Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Summer Nights: Cuddling A Monster

One of the prizes for winning the 5 Lamps Films 24 Hour Challenge (2015) was that the film would be screened in front of a selection of films playing as part of the Summer Nights Film Festival.

Subsequently, I'm pleased to announce that Cuddling A Monster will be screened this week at Wollaton Hall before Dirty Dancing (28th), Alpha Papa (29th) and The Dark Knight Rises (30th).

Thursday, 20 August 2015

iPhone Short: New

So, here is the little film I shot on my iPhone 5s whilst in Barcelona. Audio was recorded with an iPad using the RØDE app and a RØDE SMARTLAV Lavalier Mic.

Starring Terence J Corbett.

"The film of tomorrow appears to me as even more personal than an individual and autobiographical novel, like a confession, or a diary. The young filmmakers will express themselves in the first person and will relate what has happened to them. It may be the story of their first love or their most recent; of their political awakening; the story of a trip, a sickness, their military service, their marriage, their last vacation…and it will be enjoyable because it will be true, and new…The film of tomorrow will not be directed by civil servants of the camera, but by artists for whom shooting a film constitutes a wonderful and thrilling adventure. The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it, and the number of spectators will be proportional to the number of friends the director has. The film of tomorrow will be an act of love" - François Truffaut.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Rabbit…Finish Line

On Friday afternoon I met with Erik & Janet Knudsen to screen them my cut of 'The Rabbit', which is almost ready for release, and I'm pleased to say that they were both more than happy with what they saw…
Still from the film.
I made a few notes for minor adjustments to the picture & soundtrack, which I'll be making this week, but, thankfully, at the end of the screening we agreed to a handover date for the completed film (Monday 17th August).
BTS: On set with Harris & Toni
As of the 17th, Erik & Janet will then be sending the short to a selection of film festivals, arranging a screening for the cast & crew and preparing the film for release via One Day Films

You can expect a final video blog in the coming weeks in which Erik and I will discuss the process and the final product…And then that'll be that. It's been an amazing journey and I'm immensely proud of the film that I've directed/produced! 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

iPhone Cinema

Whilst in Barcelona last week, I decided to shoot a little, slightly experimental, short film starring my regular collaborator Terence J Corbett (Rose / Round in Circles / BecauseCold Desert / Under the Bridge / You Left Your Heart in the CityOwn Worst Enemy)

I considered shooting on my GoPro but decided to experiment with my iPhone 5s. I'd previously been impressed with what Erik Knudsen had achieved on his iPhone 6 with his short documentary, In Waiting. The 5s doesn't have the capabilities of the iPhone 6 but I thought I'd give it a go anyway and I'm pleased with what I've captured - especially in the low light sequences.

I hope to release the film on Vimeo and here on the blog this week - so check back in…for now, here are some stills.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

GoPro with Darren Scott

As well as completing the ADR for The Rabbit last weekend, I also helped Darren Scott shoot some GoPro footage for a feature film that he is currently completing.

As The Rabbit was primarily shot in a car, Darren wanted me to help him with a scene that also takes place in a travelling vehicle. Anyway, here are some behind the scenes shots I took on my phone…

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The Rabbit - ADR Session 2

This past weekend I completed the second round of ADR for my next short film, The Rabbit. This time it was Harris Matthew's turn in the studio…

Harris and Darren Scott
You can check out some pics of Harris and Darren Scott in the Facebook Album - HERE.

Friday, 26 June 2015

The Director - Best Film

It's been a week of old projects coming back around…you may remember that in 2013 I colour graded a short film for Will Herbert (original blog post - HERE). Well, congratulations are in order as that film has just won the National Fiction Award at Devizes Film Festival.

Well done Will! A very funny film that is thoroughly deserving of awards…I enjoyed being a part of the project, even if it was in a very small post-production role.

Have a watch of the film... 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Lost Choices…Nine2Five Films

You may remember some time ago I posted on this blog about a project I'd shot for Nine 2 Five Films & director John Abbott (read original post HERE)…well the film has been completed and you can view it below.


John Abbott on the project: "This music video has taken me nearly three years to make and show it to the world. The above video is very personal to myself and for the people involved as it has been a very long journey till now.

This was originally going to be a short film about one mans struggle to come to terms that a loved one was going to be leaving him through illness. And it was his journey on how he found his peace. 

I had three different versions of the film and I could not feel happy about either version. The reasons I could only think of was because the story was so close to my heart that I wanted to make the people i based it around proud.

