Tuesday, 8 October 2013

I Shot Jenny Ringo...

Previously published (with pictures) on the blog Writer by Night!! Part 1 & Part 2

On the weekend of 13th/14th of April 2013 I shot Jenny Ringo!
Jenny Ringo and the Infinite Spell book to be more specific.
Over two days we hoped to bring to life the most ambitious Jenny Ringo film yet. A film with dinosaurs, killer clowns, hellish landscapes, 'Tron' style in game escapades and bizarre monsters from other worlds...and so we did.
Director Chris Regan and Producer Andrea Regan had strategically planned everything down to a t so we could fit everything in, so I grabbed my camera, batteries and memory cards and dived into the car to get underway.
Day One - 13th April 2013
First stop, Under-cliff.
There were a number of scenes that took place outside and it looked as though we had been blessed on this bright and sunny Saturday morning in April.
This was the first issue I had. Having an inability to see properly I need the use of spectacles to see properly. Also suffering from migraines in bright sun, I had adapted these spectacles to "react" to the harsh UV rays, creating a darker lens protecting my eyes. Had I known that this combined with reflectivity of the LCD screen on the camera, would result in an inability to see what I was filming properly, along with a lot of guess work relating to the focus, I may have re-thought my previous eyeball solution.
Anyway, we managed to get through the first few scenes well enough. The bright weather was holding up and we were still on track.
We had one final shot to make in Brighton, overlooking Madeira Drive for a giant pizza. Unfortunately it was decided that the best place for me to film was next to a playground. Now I know I was there to film Jenny Ringo. Chris and the cast knew I was there to film Jenny Ringo. However I couldn't shake the feeling that anyone else passing by may have thought I was there to film children playing.
Luckily we got the shot we needed and moved down to Madeira Drive for close ups, and to prove to all those questioning onlookers that I was in fact making a Jenny Ringo film.
However someone still wasn't happy and the heavens began to open. With the first few drops of rain. Rain that would decide not to stop as originally forecast and later forces the well planned schedule to be reassessed and split into multiple shots.
So back to Worthing we went to continue the adventures of Jenny Ringo and to Lime Café to battle the evil clowns.
It's always a bit of a struggle on films with few crew members when faced with a room full of extras. You're trying to plan a shot but also make sure everyone knows what’s happening and will be ready when the director calls “Action”.
Saying that, on this occasion there wasn't really any major difficulty. Everyone who arrived seemed quite happy chatting until it was time to get transformed into clowny evil-ness.
I don't think I'll be forgetting anytime soon, having to film close up after close up of menacing clowns, especially when it seemed it was me they were after.
Unfortunately that was where day one ended. The rain continued to pour, light was beginning to fade and we still had a couple of exteriors left. These would have to be moved to the next day. A day of monsters, babies and sea foxes.
Day Two- 14th April 2013
Day Two began as any normal day on a Jenny Ringo shoot begins. There were bandages, fake blood and lights in tiny cramped spaces.
We started with a scene that was eventually cut for time. Time in the film, and lack of time to create the effects needed. However all I remember was sitting on the bathroom floor, squashed up against the wall trying my hardest not to break down into laughter. I failed. How unprofessional of me.
Despite my failings, the scene was shot, and after getting the feeling back in my legs we moved on to the monsters outside ready for their close ups.
Once again the sun had got his hat on. However lighting a dark, interior corridor when you're outside is a pain in the back side unless you are the proud owner of some massive bright lights. Unfortunately I am not.
However we managed to get a happy medium and grab the shots we needed. As soon as the monsters had finished it was time to film the babies.
How does one direct babies I hear you ask? Well simply put, you don't. Instead you wave lots of things around, blow bubbles and eventually turn the TV on in a hope to distract them long enough to get the shot we need. It eventually worked and resulted in a 10 minute out-take of pure cute anarchy.
The beach was next. Originally the script called for the beach discussion to be at night. However in case this didn't work, a back-up would be required. Day time beach...no issues here. It was sunny, we got the shots, we moved on. We would be back later for the night time which came with a few surprises.
No off to space to space for us to crank the F-stop.
Space was located in a barn. The result of a friend’s short who still had a set up for a couple of days. Now I'm new to filming things for myself and when told to crank the Fstop to make sure we had a smooth green screen, I couldn't help but stare blankly before nodding in agreement (something I've learned more about with more night shoots). However we managed to get the space we needed. Everything was in focus that needed to be and we packed up and left.
And then we had to wait....
...finally it was dark.  We could now reshoot the earlier beach scene but in darkness.
"But if it's dark, how are you going to film anything?"
We had a plan. A plan involving plastic folders, LED lights and camping lanterns. A plan that gave us the desired effect or a burning magic flame. A plan that came at a deadly cost. The cost of being attacked by millions of  bugs.
Evil beach dwelling creatures that crawled up out of the pebbles to attack their prey. Had I not been tired and grumpy, some of those bugs may have survived to tell the tale of how they saw the filming of Jenny Ringo 3. However, at times I am not a patient man. It was survival of the fittest. I won.
However had I had to face the sea fox alone, I'm sure I'd be telling a different tale. It's never a good sign, when your back is to the sea and everyone start looking over your shoulder at a "dog" coming out of the sea. Not a dog my friend, but a fox. A fox that each night rises from the briny depths to wander Worthing looking for easy prey. A Sea fox...I would guess.
Anyway, we got through the last location shoot. We each went our separate ways, back to the safety of our houses and beds, to dream of the adventures of sea foxes and beach bugs.
We still weren't finished. There was still animation that I had to complete, the construction of a monster and trying twice to get the perfect night time shot of Brighton Pier.
This is another tale for next time...

