Interview with Outward Film Network

I think it’s safe to presume that people around me know I’m very private and reserved when it comes to talking about myself. I’m quite happy being in the shadows and just being left to get on with the behind the scenes saga of making a film.

However, I was approached by the kind folks over at Outward Film Network who asked if I would like to be interviewed for their amazing website which is tailored towards the indepdent filmmaking scene and the kindness they showed me as well as their devotion to the indie filmmaker scene persuaded me to drop a few thoughts down to their questions…. well I say a few…. about 4,000 words later, I was all waffled out.

Anyway, here is the link to the full interview over on their amazing site. Check them out please! Thank you so very much to Mark and the entire team over on the page, who are all absolute superstars!

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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 🎬

Sustain has locked!

We’ve been working so hard on Sustain all year in the edit, so it was truly a wonderful moment when our amazing editor Sam and myself finally got it visually locked down this past weekend. All the differing shots, scenes, temp music, months of doing little insert shots that have blended in with the rest of the original shoot is just a joy to finally see! We even made a little video to mark the occassion!

PSX_20181028_150958.jpgOf course, this is by no means the end, we still have sound mix and scoring to do now, as well as beginning to ramp up promotion again. You’ll be seeing stuff appear over the next few weeks of course, but this was a magical moment and I wanted to share it.

You Are My Sunshine Indiegogo Campaign

It ‘s still here! If you haven’t already DONATED, please have a look over the campaign page for You Are My Sunshine! There are lots of perks to choose from for you to get involved with the making of this wonderful film that we are really excited about making!

Crowdfunding Campaign Link

We have also been releasing new posters, videos, interviews as well as other goodies! So heck out our social media page’s to see all the good stuff! We’ve also been welcomign new exciting and amazing cast memebers including Kiah Reeves as Mavis and Simon Bamford (Hellraiser, The Offer), who will be joining the film as Martin, Joe and Ethel’s stern father.

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As mentioned, we have also been releasing a host of small videos too as well with some of our lovely cast! Have a snoop below!

We’ve been having meetings, discussions, scheduling tasks, locations scouts as well as going through waht each day of shooting will entail as well as welcoming our production runners to the film as well, some of them working in the camera department, some with the ADs, all of which are fascinating to watch and see them grow as their own filmmakers!

We are all really passionate about making this film, and we really would like your help to do this. Even just a £1 would be like GOLD to us! So please Donate, or SHARE if you can too, all over your own social media pages. Thank you!

 

 

More Halloween Documentary Filming Teasers!

Lots of filming in a secret location today for inclusion within Paul Downey’s upcoming Documentary – For The Love of The Boogeyman – can you spot Michael Myers anywhere here?

The idea we had was to allow the documentary to be split into segments, with each part discussing a certain topic about the original film. However, to also give the documentary even more scope was to film some inserts, like a mini film, that continues throughout the film, allowing us to seperate the segments even more and have some extra fun in the process. Starring Chris Johnson and Evan Tapper, we hope you agree come October, that these were worth the extra few days filming.

As well as this comes the new artwork from the amazing Paul Stier who also produced the first poster. I absolutely love this!

Sustain Behind The Scenes Documentary Announced

While we’re in the deeper stages of post-production on Sustain, there’s also a behind the scenes documentary being worked on by Evan Tapper, who was commisioned by producer Troy to snip together something that would tell you the story of how the film was made, with contributions from cast and crew from all stages of the film’s progress. From inception, pre-production through to the final stages with eventual pick-ups being completed this past year.  Here’s a few shots from the documentary so far!

   

As you can see, lots of the cast and crew speak about their time on the film, how they got involved as well as lots of behind the scenes footage so you can experience what we were all doing to make this film a reality. All being well, the documtnary will be included on the eventual physical media release down the line.

Until then, and in case you missed it, you can watch the previously released featurette that was made while in pre-production and shows some of the actors at the first few readthroughs leading up to the film’s first shooting day.

You Are My Sunshine Block 1 Readthrough

Today we had our first readthrough of You Are My Sunshine with stars Steve Salt, Jack Knight and Charlie Clarke joining some of the crew to go through their scenes of the script (the 1970s segments), as well as discuss dates, filming logistics as well as other pre-production items on the agenda….and all with sausage sandwiches and cuppa’ teas!

The readthrough was a fantastic success, with the lads really getting into their characters as well as interacting with Charlie Clarke’s Ethel for the first time, helping shape the dynamics we need to make this trio of fractured relationships work as best they can on film. It was also fascinating to see Charlie chat with Rosemary Manjunath who is playing her modern day counterpart. It is really a different and welcoming challenge for me to work with the same set of characters with multiple persons playing them!

