Soul Searcher: May 31st 2002

Well, I didn’t get the backlit shots of Simon on that Sunday. We got them today, amongst a lot of other good stuff. We met up with Doug KP at the offices of As You Design, where he revealed an enthusiasm to create a whole promotional campaign for Soul Searcher. Working of course for nothing at this stage, he has kindly offered in the first instance to create four production “paintings” (glorified storyboard frames) in the Manga stylee, which we can use when making presentations to potential funders, and a set of postcards using the same images, which can be placed on every seat at the Courtyard screening of The Beacon. We also came up with the cool idea of the backs of these postcards having a jigsaw element of a larger image which can only be viewed by collecting all four cards. Lo, one day these shall be collectors’ items. Only got three? Ha ha, you poor fool!

Then this evening Simon Wyndham came over, and in the name of tradition we went for pizza at Deep Pan Sasha’s. And there was some hilarity involving one of the other waitresses, a formidable ass groove on one of the seats, and of course James. We bounced various ideas around about the sfyle and progression of the fights throughout the film, how the demons would move and die, and how we could enhance the battles by having the weapons do sparking damage to any walls or other objects they hit. A major discussion about scythes was prompted when James showed us the farming implement he had borrowed for the purposes of the teaser shoot. It looked about 200 years old, had a massive blade, and is officially classified as a lethal weapon. Simon had a few game attempts at doing some moves with it, but it wasn’t long before James was putting it right back in the car. At which point it broke. So we decided to make a scythe, using a metal pole with a cardboard blade gaffa-taped to it. And what do you know? Lit only from behind, and being spun about at extreme speed by Mr. Wyndham, it looked pretty darn convincing. We learnt a lot right there about what qualities the scythe for the film would need to have – both practically, to allow the greatest scope for choreography – and aesthetically. It was great fun shooting out in the courtyard by my flat in the dark – I’m looking forward to the real thing. Funniest moment? I missed it, but apparently a passing lady was heard to remark: “My god – he’s got a scythe!”

In other news, the second draft of the script is near to completion, and a distribution agent in Cambridgeshire has offered to meet with James and myself in June to see if he can’t give us some pointers on getting this movie out there.

Soul Searcher: May 31st 2002

The Beacon: May 30th 2002

Okay, I admit it. It was behind me and a bit to the left. Satisfied now? So I took the contract to a solictor yesterday, and he had one or two concerns with it. Still, given that a couple of other companies that were interested in it have now come back to me with definite No Gos, and that Subsurface are willing to make an adjustment which the solicitor recommended, I imagine I shall indeed sign it, but not until after the Courtyard screenings, since of course once signed the contract prevents me from distributing the film myself.

The Beacon: May 30th 2002

Soul Searcher: May 23rd 2002

Bought a new camera which arrived this morning in all its technological loveliness. James and I used it this afternoon to interview each other for the “making of” archives. As normally happens when I get on the wrong side of a camera, I rambled like a backpacker on a Scottish moor.

We’d been planning to shoot a teaser trailer for the Courtyard screening of The Beacon next month, with a few brief shots of a dark figure with a scythe, and a tiny bit of a sword fight, but now we’ve decided to produce a two or three minute featurette instead, which could include the same material, but also using the interviews and other footage of us working on the script.

Tomorrow we go in search of a scythe for the teaser shoot, and hopefully on Sunday I can get some shots of a backlit Simon Wyndham doing some sword moves.

Soul Searcher: May 23rd 2002

The Beacon: May 21st 2002

I got an idea for a movie, and here’s my pitch: I get a job and quit my band and you stop being a bitch. But enough of typing the lyrics of the Vandals song I’m listening to right now. On to more salient information, such as the fact that in front of me right now (alright, that’s a lie – it’s actually behind me and a bit to the right) is a Manufacturing and Distribution Agreement from Subsurface Distribution in Massachusetts, awaiting my signature. I must of course get it checked out by a solicitor, but what it basically says is that they will make 1,000 copies, promote it through street marketing and sending it to 300 film publications and journalists, and then pay me 50% of the sales revenue once they’ve recouped the costs of the above. So I may yet make my money back on this financial black hole of a movie. Which is good, since I just blew quite a few bucks on a lovely new camera. By the way, I’ve shut down the on-line ordering system since it was doing less business than a condom machine in the Vatican. (An old Red Dwarf joke there – wasn’t that a great show?) You can still buy copies of the film by sending a cheque to me – details on the order page.

The Beacon: May 21st 2002

Soul Searcher: May 15th 2002

Where to start? The girl James is supposedly stalking introducing her boyfriend to him? The college media department head telling us how alcohol is a great remedy for exam-marking blues? The Hereford Times reporter who’s doing a piece on us in tomorrow’s edition randomly showing up and knowing who I was without me ever having met her?

