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Mercilessly locked out of my old account.

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I know what you’re going to say. I know, I know, I know. It’s been ages. You know what I’m going to say. “I should keep on top of my blog, etc” but I’ll save it. I’m just bad at blogging, but here we are, six or seven months after I shot my short film, and here I am, blogging about it.

I wrote the first draft of Another Night on my phone in the crew room while I was on a break from flipping burgers at McDonalds in Portsmouth, early 2012. I’d had this idea about a guy waking up next to his girlfriend and him having to deal with it the next day, emotionally, but I had no idea how to write it or show everything. I had the idea as it is now and wrote it down and opted to use a voice over. In hindsight, a voiceover might sound sort of lazy, but it was a way of getting the story across, which would have otherwise been impossible as the film is about 85% just one actor; the talented and generous Kevan Johnson.

I pretty much put Kevan through the ringer. He isn’t a smoker, but ended up smoking quite a lot through various takes and he was wearing nothing but a vest and jogging bottoms while we shot with an open window in January. He’s a champ.

After working with Frit Tam on her short film, Painting Love, as her first assistant director, I wanted to work with her again, so I bullied her in to being my first AD. I also managed to bag her sound man, Thomas Oswin. After working with Tom for just a couple of hours, I knew I wanted to work with him on my film. He’s funny, has the most acute attention to detail and works so hard. The man is a pleasure to work with.

My camera department consisted of the very capable and talented Tom Johnson and Tom Turpie. (Yes, there were three Toms on my film). Tommy (Johnson) has since shot more fashion than London Fashion week would know what to do with as well as scaling a large per cent of Britain for his project Another Britain which went in to exhibition on June. TT has since shot a lot of film, experimenting with different cameras and gotten his foot in the door in London’s modelling industry, having signed to FM models. Both were invaluable assets to the production of the film. While they are both different creatively and have very different ideas, they worked in such a way that complimented the film massively.

Sasha, our femme fatale, played just that. When I had a meeting with Sasha and Kevan in late 2012, they both came in together. We talked about the script, the work they’d done before, the look I wanted the film to have and any questions anyone had were answered by the end of the meeting. Having worked together before, Sasha and Kevan had great chemistry. I didn’t bother with an audition. I’d been put in touch with them both by Grace Cleere and if there’s anything I have for Grace, it’s trust and respect when it comes to things like this, both of which paid off.


Since shooting in January, I’ve edited a rough cut of the film. In all honesty, I’m not particularly happy with it. It’s gone through several changes with regards to pace, look and emotion. I haven’t looked at it for months as university projects have taken up most of my time. Over the next few weeks, my very talented friend, collaborator and class mate Jordan Griffin will be taking over the edit. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Jordan. Mostly recently he managed to cut 55GB of footage in to a seven minute short film in just five days. The guy knows what he’s doing and knows what looks good.

Fairly certain that’s all for Another Night for now. I’ll try and keep you updated, but I’ll probably fail miserably.

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A still from my first short film.

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This weekend I directed my first short film.

I drank a lot of coffee. We worked hard. We got it done. More details will follow, but I’m still so beat. I have no idea how people direct features.

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On set with Frit Tam for her short film.

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On set last weekend.

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I’ll be shooting January 12th and 13th with two excellent actors and a wonderful crew.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with all of the crew before, and I know we’re all going to work together really well.

Really excited.

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You can check her blog out here.

You can check out her Vimeo here.

You can check out her twitter here.

Answer
  • Question: What about the guy who was your DOP before? - Anonymous
  • Answer:

    If you’re referring to Matt, since we did a few things together earlier in the year, we’ve both left Portsmouth. Matt now lives in Brighton and I live in London.

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Yet again, I have failed to keep the blog up to date. Shame on me.

A month ago I moved to London, started studying at London College of Communication and have moved in with a few awesome people. One of my housemates is a photographer by the name of Tom Johnson. His work can be found here. He shoots some street, a lot of fashion, things like that. Living with creative people has pushed me to take more photos and write more. I’ve been shooting a lot of stills on 35mm film and 120 film.

Also a little digital.

Tommy is going to be Director of Photography on the short film I’m shooting next month. I’m working with some great people and pre production is almost down. You’ll hear more about it later.

Other than that, not an awful lot to report yet.

Keep an eye out for a blog post about short films and what the word “short” really means.

Ajrd. x

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Okay. This might be a lengthy post. I need a few things first.

  • Coffee - Check
  • Nicotine in the system - Double check
  • A comfy chair - Cheeeck 

Okay. Let’s roll.

Where have I been and what have I been doing for the last few months? I can assure you that the answer is not “nothing”.

