four months you say? Sorry…

It’s been forever since I last entered the blogosphere, so I’ll try to be brief… ish…

In June, a little before my previous post, I spent an evening with the boys from Seven Summits and actor Jordan Dunbar filming for their music video The Worrier. It was a hot summer’s night (yes, we had one of those!) in Downpatrick, and I shot the scenes… well, the scenes which involve sweaty men. You’ll see. I don’t want to give away what happens in the video. It’s recently been released, so here it is:

In July, after finishing up my placement in BBC post-production and finishing my Tourist Board/Cinemagic films, I took a week off to explore the countryside a bit with my sister and new brother-in-law. While hiking in Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal, I received the news that my short film script, One Night was being considered for production. Very exciting stuff!

Let me backtrack a little. A couple of months prior, the Aim High trainees decided to make a short film, and were lucky enough to obtain the support (financial and otherwise) of our funders – NI Screen, BBC and Creative Skillset. After a manic period of script development (Skype, wine, tea, snacks, and a lot of chat) we ended up with a few ideas to pitch.

In the end, a script of mine was picked, and a turbo-charged pre-production phase began. Did I mention that around this time I started my placement in the camera department on HBO’s Game of Thrones, averaging 60 hours a week?! It was a little crazy but things quickly gained momentum, with trainees Sarah Ashley-Cantello and Emma Burns taking on producer duties, and another trainee, Gillian Callan, directing. We gathered an amazing cast and crew – a mix of Aim High trainees, experienced professionals, and younger supporting players.

We shot the film over one hectic weekend in August, which turned out to be surprisingly sunny and pretty good fun. Post-production was then completed in time for the film to be premiered as part of the Belfast Media Festival in mid-October. The screening went really well and we were pleased to receive positive feedback and sage advice from Oscar-winner Terry George, who was in attendance that day.

If you would like to see the film, please contact me and I can send you a link and password.

What I can show you without a password is the music video I shot for Hurdles in October. They were recording their debut single, Pictures, and asked me to come along and shoot a music video based on their day in the studio. It was great fun and I’m pleased to report that the boys have just won the Love and Death Jam competition! Expect big things from this lot. I like them so they must be good. You can download their single from their bandcamp page, and here is the video:

Right after shooting Pictures, I started my fourth Aim High placement at 360 Production in Derry. Primarily I’ll be helping out on the editing side of their new YouTube channel, though I’m also doing some writing. There’s a lot going on and it’s a very exciting time to be there. Watch this space.

Last month I also directed a short film, Bliss, featuring the lovely Déarbhail Carr, who was our lead in One Night. The film was one I wrote as a bit of a challenge really; I tend to write scripts which are dialogue-heavy so I thought it would test my abilities to write a story with no dialogue whatsoever. Along with Déarbhail I enlisted Emma Burns to produce with me and try her hand at makeup, Pete Graham as DOP (assisted by Austen Irwin), Ross Haymes as… helpful person #1, and Oisín Kearney and Lauren McCullough on stills. I catered (big pot of chili).

It was a very fun shoot (despite the fact that the film will end up rather gloomy – you’ll see!) and I’ve just started to edit it now. I’ll keep you posted (promise!)

What else?

  • the Tourist Walk boys will shortly be releasing the videos for the two other songs we recorded on the same day as Nothing Left to Lose. These are in the final stages of Mike’s edit and I’m looking forward to being able to share them. I’ve signed on for Tourist Walk Derry which we’ll be filming next month.
  • working on a couple of other short drama scripts, and developing a feature or two (mostly just in my brain at this stage)
  • just had ten days in Spain with my parents (lots of rain, but also lots of sightseeing, photograph-taking, wine-quaffing, and jamón-chomping – not usually at the same time)
  • I’m on the lookout for short films to edit, so please keep me in mind if you (or someone you know) has work that needs doing… and I’ll always consider filming, writing and directing work too 🙂

Over & out.

[Oh and Thrones was excellent. Really hard work (I gained biceps, blisters, and more scrapes and bruises than I care to mention) but an unforgettable experience and an amazing team to be a part of. And no, I won’t tell you what happens but you’ll find out in four months!! It will blow your minds, fans…]