Tag: Andy Collier


Advice For First Time Independent Feature Filmmakers

January 10, 2019

Making your first feature film is a pivotal milestone for a filmmaker. From getting the right cast to working with the right producer, it can be a very daunting task, particularly if you’re working with a limited budget. So, we spoke to filmmakers who have independently completed their debut feature film to get practical advice on what to do when making your debut independent feature film. Here’s what they said…

Dom Lenoir (Director / Producer) – Winter Ridge (2018)

The right mindset & getting into cinemas.

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t achieve, set yourself a goal for the film you want to make and something that sets you on fire with passion and then comit to making it. Half the battle is just making a pledge with yourself that whatever happens you will keep going, every time you hit an obstacle you just take it one at a time and eventually you’ll have a film. And build yourself the infrastructure of a film before you even think about asking for money, when its ready to go and all you need is the funds then you are in a good place for investment.

Getting into cinemas isn’t nearly as hard as people think. The attitude is that if you don’t have Tom Cruise in your film it won’t fill seats, but you can target areas you have a base and market single screenings yourself and a lot of cinemas are receptive if you can guarantee some seats filled.

Winter Ridge (Trailer)

Winter Ridge is available to download and stream across all major platforms.

Jamie Noel (Writer / Director) – Lie Low (2019)

Getting the right location & filming with smaller crew.

Once I came to terms with the restrictions of a smaller crew and minimal kit, I was free to focus on the benefits. Sure, I couldn’t afford an Alexa, or an expensive lighting set up but by shooting with available light, a documentary size crew, a Sony A7s and a hand-held gimbal, we suddenly were so much more flexible and agile. We were able to capture more takes and grab coverage and cutaways on the fly, something that would normally add hours on to the schedule. Embrace your limitations, they will end up being the best ally you have.

Working on a micro-budget, very little was certain. It was especially hard to lock down locations. We had to stay malleable and adapt quickly when the ground shifted. Our main location changed weeks before shooting, this not only changed things in regard to the logistics of the production but also in terms of the tone of the film. You just have to run with it, every location will have something to offer if you’re open to it and fortunately, in the end, our final main location turned out to be a real gem.

Lie Low (Teaser)

Lie Low will be screening at film festivals later this year.

Andy Collier (Co-Writer / Co-Director / Producer) – Charismata (2018)

When is a script ready & raising money for your film.

I think you should never stop working on [the script]. Good actors should bring their own takes to a script right up to shooting (which may or may not be improvements but working through them is always valuable). The better question is when is [a script] ready to use as a basis for fundraising? That’s a “piece of string” question but I think you need to be 100% happy that you have a very solid script in terms of all of story arc, structure, characterisation/slick dialogue, themes, motifs. The structure is a huge one… rightly or wrongly, a huge part of the gatekeeping side of the industry (financiers, prestige talent agencies) is focussed on BeatSheet-type analysis so it will help you if the script broadly conforms to that so that reading it satisfies their expectations.

Two methods for UK producers [For raising money]:

  • Package the script with a well-made lookbook (or at the very least one sheet) and a sensible business plan starting from sales projections given your genre and attached cast, and reverse engineer the budget to hopefully ensure break-even… and take that to the main markets (AFM, Cannes, Berlinale) and get meetings at the booths of as many sales agents, distributors, financiers as possible. And expect to get a lot of very encouraging responses in person that will 99.9% of the time fizzle out to nothing.
  • Get the same package and try to get rich individuals to invest, using EIS or SEIS as a sweetener. Finding rich individuals can be difficult if you don’t know any, but angel investors or equity crowdfunding platforms can be found on the internet. Depending on where you shoot, there are often soft money schemes available. In the UK, HMRC will reimburse you 20% of audited UK spend, provided you get all the necessary admin done properly. Soft money can’t be used for production or usually even post-production budget (it takes a long time to arrive)… but it’s valuable for back-end costs etc.

Charismata (Trailer)

Charismata is currently available in the U.S and will be available in the U.K later this year.

Sheila Nortley (Writer / Executive Producer) – The Strangers (2019)

Things to consider in pre-production & post-production.