Shamefully, I’m the master of procrastination. This goes with work for university as much as anything else. It was getting closer and closer to my final hand in date and it turned out that I still owed around 12,000 words worth of essays and had two assignments coming up, as well as six exams. What was I doing instead of university work? Writing.

Kinda foolish? Yeah, in a sense. I didn’t really want to write about my essay topics. I wanted to write. I went about it the wrong way. Now I know HOW to go about prioritizing my time so that I can write to my heart’s content. When should I do my assignments? The day I get them. Why? It’s fresh in my mind, I can bash out an essay no problem without having to do extensive research and it’s another thing to cross off of the to do list instead of letting the list get longer and longer.

As I was saying, I had a lot of work to do. Topics ranged from Malcolm X, The Great Gatsby, Shakespeare, Nazi Germany, Suffragettes, Frankenstein, The House of Lords, political devolution and a few others. I chose to do my English Literature presentation on Bobby Sands (Irish hunger striker) and my American Culture presentation on The Westboro Baptist Church (religious nuts). The presentations were fun. The essays and exams were not.

I get my results next week, so I’ll be able to see whether I’ve passed my course or not. If I have, I’ll be ridiculously happy, but cautious of the next course I take. If I haven’t, then that probably serves me right for not doing the work when I should have.

As well as having the work to do, I’ve been working a lot trying to pay rent and all those kinds of boring things. It’s just eaten up my time and I haven’t had the time or head space for serious writing.

I’ve worked on a couple of things, written a few 2-3 page shorts and such which I’d like to get rolling soon, but like I said, nothing serious.

But now, all work is handed in. I’ve moved house and the creativity is flowing. I read back the first draft of my first feature that I tried writing. 115 pages of absolute garbage. But I made it to FADE OUT. That’s the point. That’s the hardest part. Making it to FADE OUT. Those 115 pages were mostly a brain fart, just putting everything down on paper, but now that I’ve had so much time away from the script, I can see the script for what it is. Pretty awful. I’ve decided to reconstruct the story and go for a page one rewrite. I’ve got 22 plot points and more in depth development over the whole thing and I’ve changed the story around somewhat so that it flows better.

Right now I’m on page 7. Hopefully by the time I go to work tonight I’ll have another ten pages.

I think that’s all for now.

ajrd.

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Really quiet. Sorry about that.

Been ridiculously busy the last few months. Blog post coming soon.

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£80 Per Week on Feedback Friday.

alex-jrd:

The first ten pages of my script for £80 Per Week can be found on Robert Dillon’s Feedback Friday blog.

The review by Script Quack will be posted a week from today.

Feel free to have a read and give some feedback. I enjoy honest, but constructive feedback.

It’s all in the name of becoming a better writer.

Source: alexjrd
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Let me start by saying that this blog is not just to document my triumphs and any achievements I might experience now, or in the future. It is equally for documenting my mistakes, errors and stupidity.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the point.

As some of you might know, I’m entering a competition and the deadline is the 28th, so we really haven’t got a lot of time. One of the scenes is at night. I don’t like writing night scenes because they’re difficult to shoot, but I couldn’t not with this particular script.

I wanted to do the night shoot next week once we had more time, but certain things meant that we couldn’t do that, so I planned it for Saturday (last night). We thought we had most things down to a tee and that we could be shooting by 21:30 pm. That didn’t happen.

We had recruited a few friends as extras and they gave up their Saturday night to come and be in our film, which we really appreciated. It got to 23:00 and we hadn’t even managed our first set up. There’s no excuse for it. We were just unprepared. Needless to say, our friends were getting a little restless. Who wants to spend their Saturday night cooped up in a cold house while two guys try and get a light in the perfect place and are trying to find a useable exposure? No one wants that. I didn’t want that for them.

It got to 23:30 and they all pretty much said “look, we’re going to have to go”. I couldn’t stop them, nor did I want to. If I’m honest, I felt really bad.

We went in to the shoot thinking we’d be able to pull it off, but knowing that we probably wouldn’t. We let a few people down and we were unprepared as hell when it came to almost everything.

From now on, we’re planning everything down to a tee, starting today. We’ve got a shoot tomorrow, which isn’t a night shoot (thank god) and we need everything down to the letter.

We’ve learned from our mistakes.

I’m not annoyed because I didn’t get the shots I wanted, I’m annoyed because I let people down. It’s a director’s job to make quick decisions and work quickly. I didn’t do that last night. Everyone was looking at me for the answers, and I didn’t have any. Now I know. I’m glad I’ve made mistakes and hopefully I won’t make the same ones twice.

Hope everyone has a good Sunday. I’ve got some work to do.

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Via Raindance.