Thursday, 18 August 2011

Falling Out - Looking Back

Hanna Stanbridge as Carrie

In November I posted a blog entry discussing the development of a script for my short film Falling Out. In it I mention that it was five months prior that I had first introduced the idea to writer Tom K McCarthy, which would make it now 14 months since we began the project!
As the final film is now complete I am taking a moment to trace the project from inception to completion.

As Tom and I began roughing out the story we used a Tumblog to post our thoughts as we worked towards a first draft. It took a further five months to arrive at the shooting script, through multiple iterations we gradually reduced the heavy handed political elements to focus on the claustrophobic interpersonal story that takes place in the bunker.

Anthony Kelly as Rob

Late in 2010 we began pre-production. I began collecting visual reference and created a pitch document and later a small presentation which helped focus my vision for the project and allowed me to communicate it to the actors and crew.

Once producer John Fairfield came on board, we began pre-production. John on I both focused on casting actors, finding crew and finding locations. We used Google Docs to share a production document which helped us stay synchronised between production meetings.

Adam McNamara as Duncan

The first location which we confirmed was Scotland’s Secret Bunker, on our first recce we decided that the alternative entrance would be suitable for our exterior but the interior didn’t meet the needs of the script. The director of photography, Ian Forbes, and I went on a second, technical recce closer to the time of filming to more accurately plan the shoot.

Rec Room Location

After several months trying to get in contact with the Civil Defence & Emergency Service Preservation Trust John Fairfield managed to get us access to the Craigiebarns bunker. It suited our needs very well and still contains lots of cold war period equipment. This allowed our art director BryndĂ­s Blackadder to build an authentic feel, integrating our plot-vital props naturally in the environment. For the protest scene she also created an IED prop based on this reference.

To allow for creativity on set, we try to plan ahead as much as possible. The call sheet lets the crew and cast know where to be and when and helps John plan for the next move in his role as assistant director. The shot list and blocking help me, Ian and John plan our setups efficiently and avoid becoming confused in the heat of the moment.

Filming at Scotland's Secret Bunker

During pre-production I sourced visual effects reference images to help me create a consistent look to the shots, when Sean Christie offered to lend his motion graphics skills to the project I also put together a collection of reference images to guide his work. I used a spreadsheet in order to keep myself organised while working on multiple itterations of the visual effects shots and dropping them into the edit.

Mixing at James's studio

Yesterday sound designer James Scanlan and I spent 14 hours in his studio mixing the sound for the film. James brought a lot to the project and went beyond the notes I gave him, bringing life and texture to the film.
The score was made by Lewis den Hertog and the end music is a cover of a Billy Brag song performed by Adam Holmes. The recording was made with an old college microphone in a flat in Edinburgh which lends the recording a certain folky quality.

After screening Falling Out at the DJCAD Masters Show 2011 we plan to show it at the DCA as part of a Flyboy Films showcase and submit to film festivals world wide.