My three Ps: passion, patience, perseverance. You have to do this if you’ve got to be a filmmaker.
- Robert Wise
Before the party
Film has been my passion, nay, my obsession for years now. I’ll happily spend hours on end reading fan theories that argue over the true identify of Supreme Leader Snoke or deconstructing the hidden symbolism of the two ink wells in The Danish Girl (that’s for another article).
And like many other Millennials, I’m a dreamer (but I’m not the only one). My dream? I dream of being paid to make feature films. Hell, screw being paid, I’d probably settle for just being trusted with a budget. I wasted years dreaming about making films but not actually making any, until finally, in 2013, I man’d the f*** up and made my first short film. It was called The Middle Child and, honestly, it wasn’t very good. But I prevailed and slowly my films started to improve.
A year later, and along came After Party… I wish there was this amazing, profound story about the creation of After Party but there just isn’t. I’d just picked up a second-hand Canon 5D Mark II and wanted to try out Magic Lantern. I went into the garden, filmed a couple of clips, and ran upstairs to start playing with them on Premiere. Midway through editing, I’d learnt three things – RAW files are obscenely big, stupidly pretty and I had an idea for a film about a girl in a shed.
Four days later, we shot the film. I hadn’t storyboarded any shots, I didn’t even have a script, just a vague outline in my head and an actor, my friend William Coomber. Amazingly, the shoot went pretty well. William went ‘method’ and chose actual whiskey over apple juice. I wept over the loss of my 18-year-old single malt. But most importantly, a film was made.
After making a dozen or so films, I’ve noticed that every so often during a shoot, I’ll disassociate from what’s going on, and for a moment realize the ridiculousness of what’s currently unfolding before my eyes. One prior example would be the time I found myself lying on a bed, being straddled by a man dressed as a dwarf who was dry-humping me whilst filming a POV love scene (not my idea). Try explaining that shoot to your grandparents...
Learning a valuable life lesion, After Party was mercifully dry-hump free. Although, I did get the dubious honor of tying up, then gagging my very sweet roommate Kira for the final reveal. Needless to say, we didn’t make any eye contact for a few days…
After having the soundtrack written by composer Andy Willson, After Party premiered in competition during Southampton Film Week in November 2014 before being released worldwide later that month. After Party has gone on to be accepted into numerous film festivals and screenings. Now it's here, check it out for yourself.
Building upon the success of this film, I’ve spent the last year working on several new shorts and working towards that debut feature. In July 2015 I was honored to be accepted into Creative England's South West Talent Module. As part of the BFI NET.WORK it aims to help emerging filmmakers get funding and help for their first feature film. I’ve also started to script my films, and storyboard them too.
So who knows? Maybe this time next year, there will be a feature. That would be awesome. If not, I’ll still be here, plugging away making my low-budget shorts that you can watch on my YouTube channel and official website.