Saturday 10 December 2011

The Screening

Okay – so scAIRcrows has finally played on a cinema screen. And I look back at the first blog I wrote on scAIRcrows (on my birthday no less!) and think, it’s f-ing weird that we actually took it through to the end! I don’t know why I never thought that it would happen but I didn’t. I guess you don’t really – it’s quite a big undertaking when you break it all down. But anyway, it happened and it got an amazing reception.

For no reason but my own creative insecurities – I didn’t think it’d go down anywhere near as well as it did. Don’t ask me why – I can see what’s good about it (and what isn’t) but it’s all just so tailored to what I’d actually watch, you know – like you wouldn’t expect people to get private jokes…

I’m glad though – I guess for me but more so for the cast that were present – I’m really happy that together we were able to create something that people responded and that your hard work was appreciated by others. It could’ve been a really awkward hour and I was really worried that it could’ve been (hence my almost apologetic intro to the film) but turns out there was nothing to worry about! The atmosphere definitely changed my attitude when we came back for the Q & A afterwards. I really enjoyed it up there with you guys once it was clear we’d done good!

Honestly, I really can’t put into words just how happy I am that everything worked out. When making scAIRcrows – I didn’t want to change the world. I’m by NO means an artistic writer/director – it was never the intention to make a beautifully crafted, challenging film. I just wanted flying scarecrows and ambitious gore effects for the budget we had. To put things in perspective – just found this cool little body count poster for the three big slasher franchises – we have a count of 8 in our 27 mins which is a pretty impressive statistic!

So it was crafted to be an entertaining half an hour and nothing more than that. I watch a lot of stuff and over the years, my patience has grown thin for a lot of stuff simply because it’s boring! The amount of things I watch where literally the entire running time of scAIRcrows can go by without a spot happening… So the mission statement with scAIRcrows was to keep things moving but try and anchor it with real characters at the same time so that certain events carry more impact when they happen. And it provides a nice contrast to flying scarecrows! So yeah, the intent with it was nothing more than fun – but played straight (unlike Troma movies for example).

So I also forgot to mention we were also playing my second film that night – txt msg. We played txt msg first because it’s a lot shorter so a bit of a starter before the main course!

Because there’s been no blogs or no word at all about txt msg – I even forgot to mention it in the intro!! – I’ll explain a bit of background on it.

I’d written the script before we started choosing who we would see for the auditions on scAIRcrows. So yeah, before we’d even auditioned people for scAIRcrows, I was already thinking ahead to the next one! It was written as the antidote to scAIRcrows. By all accounts, scAIRcrows is a HUGE film for what it is. If I’d realised just how big, we may never have actually made it! But in following it up (and I was always going to follow it up), it kinda seemed like there was literally nowhere I could go after scAIRcrows other than in the complete opposite direction. Sure, I could’ve knocked up something similar to scAIRcrows but that just wouldn’t have been creatively satisfying. So everything scAIRcrows is, txt msg isn’t. And that’s the main force behind it.

For those that’ve seen it – I was trying to be slightly clever with it, injecting a bit of social commentary into the film. It ISN’T a film set up for that twist in the end. The parallel between the character switching phones as well as boyfriends is intentional in the sense that these days, especially with iPhone, iPad etc, there seems to be this really disposable attitude to things in life. Something newer and better is mere months away and my intention with txt msg was to transpose that material attitude to our social interactions. To that character, everything is probably three or four months away from being replaced by something else – possessions, relationships and everything in-between. And then I just take that idea to its logical (to me) conclusion. So there was a bit of subtext to that one but one I didn’t want to be heavy handed about – it just helps me write something if I have a reason as to why I’m writing.

So quickly – because I’ve been asked a few times this week - scAIRcrows 2? No intention at this moment in time to revisit this on the screen. Because I had a few loose ends and scenes I lost either before writing or shooting and I also had ideas as to what happened next, I have written a sequel script. It’s feature length and takes place about 4 months on from what happens in scAIRcrows. It’s a very different beast but I think it’s actually better because of this. If someone rocked up with the cash we needed one day, I’d be interested in doing it BUT as long as it’s on me to raise the funds for it, I’m not interested just because I’d rather pursue original things. Things might change once we see how scAIRcrows fares on the festival circuit but right now short answer is – there’s a script that I love but no desire on my part to take it any further than that at the moment.

So next was something that was very briefly mentioned – the next thing that’s a definite for me is a feature. scAIRcrows was always seen as a training ground to see if we could actually pull a 30 min film off, working with professional actors, effects etc. Now that we’ve managed that, we know what can be done, what needs to be done differently etc etc! So, now I’m free for the first time in a year and a half, my attentions are turning to the things I’ve REALLY wanted to do. There’s stuff that’s very precious to me that I wouldn’t want to screw up so scAIRcrows and txt msg have paved the way for that.

So I’m dusting off a script that I’d written when I was 22. I only dug it out last week and I think 5 years separation from it has done me the world of good! I brought it up to the fourth draft very quickly back then but then left it alone and reading it now – I have that distance that any creative really wants from their work. And I still LOVE it! It was always written so that it could be pulled off on a low budget and now, with the experience of scAIRcrows behind me, I know that this can be pulled off really well. It’s a love story but I wouldn’t say a wholly conventional one given my two previous films! It’s very different to scAIRcrows and txt msg which, again, is what I need to do. I have plenty of things I want to do and revisiting old territory and themes is something I won’t be doing for a long time! I tentatively plan to shoot between July and September but then, thinking about the Olympics, the price of things like locations might be driven up so it could be a bit earlier but, more realistically, September onwards.

The crucial thing about this feature is that we’re going to shoot with a crew this time and high end cameras – as I say, I’m too in love with this project to want to cut any corners with it!

I’m pretty sure that I’ll sneak another short in sometime between now and then. I’ve recently been flicking through all my old scripts. I have some really cool ideas and plenty of them – it’s just about finding something that’s easy to do and cheap because I don’t want to take any money away from the feature (which is already collecting money in a separate bank account!).

For those that’ve asked about buying scAIRcrows – I’ve always said that scAIRcrows weren’t made for the purposes of generating revenue. We’re now entering it onto the festival circuit so I don’t want to hurt its chances by having it be readily available. I do have an idea about distribution that came to me about a week or two ago – I stand by what I say, I won’t be selling it but I will make it available at some point in 2012.

So – thanks to the cast that were there – massive apologies for not introducing you up there! Everything that happened on that stage after was a bit of a blur! For those that sent their apologies – it’s a shame that you missed it! We did good and I wished you could’ve all shared in that!

Thanks to everyone that came down! I hope you all had a good time! It was a fun night!! Anyone that donated any money at the end – HUGE thank you and I REALLY mean that – it’s all going straight towards the feature and every penny makes it that bit better!

And Jenny and Wayne – without you none of this would have ever happened – what more is there to say, it’s that simple…

Now that scAIRcrows is finished, I can't see the updates being as frequent as they once were. So, that being the case, if anyone is interested in what happens next - 'like' the Zombee Video Facebook page (!/pages/Zombee-Video/223962000984664) or follow Zombee Video on Twitter (!/ZombeeVideo). Any word on new projects etc are going to come via those two sources now. The scAIRcrows Twitter and Facebook pages will still be updated whenever anything happens such as festival play etc so still worth keeping on the radar!

As ever - there's a lot of words here and I have no energy to draft it so forgive any typos and the like!

Thanks again and we'll see you around, somewhere, somehow...

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