London Film Communities

As part of my MA, I researched the London Film Communities currently available. Here is the list.

My most recent project for my Raindance MA was a Research Methods Report. For this, I researched the Film Communities currently available to London-based filmmakers.  This was aimed to help me place Action On The Side within the market, and to determine its USP (Unique Selling Point, or Value Proposition). My overall MA goal is to develop AOTS into a sustainable short film business model.

After doing all the research, I had a large appendix with details on film organisations. And why not share that information?

Here is a list of the London Film Communities…

Of course, since writing the report, new communities have cropped up, or I found ones I should have included. Please add a comment if you see any errors or omissions and I will amend them accordingly.


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Pitching a Produceable Film

I attended a workshop on pitching last night. Here I share a few of the tips I learnt.

Last night I attended a Film Matters talk run by The Pitch. It was presented by Jackie Sheppard, a feature film producer with Footprint Films. The topic was Pitching a Produceable Film.

The Pitch runs the Film Matters series regularly and promotes their events on Eventbrite.

Jackie is a wealth of knowledge, both as someone who has pitched in the UK and Hollywood, and as a Producer who is pitched to. I would love to share all of her tips, but will limit myself to a couple of snippets. Believe me, I have many pages of notes from this. I also found it relevant as someone who is getting into more and more pitches, and who hears a few pitches.

If you’re going to be pitching your film for the November 2015 Action On The Side project, keep these points in mind.

When you’re pitching, the buyer will ask themselves three questions:

  • does it get them excited?
  • does it suit their business needs?
  • how much money are they willing to invest?

The investor wants to know the answers to the following questions. You have to answer these in your pitch.

  • What’s in it for them?
  • What’s so special about your idea?
  • What makes you the right person to make this film?
  • Who’s on the team?
  • How much is your film worth?

After your pitch, you want the investor to think two things:

  • This is a movie I want to see.
  • This will make me money.

Questions investors will ask:

  • What other films is it like? (we discussed comps in our most recent script development group).
  • Why now?
  • Why is it relevant? Why will it be relevant in the 2-3 years it will take to make the (feature) film?
  • Why is it a feature and not tv?
  • What’s the budget?
  • What certificate will it be?
  • Who’s going to be in it?
  • What’s your finance plan?

I also learnt a new term last night: the rip-o-matic.

So, when you’re planning your next pitch, think of the above points.

Day One of Cannes

Amazing first day at Festival de Cannes – Page Officielle . Made it to Nice, then got to Cannes to collect accreditation about 5pm. Phone died many times during the day so very few photos. Found the UK Film Pavilion to volunteer at the WFTV Reception (masses of awesome networking). Then headed out to dinner, and nearly made it to the Vanity Fair Polish Party — except had been up since 5am, so instead caught the last train back to Nice. Now to sleep before getting up to volunteer at La Plage Royale on the Croisette.

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I am ill.

I’ve had most of the week off work, and have spent this entire weekend in bed. It’s a virus.

Usually when I’m ill, it’s psychosomatic. It’s my body saying, “you haven’t had a break in weeks; things have slowed down a bit, so now I’m going to make you ill so you rest”. And then I have a day or so off, and am back at it. Actually, I find the best way to get over it is to power through and clear up some of the things that have been stressing me out. Then I can destress and relax and get better.

This time doesn’t feel psychosomatic. However, in an attempt to destress so I can feel better, I’m updating my blog with the things I have been up to. This is killing two birds with one stone. I haven’t updated some people with what I’ve been up to, so now it’s public and out in the great ether.

I’ve been trying to grow as a person recently, and have realised that I have a bad habit. When things get too much and I have too much to handle, I shrink into my shell and disappear. And I won’t come out until I have finished whatever it was I needed to. Now, this means if you’re meant to be communicating with someone, and saying “I suck, I can’t finish this right now cause I have too much more”, you can avoid admitting that you suck and avoid the person/people hating you, and avoid admitting weakness. Until you finish the thing, and then can turn up with it and say “look! It’s done! I don’t suck! Sorry for not communicating, but look at the thing I finished! Please forgive me.”

I suck.

I’ve been massively busy at work for, oh, a year and a half. I had months of ‘too-busy-to-think’, especially whilst teaching. I picked up too many film projects and don’t want to come out of my shell and admit I suck until I’ve finished them.

Do any of you suffer from this affliction as well?

I also worked out that I suffer from another bad habit. I love starting projects! Love it! I’m like a magpie: seeing “ooh shiny!” and reaching forward, grasping, “gimme gimme!”.

