Your new movie Independent
Dreams - in a few words, what is it about?
Other than directly quoting our pitch Iíd say, itís an independent
documentary, made by an independent film-maker, and itís about two
people making their own independent productions; all about the indie.
Itís light-hearted, mostly, but, it also portrays what it can be like
in film-making with no real money - without seeming cruel, Iíd also add,
itís a film about what itís like in independent filmmaking if youíre
not properly prepared.
did the project come into being in the first place, and who came up with
the idea to have this journey chronicled?
Iíd just done a short film where David Christopher-Turner [David
Christopher-Turner interview - click here] had played a lead role, so I
knew he was planning something that would be classed as a big project, so
I asked him to keep me updated if he wanted a lift with it etc. So, one
day he phoned me and asked if I wanted to do a behind-the-scenes type doc.
After Iíd had a think, I got back to him saying I didnít want to do
just a behind-the scenes doc to put on as an extra on the DVD, or as
promotion to his film, if I was to do a doc it would have to be its own
film. I sort of had the idea it would probably be fun to watch it getting
made, and watching people running around like headless chickens can be fun
at times, canít it? Or is that just me? J
Alex De Luca [Alex De Luca
interview - click here] was involved with Daveís project so was automatically factored
in. Although, Alex had his own project (Storm Warrior) and like a true
salesman I couldnít get him to stop dropping that fact in, so the doc
started to evolve into a 2 man show, with separate productions that they
were both involved in. At first I was concerned it was going to be
confusing, but I have a good grasp of how to edit a narrative, so started
to feel better as things progressed.
about the two projects Independent
Dreams is based on for a bit, Dream Finder and Storm Warrior
- what are they about, and what are the key challenges
bringing them to the screen?
Dream Finder is a fantasy epic
adopted from a book written in the late 80ís, so, talking animals, big
sword fights, wizards, all the expected from the time it was written and
the genre. Storm Warrior was a viking TV series, which changed to 5
series, which changed into a film, which changed into 3 films.
Alex De Luca
I figure when you started
Dreams you expected the outcome of your projects to be quite
different - so how has the documentary evolved over time?
I did have a plan from the start, straight after the first interview
with Dave [David
Christopher-Turner interview - click here] where he mentioned how he was a fan of Quentin Tarantino. So, I
thought the best way to approach it would be in a similar format to a film
heíd done, with acts and playing with the sound track etc. but working
in a chronological order; that way I could separate big chunks of the film
but still allow it to flow.
Although, after a few high expectations on what budget they could
secure, and the reality, which was working with their savings and own
money, I must admit I was expecting them to give up, or to at least admit
defeat at some point, which they didnít; whether that was the right move
or not is still to be decided. As for me, if I know Iíve tried to pull
something off I didnít think Iíd be able to finish, I would move on
and take on another project Ė not waste too much time, or other time.
Though, that will probably come with experience - not that Iíve had a
vast amount of experience, but Iíve had enough to know what is possible
or not on the resources I can get.
As far as the interviews and following days, getting Dave and his
family to open up was relatively easy; heís an actor so I suppose it
comes natural. We did agree at the start that honesty was the only policy,
and he kept to his word. He was going through possibly more financial
difficulty than was portrayed, but I decided not to delve too much into
that, as it was more personal than the film needed to be. I suppose I
could tell he was holding back some anger and frustration at times, but
he did let go ever so often.
Daveís wife (Sam), was reluctant to interview at first. But she
eventually agreed, and I followed her while working her second job Ė
which was also an element of the film, as Dave was struggling for work at
that point. After the initial couple of questions and getting used to me
following her with the camera, she vented with a fury. She just let go
really, everything came out about how she was feeling with what Dave was
trying to do, and his overall goal Ė and if it was achievable; and with
only 2 minutes left on my card, she broke down a little and cried - it was
great footage. I know that sounds mean, but as a filmmaker it was great
because it really absorbs you into their world Ė things arenít always
perfect and this showed it. I had agreed with Dave to show him all footage
in large unedited chunks, but I held Samís footage back until she was
okay with Dave seeing it. This section of the film brings mixed opinions.
