Friday, 27 April 2012

Legoless Part II: Walking With Legos

I can’t claim that We Can Get You Some Really Cheap Gear is a zero-budget film as I spent about £10 on Lego minifigs. What can I say? Invest in people.

So what was it like on set? The human voice-over cast were a joy to work with. However I have to admit that the Legos themselves were a little demanding at times: not satisfied with the usual personal assistants, crystal healers or deliveries of fresh flowers, Eddie’s rider included his own personal fire station, airport and medieval castle.

We Can Get You includes the first intimate scene I have directed: surely an anxious moment for every director? When filming intimate material it’s important that your cast have a good working relationship and can trust each other, and to find an opportunity to sit down with them and discuss what they are comfortable with. In the end I needn’t have worried: Eddie and Tanya approached the scene with a great deal of professionalism and I think it shows in the final cut.

After firing three voice coaches and a team of body language experts I have concluded that Legos talk with their hands and this cannot be changed. Is this a Danish thing? I have no idea.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Lunacy update #3 [SFL48]

The forty-eight hours have come and gone. "Season of Smoke" wrapped on Sunday, but despite a night of furious editing I was only able to return a very rough cut of the film to the Apollo which is disappointing. I'll post more when I've fully recovered from the weekend's adventures - there is a plan to complete this film in the near future.
[photos: Celia Peters]

Kino London Calling

"We Can Get You Some Really Cheap Gear" is Kino London's film of the week. Thanks guys! Indeed I should point out that if it weren't for the Kino London house rules this film might never have been made.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Lunacy update #2 [SFL48]

Team Lunar Industries have wrapped on our SFL48 film "mid afternoon" (being generous) so the next step is some serious logging. If I get the chance I'll post some production photos shortly.

Lunacy Update #1 [SFL48]

Sci-Fi London's 48 hour competition started at around noon on Saturday: team Lunar Industries spent Saturday afternoon planning, preparing the set and capturing some establishing footage: right now I'm running some effects tests.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Late Nights And Love Bites [LIFF Preview: A Little Bit Zombie]

Dying was easy. It’s getting married that’s the killer.

Another LIFF highlight for sci-fi fans: A Little Bit Zombie, directed by Casey Walker, will be at the London Independent Film Festival on 18th April. Finally someone has made a romantic comedy with brains.

A Little Bit Zombie - Trailer from A Little Bit Zombie on Vimeo.

A Little Bit Zombie is the second part of a LIFF double bill: it follows the LIFF Music Video selection, including my own video for "2007" by Tenderstar.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Legoless Part I: Dispatches From The Set

After the screening of “We Can Get You Some Really Cheap Gear” at Rotoreliefs, several questions about the making of the film came up in the Q and A. I’d like to share a couple of lessons learned: this article is about the technical side of things, and in Part II I'll write about the reality of working with Legos.
Set construction was the most time-consuming part of making the film. Each of the five locations took one night shift to build and shoot: as with other films, write for the minimum number of locations, and build your sets for multiple scenes if you can. Also (and I learned this the hard way) make sure you’ve got every single shot you need from each set before demolishing it to build the next one.

There are three basic principles of Lego filmmaking: stabilize, stabilize, stabilize. Use anything you can find: sellotape, superglue, blu-tack, nails, radioactive slime – anything to reduce shake between frames. The good news: Lego isn’t only good for on-screen antics – it’s also ideal for constructing ad-hoc camera rigs, tripods and dollies. A few minutes stabilizing your set and camera saves hours of frame-by-frame adjustment in post.

One more thing: watch out for Lego injuries: constantly handling all those sharp edges is hard on the skin.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A Cross-Stitch In Time [LIFF Preview: Dimensions]

Looking through the London Independent Film Festival programme (April 12th to 22nd) - this year's festival includes several indie feature films with science-fiction or fantasy themes. 

Dimensions: A Line, A Loop, A Tangle Of Threads , directed by Sloane U’Ren, is showing on Saturday 21st April at LIFF. It's described as a 1920s/1930s sci-fi love story and is currently touring festivals worldwide - recently winning the Gort award at Boston Sci-Fi. If you can't make it to LIFF then it's also on the bill at Sci-Fi London.

Dimensions teaser/trailer from Ant Neely on Vimeo.

Why see this time-travel film? Imagine The Time Traveller's Wife as an indie romance rather than a Hollywood romance, or imagine the complexity and intelligence of Primer delivered by a cast (including Camilla Rutherford) capable of speaking in coherent sentences. I'm rather looking forward to it.