Around 80 Days In The World



Last July my partner Laura was rushed to hospital at 27 weeks of pregnancy.  After 4 days of a worsening situation the surgeons decided to operate.  During the operation they had to deliver the baby - so our daughter, Lux, was born 3 months early, weighing 2.2lbs and spent nearly the equivalent time getting healthy enough to come home.

Although I naturally would take photos or film my new baby, this was a different situation.  Not knowing at times if she would survive I filmed and took pictures each day because the act of filming, creating a documentary whilst in the middle of horrendous turmoil and uncertainty meant that I had hope for the future - I knew I wouldn't ever show this film had she not survived, so filming meant I had hope that she would. On the worst days in the hospital, at times when it was touch and go I continued filming, because to give up on filming would be giving up on the hope that she would be ok.

Thanks always to all the staff at St. Michael's Hospital in Bristol for helping us through one of the most difficult times in our lives and looking after our baby when she came into the world. We owe so much to so many people.

Cots for tots is the charity that supports special care babies in St. Michaels hospital - http://www.cotsfortots.org.uk

Also thanks to Bliss, a charity that helps premature and special care babies -  http://www.bliss.org.uk

Credits
Music by Chris Mears - dearmusic.co.uk
Supported by Scubaboy Inc - scubaboyinc.co.uk

'Rest' shoot

After a few small delays last year then a huge delay when my daughter was born 3 months early last August (1 week before the scheduled shoot) we finally shot 'Rest' this week. 

'Rest' is a very short film about grief and grieving. The intense moment of distress and pain and the never ending journey of missing someone and the loss that stays with you.

I conceived the film in the year after my step dad (who I had lived with since I was 5) died after a long illness but all the same to young and too suddenly. The interim few years since have thrown up many different feelings and confusions about the step dad/step son relationship as well as a general sense of loss and trying to make sense in some small way to what happened to my family. 'Rest' is part of me working through those thoughts and emotions but in a wider sense to hopefully universalise grief and grieving and connect with others who have also lost.

Working with a local producer Lee Rayner to bring my 4 page script to life, we started casting and preproduction in Feb 2013. After all the stop and starts mentioned above (and in the meantime the perfect shooting space opening) we eventually shot mainly at Band Films amazing studio in South Bristol. We also had a two interiors at a local hotel and then a few skeleton-crew car driving and roadside shots.

Although it was a big task to get to this point where all the shots are in the can, we're probably only actually about a third of the way through the film due to the huge amount of vfx that will be commencing shortly.  

Here's a bunch of stills from the shoot...

Slate (I think we ended up shooting about 50 over the two days)

Green screen/jib/dance extravaganza 

Me discussing shots with the DoP

The most complex shot of the film, when the coffin lifts up and rotates to come face to face with the person standing over it. But we left the coffin still and cheated actor positions, did a clever camera move and rotated the lights around to fake the movement.

Scott setting up for a shot in the Chapel of Rest.

Having a wrap drink with the crew whilst we copied rushes over in a busy bar, on the floor! Rarely advised. That's the RED Epic camera that we shot on also on the floor!

Studio panorama!

It was one of my favourite experiences working on a short, with a great crew (of which I've only worked with the DoP before). Looking tentatively forward to the mass of post production and then moving on to my next film.


Lonely The Brave - Lyric Videos







You would probably describe Lonely The Brave as a rock band, but that really only tells half the story.

There's something a bit different about these guys and their songs, and we knew straight away we wanted to be involved with what they were doing. It was also pretty exciting to get the opportunity to be involved with a project like this from the start, something we've been keen to do for a while.

The idea is for each video to represent something visually relevant to song based around the lyrics which have been hand-written by Dave, the bands lead signer.

This is an ongoing project and we will be uploading new projects here as we go.

Credits
Creative Directors - James Ward, Jon Hardy
Design, Animation, Editing - James Ward
Editing - Jon Hardy

We Are The Ocean - Chin Up, Son



Our friends at Hassle Records contacted us late 2012 and asked us if we could help them out with a video they wanted to make for one of their bands. 'We Are The Ocean' are known as a rock band with a pretty serious image - these boys know how to make a noise.

The final track on their latest album however, is a bit more acoustic in nature than their usual sound, and they wanted to shoot a video that showed a different side to the band - something a bit more light-hearted.

We were up for the challenge and pulled together a shoot in super quick time to fit in with the bands schedule. We essentially spent a day making a huge mess at The Trinity Centre in Bristol playing with toys usually reserved for a 7th birthday party! The band were up for it and got stuck in, and we all had a good laugh, which hopefully comes across in the finished video.

Credits
Director - Scubaboy
Producer - Mease, James Ward
Editor - James Ward Jon Hardy
Grade - Stef Roberts
Camera & Lighting - Ian Oakley
Grip - Stef Roberts
Production Assistant - Joe O'Hare

The politics of cinema and film making

A short introduction about who I am and what I want.

I believe in the power of cinema, I've been affected and altered numerous times, my thoughts have been provoked, I've questioned myself, I've doubted the world, I've loved more and been educated countless times.  This is why I believe in the power of the cinema, in the power of art to inspire, change and connect to a viewer.

