Your new movie The
Chair to Everywhere - in a few words, what is it about?
The movie started out as a short story. Two of the actors (Polly Tregear
& Sean Botha) who played supporting roles in Abduction 2 - Revenge
Of The Hive Queen -
gave great performances and won my heart. I wanted to thank them
and I had promised that if they did well, I would write a short film
script and make a short film where they could play the main roles. I
always keep my word. So, I wrote the script. Both actors have no problem with their nudity.
Like me, they believe nudity is not a sexual, or taboo thing, despite
changes in our culture today from say, 40 years ago. Nudity has been
miscast into the realm of 'naughty' titillating content. Why? It's
association with sexual actvity is a stupid misnomer and utterly wrong
in every sense. We are biological machines. Surgeons, doctors, nurses
all understand this whilst protecting the thing we have in us of our
self-respect, and the conditioning since birth we all receive, to mind
our nude selves because of the threat of violation of our
I conjoured the script up in one evening. A twenty minute film. But then
I saw I had woven into it the seeds of many of my private thoughts about
who we are, why we are here, and what the truth of human conciousness
might really be. We all wonder this still, don't we? Or has the
empirical materialistic science propaganda (like religious
propaganda in the past) defeated not only the ever-inquiring mind, but
eliminated the question itself?
I rewrote the script into an 80 minute film, and I liked it! The story wrote itself into my head. Despite ultra-small budget
limitations, I felt compelled to try and put the ideas out there through
a low budget film.
The Chair to
Everywhere revolving around teleportation and parallel universes,
did you do any research on either subject, and do these topics hold a
special fascination to you?
I research the topic of reality all the time. I have done it since I
could first think. Yes, a special fascination of mine. I should have
become a philosopher instead of a filmmaker because the open
question of how my or your mind can exist in a seemingly vast universe
on a bit of rock spinning around a nuclear furnace needs answers
which have so far in human existence not been answered satisfactorily.
Religion? Man made. Material science? Man made, and blinkered. I understand all the arguments, and as far as anyone can, I get quantum
physics, Newtonian physics and the philosophical concepts which stand
apart from, or dip and dive into the possible proofs which science
might offer. (Maybe?)
(Other) sources of
inspiration when writing The
Chair to Everywhere?
Probably my life per se. I am old. Sixty-eight. I have a daughter. I
love her dearly. I reshaped my life to enable her experience of this
world to be well informed, and to ensure she too ponders the meaning of
being here, if there is one at all ...
Countless books, ideas, concepts about reality add to that. The
question of "Are we real at all?" is a contemporary idea given
the view of virtual reality and the new vista which computers have
provided us with. I was once a computer programmer too. People way back
in the past considered the idea too. The Greeks saw us as pawns and
players on the Gods' chess boards, for example. Traditional religions
consider we are all here to distil out good from evil in some kind
of universal battle which will decide our fate. I think not. I believe
all their descriptions are wrong. But I do believe their common
underlying notion is correct. We are here for a reason. I think no-one
has yet found the right answer. I have my own view on this and it is wrong of me to try and project it
on others. My film does not do that. It suggests one of the ideas (one I
believe to be wrong, actually), hopefully to encourage others not to
forget the question: "Why am I here?"
Science fiction writers in the past, Arthur C. Clark, in one of his
stories, probably developed the idea central to the story first in my
life. Other films have followed: The 13th Floor, The Matrix are two good
Chair to Everywhere deals with some pretty vast topics, and yet
it's filmed in very confined locations - so how limiting but maybe also
liberating was that, and what were some of your methods to keep things
interesting on a visual level?
Single location films end up like stage plays and lack the breadth of
vista and the luxury of taking the viewer to new environments. It
suffocates films and story-telling. Alas, budget restrictions create the
requirement however to control and manage the location. One location. So
one has to dream up a 'device' to keep the viewer entertained on a low
budget to make it eaier to accomplish the story, even at the sacrifice
of visual breadth.
I made the two chairs to be characters too. The people who arrive in them, paint their world in emotional exposition
- like radio plays - and fill in the missing vistas. I would have loved
to have shown their stories visually, but did not have the money for
that. Containing the story into a single location makes it much
easier to produce.
What can you tell us
about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
Set it up. Pick actors I can trust to see the journey through. Dive in.