Monday, 23 September 2013

Let me keep you updated....

One Foot From Hell will soon be upon us.

I say soon but there’s still a bit to do. Well a lot to be honest. In terms of structure the edit is now locked. In terms of grade, just needs a slight brightness/contrast tweak when I’ve swapped all the footage for the high quality alternative (it’s a complicated task when your PC doesn’t want to help with editing). Also I do need to try to tweak the animation but due to said unhelpful PC it’s not longer rendering out the animation so for now I‘m forced to be happy with what I have.

So where do we stand?

In short, sound. In more depth, I’m mixing the dialogue, then will start to get Axel Foley and get that all mixed in. Whilst this is going on I’ll be on the hunt for composers to score the film. Then there’s just a few final flourishes to complete the film, such as credits. Well, mainly credits.

If I get on top of it all I it should be ready for a Halloween release and then ready for festivals the of 2014. This I think is the most taxing part and I need to stay positive through. I'm a creative at heart, and mixing the sound, at least at this stage, is more a job that needs doing more than anything else. Foley will be a bit more interesting, but until then I need to make sure I get mixing and I keep motivated.

But in other news, you may have seen a few extra buttons appear at the top of this page. Due to lack of organisation and webskills I’m basically turning this ‘ere blog into a main site where you can access information about my work. For the time being, my showreel , and behind the scenes info for One Foot. Ok, so there's nothing in the behind the scenes yet, but there will be.

I hope to continue to fill it with more and more information to give a more rounded study on the making of the short. I can then start directing people here to find out about me and the film.

But for now I’d better get back to sound editing.

Oh by the way, we now have a poster that I need to post up here when we're closer to finished.

To keep up to date about the progress of One Foot, you can like the Facebook fan page here!

Saturday, 31 August 2013

A whole host of randomness...

So what do I have to update?

I'd like to point you in the direction of the completed One Foot From Hell...but I can't.

I'd like to explain how my bonkers script is the most amazing un-produced film script ever...but I can't.

I'd like to also point out how I've completed all my half completed projects and how everything is going well and I'm on top of everything and got it all sorted...but I can't.

What I can tell you is that I've been to work, a lot. More than I'd like to to be honest. There are times when I find the day job really gets in the way. I sometimes wish that I could finish work early to do overtime on my film!

So in and around work I have managed to get some work on One Foot done. Darren completed the grade, which looked great. (Due to technical difficulty I had to make some adjustments myself and tweaked the colour ever so slightly).

I've now managed to start compositing the animation with the plates. There are 18 shots in total with 4 POV shots to amend. I have completed 8 out of 18.

I'm getting there.

In terms of all other projects I have going, they're all pretty much on hold. I really want to get back to writing but as highlighted above, time is stretched at the moment. Hopefully once One Foot is properly complete I'll get back into the script. For now it annoyingly has to be on hold.

You never know, it may resurface for Project 31!.

For now though, work on One Foot continues. You can "Like" the Facebook page at the link below where I post more often about the status of the film.


I'm currently trying to turn this blog into more of a website about me with details of my films, behind the scenes stuff and links to Youtube and Vimeo. Somewhere I can point people towards and update easily. Note the new buttons at the top of the page.

I also have a podcast with Brother Chris. Website is below for direct MP3 downloads but you can also subscribe on iTunes. This also has a Facebook page to "Like".



