Friday 24 August 2012


Ok so Down to business I guess. It's hard for me to think of anything but sound design at this moment in time as that all I've been doing for the last month for my second feature Slasher House. But I figured it makes very little sense to jump to something about post so early on, So I used the last few days to reflect on what I was mixing sound for and realized that probably the first thing anyone want to know about how I make movies is how I start out, Here I'm going to break down Pre-Production into 2 very easy steps.

Once you have a script or story (I know there are some people who just like to make these things up on the spot) then there are two steps you need to take in order to be ready to film.



Thats it.

Honestly thats all you need to do. Obviously there is a little more to it than that, But I find that looking at it like this makes what is quite a huge task, feel smaller and much more manageable.

Now at this point you should have a list of

1. People who need to be in front of the camera (actors)
2. Items that these people need to interact with (Props)
3. A place for these Items and people to be placed in (Location)

Then you should look at getting a couple of people behind the camera

1. Someone to Shoot it for you (You)
2. Someone to Direct the shoot (You)
3. Someone to Record sound (Sound guy)
4. Someone to help out (Sound guy)

I always tend to have a couple of people (P.A's) running around, but even then these are usually made up of people who don't have a job or anything better to do or my close friends and more often than not my girlfriend.

It's quite simple when you start looking at it like this and it makes the daunting task that is pre production a lot easier, just make a list of things you need and get it together.

Trust me, enjoy pre production, because quite honestly on a no budget production, Pre Production is the last chance you'll have to enjoy making your film until you're finished in the editing suite.

I know I've skimmed over a lot here, but it's good to figure out your own way of doing each thing, Of course I'll go into every step here in more detail of the coming weeks.

But so far this approach has worked on 3 short films, 2 features (albeit with a couple more specific crew) and countless music videos.

Of course it's hard, it's a challenge, but lets be honest, if you don't like challenge's, The last thing you want be doing is making no budget movies.


Tuesday 7 August 2012


It is (Most of the time)... I figured I would try and keep these post titles named after movies, which fits in quite nicely with what I wanted to talk about this week. You see this week I got to work with one of the best Bands that we've had through our doors at Mycho, Wigan based Sinnergod. But also featuring on their track 'It's A Wonderful Life' was Ex-Iron Maiden singer Blaze Bayley, which any of you who know me will know that this was a huge deal for me being that Maiden are one my biggest inspirations when it comes to my own Metal outfit Subject 7.

But thats enough name dropping from me ;) This blog is mainly about sourcing locations and getting the right one. It's fine if you are shooting your own projects, but when you've been hired to do a job, and there's a chance you could be removed from your set at anytime, the pressure is well and truly on.

Cut to : 
The woods in Longridge last Wednesday, I had been to scout the place about a week before and everything seemed OK. A filmmaker friend of mine had tipped me off about the location and where to find it and so we headed up there to take a look. Of course as I knew it would be, it was perfect for what the band had asked for, so we knew it had to be here.

It was at this point that we hit a problem, I had ben told that there was a 'caretaker' of sorts that patrolled the area, so we decided we would need permission to use the woods, even though it was public land. So we tried in vein to find the man who could give us permission. We failed. So without a better plan, My other half, thanks to a husband of a friend, managed to get us written permission from the police in the hopes that we would be able to use that to convince the 'warden' that we should be allowed there should he appear during the shoot.

So the morning of the shoot arrives and of course the forecast was thunder and lightning, still we braved the woods. Which btw was nowhere near where we had to park, and so it was down to us to carry everything and a generator up to the inaccessible woods. 

Oh yeah, that right, a Generator. Generators as a rule are not very light and to add the fun we had to then get it up a hill that was difficult to climb to begin with. You see, the reason I realized that we would need permission was because of 2 things. Generators make a lot of noise, which I knew would draw attention and of course the other thing that was louder than a generator were 'drums'. If it hadn't been for these two things, I would have just let the cops know that we had replica guns and shot then just kept my head low whilst we were shooting, as the last thing you want on a professional shoot is the police turning up ready to shoot you. But of course keeping a low profile is hard when you have an entire band playing in an open area situated next to a public foot path.

Luckily with a bit of praying to the gods and a lot of help from my team and loved ones and the band who sourced all the costume elements and even some very talented make-up artists and with the added elements of having one of my heavy metal heroes appearing on set whilst we were behind, We came out the other side with some of the best stuff we have ever produced.

And no one got shot... not in real life anyway... or did they? ;)


Friday 3 August 2012


A New Hope? That pretentious, really? Well to be quite honest with you its always nice to follow a good cliche every now and then and Starting anything with a Star Wars reference always helps. At least in my book it does. But actually it also make sense to me as technically this not really a brand new blog but more of something that kind of starts half way through the story, something that Star Wars : A New Hope eventually decided it was ;).

This blog was created (Or rebooted if you will) for two reasons. The First being that I have always had a thirst for knowledge in my chosen field (Filmmaking) and as a result when I learn or discover something new and exciting I feel the need to share it. The second reason is that sometimes I find it difficult to even understand why I'm still doing any of this, it's hard, it calls for long days, stress, failed relationships and tension amongst those you can actually maintain one in the chaos. I decided that maybe the best way to try and deal with these tougher times was to put my thoughts here, so that they have a voice and aren't stuck in my eternal monologue that is making my life more and more like an episode of 'Scrubs' everyday.

So heres to Filmmaking and Life lessons. I'm sure it will be tough and I'll rant, But the plan is to also impart some information about what I get up to and what I discover on this journey.