Get it done on time, improvise as we go. Stick to the story. Consider
when I or my friend and colleague Kemal Yildirim [Kemal
Yildirim interview - click here] shoot the film,
how I will edit it together later. Make the shots work for the edit and
the small scale CGI. I don't direct. I set the stage, describe the
story, suggest how the characters should behave, say what they should be
saying, leave it to the actors to produce the goods. I also want them to enjoy the process, have fun being someone else.
Unlike a lot of film makers, I think, I want the journey of all involved
to be a balanced one. Yup, we are coming together to tell a story,
to embrace an audience - one or millions - and work hard at trying to
accomplish that. I believe the people involved should have a
protected and encouraging experience. Many of the actors, nah! all of
them... well they are a lot younger than me. I want to add to their
experience in a positive way. The story is important. The audience is
important. The actors and crew, even any extras, should have a good time
making the story try and present itself to other minds and hearts.
Direction? That's it. And stick to time schedules, overcome any issues
which crop up, work as one to get it done as well as we can within the
limitations and resources we have at our disposal.
what I know, you also did all the visual effects work on The
Chair to Everywhere - so what sort of a challenge was that?
Every time we shot a sequence, I had the effects in mind. When I wrote
the story, I only wrote in what I thought I could do easily with low
budget software and equipment to create the effects. Just in case other younger filmmakers, on low budget, are interested, I
used the following software (quite affordable and basic to create the
effects): Poser Pro (a 3D model manipulation and animation program,
like Daz 3D, which I never quite got to grips with); Photshop - to
bring frames out of the edit line to adjust, save, and put back into the
edit line again -, Adobe Premiere - quite an old version (a bit
buggy), but I'm used to it and employ 'get-arounds', HitFilm to produce
a lot of light and energy effects, and I licensed some library footage -
wonderfully conceived, from Pond5.
Boy, did I get that one wrong. The CGI effects! The editing took me six
long arduous months, often frame-by-frame to get the effects to look
anywhere near convincing. I'm not certain if I would ever try to do that
again as the journey proved to be immensely difficult and burnt me out which I am slowly still recovering from. Low budget
might mean a film gets made next to nowt financially, but it does not
mean it can be done without other costs involved which are not
financial. I took a mental hit. I am still getting over it. This is not
a negative thing. Everyone involved making a film puts their heart and soul into it. There
is always a 'getting-over-it' period so the creative talents can
normalize again. Big budget or little budget, it takes a toll on all
involved just like any other kind of big effort of work. Recovery takes
a little time and then the compulsion in creative people demands their
attention again. We are all, I feel, us creative people, slaves and
victims of our creative impulse and cannot live a normal life anyway.
The world would be a very grey place without the creative and often
sacrificial desire of artistic people who have an inner need to paint
alternatives or reflect the life they see. A bit deep? Maybe. But fame
is not the goal. Actors and filmmakers are driven by an impractical
insanity born of their desire to produce another mini-world they can
escape to. The receivers, the audience wish to be taken there too, and
are not pleased if the illusion created doesn't carry them there
totally. Odd, isn't it?
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people? And considering
that all castmembers, male and female, do get naked at one point or
another in The Chair
to Everywhere (in non-sexual situations), did that at all make
casting your movie more difficult?
Polly and Sean led the cast. I love them both dearly and I think they
should have been born in my early time in life as they would have made
great hippies! Casting to get any actor to appear 100% naked in a
film stinks of all kinds of negative and suspicious intention. So, yes!
Difficult, and it takes a lot of trust from all involved right at the
start. We live in times of increased awareness of exploitation of people for
sexual gratification. And for good reason. But I am one of those
people who tries to say it how it actually is and not deceive others.
Some people get it, others... well, their suspicions out-weigh the attempt at meeting up together at an audition to get a 'feel' for
the truth of things. I know what I am doing. I want never to put anyone
I work with in any bad situation. I was very fortunate to have
found the rest of the actors who gave me their trust and confidence:
Jenifer Leahey, Sara Parker, Carmen Silva, Eloise O'Brian, Samantha
Fields, and of course my good friend Kemal Yildirim [Kemal
Yildirim interview - click here].
