Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sophie On: Her Future Projects

Hey Everybody,

    Things seem to appear a bit quiet from my end these day. It's not that I haven't been busy; I spent all summer moving house and setting up a home for myself and Edward Harvey (which has given me a new outlet for my set dressing skills). And both Ashes and Stop/Eject are bobbing along nicely, with myself and Neil preparing DVDs and entering the films into festivals, although this process isn't really worth blogging about.

    As for the other projects, Jar of Angels was completed this year but remains in temporary obscurity as everyone involved pursues other things, myself included. Light Films' feature Wasteland, which I worked on for nearly two years, also finished this year, and I got to see all of those memories together on one screen when I attended the film's VIP cast and crew screening (photos from which are online now). As for the other projects I worked on recently, as a costume designer, The Trial and Love & Other Chairs, I am still waiting on these before I create my designer's showreel because they're still in post-production.

   Meanwhile, I'm turning my attention to projects which I can make money off whilst still exercising the creative muscles. Back in January, I worked as a designer on a commercial for a creative software plug-in called Widthscribe (which Neil directed, and which you can still see online here). That was great fun to do, and the type of thing I wanted to do as a 'day job', but things went a bit quieter after then - which gave me time to focus on my house - and it's only now that clients seem to be wanting promotional videos from me again. A recent surge which, I have no doubt, I owe mostly to the hiring of my PR girls, Charlotte Ashton and Laura Cann.

   So, with things getting busy again, here is my plan for the coming months:

AUTUMN 2013 - CLIENT VIDEOS


Sheena Holland's stunning shop
    September - After much chasing, I have finally persuaded Sheena Holland to let me capture her beautiful handmade tiaras and vintage clothing on camera. I'm very excited to do this promotional video - we have emerging talent Lucy Young behind the lens, and Cleo Kinsey-Lyons, who I've wanted to capture on film for a while, in front of it. Since Sheena also wants to evoke the feeling of the era her produce is from, it's also given me the opportunity to collaborate with Ashes VFX Artist Scott Nolan again, to create some filmic effects. We're only a few days from filming this video, so watch this space for more information.

    October - Soulful siren Lauren Lovejoy found out about Triskelle Pictures at a car boot sale, of all places (it's weird how far word travels)! After an initial meeting in Derby, she's hired me to create a music video which presents her wonderful mix of sixties style and modern relevance  I've got a couple of cinematographers in mind - I can't make anything official until I sort out contracts and such - but, in the meantime, you can hear Lauren's powerful vocals here for a taste of what we have to come.

   November - After all the support Wan2Talk gave the production of Ashes, I was more than happy to help them in return when they came to me, wanting a promotional video for their website. This will be fiction based as with the others, but I'm keeping things toned back, simple, and straight to the cause. Lara Elliot (who has been working on a documentary about Ashes for a while now) has signed on to shoot this, and I'm in talks with a well-known local actress to come on board and add some gravitas to the film.

   At some point this autumn, I've also agreed to work as a costume designer on a locally-shot music video, under director Riccardo Servini. I haven't seen him since we were at university together, although I worked with him from afar as a costume adviser on his short film Assessment. It'll also give me chance to work with some of the guys from YSP Media again. Plus it involves scarecrows, which should be fun!

WINTER 2013/2014 - "NIGHT OWLS"

    This has been a long time coming. Longtime readers of my blog will have seen me mention 'The Infamous Script' from time to time. This script is actually a feature script I've been writing since I was 15, and nicknamed 'infamous' because I referred to it from time to time without anyone having seen it. Plus I've done various drafts of the film without finishing one since 2006 (when I actually made a bad version of the film with my friends in place of actors, and myself as a one-man-crew). 

    The story - which I've been keeping under wraps for so long now - is of two lost souls coming together and finding a natural connection between them. These two people are Mari, a bullied, extrovert teenager who doesn't get along with her conservative family, and David, known as 'Kent', who has lived alone in a big, old house for years, following the death of his first child, and the separation from his fiance. Neither character has any real friends until they find each other, and both have dreams, but not well-planned or realistic goals for their lives.