If you are already keeping up to date on Facebook, please spread the word. It's a little disheartening when I actually have more friends than I do Likes, but I guess it's direct evidence that you can't always please everyone.

To those loyal followers, I thank you!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

So some stuff happened...

...and that's about that.

I felt the need to update the blog since it's been a while and I must has a lot to update. However checking the most recent post (before the Harryhausen obituary), I now realise I'm still pretty much in the same situation. However I do have a couple of updates.

Update No. 1 - Jenny Ringo and the Cabaret from Hell has been released online to those signed up to the mailing list. If you want to see how it goes down, sign up to the list here...

Update No. 2 - Jenny Ringo 3 is nearly complete I spent two very warm evenings staring at a PC monitor watching animation render frame by frame - a far more tedious process than animating itself. Especially when the video starts to drop frames.

However, render was complete and the animation sent off to Brother Chris for approval. Once the film is completed and goes live I will let you all know.

Update No. 3 - Animation complete for One Foot. Looking forward to finishing the film.

And I'm afraid that is all. One Foot is still at the Graders so no further progress. I've started work on the Bonkers Victorian script. I've even started to think what to work on next...depending on whether or not I convince myself that it is all worth it in the end.

But time is up, and back to work I must go.

Next time I hope to have more exciting news!


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Ray Harryhausen (1920 - 2013)

A hero passed away yesterday, and with this the world lost some of it's magic.

Ray Harryhausen was a technician, a sculptor, an artist, an animator and most importantly, a filmmaker. I don't want to give you his life story here. I'm not the man for that. Plus there are plenty of books for you to go out and read.

What I do want to do is tell you is how much Ray's work and life meant to me.

Now I'm no one special. I'm a guy that works in an office in Brighton who happens to make films in his spare time. I have good days, and I have bad days, but I enjoy the hell out of this life. I enjoy the the fact that you can't stop me doing this. If I have an idea for a film with a killer doll, you may say it's stupid and you may tell me it's a waste of time; but ultimately you can't stop me.

That's pretty much how Ray started. He saw King Kong one day and was hooked on the magic of Cinema. With the help of this family and friends he went out and taught himself how to make animated films. And this was back in the 40s. Not like today when any office worker in Brighton can get their hands on a camera and make a film.

I can't remember the exact day when I was first introduced to the films of Ray Harryhausen. It feels like they've always been there. But way back in 2001 I was faced with a big decision. Do I go to University and If I do, what do I study?

I was good at two things; Graphics and Maths. However I was never that much of a fan of continuing Maths and ending up in a Economics office staring at numbers all day. So, with pile of prospectuses (prospectii?) in hand I sat down with Mum and started going through  to find something art based to follow.

Illustration was the way forward...then illustration and animation...then solely animation. "Hell, I love the Ray Harryhausen films. That's what I will become...an animator!"

Okay that's quite a tenuous link. However, whilst at the interview I had to present my minimal portfolio. I also had a long discussion with the lecturer and a couple of students, about Ray Harryhausen, and how animation can bring the imagination to life. I'm still convinced to this day, that this is why I was accepted into University. My love of film, animated monsters and Ray Harryhausen!

Very important side note to cement this:- Whilst at University, I had the chance to meet Ray at a talk in Bristol on 21st March 2004. A great exepereince and definite highlight of my undregrad life. I also got a copy of his book (quite a hefty and pricey item for a poor student) and queued to get it signed. Something I will always treasure.

So I continued my love for animation, especially the stop motion effects in films, not just Ray's credits, but such examples like Jack the Giant Killer, Puppet Master and of course King Kong (what do you mean which one? I ought to slap you. 1933 of course!)

In a roundabout way, without ever seeing Ray Harryhausen film, I wouldn't be who I am today. I probably wouldn't be working in an office in Brighton, I wouldn't be providing animation for Brother Chris' Jenny Ringo films or trying to control a killer doll.

So as I said, like many others, I grew up with these films. However I've seen a lot of tributes, including one I'm pasting below, that mention how much he meant to our childhood, and how a large part of our childhoods have now been lost. To me his films are more than this. Yes I watched them as a child. But I never stopped watching. I still watch today. I will always watch.  And I'm sure that one day, way when I have kids, or even Grand kids, I'm sure one day I'll be sitting them down to show them real magic.

So life goes on. I'll go back to work and sit in theoffice; and no one will mention how we lost a legend on Tuesday, how the world of film has lost a genius and how a shocking number of people are still unaware of the magic he created.

