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 -

Also thanks to Bliss, a charity that helps premature and special care babies -

Music by Chris Mears -
Supported by Scubaboy Inc -

'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.