No, I shall start by explaining that James and I had a really good three hour meeting at The Courtyard (where else?) in which we discussed the 2nd draft of the script, the funding proposal and the locations. James has completed the first dozen pages of a second draft, which shows a great improvement in the scenes between Joe, his best friend and the girl he likes. James has written the scenes with an energy and naturalism that will really make the scene feel like you’re hanging out with your mates. I had a third wave of notes for changes to incorporate into the rest of the second draft, mainly on sorting out a few little plot points, but also on adding some character scenes about two thirds of the way through the film, followed immediately by some action/FX cutaways. The more I think about it, the more I think this film might be quite unique in the way it gives the action and the romance such equal importance.

We also went through the script and listed all the settings we would need, and jotted down some thoughts on what locations we might use. Both James and I are keen to use locations which are (a) modern, to get away from the obvious gothic imagery normally associated with this kind of fantasy subject, and (b) have lots of nice lights. Neon strips, fluorescent tubes, strings of white bulbs, great big coloured spotlights blasting across fronts of buildings – it’s all good. We’d also like to use layered locations, ie. places with balconies, tiers, catwalks etc. for extra dynamics in the action. And those Bulmers vats are SO getting the Oseman action treatment.

The other thing we discussed was the funding proposal – essentially a dolled-up letter to send to potential funders outlining the project, its benefits to the community, potential for training young people, the previous experience and achievements of its hairy instigators (that would me and James, then). I’ve designed a cover for it using some of the sketches and storyboards featured on this site, and James has drafted the text.

Amongst the never-ending cavalcade of familiar faces that seems to parade past us whenever we go anywhere was Doug, who we talked briefly to about doing some A3 production drawings in the manga stylee, complete with little frames along the bottom showing the preceding and subsequent shots. Just imagine how good the hypothetical “Art of Soul Searcher” book will be….

Soul Searcher: May 15th 2002

The Beacon: May 10th 2002

Ah, memories. I was just looking back at the entries for this time last year, as I tried to close off Malvern high street for extended cardboard chase action, budding actors and crew members started calling me lots and the hills reopened as Foot & Mouth Disease retreated. Here we are a year later and this site is till getting a surprising number of hits given that it’s winding down, and will probably be gradually reduced in size as the webspace is freed up to make way for soulsearchermovie.com. Anyway, the reason for this entry is not one of pure nostalgia. No, its purpose is to inform you all that The Beacon is being screened at The Courtyard, Edgar Street, Hereford on June 24th and 25th. Tickets are UKP5 (UKP4 concessions). Doors open at 8pm; film starts at 8:15pmp, followed by Behind The Beacon and some spiel from yours truly about Soul Searcher. Be there or be having something better to do.

The Beacon: May 10th 2002

Soul Searcher: May 6th 2002

Another night in the pizza restaurant with the Deep Pan Agony Aunt – sorry, I’ve already forgotten your name again. We seem to do less at these meetings than I expect us to, but it doesn’t matter because we always come up with one or two great ideas… which of course I can’t say anything more about, because I don’t want to give it all away. Let me just say that there are more opportunities for old stylee miniature work, maybe even some matte paintings, to take the last 20 minutes of the movie to another level. It makes so much more sense to be doing it this way round – having got the characters and the romantic plot firmly in place, to be developing these cool action scenes around that.

I want to be doing more between meetings too, but I know that the best way for me to spend this time is to let the film swill about in my head – brewing in my brain cavity, as it were, allowing it to naturally shape itself. As the ads say: “Schtop! This independent movie ish not ready yet.”

Soul Searcher: May 6th 2002

Soul Searcher: May 4th 2002

I was able to spend a little time whilst in London making some more notes on the first draft of the script and doing a rewrite of one particular scene. I saw some amazing locations in London, but of course our budget isn’t going to stretch to the extortionate location fees they’re likely to charge. But going out to the Courtyard night (for a change), I was quickly reminded that, few and far between as they may be, Hereford does have some beautiful modern locations too. For me, the three places that sum up the look of this film are the Courtyard (theatre that looks like an airport), Leftbank (nice modern restaurant) and the giant Bulmers cider vats (shiny metallic industrialism at its skyline-defining finest). All three are also very nicely lit at night.

Also over the last week I thought a lot about, um, how to put this so as not to give the game away… suffice to say the film’s finale will combine Beacon style vehicular action with cool fantasy miniature work. And I just came up with a killer Titanic-esque shot which goes from model work via CGI to live action. The mind boggles.

Soul Searcher: May 4th 2002