Well, it's another year. Hopefully it won't be our last one, as people have predicted. But if it is, then at least I'll be going out after a big one, topped off with the most exciting thing of all: The Hobbit in cinemas!
So, just when I thought things were getting quiet, I find myself booking up big chunks of the year in advance (much as I hate the word 'chunk'). As well as the odd corporate shoot or two, my video diaries, a friend's wedding, and the release of my costume advert, I have some pretty exciting fiction films in the pipeline. So I thought I'd share my year's plan with you:
ONGOING: "Jar of Angels"
Yes, the beloved jugganaut that is JOA is not quite finished yet. The edit is very much assembled; we're just waiting on one re-shoot day. I cannot say for definite when this will be (things such as budget and actor/crew availability must be taken into account) but it should certainly be done before the end of spring, because that's when some very important submission dates are...
And I just got a little buzz of excitement thinking about that!
In the meantime, the trailer is still online, edited by Rik Winter and Crash Taylor, and we're all still very proud of it. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it:
Once the shoot for that is back in motion, there will be other exciting bits of promotion for you all, including some video interviews with the actors, so I will do more blogs featuring production stories as well.
Another one which started last Summer. Wasteland is still yet to shoot fully, although it is fully cast and the art department is almost fully stocked. The project is very much up and running again, and set to shoot in February. And you can still see the trailer online:
In all honesty, I don't think I've explained to you guys how good Wasteland should turn out to be. Yes, it is a Zombie film, and that would put some people off - I'm not a big Zombie movie fan myself, Resident Evil's guilty pleasures aside. But Wasteland isn't 'just a Zombie movie'.
For those of you who like zombies: it does have them, there are battles, and heads will explode bloodily. For those of you who don't like zombies: there aren't many in it and those that are can be seen more as a metaphor for all the things in real life which may turn the world to shit (such as increasing poverty, overpopulation, and global warming).
But here's the reason I like it. Above all, Wasteland is an observational drama which makes you question how you, yourself would survive if you were completely alone. There's a beautiful, bleak stillness about it, just as there is in The Road. I get to bring these themes through a very natural colour pallet and some withering, rusty locations. It's been a ball!
Here's where I get even more excited. I've hinted for a while that I'll be directing my first short film since 2010, that it'll be called 'Ashes', and that it will be fairly controversial. Now I get to tell you a little more:
The story follows Sarah, a naive young woman, and the encroaching doubts & mistrust she has for her boyfriend, Mark. As her mood changes, so does the world around her, transforming from a beautiful, Hollywood vision of romance, to a deteriorating scene of darkness and broken porcelain faces, (and yes, I do mean literally). Finally there is the raw, real world as the two lovers confront each other, and face the truth of the situation.
The trailer and subsequent funding campaign will be shot and uploaded within the next two months, with filming now predicted to go ahead in March. What's more, as of today, I HAVE MY CAST!!
Sarah Lamesch "Sarah"
Adam Richard Lannon "Mark"
Writer/Director Sophie Black
D.O.P.s Crash Taylor & Richard Winter
Lighting Emmaalouise Smith
Sound (Vacant - comment below to apply)
Costume & Production Design Gina Hames (assisted by Sophie Black)
Editor Richard Winter
MUA Rena Kalandrani
Visual/Digital FX Carl Cropley
Stills Photographer Rei Bennett
Clapper Loader/Continuity Stephanie Murphy
Now how's THAT for a crew?! I am one very happy bunny right now. If you want to be part of that team then, as stated, we do need someone to record and mix our sound. As well as that I may be offering out runner or assistant roles (including 1st AD) if the right people get in contact with me.
Preparations for the trailer are in place but, for now, here are the latest pieces of concept art for you to enjoy.
One by me:
And one by production designer Gina Hames (who was my assistant on Wasteland):
I can't confirm for definite that this will be in April or May but, looking at the projects I'm signed onto above, I'm thinking it will be. It might even fall on my birthday - that'd be a fun way to spend it! (I actually mean that, I'm not being sarcastic).
The story? "A young couple, Dan and Kate, enter a dusty old charity store on an Autumn day. On that same day, Dan is hit by a car and killed. With the discovery of a magical tape recorder in the back of the shop, Kate is able to re-live the moment of Dan's death over and over again. But she cannot change what happens: she can only watch.
When Kate finds many more tapes in the shop's basement, she realises that she can re-play every moment she spent with Dan, always watching from a distance. Absorbed in a world of nostalgia and regret, will Kate ever be able to get back to reality, and let Dan go?"
My latest job on this has been to storyboard a good portion of the first three scenes. I did them on A3 pages and then stored them in a folder, as shown here:
They took a couple of weeks to do and I put a lot of care into them, which I did for the same reason that everyone involved has been plugging the Crowdfunder link on every web page they can, and for the same reason that Neil Oseman even got himself interviewed on Midlands Today. We all really, really believe in this project, and want to make it happen.
If you want any proof of that at all, just watch the pitch video. I'm even in it:
Our Crowdfunder campaign runs out in a week. At that point, if we haven't reached £2000, we won't get any of our budget at all (nor will any of the current funders be charged). That means we probably won't get to make Stop/Eject. Therefore PLEASE, if you have just read all of my rediculously long blog post, and it has inspired even a tiny spark of intrigue, then please click on this link, give as little or as much as you can, and spread the word around - before it's too late:
I've got a few things in the pipeline for the end of Summer onwards, including the long awaited 1930s gangster short, Paradise Corner. But for now, with all the above taking main priority, and to quote Ashes, those projects are little more than 'whispers on the wind'.
2012 looks set to be a good one, and I hope that you'll all enjoy going for the ride along with me.
And maybe I'll see you in the cinema for The Hobbit Part One at the end of the world...