I spoke to a few people that have watched it and said ďOh that poor
woman, how does she copeĒ and then Iíve spoken to others, mainly
actors, which have said ďShe should be more supportiveĒ. Myself, Iím
in the middle Ė itís easier there.
Alex [Alex De Luca interview
- click here], was a different egg altogether, and was harder to crack. He did
live quite a distance away from me so it was harder to get a bigger
picture than I did. Heís still quite an enigma now, I still donít know
much about his past-life and I think he prefers it that way. Heís like a
mystery man. He might be a serial killer? He did threaten to stab me on
more than one occasion Ė in jest, most times!
filmmaking stories that didn't make it into the final cut of Independent
From what I witnessed, there seemed to be
quite a lot of people attached to the guys' projects, in my opinion, I
didnít really see them being pro-active enough with production meetings,
and overall planning, it was almost like a lot of people were playing the
Hollywood game but didnít want to do the Hollywood work first. So, I was
trying to sew that in as I did stir the pot, but, I didnít in the end
as I had a feeling it would have upset some of the film community that
Christopher-Turner interview - click here] and Alex were working with Ė and after all, my expectations from
people Iím working with would be different.
What can you tell
us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?
When doing a doc like this you have no idea where itís going, itís
more difficult to control than a planned doc. So you do rely on thinking
on-the-spot, and expect changes and your original thoughts to waver at
times. When I interview I ask a lot of personal questions to try and get
them to open up, I try to pick up points I think are relevant to what I
want, without leading them. I also try to find something completely off
topic to talk about, and maybe cut the answers differently in the edit.
No, I donít do that really.
Another one, and a big one, I didnít get involved too much when
things went pear-shaped. There were times I could have helped
significantly. Thereís a scene where the cameraman/DOP that the guys had
got on last minute was confused as to why his screen had gone blue when
the location was full of lovely fluffy-white snow, I so wanted to just
shout ďSort your white balance out ya foolĒ - I did feel a bit bad that
I didnít, but as agreed at the start I was there to document and
observe, so thatís what I did and I didnít involve myself with their
side of the filming; which, when youíre the type of person that canít
help but share your glorious knowledge, and masses of experience, at any
given opportunity, is very hard.
all the experience you've gathered during the course of making Independent
Dreams, what's be some solid pieces of advice to give aspiring
Hmmm - difficult question. I did my degree on screenwriting and
production and it helped a lot. I did have some good industry experience
in music and music videos previously, but at university it was different.
It helps you experiment without anybody judging too much, and helps you
spread your creative legs, gives you time; but when you get out into the
big-bad real-world you donít have the excuse youíre a student
filmmaker, expectations are either ďheís just messing aboutĒ
type attitude, or ďthis had better be good if heís spending this much
time on itĒ type attitude. Fact is, I never stop being a student of
film, and you have to really live film to make them Ė just as I had
previously with music. You have to watch films, dissect them, where are
the points/scenes that are interesting or hold the story, the beats! I
have watched 100ís of documentaries, and for a good amount I literally
have break-down sheets I made to give me an idea of the structure, and how
they got emotion through etc. Thatís quite important, be analytical of
others and you will be of yourself ..., well hopefully.
When youíve finished a feature length film there is a sense of
satisfaction, but you always know how it could have been better, or what
you could have done more. So, theyíre never really finished, just
abandoned. My overall tip would be, experiment with shorts before you try
something too big to handle, and watch films, for Godís sake watch lots
of films, preferably in the genre youíre thinking of making your own in.
Itís a must.
Also, donít get bogged down with camera quality and stuff like that.
