Archive for November, 2010

December 2010

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Simon has just wrapped on his latest short film “Broken”, with post-production starting in a couple of weeks time. The film was shot for three days in and around Bristol on Digi-Beta, and will be submitted to festivals in the new year.

The film is a 10-15 minute drama about a young female war veteran struggling to adjust to life at home, following a tragic event during her tour.

Simon is also still in development on a new low-budget feature film script with writing partner Chris Marshfield, currently entitled “Shades of Grey”,  for 2011. More details coming soon.

It’s a wrap!

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Filming on “Broken” is complete! We shot for three very fast-paced days, completing 153 set-ups and 19 pages of script across 3 locations in and around Bristol. I want to say a huge thanks to the cast and crew who did an incredible job throughout – I couldn’t have done it without them!

The entire film was a great learning experience for me in terms of knowing your story and being economic with your shots, something that is so key as a director and something you can only learn through doing something like this. There’s two quotes that spring to mind, one is from Spielberg and the other I’m not sure, but they are “Kill your darlings” and “like your shots, not love them.” When you’re against the clock, both are very important to remember, you won’t always have the time to get what you want and so when the lights fading, or you’re about to lose the location, you need to be able to cut down your shot list and decide quickly how you can get what you need to tell your story in the least amount of time.

This weekend was a perfect example of that for me, we were constantly pushed for time, and it was a lot to get in a tight schedule, so I constantly needed to be aware of what I needed to tell the story and also to make it work in the edit. For instance, first thing Friday morning we were shooting in a closed pub, and unfortunately due to I guess a miscommunication on my part, the pub had not anticipated the numbers of crew and scale of equipment we were using so asked us to wrap up early. We had three key scenes to shoot in there and had we missed anything we would not have had a chance to pick it up later – so I had to quickly look at the shot list and script and decide how we were going to get what we needed in the hour or so we had left, which I think we just about pulled off! This was of course also a testament again to the crew who worked so hard to move so quickly between set-ups, and also the cast who delivered every time despite the pressures.

This also showed that rehearsals can be so key – I guess that may seem obvious to some, but it was something I hadn’t done a lot of before on my films, mainly because my background is that much more technical so I tended to focus more on shots and the camera, but also because the films were done on such a small scale that we would shoot on odd week-ends and just work on performances as we shot them. For this film though, we couldn’t have done so much so quickly had we not rehearsed, blocked and staged each scene beforehand.

It’s why I wanted to shoot such a performance-driven film as it was a new challenge for me as a director.

I shall be hiring a Digi-deck and capturing the rushes in a couple of weeks and shall post some pictures from the shoot soon too. I can’t wait to start the edit!

The latest…..

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Coming right off the back of Paul Dudbridge’s shoot for his new short film “Maria” over the weekend, the three day shoot for my own short “Broken” is rapidly approaching! I’ll be using much of the same crew, including director of photography Roger Pearce, with Paul operating camera, as I did for his, as well as producing.

I had my last rehearsal with the actors on Monday and am currently in a last minute scramble to secure all the final bits and pieces we need for the shoot, whilst also working on an intensive edit at Bristol-based Icon Films for two One Show films.

Ahead of a fight choreography session in London on Thursday, I just have a few extra props left to source and unfortunately now also a location for the climactic scene!

The sequence in question raised some concerns with both the Bristol Film Office and local police, due to its violent and graphic nature, who ultimately denied us permission to shoot in our chosen location, so I am now frantically recce-ing alternatives to find a suitable replacement! Nevertheless, experiences like this are what film-making is all about so I’ve not been discouraged! Only two days to go but I’m sure it’ll be fine……

Paul’s shoot went very well and you can find more details on his movie at www.hanoverpictures.co.uk. We shot for 3 days around Bristol, including locations in Easton, Fishponds and Bradley Stoke. Highlights included a great looking night shoot on the Friday evening in Fishponds, and also shooting a violent scrap in a school canteen full of extras.

It only made me look forward to shooting mine even more, Paul’s certainly set the bar high and one thing I will always enjoy about shooting/working on any film project is the camaraderie that develops between cast and crew – you certainly do miss it after just three days. I’m glad we get to do it again so soon.

Pics and details of the shoot coming soon!

The unscripted flashback…

Monday, November 1st, 2010

So… Halloween aside an exciting weekend just gone by. On Saturday we had arranged to shoot some stills of our lead actress in uniform for “Broken”, that would then be used as props in the film. A friend of mine and fellow short film-maker based in Southampton, Paul Bird, had acquired some modern British forces uniform on loan for us to use, and it was up to me to find a suitable background for the pictures.

Initially I thought I might just use a derelict building or something fairly vague, as I felt that as this was for photos only, to be used as background in the final film, I shouldn’t waste too much time and energy trying to find somewhere.  But then online I stumbled across ACF hospitality, a company who offer tank-driving experience days to businesses and individuals across the UK. It turns out they have a Bristol base, so I called them up and asked if we might be able to feature some of their military vehicles in the photos, and they seemed more than happy!

So now we were going to have an actual tank and all the correct uniform, it suddenly seemed a shame, and indeed a waste, that we were only shooting stills. So, initially dismissed at script stage, I quickly devised of a short sequence we could shoot inside the tank (where our Bristol locale as opposed to Iraq or Afghanistan would not be apparent!) that would match a monologue our main character delivers in the film, at present the only time we hear of what happened to her when she was injured.

My camera-man and producer Paul Dudbridge stepped in as a wounded soldier she is trying to save, then with the aid of some fake blood, a couple of large torches and some trace paper for diffusion, to aid our lighting in the darkened space, we got our shots!

It may be that in the edit we don’t end up using it, as it may not feel appropriate to do so, but I felt as all the ingredients were going to be there on this one day – we should at least give ourselves the option! And it was amazing how much it worked once we were actually inside the tank and the actress was in uniform.

I look forward to playing with the footage once the film is finished! And no matter what happens, it was great fun.

Paul and Lucy pose for photos atop an APC (Armoured Personnel Carrier)

From left, director Simon Pearce, producer/operator Paul Dudbridge & Lucy Harvey (Sarah)

The footage was shot using a Sony HDV Z1 camera shooting DVCam, which will be heavily graded and have a grainy, harsh look added to it in post-production, when inserted into the film.

“Broken” will be filmed on Digi-Beta.

Simon Pearce Blog

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Here’s where to come for all the latest news on where Simon is, what he’s doing – and what he is shooting! Through this blog he’ll be keeping us updated on everything from the trials and tribulations of getting a film made, trying to make it as a young director, fighting for work as a freelancer, as well as keeping us abreast of all the news and information related to his latest production.

Check back regularly for updates.

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