Saturday, 13 December 2014

Future Plans

Here it is - my 400th blog entry!

A few months ago, I had this tantrum. Whilst I've calmed down a little since then (mostly due to Gabi insisting this blog is something to treasure), I still think change is needed.

For a long time, I've been drifting, and because of that this blog has been a strange assortment of rambles. From now, I want to go back to basics, and focus this thing in more closely than ever on my writing and producing. Sure, there will still be the odd side-step, just less of them, and more production-based reads.

To start with, here's a rundown of all my current projects, with some handy hints and teases:

THAT RESOLUTE DESK: SEVEN-THIRTY

The 2014 follow-up to "That Resolute Desk"/"Seas Will Rise". It's a little longer than last year's update scene, clocking in at around 5 minutes. It tells the story of Jarvis and his girlfriend; both struggling to juggle professional and personal lives.

Status: Filmed! A script written by me, and directed by Gabi. Just needs to be edited together (the two of us too busy with our own, other projects). Will likely be assembled and online before the end of the year!



(A rough cut, minus Gabi's scenes as Vicky)

THAT RESOLUTE DESK: SIX OF ONE

Then it's straight on to 2015's follow-on. This will take its lead from my 2013 Bedtime Story; though rather than daily filming, me and Gabi will produce a monthly short, that will slot in and form part of a bigger over-riding narrative. Think Richard Linklater's Boyhood.

Status: In the initial planning stages. I will write/direct six of the twelve episodes, and Gabi will produce the rest. We have already filmed one segment (whilst I was away in Ireland) - although neither of us are sure if it will remain in the finished piece, or if it will be re-shot at some point in 2015:



Interestingly, neither of us know at what point in 2015's story this will occur yet. Most likely September/October time. Also, the other side of the phone conversation still needs to be recorded, so regardless of it will survive/be re-shot, the actual final version of this scene will look somewhat different to the above. But it gives you a taste!

LASAGNE

First conceived in 2007, as the story of dining with a serial killer, I couldn't ever quite 'crack' the idea. The most recent update came in 2013, but then (again) the story just didn't work. Now, at last, I think it does. At it's heart it's the idea of two serial killers sitting down to eat together; and the question, what would they talk about?

Status: I will write, and Gabi plans on directing. The fun with this one is, we'll allow the actors to improvise their lines. It might make the film a somewhat more interesting, and chilling, experience!

Script is being written right now. I expect this will be filmed January/February 2015.

THE FOOL

Or rather... "Beyond"! Yep, I felt a rename was in order. Again, it's another idea I've had for years, that's it's time I do something with. A sequel to "Self", it asks the question: Whatever happened to Horatio Maguire? It plays on themes of mental health crisis, and identity, and might just be the most 'adult' film I've made to date.

Status: Still in the planning status for now. Once Lasagne is completed (from a script POV) I'll move onto this - which I will write, direct and star in. Expect this to be around February/March next year.

NOT ON YOUR NELLY!

A short, telling of one woman's urgent quest for promotion...

Status: Script completed by me, and handed across to its director (Sacha Allari) who last updated me to say he would begin filming early 2015. Watch this space!

OUT

The horrible tale of a man, sat on a public toilet, who runs out of toilet paper. What happens next will surprise him, and you...

Status: Synopsis completed. This will likely form Gabi's next directing job after "Lasagne" - and my next writing task after "Beyond". Expect this to start production early-mid 2015.

***

That's all my firm plans for now. I have other ideas in the pipeline, but they're still a good 6 months to a year off.

As ever, I'll update this blog when anything significant occurs with any of the projects.

Friday, 12 December 2014

"Ushers" [SHORT - 2014]

I've been a busy little bee, making a new film and all.

Firstly, I apologise. This would normally be the part where I embed my new film for all to watch. Er... yeah, I can't do that this time. See,  I shot it in an actual real life cinema, and the agreement was I wouldn't upload the full film onto the internet, for all to see. For now then, at least, here's the opening to the film:


What happens next? Mark and Sarah (the characters featured above) take a camera into their place of work, and make a film. In the style of Kevin Smith's Clerks...

Some background:

I originally wrote the "Ushers" script two years ago, for a staff member I worked with in Westfield's cinema. He, Sasha, didn't like the script... and so the thing was shelved.

Skip forward two years, and it's sitting, gathering dust in my abandoned script pile. My girlfriend looks through said pile late September, and reads both "Ushers" and "I Am A Vampire!". Immediately falling in love with the Vampire script, she agrees to go off and make it... Meanwhile, I'm sat reading "Ushers" for the first time in a long while, and I realise just how funny the script is!

Over the next few weeks, I go around casting the thing. Mark and Sarah first, of course, then everybody else. To my surprise, most people I approach agree to be in it. Some, yes, take some persuading, but in the end they're in! So I'm happy; I have my dream cast, and I'm ready to go...!

