobile phone company, arising from an audience vote. That was in 2004. All was good. However, I never capitalised on any momentum I had, as life invariably took over and securing funds and finding reliable people to work with was difficult.
So, I became a bit disillusioned and packed it all away in 2005. Those early films still exist on DVD back-up discs (yep, that’s how it was!), but they’re securely locked away now, for everyone’s benefit!
Nine years pass and I’ve got the itch… Well, it never really went away and I began to animate, thinking it would be a great way to convey the inner-workings of my mind, without reliance and indeed incumbrance from anyone else. I’m not especially pleased with the result of my endeavours, but I don’t discard them; screw them up and start again, like I’ve done before. I let them have a life and keep them documented and displayed on this very site. Again, they’ve even done rather well and have been shown around the world. Have a butcher’s at them, starting with Snow from 2014. I’m not a purist by any means and I’ve had no formal animation training, and this is probably evident. I just like art, imagery, writing and movies, so I just worked with what I had. One thing I’ve always been confident with is my writing and this is the thing that drives me on.
About 7 or 8 years ago, who knows? A long time ago, anyway… I was told a story about an unfortunate incident involving a date, a girl and an errant turd which wouldn’t flush. There’s more to it, of course; but anyway, it stuck with me and, like so many other ideas, I jotted it down and tucked it away.
So, desperate to make another movie and give myself a chance to take more control and address some issues from the previous production, I set to work on it. Get straight back on that horse, right? Anyway, a lot of energy and effort is expended over a period of several months and we are two weeks away from shooting when disaster strikes. To coin a few apt phrases, it hits the skids… Shit hits the fan… I see, quite by chance, a tweet which contains a poster which catches my eye. The poster intrigues me, as does the accompanying tagline. A few searches lead to me to read all about its release in September (i.e. just a month ago) and just how well it’s doing on the festival circuit. I realise this is my movie. Well, the movie I’m about to make… The director, in several interviews, talks about an ‘urban myth’. I realise that this ‘story’ which ‘happened to a friend of mine’, as it was recounted to me, is clearly a work of existing fiction; appropriated to whomever and whenever, with each new telling. Bugger! So, I make the decision to knock it on the head. What else can I do?
I’ve never experienced anything like that before. I suppose I should be grateful I saw what I did, when I did.
Dumped, is dumped – and I’ve lost time and a bit of my own money too.
My poster for Dumped.
Their 'Love Lex' poster.
So, as I mentioned earlier. What next? And also that ‘what if?’
Well, cue disappointment number two (pun intended!). My fabulous Indiegogo campaign for another film, ‘Wake Up Call’ was a spectacular flop . It showed me that I really do need to do a lot more, in terms of exposure and making quality films, before I attempt something similar again. What can I say? A massive disappointment.
Wake-Up Call certainly can’t get made and realise its ambitions without a decent budget and I can’t self-fund something of that magnitude. One thing I hope I can be sure of, is that I’m unlikely to see the film already produced by somebody else! Well, if I did, I’d have serious concerns about how. The film does have a rather strange conceit; a unique storyline and premise. It is certainly more aligned to my usual ‘style’.
Well, on the back of my Encounters acceptance for Spider, Shooting People have now hooked me up with Kickstarter New York to provide a mentor, backing and promotion for a new campaign. It’s early days and I’m unsure as to whether I’ll run with Wake-Up Call for this opportunity. It’ll more than likely be Happenstance, another comedy which, although not dark or macabre, has an alternative perspective to the traditional ‘love story’. It’s a film which does realistically need funding, nonetheless.
Well, becoming kind of impatient and unhappy about recent events, I’ve pretty much made the decision to go back to the beginning. I need to make the movies I want to make and can, with no-budget, and pretty much do the lion’s share of the work myself. So, with that in mind, I locked myself away and knocked out nine ideas (with treatments and first draft scripts) in three weeks. My self-imposed brief was:
· I must be able to make them without funding
· They must have minimal locations, all of which I can control (i.e. access) easily
· They must contain as few characters and complexities as possible
· They must be great (on paper at least!)
Now, ordinarily, I’d be reticent to make such an announcement, as most people may well wonder - just how good can nine ideas and scripts be, if they’ve been knocked out in just three weeks? However, writing is my ‘bread and butter’ and I get paid to provide solutions, answers, copy, stories and even jokes (topical or otherwise), in very short deadlines. So, I’m entirely used to the pressure. Obviously, by saying that, I’m not saying that everybody will think they’re fantastic and, of course, being great on the page doesn’t necessarily mean the movie will be amazing! But, I’m happy and as excited as I’ve been for a long time and that is very much the intention. I’m smiling again.
Now, I’ll just have to see how the mop flops and do my best.
Mostly micro-shorts, the low-budget slate consists of:
A Sort of Burial (Comedy)
Cat Flap (Sci-Fi / Horror)
Hokum (Dark / Thriller)
Switch (Comedy / Drama)
The Cold Caller (Horror)
The Seat (Horror)
Up Above (Horror)
Wrong Choice (Horror)
I’ve even made a poster for one.