As a low (or, more often than not, no) budget filmmaker, there are two elements which are always against you – time and money. To be fair, these elements plague the big boys as well but they inspire a lot more invention when you have to work around pretty much everything. Our first attempt at our own stuff was a sort of scaled back version of the Constantine story – a short film this time at least, around 10 minutes long. Called The Deal, written by Yours Truly and starring Yours Truly and Yours Truly’s Little Brother, it is, quite frankly, a shambles. Firstly, it’s entirely dialogue based so would work perfectly fine on the radio. (That’s not to say that there aren’t great dialogue films, just that this wasn’t one of them.) Secondly, it’s set in bar and was shot in Rich’s parents living room and looks like it’s set in bar but shot in Rich’s parents living room. Thirdly, we had no idea of shot composition and, as we hadn’t learned the lines, shot it shot by shot from different angles. The result? Nobody knows who these two characters are supposed to be making eye contact with at any given time. You can find it as an easter egg on one of our DVDs But I’m not gonna tell you which one and how to find it (partly because I can’t remember how to find it, yes).
Still, every experience is learning experience and this has been our whole approach to filmmaking – try it. If it doesn’t work or you balls it up, make damn sure you don’t do that again. We didn’t go to film school… hmmm, that sounds a little bit like the bitter guy in the pub who resents the students getting all the jobs. It’s not meant like that. It’s just that we didn’t realise this was what we wanted to do until late in our school careers and, although we went to a private school, it didn’t offer anything in the way of media-related courses. So, come university time, the people going to film school were the ones that had done media studies already or had built up a showreel in their spare time. Trial and error for us it was.
I managed to do some media related courses at university (let’s face it, a Media Studies degree is mainly waffle) which helped with our concepts of shot composition but we mostly watched, read and learned ourselves.
Next up was out of the gate was an homage to things very dear to our heart. More on that later…