But I know; and the people I love know. And I'll carry on fighting killer dolls and chasing beach monsters and writing bizarre films set in Victorian London. I'll also continue to imagine more crazy ideas for films. Because that's what I do.

That's what Ray Harryhausen taught me. If you put your mind to it, no one can stop you bringing a skeletons back to life.

"Ray Harryhausen took a part of all our childhoods with him when he went.
Thankfully he remained with us long enough to realise how universally beloved his work was by so many. Thank you, Ray." - Joe Dante

Thank you Ray. Thank you.

Ray Harryhausen
1920 - 2013

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Some stuff has happenend, a lot of stuff hasn't...

I've not updated on here for quite a while. Sorry about that. I have been busy though.

In terms of One Foot From Hell...I totally finished the trailer. Take a look...

This was also shown at the last Movie Bar we ran, but more on that later, back to One Foot.

The animation is half complete, the grade is with Darren to make it look all creepy and stuff...and that's where we are.

Still a lot to get done.

Our main current set backs include helping Brother Chris on Jenny Ringo 3 and more annoyingly, having to rework the animation doll as some of the latex has started to fall apart. We'll get there though. Hopefully be doing more animation over the next week. Once that's complete then it's full steam ahead getting sound and music sorted.

I've been bogged down with a lot of other things (namely Tomb Raider), but I'm slowly getting back up and running and can see the end. It's still quite a small dot on the horizon, but it's there.

So back to MovieBar, we held the last night on 1st April 2013 - no April fool's prank here. Movie Bar is over...until June 3rd where it continues under new management. It's been fun helping to run the night over the past couple of years but we felt it was time to pass it on to fresh meat. To take it further into it's 7 year run, and hopefully beyond.

So what else has stopped me making One Foot. I only gone and done a podcast. You can check it out on it's very own web page here.

The podcast is called It Was Only a Pound. Brother Chris and I watch films that have only cost £1 and discuss whether it was worth it. It's basically an excuse to go through the massive pile of films I've bought, but never gotten around to watching. We hope to get more social with it but I'll post links when available. At the moment we've only manage 2 episodes but as you can see on here, I've been busy.

So this finally brings us to Jenny Ringo 3. Brother Chris decided to bring Jenny back a third time in a shorter adventure. Once again I was asked to provide some animation, which so far is looking great. However this time, I was also given the opportunity to try my hand at being the DoP.

I'm going to post about this in the future to give a full account of how it went down. In short it was a great experience. For more information check out (and Like) their Facebook page and website.

So there we have it. I've been a busy bunny for the last couple of months. However as we head into the final school term, I'm more focused on what I need to do.

Crazy Feature script is still in my head, and I will start working on it soon. I've also starting thinking of many other projects to spend my time on when the existing projects have been completed. Granted, there's already a long list, but I don't mind making it longer.

So I'd better get back to it as I need to go and make a human hand (spoilers).

Thursday, 14 March 2013

So there I was...

... working on the latest podcast in between finding music for the new podcast episode, when I realised I haven't updated this blog for a good few months.

So where are we in the grand scheme of things?

Reading up on the last blog there's still a lot of unfinished work One Foot continues to move forward, but due to bust Christmas, the edit took longer than planned. However, the first edit is now complete. It has been passed back to our DoP for the grade whilst Charlotte and I continue with the animation.

On that front, we've completed roughly half the animation. I haven't put it in the edit yet as I need the grade, but I can still work on the 2nd stage of animation first.

Soon we also need to start on the sound edit in case we need to ADR any scenes.

From Project 30 I have learnt that it is always good to have a realistic time frame to set yourself. Therefore, based on the length it has taken Brother Chris to complete Jenny Ringo, I think I have about 1 year to complete the film fully. That means by October, or specifically, Halloween, I will have a completed short film to do the festival rounds in 2014.

So what else has been taking up my time. Well...

All good films need a good trailer. I've roughly edited a trailer together to show at Moviebar next month - this also happens to be the last MovieBar we will run. Sad to see it go, but glad for the time back to work on other projects. Anyway trailer is getting there, just need music.

Charlotte has been working on a poster for the film. So far it looks amazing and really captures the creepy atmosphere we tried to capture with One Foot.

What's that you say? "You're doing a podcast now"?
Yep. Brother Chris and I have begun a new podcast in which we discuss the merits of films that have only cost us 1 English Pound. You can find the first episode (and all future episodes) here:-


And that's that really.

I completed Mass Effect 3 by the way. Currently on the excellent Tomb Raider. I should post about that really but who's even reading this.

I'll let you know when I have made more progress on any of the above.