The additional 'travellers' were all given their edited sequences from
the film and asked if they wished me to change anything. A few things
could not be changed. I promised to minimise as much as their intimate
aspects without making the film seem as if its deliberately avoiding
their nudity (which I see everywhere in films and consider such
processes dispel the illusion and make a film pop out as being
unreal and contrived). The hiding away out of camera sight of our bodies is done by mass media
big-budget film producers bent on getting their movie to the widest
audience possible for profit. I am not interested in financial profit
from my films, I am interested in telling a story as convincingly as I
can. If I wanted to make money from it, I would make Disney-inspired
films and make the money from the toy franchises and the receipts
of money from toys sold at Christmas. I wish to entertain people. I
find cast and crew who share my goal. People I can trust to see the
journey through, people I enjoy being around. I hope then to
welcome the film audience to join us in our journey produced through
actor performance and dedicated people working together for paltry
wages to create an illusion: a movie.
The female actors understood the storyline and were each willing to
appear naked in their scenes to embrace the plot fully instead of
finding 'get arounds' to maintain their body privacy. They are real
creatives who understand we are dispelling the scaffolding and ensuring
the telling of a story is not to be inhibited by cultural or
topical sound bytes. We are all animals, no different to other living
entities. There is no shame in being naked. That is just an
arrogance in human beings to make us think we are superior to the wild
beast. We're not. Wearing clothes is what allows us to do
terrible things and to create divisions in our kind. We don uniforms and
assume it gives us rights to control other people. We become soldiers,
judges, prison wardens. Imagine them trying to do their jobs while
naked. See my point? Nakedness is not sexy. It's just natural. But civilisation has placed
inhibition on our cultures making nakedness be wrongly considered as
'iffy'. The concept of the film required the actors to arrive and
leave in the chair naked. It's like the only thing our universe is
after is the raw data, the abstract experience of conscious minds, not
the trappings or props (our bodies) of the physical stage on which
consciousness plays out its journey.
What can you tell us
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The film was shot only at weekends as a series of short 2 day events.
The chairs were kept in situ along with all the trappings of the set for
several months. This made it easier to manage, having only a
minimum of actors on set each time. All the actors found it easy to work
with each other and the crew, myself, Kemal Yidirim, and Lesley
Evans. It all went smoothly. No one felt embarrassed or goggled at. We
were all so busy doing our jobs, naked people just became normal.
It's like if you visit a nudist beach. Initially it's a bit strange.
Within 15 minutes or so, you are no longer thinking about it and you
feel completely relaxed.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The
Chair to Everywhere?
Yes. A little. Reviews on Amazon have started. Each person comments on
the nudity as though it were gratuitous, which it isn't. I think it
shows the damage that cultural propaganda has had on anything where
people are nude. It is as though by the mere inclusion of a naked
person, you are some kind of lecher or worse. In the past two decades, maybe
longer, the extent to which filmmakers can reflect humanity as the
living beings they are when in private: the bathroom, the bedroom, has
been eroded away. But it seems it's okay to show naked people in
multi-billion block-busters like Game Of Thrones and few people
mention it. But the small budget, indie film maker gets abusive
and unfair personal criticism and insults. I pay no attention to such
remarks. Most of the people remarking in this way, I believe (rightly or
wrongly) are people using the feedback review on Amazon to
empower themselves because in all likelihood, those very people have
miserable lives and are impotent in their actions and ambitions. You
only normally get reviews from the negative slant. People who enjoyed
the film don't bother. We often criticise, but rarely do we take time
out to praise in all walks of life.
Any future projects you'd
like to share?
We are currently working on the shoot of my friend and colleague's
(Kemal Yildirim [Kemal
Yildirim interview - click here]) film: Wastelands. Another few weekends and it
should be done, or at least my involvement in it. Then I'll start
shooting a set of shorts with a common theme which will be stitched
together as an anthology feature film or released as an episodic series.
I can't really say more about it as I'm still writing some of the
Your/your movie's website, Facebook,
Phew. A few. But these are the important ones for now:
- all our films to watch on a streaming channel.
- our official web site.
- official web site of the movie.
Anything else you're dying to mention and
I have merely forgotten to ask?
There's just one thing. If anyone reading this liked The
Chair to Everywhere, maybe they could write a short positive review on
Amazon (if they saw it there). It really helps to get the film seen
and it helps to keep it on Amazon.
Thanks for the
Many thanks for listening. Forgive me for talking too much. And
thank you for giving me an opportunity to talk about my movie and movie