    They come together when Mari runs away from home, and breaks into Kent's house for
Concept art for Mari (Night Owls)
shelter from the elements, and other characters which might hurt her. After initially having Mari thrust upon him, Kent softens towards her, and lets her stay in his house as an unlikely friendship blossoms. But the longer they stay together, a dangerous attraction forms between them, which neither character fully understands or can control.


   It's a story I keep going back to, and which I'm dying to direct as my first feature because it stylistically mimics all the low-budget, independent romance dramas I've been so addicted to lately (Like Crazy, Blue Valentine, To The Wonder etc) whilst still invoking the mythical, classical stories which influenced me throughout my youth (the story of the young girl making her way into the large house of a lonely older man drips with the essence of Jane Eyre and Beauty and the Beast. And, as actor Mark Drake put it to me, Mari is like 'the fairy at the bottom of the garden' to Kent). It's a gentle, simple story, but equally as controversial as Ashes, and another chance for me to explore that film's theme of how two people act behind closed doors.

   But taking on a feature film is a big venture - and it's particularly difficult to make myself take the plunge back into pre-production after four films I worked on have only just been completed, having started them in 2011 - so it's a long time before I can announce jobs on this for everyone I know! However, having worked with Neil Oseman, and having explored the stories behind such films as Tyrannosaur, Mama and Beasts of the Southern Wild, I've learnt that many feature films have got off the ground following on from the production of a short film in a similar vein.

   So this gave me the chance to collaborate with Tommy Draper again, this time on a joint script for Night Owls - which features the same characters as what is known as 'The Infamous Script', but it takes place all in one night, with Mari and Kent coming together then passing again, without taking the time to explore their relationship as fully as the feature version does. I'm still reluctant to announce official pre-production, but this is a film which I am itching to direct, so it can only be a matter of time. I've already been in talks with potential producers (one of which has signed on for now), and I've had an unofficial audition for Kent. I will be offering the role of Mari to an actress at the end of September - and anyone who knows me need only guess who that person is.

SPRING 2014 ONWARDS

    I want to keep the client videos going if I can, and to look into making Triskelle Pictures official in some way, although only as a small business. I still want to be open to moving onto bigger things - and bigger films. It's too long since I've been on a studio set and I miss that feeling. I want more studio experience, and I'll happily do smaller roles to make that happen.

   I'm still attached to Matthew Simmond's feature film Junction 6 as an art director, and there are design bits in my home for that now. It got put on hold earlier this year, but should come back onto my radar again soon - be it this autumn or later into 2014. Although the design work is fairly standard (it's all set in one modern house), the script is fantastic, and I'm keen to do more feature films because this should hopefully give me more of a springboard for addressing agents.


Concept art for 'Iris' (Butterfly)
   I also want to do films which challenge me in a new way, rather than doing the same things I've done before (although I doubt I'll be able to turn down anything with a great script, good design opportunities, or pay). Every year, I tell myself I'll do one of the local 24 or 48-hour filmmaking competitions, to challenge myself to work quicker. I never seem to have the time when they come around, although I do have a script idea for one (based on a story by Claudia Codiroli) and it would work equally well for a Virgin Media shorts film, so hopefully I will get it made for both events in 2014.

    I'm also more and more intrigued about improvisation. I did a little in developing Sarah Lamesch and Adam Lannon's characters with them for Ashes, and I'm keen to work a little bit of that into a natural style for Night Owls' characters as well. But I've also been thinking of an experiment which merges together improvisation and a 48hour production schedule. This is something I may tackle next year, or it may be five years in the future, but I've drafted out a rough storyline and characters (the working title for this project is 'Butterfly'). If I do make it, I will be using all the locations, costumes and actors I currently have to hand already, to make something very intimate and inexpensive, at the same time as being ambitious.


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    At the start of this summer, I considered taking a break from filmmaking, to give myself some personal time and to evaluate where I wanted to go next (and moving house forced me to take that break). By the looks of this blog post, it looks as though I'm starting to figure it out!


Sophie 

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