Raindance HND Feature Film

The inaugural Raindance HND £5k Student Feature Film is being announced today

The Raindance Higher National Diploma (HND) on which I teach has created a competition for our students: across the two years of the diploma, we will find the best writer, best director, best producer, best DP, best editor, etc., and those students will be given a £5000 budget to produce a microbudget feature film.

This is an amazing opportunity for students to learn by doing, and to get their first feature film credit right out of school. The thought process is that many filmmakers got their start with microbudget narrative features: Robert Rodriguez, Peter Jackson, and Raindance’s own Kate Shenton to name but a few.

There are three Executive Producers for the project, who will provide mentoring for the students and supervise the project. Myself, Zulf Choudhry (Director of the HND), and Elliot Grove (head of Raindance).

This is the first time we have run this, so it’s a learning curve for all of us.

The students submitted their ideas with a logline and title. These were shortlisted. The selected students were given advice from their lecturers and support to further flesh out their story.

Two weeks ago the students pitched their ideas to our panel. The panel included the Executive Producers, lecturers, and industry filmmakers. Nine ideas were pitched, each with their own merits. The students could pitch as scriptwriters or as producers. They had three minutes to pitch their idea and seven minutes for questions. The pitches were filmed and made available (privately) to the rest of the student body.

Each member of the panel voted privately on their top 4 films. The student body has one vote collectively. The Executive Producers will then confirm which film has been selected. The successful screenwriter, producer, or team, will then work on developing the script until the start of year 2 (October 2018), and producing the film ready for shooting at the end of year 2 (July 2019).

The student voting process ends today at midday, and I’m really looking forward to announcing the film.

On a related note, check out the promotional video one of my students made.

It has been picked up by Raindance to promote the HND. More of my students have uploaded their promotional videos. I’m looking forward to watching them all.

Copper at the Divine Queer Film Festival in Torino

Pleased to announce ‘Copper’ will be screening at the Divine Queer Film Festival in Torino, 10 November 2017.

Copper screening in Italy

We have just been advised that Copper has been selected to screen at the Divine Queer Film Festival in Torino.

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This is a free event on 10 November 2017 in Torino, Italy.

‘Copper’ will represent the Best of the Fest from CineDeaf 2015, where we had our Italian premiere. CineDeaf have a special collaboration with the Divine Queer Film Festival and recommended ‘Copper’.

 

Congratulations to everyone involved in the project. Now to update the IMDb page

Guerilla Filmmakers Masterclass

I spent yesterday at Regent’s College, sitting in a lecture theatre, being inspired about filmmaking by Chris Jones, scribbling pages and pages of notes. It was the Guerilla Filmmakers Masterclass. I tried to tweet tidbits during the presentations, but my phone decided I can’t connect to the internet with it (gee, thanks, phone).

I can thoroughly recommend Chris’ workshops and his blog chrisjonesblog.com. I had previously attended a Producing Masterclass with Chris two years ago, when I had first arrived in London. He is a great speaker and comes from a position of expertise and humility.

One of the best parts of the course today was outlining the five stages of a filmmaking career. At the Producing Masterclass two years ago, the five stages of a Producer’s career were outlined as well. I can safely say that I am a Stage Two Producer. Great tips for this stage and how to advance to the next.

Chris also posited that, within the industry, there is no longer the dichotomy between Amateur and Professional, but there is now a third category: the non-professional expert. These are the filmmakers who have a day job and make films in their spare time. That’s me! It was great to look into that model and affirm that it works – albeit with years of hard work – and to recognise it as a part of the industry.

It has been great networking with fellow filmmakers. I have already made some useful connections with people with whom I would like to collaborate in future. 

I wrote pages and pages of notes. I’m looking forward to the second half of the masterclass today. Maybe I’ll even be able to tweet?

Skip School

Today is the last day of filming “Skip School“, a web series about Alex, who struggles with the time jumps of his new school. I have been producing for the students in my course, so they can experience being on set.

Here is a photo of me directing our Alex, played by Ben Grady. The photo was taken by one of the students (lovely shot composition, innit?).Image

Quick Turnaround Producing

Ladies and Gents,

Yesterday was the screening of the third Action On The Side project. In February 2014 we made two short films: ‘Office Ugetsu’ and ‘Escape’. Both films were screened to a group of 30-35 at Hult House. We also screened the updated cut of ‘WhosApp’, which was made as part of the October 2013 AOTS.

Office Ugetsu is now online for your viewing pleasure. Please check it out.

The other films will be online in due time.

I am learning a lot with the course that I am lecturing at Hult (BUS 340 Practical Film Producing). As part of the course, the students are getting an on-set experience. For this, I am producing a web series. The three episode series is called ‘Skip School‘. It follows Alex, a naive 19-year-old, struggling with the time jumps of his new school. I have a very short turnaround time for this project (the script was only finalized last week), so am currently confirming cast and crew.

The series will be shot on Saturday 01, Sunday 02, and Saturday 08 March in Bloomsbury.

I’m contacting people, and am about to start advertising on all the casting and crewing websites. If you’ve stumbled across this post from one of those, and you have any questions on the project or want to suggest someone for a role, please flick me a message (asap, ideally before the end of Tuesday).

Thanks!

Dead Letter – back to Directing

I am extremely tired but in my place of zen … for tomorrow, we shoot.

I am directing my first narrative short film since ‘Tragedia’ in 2011.

And boy, am I excited!

‘Dead Letter’ is being made for Shiftwork Productions. My friend Fiona wrote the script. Fiona is fairly new to scriptwriting. However, when I read her scripts, I knew if I could write half as well as she could, I would be set.

We’ve got a great crew on board – all of whom I’ve worked with before and would recommend in a heartbeat – and a wonderful cast – who are each inhabiting their characters entirely. We’ve got a wonderful location with some good views to set the film in London.

Now, to prepare and to bed. Keep an eye out for photos. 

Reading Scripts

Tips for Producers and Scriptwriters: read many many screenplays.

One of the best things I took away from the Producing Masterclass last weekend is an outline of the 5 stages of producing films. I am at stage 1. I really appreciated getting a roadmap to advancing through to stage 5.

Some of the tips for stage 1 Producers were:

  • Read 100 produced scripts
  • Read 100 unproduced scripts

See what got made. See what didn’t get made (or what hasn’t been made yet). The aim is to get to the point where you’re bored reading scripts. Then the good ones will jump out at you (‘hmm … I’m at page 15 and I’m still reading and interested …’). Read the bad ones so you know or can work out what makes a bad script.

Continue reading “Reading Scripts”

Copper Update

Copper had its premiere.

‘Copper’ was premiered on May 26 at the Memorial Theatre, Victoria University.

Cast and Crew at the ‘Copper’ premiere

It loos like it was a fantastic evening. I was, unfortunately, unable to be there (being on the other side of the world and all).

Continue reading “Copper Update”