Return to Dark Ditties

Following on from shooting block 2 of Sunshine, myself and Will Bradshaw immediately made our way back up North to help on production again with the Dark Ditties team, this time filming episode 4 of the series.

Again, acting as a 2nd unit team, we were doing lots of pick up shots as well as grabbing lots of establishing shots of the beautiful Revesby Abbey wherein the team were using again for this new story.

Was fantastic to meet up with the cast and crew again (both old and new members), and I cannot wait to see the results of everyone’s hard work, especially the reveal of the big bad himself, Krane, who looked awesome!

Keep checking back on there social media for more updates folks!

Filming Sunshine Block 2

This past week we’ve been filming back on You Are My Sunshine, and it has been both emotional and new in a strange way. Emotional, because the performances from everyone are just stunning, and are keeping us in awe! But new in a strange way because Joe and Tom are now both older and played by Charles O’Neill and Ernest Vernon who are now inhabiting the roles and taking over from their younger co-stars/variations (Jack Knight and Steve Salt).

So for myself, it’s been a happy set of challenges to direct one set of characters via multiple actors (and this will be extending to the character of Ethel too, previously played beautifully by Charlie Clarke and in block 3 by the equally wonderful Rosemary Manjunath).

One thing that does make life a little easier is the modern day setting, no longer are we limited by the design palette of 1970s decor and clothing (which is still great to play with of course!), but now we can present the more up to date story in a design way that is different and yet allows these same characters to exist in their own right, but not too far that they ever become too dissimilar to what comes before we have already shot.

Thank you also to Jonathan Butler who is the newest addition to the film in the form of John, Joe’s nephew and Ethel’s son, who acts as a generational bridge between the past and present! Just wonderful working with you!

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So thank you to a wonderful cast/crew again and for the patience of folks who have also helped us (with locations and so much), such as my grandparents (whose home is now Tom and Joe’s), while a special thank you again goes to the Rev Colin Such who allowed us to use the graveyard around the Rushall Church (the same place we employed for House of Screaming Death), as well as Sophia French from Walsall Council.

I couldn’t do this without everyone! You’re all superstars!

Sustain Storyboards

When it comes to directing, I strangely never really use storyboards, even though they are amazing to see created! I have a distinct visual in my head instead, and relay that via numerous pre-production meetings with my DOP accompanied ALWAYS by my shot lists (which is my preferred tool).

However, sometimes I do make a few doodles, especially when I’m really excited about a concept, a shot, the potential mise-en-scene that in turn could further the ambiguity or themes locked in the narrative.

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So it was great to stumble upon these original sketches/notes I made a few months before we even began production on Sustain in late 2016 – especially since now I can compare them to the final film shots which turned out better than I could ever have dreamed – and all achieved through the wonderful cast/crew 

PS – what’s even better is that these two scenes were filmed about a good month apart too – good ole’ movie magic 🎬

Petrichor

Recently, I had the amazing honour to be asked by the wonderful Cameron Moon if I’d be interested in directing his short script entitled Petrichor.

Working with Cameron and forming a lifelong friendship with such a loving and creative soul on previous projects, I sprang at the chance to do it and have felt incredibly honoured that Cameron would trust me to help bring his beautiful script to life.

We filmed in Birmingham City Centre this past Sunday, January 27th. It was great because it allowed both myself and Kaushy to work directly behind the cameras again (our GH4s), something we’ve both been wanting to do a lot more of in the coming year, so it was fantastic to play with natural lighting (and planning for any LEDs to employ to light up any other additional areas maybe), and we got some haunting performances from both Cameron (who also starred), as well as Paula Mur, an exceptionally talented actress.

Some of the main inspirations for the film was the opening sequence of Last Tango in Paris, as well as Lost in Translation (which is what attracted and excited me the most initially), albeit with Cameron’s own unique touch thematically.

It also allowed me to play around with framing compositions inspired by my own love of similar ones from Michael Mann, a favourite director of mine, and whose work has influenced me visually in past films such as Sustain and Sunshine, and many more.

On the day also, we were joined by Kevin Totts who took the above images while we were shooting and I’m sure you will agree, they are simply gorgeous. Artwork in the film was offered by the stunningly talented Barbara Witkowska, while the score will be provided by the equally talented Dom Mason.

I hope when it is released after the festival run or if you see it on there somewhere, you will see what were all trying to achieve, something delicate, something full of hope as well as dashing it with a sprinkle of kindness. Something the world seemingly lacks a lot of these days.

Thank you Cameron x