I became a film maker because I wanted to be part of that inspiration, connection and change.  I have many motivations and interests in the world that I want to explore - human rights, feminism, oppression, politics and Politics.  I consider myself a very political person, I regularly get involved in human rights and feminist campaigns, I'm pretty angry about the way the world works and I want to make it better.

I've been involved in various levels of the film industry - I've produced short films, I've directed music videos, I've worked on huge hollywood blockbusters and more. I've worked on over 100 film or video projects of all sizes, varieties and styles and one of my biggest concerns in all this is the horrendous under representation of women, people of colour, disabled people, LGBT people and other excluded groups in nearly all projects I've been part of - both on screen and on set.  This really matters.

There's often a lot of questioning and other groundwork behind my scripts and films so I thought I'd collect these thoughts, provide some arguments and provoke some thoughts about some of these issues that occupy my mind so that they can occupy my blog.

2012 round up

2012 has mainly been a busy year for working on building my production company Scubaboy Inc and also writing. I think I've laid some fairly solid foundations for working on not only some exciting animation projects and music videos with Scubaboy Inc, but also for some great shorts, the first I'm hoping to shoot in February.

InPerfection - I've spent the year continually rewriting the outline every time I work a little more with the composer, which ins a good thing. On the development front, we've made a small bit of progress with getting some great productions companies to potentially back the project, but no definite investors yet. It's always positive to get into the right meetings though, it shows there's some interest in a projects such as this.

Other projects - 'Rest' - I've spent the last few months of 2012 working on a very short, near-silent film about grief - a theme I've wanted to explore for a few years (since a personal experience) I've written something highly visual, but also supposedly very inexpensive, so hopefully just scraping together some money to get it going - its been too long shooting pure drama, so I'm looking forward to it.

All my other projects are currently still on official hold (including 'a family flees') whilst I concentrate on these films. Although unofficially I'm still tinkering with scripts and revising characters every now and again.

Looking forward to 2013.

Jim Moray - If It's True



'If It's True' is the lead single from Jim Moray's 2012 album 'Skulk'. The song originated from the Anais Mitchell folk opera 'Hadestown', in which Jim Moray performed the key role of 'Orpheus' in 2010.

As Jim is also Bristol based we worked closely with him during development on a variety of concepts ranging from simple performance based pieces to complex, time warping ideas. In the end the simpler ideas won out (much more fitting for the track and it's simple, building atmosphere).

We had one day to shoot with Jim in a variety of locations and landscapes around Bristol and North Somerset and luckily for us we chose one of the few glorious days of the summer. Clear blue skies which gave way to a beautiful sunset gave us the perfect backdrop for shooting.

The minimal story of Jim wandering through a never ending, looping journey of love, loss and searching is inspired by the story of Orpheus, who searches for his lost love as he descends into the underworld.

News - Awards and Nominations (and a bit of my history)

A few years ago, before I was directing films etc and running a production company, I worked as a freelance sound recordist -mainly on shorts and corporate/commercial work, but I also was incredibly fortunate to meet the right people at the right time and somehow ended up working in the sound department on the last three Harry Potter films.  That was nearly 3 years ago and just this week the film received a BAFTA nomination for best sound.  At this point I'd like to say in no way has my work been nominated for a BAFTA, I was the smallest cog in a hugely talented and skilled team - to confuse a metaphor.  But regardless of all that, I'm proud of the achievement of the team that I was part of.

[From right] Emma, Dan, Me (with boom)
[p.s. I'd like to credit this picture, but I don't know whos it is]
Also this week, a stop motion piece I co-directed (Scubaboy) won a RAD award - that's Recruitment ADvertising awards to you.  So a bit of the old 'career' and a bit of the new this week.  Nice to be involved in both projects and in different ways, very proud of them.

A little stop motion paper plane leaves the pages of a book.
[Do you get the effect of the stop motion from a still?]

My Dream / My Reality -

                                                  

My Dream / My Reality - Short Film

From a real story about the emotional and psychological impact of sex trafficking from the point of view of the victim.

for more info and full credits, please go to this site:
http://www.scubaboy.co.uk/mydreammyreality/

A Family Flees [in development]

'A Family Flees' is a feature length micro-budget drama centered around a fragmented and dysfunctional family coming together during a worldwide catastrophic event.

Synopsis
In the midst of a frantic, disorientating event, the safety of the Grey family is at risk.  Fearing the rioting, disasters and danger the city holds, the father - Jim - takes his family out the city and finding little place else to go that seems safe, they retreat to a seemingly abandoned house in the middle of the countryside.  With the father, mother and two children all coming to terms with the potential loss of civilisation and the impending threat of the spread of catastrophy getting nearer to their safe place, they must all come to terms with their new way of life and start living together as a family for the first time.


UPDATES

02.2013 - I'm still occasionally working on this film (and hope to get it up going again in the future) but for now I'm concentrating on InPerfection and a few more shorts.

12.2011 - Raising funds considered.  Script writing continues.

11.2011 - 1st Draft Screenplay writing commences.  Meetings with collaborators.

10.2011 - Plot structure finalised.  Location mood-board and budgetary considerations. Research continues.

09.2011 - Research continues, character briefs and meeting with potential collaborators.

08.2011 - Story outline and research commences.