A couple years passed and I had completed a number of other projects which I was pleased about but I could still not get this project out of my mind so I eventually came back it with the idea of doing a music video with some of the footage we shot for the film. The song I chose was the one I have here however when I heard the tragic news about singer / songwriter Gavin Clark passing I was devastated once again. 

The reason I have finally released this video is because I wanted to share my story and also to showcase the amazing talent of the great Gavin Clark his music will always have a special place in my heart so I hope people can look into his music and his legacy passed this video."

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Rabbit ADR

Yesterday I worked with Darren Scott at his studio in Rugby, where we re-recorded Toni Sherwood-Pearce's dialogue for my next short film, The Rabbit.

The studio
It was a very fun and productive day; Toni proved to be a master at syncing up her dialogue, whilst still retaining the emotion of her original performance, and Darren's expertise/knowledge of sound/ADR was invaluable. Great work from both of them!

You can see a selection of pictures from the day in a Facebook album - HERE.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Progress: The Rabbit

Production on The Rabbit is progressing very well…

Where I'm at:
  • Working on a fine cut of the film - trimming scenes down so that I can soon "lock" the cut.
  • Stuart Samuels is currently working on the special effects shots - some of which are quite complex.
  • I will be doing the ADR with a sound recordist in June, which involves re-recording and replacing the original dialogue recorded onset - this is particularly important on this film due to the number of scenes involving moving cars (the engine sounds can be overbearing). 
From there, I will then do a final sound mix and colour grade. The film will then be ready to be released in early August.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Cuddling A Monster Review

Scrolling through Facebook this morning, I came across a review of the Five Lamps Films 24 Hour Screening via Triskelle Pictures (2nd place winners)...http://fckldn.com/the-arts/the-2015-five-lamps-films-24-hour-film-challenge/

Fck Ldn (love the name) said the following about my film: 

"The overall winner was Cuddling a Monster by Mark Duggan Films, in which a young girl clings to the titular toy to help her through her parents’ divorce. I must say, this one didn’t really make an impact during my initial viewing – most probably because it was sandwiched between much louder and more ridiculous fare. But I’ve since watched it again, and I’m struck by its elegance and economy. 

We’re presented with a series of beautifully filmed, meticulously directed scenes, and we’re left to draw our own conclusions from what little we see. It’s worlds apart from the rest of the entries, which were all defined by their direct approach to storytelling. And when you throw in a number of convincing performances, it really does feel like the best film won."

I'm so moved by the writers words ("beautifully filmed, meticulously directed scenes, and we’re left to draw our own conclusions from what little we see") and it makes me feel proud of what I've managed to accomplish with both 'Cuddling A Monster' and the extended/director's cut 'Ride Out The Wave or: Cuddling A Monster'. 

It's also refreshing to hear someone speak openly about the fact that, on first viewing, the short didn't do much for him and it required a second viewing to fully appreciate the film. Believe it or not, I'm actually taking this comment as the ultimate compliment, as it reminded me of a conversation I had just last week with director Erik Knudsen. We were discussing the rough cut of my next short, 'The Rabbit', and Erik stated that he believes a good film is one that reveals itself over repeat viewings…now I'm not saying that Cuddling A Monster is "my masterpiece" but I do feel that I've managed to tap into something timeless and universal with the short, which is always the ultimate goal for me as a filmmaker/storyteller.

Anyway, thanks to Fck Ldn and writer Elliot Davies for his kind words…they are very much appreciated!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

24 Hour Trilogy

When producing a short film, I like to create work that can go on to form part of a larger series - whether that be a series connected by a theme (e.g. "Isolation") or a series about a single character (e.g."The Longing Trilogy") - and so I'm pleased to be able to post all three films from my "24 Hour Trilogy". The three films revolve a female character played by Marie Holliday

The series comprises of: 

Monday, 11 May 2015

24 Hour Film…director's cut

And here is the full cut of my 24 hour film, titled 'Ride Out The Wave or: Cuddling A Monster'

Results...Five Lamps 24 Hour Challenge

So last night I attended the screening and results for the 2015 Five Lamps Films 24 Hour Challenge…and I'm so pleased to announce that I won! 

1st place - Mark Duggan Films "Cuddling A Monster"
2nd place - Triskelle Pictures "The Dress"
3rd place - MonoStereo Productions "Authentic"

I must say I was pretty shocked by the result - I never expected to win, especially as I wasn't quite sure what I'd submitted after finishing the edit early last Sunday morning. It went right down to the wire - at 3am I realised that I'd shot a film that was far too long to enter so I quickly had to figure out a new way to tell that story in 3 minutes, which somehow I managed to do! I'm doubly pleased as I now have two versions of the film - both have their own merits and, I believe, work in their own right... 

