Archive for April, 2013

A short while before the emotional rollercoaster of A Special Announcement began, foley extraordinaire Phil Grigg had convinced me to let a friend of his edit Strings. This was mostly for practical reasons: I had no editing software of my own, and Phil wanted to submit the final film for his course at university, and the deadline was looming. He and Drew both needed time for foley and music, respectively, so we needed to move fast. The editor in question, James Berridge, had a lot of experience, some flashy software, and was keen to help out. After no shortage of consideration on my part, I agreed.

I’m not going to lie – at first I was not happy about the idea. Despite all the above practicalities, not to mention the risks of a first-time director editing her self-written film with very little experience – despite all that, this was, after all, my first ever production, lovingly and stubbornly clung to from the initial concept stages right through to the shoot, and I wasn’t sure I could surrender the footage to another editor. How could anyone else possibly achieve my vision?

But I did eventually concede. We were running out of time, and Phil assured me it would be a collaborative process, and I could have as much or as little creative control as I liked. And I had to remind myself that Project Flashcards is, at its heart, a collaborative project. A fresh set of (highly experienced) eyes was probably exactly what this needed.

That didn’t stop me creating a new storyboard based on the footage and talking poor James through it very, very thoroughly. I wasn’t quite brave enough to trust anyone else completely just yet.

We met initially to go through the storyboard and concepts, and put together the first half before I had to leave. James send me this first half for me to review, and I send him back a (fairly exhaustive) list of feedback. He incorporated it and sent be me back the redraft, this time with the second half as well. Once I’d reviewed that (this was maybe two weeks after our initial meeting) we met up again, and as time was getting on and deadlines drawing near, I decided that whatever we ended up with that evening would be locked off, without questions.

And after all that, I was surprised at how enjoyable and successful the experience was. If anything, James was just the right combination of willing to follow direction and prepared to offer suggestion, because what we ended up with, I am convinced, was as close to what I had in my head as the footage could offer, but ten times better than I could have put together myself. I knew just how I wanted each cut to look, but a combination of my terrible drawings, thorough descriptions and James’ educated efforts produced results which I am certain I would not have managed on my own.

This did make me realise that the collaborative aspect of Project Flashcards is not only to benefit others who are involved, but largely also for me to outsource all the bits I am not able to do myself (writing everything, being good at acting, owning expensive equipment and so  on). By that same token, maybe it will help me learn to outsource the bits I want to keep to myself, and take on the bits I am more apprehensive of.

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With the initial madness of releasing the first installment of Project Flashcards a little way behind, I thought about writing a blog detailing how the challenge went, amusing anecdotes from the shoot, what I learned from the editing process and so on. Then I discovered that Chloe “I think I might have found my true calling” Isherwood had gone ahead and done it already. So in the spirit of collaboration I am handing over to the director of photography for A Special Announcement for her account of the shoot. As a preface, please find my account in statistics-form:

Hours in challenge: 48

Hours spent shooting: 8 (6 for main shoot, 2 for pickups)

Hours spent editing: 24

Hours spent sleeping: 9 (read: far too many)

Capri-Sun cartons consumed: 7

Times lead actor nearly died: 1

Hop over to Chloe’s blog to read her full account of shooting A Special Announcement!

Watch this space for 2nd Unit Director Andrew Cunningham’s account of the shoot from the other side.

A Special Announcement - click here to watch!

Welcome to my newly branded website! In an effort to celebrate, here is a miniature map of the new shape of the site:

Home!
From the Old English ham meaning ‘dwelling’, ironically where content changes most frequently and people linger the least

Modelling!
More pictures, less text; the best of my modelling portfolio, plus links to the other places you can see my face online

Project Flashcards!
A big part of my life at the moment deserves big fancy capital letters. The question is, which of the three movies currently in post-production will make it to this page first? (Hint: THIS ONE)

Writing!
My fiction, my featured writers, and my proofreading services

Blog!
This one, specifically

About!
Including links to other places you can find me online and other things that I like

As I’ve been pushing Flashcards pretty hard recently, here’s a brief update on how the project is going. In mid-January we shot STRINGS, the first short written for the project, utilising the professional help of Kiera Gould, Bill Thomas and Jon Boylan, among the other friends Kiera convinced to convene in the woods at 7am. Estimated wrap was 8 o’clock that evening, but following a joking conversation a week earlier, we had at the last minute arranged to shoot Ben Daly’s OUT OF BREATH the following day. Both shoots went surprisingly smoothly, with Out of Breath only marginally slowed down by everyone’s collective exhaustion and the only moment of panic in Strings caused by a stage light exploding on the Vincents’ driveway.

Having pulled several (proverbial) strings to make the shoots work, I left several parties eagerly awaiting the finished films, while my own interest was quickly snatched by the SCI-FI-LONDON 48-HOUR FILM CHALLENGE. I tentatively approached those who were already involved in Flashcards and scraped together some interest, which eventually became a team of twelve. Then, in a sleep-deprived desperation to meet deadlines, Phil Grigg and I made the painful (read: easiest) decision to remove the credits from the final product in order to stay below the time limit. So while the film sits with the judges with no names but that of the team, here are the awesome people who helped make it happen:

Andrew Cunningham (2nd unit director, composition, voice actor)
Chloe Isherwood (director of photography)
Alex Twinn (writer, production assistant)
Phil Grigg (production assistant, editorial assistant, foley artist)
Toby Warren (sound recording)
Fran Green (production assistant, and one of the first to encourage me to make this happen)
Gemma Druce (actor)
Jon Boylan (voice actor)
Adam Gould (voice actor)
Michael Vincent (voice actor, art department)
Matt Evans (voice actor, cybernetics consultant)
And Dan Tull (lender of Macbook and Final Cut Pro)

Curious? Watch A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT on Vimeo now!