Monday, March 21, 2005

Something goes right

Haven't posted for a while as I've been waiting on a couple of things sorting themselves out. Well, not just any old couple of things, but a DP and a date. Just little things.

Late last week I went for meeting with Mike Eley, top notch DP of Touching the void, who has just got back from two months filming in Lithuania or Latvia or somesuch place that's cold. Told him about the film, and about why we need a world famous DP to shoot it. For some unearthly reason he said yes.

He's available in April, after that he's off to do a feature (like everyone else, bastards), so today Kearney got in touch with those lovely people at PFD, who confirmed that Kieran O'Brien is free (at the moment) in April. So, with a very faint pencil in case it needs to be rubbed out many, many times, our shoot is booked for the 18th April. Somehow, with no money, indeed no promise of money, we have an outstanding actor and an outstanding DP. Thank God as Kearney and I are clearly morons.

Panavision, on their web site, keep talking about how they want to help young film makers. Good for them. Will they be able to help me in the way of providing a cheap rate for their HD camera I wonder? Much as I'd love to shoot film I think this is out of the question on our non existent budget. The camera hire should be OK, but stock and processing would kill us, especially when we have to feed everyone somehow (sorry there's no hot food, we had to buy another roll of film). So hopefully we'll shoot it on Hi Def and then transfer to a film print, just like George Lucas does. Except our film will have less Jedi action. At least in this draft it does.

So we have a DP, we have an actor and we have a date. Still need camera, stock, location, wardrobe, etc, etc. Three down, seventy four to go.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Blue is the colour

Been in touch with some production companies, who all seem interested by the script and talent but have no money. Hope that one of them will at least let us produce it though them thereby saving us the cost of insurance. And maybe giving us a nice office to work out of. But after the magnificent display by the Blues last night I can't really concentrate on film. Still, off to the Curzon on Saturday for a talk by Andrea Arnold, amongst others, about how to move from shorts to features, so that should depress me no end.

On a happier note, Mike Eley's agent has indicated that he may be available for a week in April. Now we just have to persuade him that what he wants to do is shoot our film during that week, and for free. Easy.

Friday, March 04, 2005

hung over on Friday

The great thing about the film world is that everyone involved really wants to work. To that extent it's always possible to get really experienced people for free if they understand that you really have no money and they like the project. The long and the short of it seems to be that people really just want to see their work up on the screen, be they cameramen, make up, set designers or whatever.

The down side is that it kind of spoils you. I worked with Mike Eley (Touching the void) and Duncan Telford as my last two directors of photography. And so now I want someone just as good. Trouble is because they're good they keep working. Or more to the point, they keep taking on projects that keep moving. Duncan has been offered a really nice feature to shoot. He should have finished it by now, but instead they've moved the date, and now it may be April. Bastards.

So still no crew, date or money. Woohoo.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Day two

Kearney sent me some links to new funding initiatives from Film London, our new film body for the capital. Sadly half the links didn't work. While it's great that there are support bodies out there I really wish they'd look at the way they fund shorts. It can take anything up to nine months to get a decision from some of the funding bodies, and to be honest I'm just not going to sit around that long. There are also completion funds to get your film finished once you've started, but they're only any good if you need the money when the scheme is running. Once the date has passed you're screwed. Think it would be much better if they could all have rolling funds so that no matter when you applied there was a chance you could get funding, and you'd find out quickly. Well that's today's moan out of the way.

Did some more work on the script last night. It's about a homeless man and how he got in that situation. Sounds dull and worthy, I know, but I think we've got a script that is much more interesting than it sounds (I would though). I spent ages trying to write this without it being mawkish or overly sentimental, and failed everytime, until I hit on the idea of doing the film backwards. That way it opens with the man on the street and ends with him ready to move into his new home, his whole life in front of him (though we know it's not that much of a future). We'll shoot it normally then reverse it in the edit. This has thrown up loads of nice little scenes, like the fact that the money people give him will now fly out of his plastic cup and back into the hands of the passers by.

The really fun thing with this is going to be blocking it knowing that it's going to be reversed. We need to maintain a normal film language, so if a big emotional scene should end on a close up then when we shoot it we have to start on the close up. I've never had to think so carefully about blocking so early in a production, and I'm really enjoying the challenge. Hopefully in the next two weeks we can confirm our DP (director of photography). It's probably going to beDuncan Telford, who I've used many times before. He's top notch and likes the script. If he could just stop getting so much paid work then we could tie him down to some dates. The bastard. Really looking forward to myself, Kearney and the DP sitting down and blocking the whole script.

May have a lead on an estate to use for the main characters original home. A harder one appears to be finding a hospital. In the film the baby of the main character and his wife, dies, an incident neither of them can really cope with. It ends up with her leaving and him getting briefly committed (that's right, it's a musical). I'm having real trouble finding a hospital to use. Found some decommissioned ones, but they're just in too much of a state, and real ones appear to be too busy treating real people. The bastards.

Still, we're looking at the second week in April to shoot, so we now have about six weeks. Plenty of time for everything to go tits up.