I’d say one of the key things to consider in pre-production is post-production. You’d think it goes without saying but when filmmakers are first starting out a lot of the focus is on just getting through the shoot and getting the footage. It’s so important to get your post-production team in the loop as early as possible so that they’re not having to fix problems which could have been avoided but rather the shoot has been shot and delivered in a way which is not only the most efficient and convenient for them to be able to crack on but also the best way for the film overall. This also includes budgeting properly for post and not going ridiculously over budget during the production and then trying to cut corners later.

'I'm a writer, a mother, a Muslim'

Sheila Nortley says she's a 'born and bred Londoner' with roots in Ghana. She spoke to us about her latest film, The Strangers.

Gepostet von BBC News Africa am Montag, 13. August 2018
The Strangers (Behind the scenes – BBC)

The Strangers will be screening at festivals later this year.

Mark A.C Brown (Writer / Director) – Guardians (2018)

Choosing the right producer & working on a limited budget.

On Guardians we had no money so my choice of producer was based on getting someone not for raising money but for their ability to use the resources we had at our disposal. So Fred Fournier was the man. We had worked together on many short projects and he had worked in several different capacities on each from sound, script supervisor, continuity, camera and editing. And he did a few of the scores. So his knowledge of and ability to communicate with pretty much every department was invaluable, saving us time, money and a fair amount of embarrassment for me as I knew very little technical stuff at the time of shooting.

Guardians (Trailer)

Guardians will be released on Video on Demand later this year.

That concludes our advice from filmmakers! Look out for updates regarding the films featured. Big Picture Film Club would like to thank all of the filmmakers involved for their contributions.


Charismata: The Next Step In British Horror?

May 2, 2018
Charismata - Crime Scene Picture

The Horror genre is undoubtedly undergoing a renaissance in a post-Get Out world, the likes of A Quiet Place & It have shown there can be more to the genre than mindless, mediocre “hack-and-slash” films. However, British horror hasn’t quite made the leap forward in comparison to its American counterparts, therefore we are long overdue a break-out in great British horror films. Fortunately, new independent horror, Charismata shows that we may be on the cusp on of change this side of the pond too!

Premiering at the 2018 Eastend Film Festival, Charismata is a film firmly rooted in the horror genre but manages to effortlessly intertwine elements of a suspense drama and psychological thriller. The central plot follows Serious Crime Squad detectives Rebecca Faraway (played by Sarah Beck Mather) & Eli Smith (played by Adonis Anthony) as they attempt to hunt down a serial killer in London. The easy to follow plotline, which is favourable to horror films, is complemented by a sub-plot exploring detective Faraway’s declining mental state, which is compounded by the on-going stress in her life.

Sarah Beck Mather as detective Rebecca Faraway
Sarah Beck Mather as detective Rebecca Faraway

Co-directors, Andy Collier & Toor Mian do a fantastic job of drip-feeding the more surreal elements of the film throughout the 96 minute feature, as a result we get a film that is well paced, and one in which the world that we world we understood in the first 15 minutes is dramatically different to that in the last 15 minutes. Impressively, this is done in a way that does not feel forced, but rather a natural evolution in the film. Mr Sweet (played by Jamie Satterthwaite) gives a show-stealing performance as one of the films suspects, playing a smug executive at property development firm – a character you will love to hate.

A noteworthy point of the film is the directors’ choice of having single female main-cast member in the entire film and how this shaped the character of detective Faraway.  Co-director, Toor Mian explained their decision, “Although we specifically wanted a female protagonist, we didn’t want a cliched female protagonist. There are some iconic female police detectives, especially over the last decade,  really in terms of television. We didn’t actually want her to be super capable, we wanted her to be three-dimensional, we wanted her to be human, we didn’t want her to be an idealised version of a female detective and we wanted her to be vulnerable“.

The rest of core cast works well together, and consideration has been given to give each of the cast to give them a sense of identity and as well-rounded characters. One slight issue with the film is some of the humour in the early stages seems too forced at times, but is altogether absent approaching the final third.  Typically lower budget horrors suffer when it comes to visual effects showing graphic violence, often to the detriment of the impact that the violent scenes should have, thankfully Charismata largely avoids with careful shot selection. In the film’s most surreal moments, however,  that alone should not deter you from what is otherwise a visually sound and delightful film.

So is Charismata a turning point for British horror films? We certainly hope so! Yes, at times it is a film that is a little rough around the edges, but what good horror film isn’t?

Charismata is currently being screened in select film festivals, so expect it to see an official release later in 2018.