Well... not quite. First things first, I have a holiday in Ireland. During that, I film another project (!) - but in those rare moments of isolation, start to use my holiday R&R time to reflect on "Ushers" and how to make it.

I come up with a crazy filming schedule of 5 days worth of shooting; which might seem excessive, but as the script featured 36 scenes, and 15 characters it was otherwise a logistical nightmare! We pretty much stuck to that five day shoot too, although reshoots and additional, new scene added another couple of days on top.

Filming began on November 5th in Leicester Square, and continued on the 6th and 7th. We had the weekend off, and resumed on November 10th and 11th. There was a long, agonising (!!) break before we returned to film the last two scenes of the entire thing, on November 29th. Finally, unhappy with certain shots, I got the main actors back together, and filmed the last pick up shot on December 7th.

The film played on a Leicester Square cinema screen on December 9th, to an audience of its entire cast, forming part of my work's Christmas party. The feedback was good, not great!

I won't post more for now. I'll use my experiences from it, and my other recent shorts, to fuel the next x amount of blog posts here. I suppose it gives me something new and meaningful to talk about!!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Rosemary Heeley

My Nan passed away on 3rd December. She was a week away from turning 81.

I've used this blog to write about her before. It feels so strange now to do so again, but writing something as final as "she's gone".

I got a call off my Mum about a week before it happened, saying that the Care Home Doctors looking after Nan had spoken to her. They had said there wasn't much more they could do to help, and that it was now a question of making Nan comfortable.

I visited when I could, a few days later on. At the time I feared this may be one of the last conversations that I might ever have with my Nan; and secretly knew it would be. I sat with her, Mum and my sister Lauren for a while. When the others left, and it was just me and Nan, I became suddenly so aware of my own emotions, and my love for this woman.

Years ago when another Grandparent died, I visited them too and said an appalling goodbye to him - "Take care, see you soon." I regretted it straight away. That played on my mind whilst visiting Nan, a lot I think.

We talked a little; but mostly, I couldn't bare to look at her, because if I did, the emotion would have consumed me. I showed her a photo of my girlfriend, and she said she always thought I was funny, and well dressed - and spoke with pride that she loved me, and loved that I visited her a lot.

When it came to the actual goodbye, I hesitated at the door for a while, and then turned back and hugged Nan. Neither of us are huggers, so the moment meant a lot. I told her that I loved her, that she was beautiful, and that she needed to be brave for me.

Earlier, she had told me she wanted to go travelling, to find the room "where the children go." I'd read that when faced with death, people talk about travel a lot, as it disguises what the actual meaning is all about - the journey of death. It's said that these talks should be encouraged; so I let Nan known that it was OK, she could go wherever she wanted.

Later, when I was leaving Nan looked at me, smiling, and said "It's Ok, Anthony said I can go." As I turned and walked away from her, those words stung, but I understood she was ready.

***

When my Nan died, her two children were at her side. Mum got a call a few minutes before saying she was slipping away, and she needed to get to the care home ASAP. Mum got there, took Nan's hand, and said a "I love you". Nan died after that, at 1am.

***

For now, that's all I have to say.

***

From 2012, "A Sad Day Draws Closer" and below, a video I filmed of Nan, for my nephew Tyler:

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

"I Am A Vampire!" [SHORT - 2014]

I've had a somewhat creative few weeks. As hinted in my last post, it's been a busy September into October into November. Amongst the projects I've worked on is "I Am A Vampire!" - a short film written by me, and directed by my girlfriend Gabriella Keresztes.

We'll talk about the ins and outs of production in a further blog post - but for now, here's the final film:

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Festivals

I'm well aware that I've been absent from these pages for the past 6 weeks. It's been one of those times when life is just crazy busy, and something has to give. In this case, as much as I love doing it, blogging had to fall by the wayside.

The chief reason for my absence, then, being Film Festivals. I've previously posted about one - Frightfest, back in August. Across September and October I helped manage two more - the popular BFI London Film Festival, and the lesser known, underground Raindance Independent Film Festival. For both, it was second time running the festivals.

Raindance kicked off at the tail end of September, and was immense fun. My General Manager pretty much left me to it, and so I ran most operations from my company's point of view. I took ownership, and ran with it. I worked well with the Raindance team, and it was genuinely exciting to meet emerging film talent; not yet tainted by pretentious behaviour or conversation. At the end of it. Raindance invited me to their legendary after-show party... and too much alcohol was had by me.

Aaah, my liver...

3 days later, and the BFI L.F.F. started. Now, last year, I found it to be a very prestigious festival, and through that prestige, I became excited to be working it, and playing my part. This year, especially after my relative freedom during Raindance, I was so bored! There wasn't much to do, and the punters rocking up for each screening weren't the same talkative crowd that I'd grown use to at festivals prior. All in all, I just felt like I wasn't needed, and contributed nothing!

(Also, no BFI after show party. My liver = :) )

So there we are... my life in festivals. But it's not the only thing I've been up to recently. When I find the time over the next few days/weeks I'll update again... and it's pretty exciting.