Finishing projects is harder. Because if they’re not 100% gold-standard perfect, your name is on them, and having ‘not-awesome’ work out there is, well, not awesome. And sometimes you run out of energy and time and passion for a project. Films take a long time to finish (and sometimes they never are finished), so you need to be passionate and dedicated to the project until the end.

I’m learning to say ‘no’ and not ‘gimme gimme’ to the shiny new projects, until I finish my previous ones.

Right, there we go. Dirty laundry in the open. Growing as a a person. New blog posts on their way, with my updates. And hopefully being communicative and less stressed will help my body to kick this virus thing.


2013 Reflection

I thought, why don’t I make a video with my achievements for 2013. Then I could share it with my friends online. It could be a new tradition.

Then I realised I don’t have enough time!

So, here is the new tradition. The reflection on a year gone by.


  • Co-Produced and 1st ADd two films with Shiftwork Productions which were shot in December but completed in 2013 (‘Now Wash Your Hands’, ‘Don’t Do It’)
  • 1st ADd & Co-Produced ‘The P.A.’ with This Big Productions
  • Started Production Managing/1st ADing/Co-Producing ‘All I Do Is Dream’
  • Had four films entered in the Virgin Media Shorts Competition (‘The P.A.’, ‘Now Wash Your Hands’, ‘Don’t Do It’, ‘Tragedia’)
  • Screened ‘Tragedia’ at Whirlygig Cinema’s Making Tracks (My first Q+A)
  • Screened ‘Tragedia’ at KinoLondon #57
  • Had a second interview with Adelaide Screenwriter published online
  • Co-Produced / 1st ADd ‘The Estate Agent’ with Shiftwork Productions
  • Produced and Directed ‘Dead Letter’ with Shiftwork Productions
  • DPd ‘The Meeting Place’
  • DPd my first feature film. Got fired from the same feature film. Learnt a lot from the experience, including who not to work with, research who you’re working with, and don’t assume that people who are making a feature have gained experience from shorts or other projects.
  • ‘Copper’ completed with an update. ‘A Party For Me’ is very very close to completion. Starting entering these into festivals.
  • Took part in the inaugural Action On The Side in July 2013. Produced ‘Elle Fatale’.
  • Started helping James to run Action On The Side. Helped run Action On The Side in November 2013. Produced and wrote ‘WhosApp’; 1st AD’d & Co-Produced ‘Facetracker’.
  • Production Managed and 1st AD’d (pick-ups) of ‘NightStrike’ with This Big Pictures
  • Worked on the London Film London Calling application for ‘
  • Attended the BAFTA New Filmmakers Market and the Screen Film Summit.
  • Attended networking events and met loads of filmmakers.
  • Started teaching (see Career below)


  • Performed with the Arab Quarterly at the Hoxton Hall (London Belly Dance Debut)
  • Took Teachers Training Workshops and Dance Performance workshops with Elis Pinheiro
  • Took weekly classes with Farah Nasri
  • Performed with Farah’s class at the Bellydance Trophies
  • Joined and performed with the London Algerian Ballet
  • Completed a Performance Development Course with Ozgen
  • Took numerous workshops and attended numerous performances


  • Went to the Global Powwow in Dubai
  • Attended the CAMS Conference in St Louis
  • Filmed a friend’s wedding in Bristol
  • Returned to New Zealand for a week. Sorted things out at the house and with films; caught up with friends and family.
  • Spent Christmas with friends in Inverness


  • Attended the Global Powwow in Dubai and the CAMS Conference in St Louis
  • Scheduled the entire 2013-14 Academic Calendar before registration for FA2013
  • Promoted to Registrar of the Undergraduate Program
  • Got a new Assistant Registrar
  • Successfully implemented Online Registration for FA2013 (200+ students in September, 700+ students in November/December). Included running training sessions for students and staff, my team creating statuses and uploading worksheets for all 700+ students.
  • Started teaching: taught one Independent Study on Film Production Assisting and one Independent Study on Scriptwriting.
  • Hired to teach a course on Practical Film Producing in Winter.


So often on social media, we all promote our best times and fail to mention our worst. From the outside, our lives are awesome. But some people had a crappy 2013 and just want it to be over. I think it is important to reflect on the crappy as well. Our lives aren’t all perfect, and it is important to talk about the bad stuff too. So, a few of of the downers.

