Category Archives: Making the movie

Changing the mood

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Music has a huge role in setting the tone of a film. And it’s odd how making an apparently small change to the music has a significant effect on a movie’s mood. Our second film, Albert, has just acquired a new soundtrack and the improvement is significant. The soundtrack we selected originally was an existing piece of music. It was… Read more »

Lessons from The Garden

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Every film we make is an education. That’s part of the reason we make them. At the finish of each film we’ve looked back and reflected on some aspect of the experience and said to ourselves, “Well, we’ll never do that again.” And so it was with The Garden. Scheduling issues We made life difficult for ourselves by shooting in… Read more »

Leaving things unsaid

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Speaking on BBC Radio 3’s Essential Classics programme this morning, Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, made an insightful comment about great art, one that resonated strongly with me – that questions are more important than answers. The context was what drew her to Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting as the inspiration for her novel (made into a… Read more »

Winging it…

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Helmuth von Moltke famously said, “no plan survives first contact with the enemy” (or, at least, that’s how it’s usually paraphrased). And so it is with filmmaking. Yes, you have a script, a carefully planned shot list and maybe even storyboards. But you’re still going to have to improvise. And unless you’re making a massively expensive, FX-heavy Hollywood blockbuster, this… Read more »

A smashing time

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Filmmaking involves doing some odd things at times. To be honest, smashing pots and plates in the courtyard doesn’t rank that high on the what-the-hell-am-I-doing scale. But still… In putting the final touches to The Garden, we needed three things: the sound of a plant pot smashing; a one-word bit of dialogue; and an ethereal laugh. And so it was that… Read more »

It’s a wrap … but it ain’t over

On Wednesday we finally wrapped on The Garden. For a short film it’s been a long haul, with principle photography having started back in February. But now the hard work really begins. It’s also when a lot of the fun begins. Editing is painstaking work, but it’s where the movie really gets made. At the moment, we’re in the process of… Read more »

Leaving space for creativity

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How big a crew do you need? For us, that’s less of an issue than how big a crew we can get, but all the same… As zero-budget filmmakers, we’re dependent on the enthusiasm and goodwill of people to get our films made. I understand that not everyone is as crazy (and I use that word advisedly) about making films as I… Read more »

You’re never alone with a film crew…

Is there a fine line between reality and fantasy? Not really. They are two different worlds. Take the following still from our latest movie, Cigarette. It’s an image of a woman utterly alone, isolated in her own personal hell. And here’s a picture of the filming of that shot. Not quite the same atmosphere, is it? As Brian de Palma… Read more »

10 best movies about making movies

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The filmmaking world is nothing if not narcissistic, so it’s not surprising that there are many movies about the movie business. This list is just a small selection, but includes some of my favourites – hence the ’10 best’ claim. Obviously, your list might be somewhat different… 😉 Living in Oblivion A favourite of many an indie filmmaker. We’re on set… Read more »

Is sound half the movie?

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There’s a pithy saying you often see bandied about in film-making forums – sound is half the movie. The truth, as ever, is far more nuanced and complex than that bumper-sticker aphorism allows, but it’s true in at least one respect: just as with the cinematography, the audio element of the film needs to be executed to a certain minimum… Read more »

Creating shot lists – there’s an app for that

Until now, creating shot lists has been something of a manual and clumsy process involving multiple software packages and much swearing. Now we’ve produced an app that makes life a lot easier. Designed for movie directors and cinematographers, it will help ensure you never miss a critical take on your next film project. StoryFlow lets you use your iPhone or… Read more »

The secret of movie special effects: woggling

Last night we shot the first scene of our new film project – Cigarette. Or rather, we shot the last scene. And it involved a lot of woggling. Scene 9, which will end the film, is the only one to be shot outdoors. We decided to shoot it ahead of principal photography (which starts in just under two weeks’ time) because… Read more »

Want to make your house famous? Film locations needed

We’re gearing up for our next film – working title Cigarette – and we’re looking for locations. The movie will be shot over three days (plus a day or two setting up beforehand). Nearly all the action takes place indoors, so we’re looking for: * A kitchen – preferably fairly large, and ideally with a breakfast bar or island unit… Read more »