I really cannot wait to see all of them as well as the additional supporting cast on screen and for you to see this story unfold even more.  Thank you to everyone who came along today. Was a wonderful one!

 

Reflections on GRID

It’s been just over a month since we filmed GRID and it’s now in post production, but people have been very interested in the project and we have some exciting things to announce about it in the near future, but enough about that for now, at the moment I would like to share some reflections on the making of the film from some of the very talented and fantastic actors who you will see on screen in the finished product. And my goodness, were they amazing!

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Charlie Clarke (Angie Wordsworth) & Ernest Vernon (Dr Andrews) on set.

To give you some context beforehand, here is the synopsis;

Set in the mid 1980s, the virus that would eventually be known worldwide as AIDS, has already struck fear into the medical profession as well as the LGBTQ community.

As large numbers of this populace are being unmercifully struck down by this horrid and mysterious/insidious killer virus, in one hospital there remains hope. As Angie Wordsworth (Charlie Clarke), a cover nurse, meets Daniel Cole (Steven Salt), a patient who has been cruelly afflicted with the virus and who has had no-one but Doctor Andrews (Ernest Vernon), to care for him, having being abandoned and left with nothing but his ever diminishing memories.

As Angie and Daniel, two complete strangers, comprehend their situation together, a bond is lovingly formed between patient and carer, no matter what the consequences and without prejudice. A bond that will prove, that in our darkest moments, humanity & love, will always find a way to shine through.

Steve Salt (actor, Daniel Cole)

How did you get involved with the project initially? I was introduced to the team through House of the Screaming Death having been cast in for a minor role as Lawrence and from that, Dave expressed a desire to collaborate again and he asked me would I be interested in a short film and the process snowballed from there.

What were your first reactions to the script?  My first reaction was that this was going to be very hard so I suppose subconsciously I accepted the role before I finished reading. I was struck by the weight of the script and the themes of equality and humility came out easily for me.

The film deals with the initial years of the AIDS epidemic when not much was known about the virus. Do you think it is important to tackle this in the medium of film? I think it is very important to tackle. It’s an area which I knew very little about and it was challenging to face the stigmas and social connotations and hold them to account. It has to be relevant if we see it in our society right now still as well.

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Was it challenging for you as an actor & did you feel any responsibility in taking on the role? Of course it’s a huge weight to carry because you’re representing something so important to many people. I found the best way to handle that was to focus on Daniel and his unique and tragic experiences that kept the water clear.

What should people expect from the final film? Good question! I’m probably the wrong person to ask, yet I hope the themes I mentioned earlier shine through and that audiences have an experience that broadens their minds/horizons after watching the film. Allowing them a very emotional insight into a terribly upsetting time for the LGBTQ community; allowing them to be more accepting of others. I also hope that it shows that love comes in all forms, no matter what, and the hope that was also there at the time, still continues to this day as the fight against AIDS goes on.

Charlie Clarke (actress, Angie Wordsworth)

How did you get involved with the project initially? I had previously worked with the team on the feature “House of Screaming Death” as a small supporting role and had kept in touch with them, hoping to work on more with them in the future. Dave contacted me about the script and I said yes to it, I had such a good experience working with them the first time it was an honour to be asked back for this project.

What were your first reactions to the script? Honestly, I cried. In a good way! Right from the word go you could tell this script had been written with care and a connection to the subject matter. It was beautifully written and I showed it to my other half Liam, who is also a filmmaker (owner of SuperfreakMedia), and he told me I just had to do it. I fell in love with the character of Angie and felt a connection to her and where she goes within the story.

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The film deals with the initial years of the AIDS epidemic when not much was known about the virus. Do you think it is important to tackle this in the medium of film? I think film and art is reflective of the world around it and although the world has made a lot of advancements in understanding the AIDS virus, I don’t necessarily think we have made the same strides in the acceptance of the LGBTQ community. In many places around the world LGBTQ people are accepted with open arms, but equally there are places where people are killed simply for being themselves, just look at the Orlando shootings – I believe that film is an important tool in discussing these issues and that it prompts people to think. Regardless of an audience’s background, film is something that is so accessible and for me as an actor if you can create an emotional response in the audience you have done your job right! Although GRID is set in the 1980s I still think the themes of the treatment of the LGBTQ community are still very relevant today and I hope the audience will take something away from this film.

What should people expect from the final film? It was a very emotional shoot for the whole cast and crew so I expect tissues may be needed when watching it! But more importantly I think the crew behind this project are amazing, as I said the script has been written with great care, so people should expect a moving piece that will be beautifully put together by a great team. I really hope this film will go far as so many people have worked so hard on it!

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(Charlie and Steve between takes on the set)