Yes itís important you try and make it the best quality you can, but
Iíve seen films that have been shot very badly, or poor quality, but
because of the nature of the film it works. I often heard people talking
about 4k, ďshoot everything on 4kĒ. For me, whatís the point at the
minute? If youíre doing a low-budget film, whatís the chance of it
getting broadcast, aired or played at the cinema in 4k? - Low, very low.
Itís hard to deal with the footage size and processor requirements,
itís just a ball-ache, and as far as I know the only cinemaís that
show 4k are specific, like the IMAX, and online platforms like Netflix
etc. Iím not being funny but youíd need a quick internet connection,
mine still drops res on HD. I just donít think weíre there yet. The
argument always comes back with Ďfuture-readyí, but I watch films from
all periods and never really expect the quality to be any better than it
was then. So, the whole 4k darkle seems a bit pointless for me, for now.
Another tip would be: donít try to do everything on your own, but
also donít rely on others. If youíre lucky you can connect with
someone who has a similar vision, passion and drive, and then take it from
there. If you donít need a big crew, donít get one. If you donít
really need a massive amount of kit, donít get one. I see a lot of indie
filmmakers trying to arrange massive crews and exotic locations then blow
their wad on one shoot. If you have no money and little chance of getting
any, work with what you have. If your cheap films are good youíll start
to build a reputation, then try for funding.
Also, leave your ego at the door; no one needs it at the indie level
Ė save it for when youíre Hollywood level. Then you can have people
killed for not bringing you hot coffee or your favorite selection of
cheese on set. True story, but Iíll leave that for another time.
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of Independent
Up to now itís had a good reception. It doesnít try to oversell
itself and is an honest little film. Very low budget, obviously, but does
what it says on the tin.
Weíve had some reviews where they have said the film is a brilliant
mockumentary, thinking that itís a construct, but it wasnít. Yes, the
editing was done with film-grammar in mind, but what isnít. It is nice
though, to think: wow, they think itís a mockumentary/comedy. Thatís
nice when you aim for something to be fun and it works better than you
Let's return to Dream Finder and Storm Warrior
for a bit - are those still in the making/how far along have
they gotten since the documentary has been shot?
Nowhere, donít let them tell you any different J
They have started new projects which are at the beginning stages.
Again, I think one of the guys (not saying which one) might be trying
something a little too much to take on and make, properly, but, I might be
wrong. Would probably make a good documentary to find out J
other future projects you'd like to share?
Iím just in the last stages of post-production on a comedy web-series
pilot, about a British conservative podcaster (think a British version of
Alex Jones). Thatís going to a US distributor I have a couple of short
films distributed through, probably by the end of the month.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Iím also currently in principal photography of on my next
documentary/mockumentary feature, titled Randolph Tempest: A Documentary (Iím not great with titles). Itís the story of a once
great, but overlooked, actor, and his journey chasing his 2nd chance at
the big time. Thatís probably going to get wrapped near the end of 2018.
But, itís going to be good. Iím working with a comedy-character actor
that I have worked with previously on a short; which we actually won a
couple of short film awards for. So itís going to be relatively painless
making it. So look out for that.
Iíve started another couple of projects but it doesnít look like
theyíre going to get to the finish line at the moment, so theyíve been
hard-shelved. My eggs are in the feature basket at the minute and I like
them there. Iíve done my time with shorts, webseries, trans-media
projects, and I want to make films that have a proper outlet, which
unfortunately shorts and the like donít. There are a few online V.O.D. places, but generally thatís more a film community market. Although like
I say, shorts are great for experimenting with Ė a prime example of what
I mean would be a short comedy film I made about a guy with a talking
penis, itís a fun little film which was quite sexist, but also fun. Love
to do more one day, but I have the bug for features for now.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
@BrianRockMan Ė parody/comedy - webseries updates.
@CustardRoom Ė Randolph Tempest - film updates.
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
waffled on for far too long, but, I would just like to add: If people
would please watch and leave a rating or review on the film; thatíd be
much appreciated, support is something independent filmmakers rely on.
for the interview!
Thank you for your time and for supporting us.