I'd just like to congratulate everyone who submitted and the runners up…well done to all! It's tough to make a film in 24 hours.  

Thanks to everyone who helped me make the film a reality - Marie Holliday, Lily Holliday, Alex Gilbert (my student at Burton College from 2009-2012 and now a filmmaker in his own right), Ian Hudd, Lindsay Blackshaw, Mike Duggan, Alan Osborne, Terry Corbett, Lisa Baldwin and my wonderful mother, Susan Draczuk.

Picture by Five Lamps Films
Before the screening
In shock
I'm happy really - just in shock...
Managed a smile here...
Alex Gilbert with the award
Ian Hudd, my behind the scenes photographer
With the award
My name on the big screen
Picture by Five Lamps Films
Sometimes it helps to cuddle a monster
And here is the prize-winning film…

Thursday, 7 May 2015

24 Hour Film

Below are some stills from the 24 hour film I shot for the Five Lamps Films competition in Derby (2nd May). The film stars Marie Holliday and her daughter, Lily.

The version submitted for the competition is 3 minutes long (titled 'Cuddling A Monster') and will screen at Quad, Derby, this Sunday. I'll make this cut available online but it is quite a lot shorter than my preferred version of the film ('Ride Out The Wave or: Cuddling A Monster'), which I intend to release this weekend. I view the longer cut as the culmination of a trilogy (with Windowpane & Turning) as it picks up on themes and ideas set up in the previous two films. 

Viewing the longer version of the film on the editing timeline has made me wonder how I managed to shoot so many scenes/sequences in just 12 hours! I digress…anyway, both cuts will be online this coming weekend so please check back in. 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Five Lamps: 24 Hour Challenge - Round 2

This Saturday I will be taking part in the Five Lamps Films 24 Hour Challenge, a competition which closes the Derby Film Festival.

Last year (May 2014) I came third in the competition with a short titled 'Windowpane', a film that has since been screened at the London Short Film Festival. I very much enjoyed the challenge of completing a film in 24 hours and so, in October 2014, I also took part in the Colchester Film Festival 60 Hour Challenge.

My short this weekend will once again star the brilliant Marie Holliday and so the film will, therefore, complete a trilogy featuring the actress...I hope the outcome will be as as successful as my previous two efforts!

The competition entries for the 2015 24 Hour Challenge will be screened at the Quad in Derby on May 10th.

Friday, 24 April 2015

One Day Films Blog

A post about The Rabbit over on the One Day Films blog: https://www.onedayfilms.com/the-rabbit-has-now-finished-shooting/

Monday, 20 April 2015

Raven Production Scrapbook

One Day Films have released a 'Production Scrapbook' for The Raven on the Jetty, which I worked on as the Assistant Director, Cinematographer and Assistant Editor. Link: goo.gl/RHBG0E

One Day Films: "This is a unique book in which the story of The Raven On The Jetty is told scene by scene with parts of the director’s personal storyboard and notes, production stills of the behind the scenes activities during shooting and stills from the film. Also included, is the complete screenplay and credits of the film, as well as a DVD of the complete film. The book consists of 156 colour pages in 200 x 250 mm hardback. 

There are two versions of the book available: A Hand Signed and Numbered Limited Edition by the writer and director, Erik Knudsen in 100 copies only; or the Regular Unsigned and Unnumbered version of the book. The limited edition version sells for £49.50 (or equivalent in other available currencies) and the regular version sells for £39.50 (or equivalent in available other currencies)."

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Rabbit - Behind the Scenes

Below are some behind the scenes stills from The Rabbit starring Toni Sherwood-Pearce and Harris Matthews. Shooting in a car is very difficult but, fortunately, the equipment I used made the shoot far easier than it might have been. 

The film was primarily shot on GoPro cameras, which allowed me to direct from the backseat of the car - I could watch the footage on my iPhone or iPad via the GoPro app. 

I recorded sound with Rode clip mics that recorded sound directly onto my iPhone/iPad - this meant that the actors had the added responsibility of hitting record and attaching their mics before each scene.

Test shoot with Harris Matthews
Toni and Harris getting ready for a scene
Directing on Day 1
Enjoying the shoot
Harris sets up the camera
Day 3
Laughing on Day 3
Toni sets up the camera
As ever, I'll keep you updated with the progress of the film...