  • Got fired from my first feature: this was a major learning experience. The Producer still owes me over £600 for the days I worked. Never trust people who want you to work without giving you a contract.
  • I filmed too much stuff that I have not had the time to edit. I unfortunately still do not have the time to edit it, or the money to pay someone to edit it.
  • I picked up too many projects: I hit my limit towards the end of the year, and have been declining projects until I finish a few.
  • There are some people I will not be working with again or at least for a while.
  • Didn’t get to see enough movies. Am especially gutted for not supporting the Independent Film Industry enough by seeing Indie Films at the cinema.
  • I still haven’t worked out my work/life balance. I have had a few too many nights working till 8pm/9pm/10pm/11pm with the day job, due to short-staffing and over-work. I work long hours at the day job without a break, then do a dance class then a production meeting. The way I see it is I am building my careers.
  • I spent too much time on tumblr and not enough time exercising. Man I wish I kept up doing yoga or pilates every morning.
  • I ran late and took too long to do things too often.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to in 2014

  • Teaching my Practical Film Producing course in WI2014. Producing a short alongside the course.
  • Running Action On The Side (next edition in February)
  • Performing at Arabesque Nights: Thursday 03 July for Strictly Egyptian and Thursday 04 September for Rock The Casbah
  • Working on and finishing ‘All I Do Is Dream
  • Submitting my films into Film Festivals – thereby increasing my IMDb page
  • Attending a large film market
  • More workshops, more dance, more film, more friends, more travel!

Wishing you the best for 2014!


Dance class or Production Meeting?

Picking between going to a regular dance class or going to a preproduction meeting leads to frustration.

Betty Boop dances

I’ve been missing quite a few dance classes recently. Usually I’m at 1-2 hours of ATS classes on a Monday night and 2 hours of Bellydance on a Tuesday, with 5 hour workshops twice a month (Performance technique and teaching bellydance). It is important to me to get to my regular classes: I don’t go to a gym, and it’s my main source of exercise. It’s also how I cope with stress, and relieve the build up of stress-related tension in my muscles.

However, with all the film projects I’ve got going at the moment, and with how busy it has been at work, I keep missing my dang dance classes. It’s so frustrating!

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Pirates Of The South auditions

A few behind-the-scenes photos from a feature film audition I crewed on.

I recently got to shoot the auditions for a new feature film, ‘Pirates Of The South’. Here are a few of the behind-the-scenes photos…

The casting desk, with me behind.
The casting desk, with me behind.
Camera and sound simultaneously

From the director, Djonny Chen:

Behind the scene photos from the casting session of our upcoming feature film “PIRATES OF THE SOUTH” on Saturday, 22nd December 2012 at The Phoenix Artist Club (Phoenix Theatre, London).

Director: Djonny Chen
Producers: Jason Cook, Mark Straker, Djonny Chen, Lisa Cachia
Executive Producer: Eileen Hutchinson
Screenwriter: Lisa Cachia

More details at:
– Film website:
– Facebook page:

– A huge thanks to Noel Wilson for arranging the location and helping out the casting session on the day.
– Special thanks to Kurt Dimineux, Patricia Hetherington, Chantelle Lavel and Edward Ferrysienanda for helping out on the day.
– Many thanks to Chantelle Lavel and Edward Ferrysienanda for taking the behind the scene photos.

By the way, the Phoenix Artist Club is quite nice.

Phoenix Artist Club

Interview with Adelaide Screenwriter

Yo! Go and read Henry’s blog, Adelaide Screenwriter. There’s an interview with me on it.

Hi all,

You should head over to Adelaide Screenwriter. One, to read the interview that I did there. Two, to read the other posts and pages that Henry has written.

Oh, and if you’ve come across my blog from Henry’s … welcome 🙂

Filmmaking opps

I attended the Guerilla Filmmakers Producers Masterclass about a month ago (the blog post about it is still in my drafts section). There, I met some wonderful filmmakers. One of whom I got on so well with, we decided to collaborate in future.

That filmmaker, Kira, asked me to be third camera for filming a choral gig last weekend. It was the Pink Singers concert at St Johns, Smith Square. I was shooting with Kira and her film partner, Andrew. Boy, did I miss shooting and then handing over the footage to other people to edit. [Also, no matter if you have two 32GB CF cards, one 8GB CF card, and two fully charged batteries, the 7D will still overheat by the last song of a 2+ hour gig, and will tell you your card is full. (in actuality, I was 1/3rd full, but what are you gonna do?)]

I also got a boom pole (finally!) and a 32″ fleckie (reflector to non-kiwis). And a 50mm prime (two lenses!). I’m building up my film kit.

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