What a busy couple of weeks I’ve had! As part of a project we’re doing at FXhome some new promo footage was required, as the stuff we shot a couple of years ago wasn’t ideal and before that we hadn’t shot anything fresh for years. While Suzy did a good job on our little greenscreen shoot back in the day, all the shots were a bit disjointed and not very appropriate for the new project (which we’ll be revealing more about soon).

Instead we’ve shot three mini short films, two this weekend just gone and one on the previous. The first took us out to Happisburgh beach with a micro cast and crew, where we wrestled with sand (it gets everywhere!), wind and sun to try and restage the Normandy landings, while this weekend we were having fun with superheroes and lightswords.

I was directing the sequences, which was a bit of a challenge – I’ve not really directed anything for about 8 years, since university. The promo video was shot in the warehouse in 2003(?) I vaguely co-directed, but it was very much a cooperative thing between me, Josh and Marco. I don’t really count the shoot with Suzy as it was just a random collection of snippets. For these new sequences there’s continuity and story to worry about, not to mention a vastly more complicated camera (Panasonic HVX 200) and the general desire/requirement to set the bar higher than before. This was all made especially tricky given that we were still attempting to create it all on as tiny a budget as possible.

We got extremely lucky to have three stunt people involved with the filming. Chris Puttock and Kiera Gould are both trainee stunt performers and were very kind to donate their time and skills. I’d never met Kiera before but she was a real pleasure to work with. Chris I’ve known for a little while now but had never really worked with him, so it was good to find out he is as fun on set as he is in the pub. The third stunt person was none other than Adam Kirley, fresh off Terminator 4, who quite amazingly gave up his weekend to perform and coordinate the stunt work. I’m still not entirely sure how I ended up directing someone of his calibre, but it was hugely exciting and definitely made the weekend a lot easier and faster. Lightsword fights have always been a nightmare to shoot in the past, but working with Chris and Adam it was a breeze, as they both knew exactly what was going on and how to do things. That they both have a good understanding of filmmaking in general – not just stunts – made it even easier.

Saturday was a little intimidating…directing someone that I knew has worked with Spielberg and Christopher Nolan did put a fair bit of pressure on! Thankfully Adam is not only a pro, but he’s remarkably down-to-earth about the success he’s had and seems just as comfortable working on a low budget short film as the latest blockbuster.

The only drawback is that I’m a bit knackered, so I’m taking a day off to catch up on some sleep and restock the energy reserves before diving into post-production. That’s where the fun really starts! 🙂

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