Digital independent film distribution comes to Amazon.
The whole thing was shot on a Canon 5D mk2 courtesy of the very accommodating Shift4. Beautiful little camera, though its hard to spot in the mountain once everything’s been bolted and glued and strapped on. It’s not without problems, and by all accounts needs some work to graduate to a proper dedicated piece of film kit, but for a production of this scale it was fantastic. Mental considering its price.
In regards to where it goes from here, we’ve got some extra shots and pick ups to shoot in a week or so, just non dialogue sequences we couldn’t squeeze in, and shots of a Marabou Stork at Eagle Heights which’ll be dictated to a degree by the rough cut edit – hence us shooting that a little later.
So first up is a rough edit – then pick ups and extra shooting – then sound mixing – post production effects – a grade – and titles … these’ll be tricking along over the next few weeks and I’ll update as and when I’ve woken up from my post coital stupor!
So Friday saw us finish up, pack up and get the fuck out of Camber. Job done!
It was a pretty full on week to say the least, not helped by the fact that after months of planning I understandably lost my Director of Photography to a commercial two days before the shoot, only to manage to get another that same day in the shape of the very talented Mr Sam Brown.
After that it’s all a bit of a blur – and its only really as of last night that I’ve managed to get my head straight, get a decent sleep and take a proper look through the rushes.
As ever there are some scenes that look absolutely blinding, and others that feel a bit thin, or are actually missing, but its the edit that’ll reveal any major issues if there are any, and the plan is to shoot some pick ups on the 9th for sequences we just couldn’t fit into the five day schedule, so no panic.
As i say its probably apparent from this, but its actually hard to genuinely enthuse yet – not because I’m down, or because it wasn’t enjoyable, because it was absolutely cracking – but just because I think I’m in a little bit of shock that it all really did actually happen. Plus I was just fucking exhausted I think, from the pressure, the hours, the heat and just the stress of funding lunch!
Seeing a cast of that calibre actually come all that way to pretend to be people you’ve thought up is a really odd experience. It was tricky initially to listen to dialogue with anything but embarrassment, and I felt like a fraud and a lightweight but at the same time flattered and thrilled to be doing it, and after a little while, now and again, I managed to pull my head out of my arse and just enjoy it and see it for what it was – and its just fucking brilliant.
The cast is tiny, Kate Dickie, Davie McKay, Gary Lewis and Lorraine Stanley – but I can happily say all four of them were on top form and are the real deal … as i say its no exaggeration to say they pushed it all over the place, read it in ways I hadn’t expected and made every line better without exception.
Not only that but they also manage to be genuinely lovely, generous, funny and clued up people off camera – though they are very good actors and could well have been desperate to sack it off and I’d have been non the wiser! Regardless, its been an experience I’m not going to forget and I’m really excited and just a little daunted at the thought of attempting an edit.
Time to sup a brew and procrastinate I reckon.
All going fairly to plan so far, there’s a few stragglers to sort out but hopefully nothing too essential that I’ve forgotten. I’m off to London and back today to simultaneously waste time and feel like I’m achieving something, even if its just physically moving my arse a hundred or so miles. Probably take the opportunity to start sorting out a shoot schedule, or boarding properly, something I always leave till the last minute when it seems to become easier, or adrenaline kicks in or something. That or sleep anyway.
In the meantime thanks go out to Medway’s Bill Cave, a Rochester taxidermist (‘man and boy’) who came up with the goods!
Just over two years ago I decided to try and write a short story, and I struggled. I had an idea which encompassed most of the elements that made it into the script for The Gift, but it was extremely different to how it ended up – which is now, at the very least, readable.
This is in no small part due to the involvement of a gigantic, fearsomely bearded gentleman by the name of Philip Ardagh. He’s a clever bugger who’s brief casual conversation contains wittier, cleverer, more abundant ideas than most people can manage in a lifetime. He took the ideas I had and came up with something far clearer, far more subtle and simply better than I could have done. All that i can hope is that I manage to again bring it to its knees in the edit.
Incidentally the fact that I thought of approaching him while I was trying to write about a thatched storks nest atop a towering, splay-legged pylon is in absolutely no way a reflection on Phil’s appearance.
Here he is waffling on …
Here he is typing away …
Met with Conor (DOP) over pie (he’s perpetually hungry) to go over the plans such as they are …
We now have a full crew, though I may well have to man the second camera which is a bit rubbish. Off to show him the locations tomorrow, and hopefully hook up with Billy, the gaffer, too to figure out what we’ll need in terms of lighting, power supplies and whatnot.
I’ve worked with both Conor and Billy once before on a similar size shoot for a Cinematic Orchestra promo that came out pretty nice looking, though for one reason or another I wasn’t happy with many of the exterior shots, so we’re gonna try harder to get it right this time, though you can’t really account for natural lighting on the day. That vid also led me to this film I suppose as I was introduced to Davie McKay – the lead for this – by Peter Mullan in a London pub, and wrote this with him in mind. He’s a busy boy himself, writing and directing these days so I was lucky to get him. Davie in turn knew and regularly works with Kate Dickie, who again I had in mind for the lead, so I’ve got a one degree of separation thing going on that I’m gonna fuckin milk for as long as it goes on – if IMDB’s anything to go by this time next year I’ll be working with Rab C Nesbitt!
Not much else to tell today really, watched a couple of movies by way of inspiration, and A Single Man was cracking. I expected a glossy coffee table film – which it blatantly is – but Colin Firth is bloody amazing, and, bar an ending which had to happen but felt a bit clunky, it’s handled with a really light touch.
Anyway, here’s the Cinematic promo I waffled on about, which isn’t so quite lightly touched.
… I’m getting getting pretty nervous, and excited, but mostly nervous.
Weather’s really all over the place, which doesn’t help … but whatever it’s like I’ll have to go with it.
Lots of fiddly stuff to sort out this coming week. Mainly the little things I’ve been putting off because they’re pretty tedious or tricksy, and all the while fighting the urge to sack it all off and save myself some money and sweat. God alone knows how people cope with getting features off the ground … but if this goes badly I’ll most likely not get to find out so there’s always that as a positive.
kind of …
On a more positive note … I’m contemplating using tracks by these lovely fellows over the titles:
Both of whom are super friendly, super generous and super talented.
I’ve also got a Bonnie Prince Billy track in mind which I’ve had niggling at me as being perfect since I wrote the first draft, but which I most likely can’t afford to use. We’ll see – no harm in asking.
About a year after writing the script, and still quite liking it, I tried to raise funding by putting together a treatment and touting it round my commercial agent, film funds, competitions and a couple of ad agencies.
Nobody liked it.
Thought it was rubbish.
Doesn’t bode well.
I’m not selling it very well am I?
Anyway … I saved up.
Here’s a couple of *non spoiler* excerpts …