Sunday, 31 October 2010

Week Two

Week two has been tough. We've all had to work very hard to stay on schedule and the hours have been long for the last couple of days. But as well as being tough, it's also been another enjoyable week. The team is working well and we're getting what we need. Our camera went down on Wednesday, the day we were doing one of the script's longest scenes, so we lost some time and had to drop some shots, but we did a rough cut of the scene that night and know that what we have works. Yesterday we did our house-party sequence, which involved thirteen actors on set. The fact that we managed to get through the whole sequence in one day is a testament to the hard work that the cast and crew are putting in. Despite the pressure, we managed to keep the mood light, and some great ad-libs from Andrew Hawley and Jack Gordon had the rest of us in stitches (yes, I admit it, I'm guilty of ruining an otherwise decent take by not keeping it together, but it's really Jack's fault when you think about it...). As yesterday was Jayne, Fiona and Paul's last day we decided to take our group photograph. Just two more days to go now...
- Alex

The cast and crew of Life Just Is. Back to front, left to right: Mali Rosen-Rawlings (continuity), Louis Tarbuck (runner), Emily Lomasney (production manager), Lisa Smith-Milne (makeup), Jason Creasey (sound), Harpall Kaura (gaffer), Niina Topp (production design), Charmaine Parram (costume), Alice Caronna (1st AD), Niall Phillips ('Ollie'), Yosuke Kato (cinematographer), Tom Stuart (producer), Paul Nicholls ('Bobby'), Jack Gordon ('Pete'), Will De Meo ('David'), Nathaniel Martello-White ('Tom'), Joshua Osei ('Vince'), Andrew Hawley ('Nick'), Jayne Wisener ('Jay'), Alex Barrett (writer/director), Fiona Ryan ('Claire'), Gillian Wisener ('Beth'), Dean Hilton (focus puller), Tom Ruddock (DIT), Rachel Bright ('Anna'), Lachlan McCall ('Lawrence').

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Shooting Week One

Week One

As I write this I'm sitting in the production office we've set up in the basement of our first location. In an hour Tom will be coming over and we'll be shifting everything over to location number two. It's quiet being here alone – quite a different feeling from what it's been like over the last six days. The first week of our shoot has flown by in a flurry. We started with perhaps the two most ambitious days of our schedule. Day one consisted of six scenes in seven locations, and day two was five exterior scenes, all of which were covered in single, continuous Steadicam shots. It was a tough start, not helped by the heavy rain on Tuesday afternoon. But we got there, and we worked through our issues. On Wednesday evening we shot the film's ending – also exterior – and luckily the weather held (as late as last week they were predicting snow, so I have to admit I was pretty worried for a while...). On Thursday we settled properly into the location, but we had a couple of tracking shots which slowed us down and which, naturally, brought their own problems with them. On Friday and Saturday we hit our stride and had our best two days. I'm very excited by the footage we got. Our biggest issue this week has been sound, largely due to the flight path over the location, and time has been tight. The schedule and budget we have dictate that we have to shoot quick. In some ways it's nice as I like to work fast and it keeps the momentum going, but time is always the greatest premium on a film set, and an extra few hours here and there would not have been missed. But luckily for me the entire crew has been extremely hard working and made it happen. We've run a little late a couple of times, but everyone has shown great patience and understanding and there's a real community vibe on set. The cast has been fantastic, both on and off screen. They're a great bunch of people and they've delivered some truly spell-binding performances so far. I'm very touched by the dedication to the project that the entire cast and crew have shown this week, and I'm looking forward to continuing the shoot tomorrow (but not so excited about the location move this afternoon...).
- Alex

Friday, 22 October 2010

Screen Daily

Very excited that we made Screen Daily earlier this week! The shoot is going well - more news and more photographs soon!

Photographs - Shoot Days 1 & 2

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Production Meeting

Last night we had a final production meeting with the crew to talk things over in preparation for starting our shoot on Monday. Here are some photographs, courtesy of our still photographer David Lau.

Left to right: director Alex Barrett, soundman Jason Creasey and production designer Niina Topp.

Producer Tom Stuart

Left to right: producer Tom Stuart, production manager Emily Lomasney, 1st AD Alice Caronna.

Left to right: focus puller Dean Hilton and cinematographer Yosuke Kato.

Director Alex Barrett and soundman Jason Creasey.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

New Videos

Some new videos fresh from our YouTube Channel...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Every film has its 'thing'

As anyone who has ever tried to make a film will tell you, filmmaking isn't easy. On top of all the creative and technical difficulties, there are also issues of logistics: filmmaking is a group activity and trying to line up everyone's schedules can turn into a nightmare, especially on a microbudget production such as ours. It is therefore with sadness that I have to announce that Jamie Di Spirito and Hannah Tointon have had to leave our team, despite their enthusiasm for the project. Jamie has contractual obligations to fulfil, while Hannah has personal commitments which render her unavailable for our shoot.

Needless to say, we were disappointed to have Jamie and Hannah leave the project, but on a brighter note I am extremely excited about the new additions to our cast: Jack Gordon and Fiona Ryan.

Jack Gordon
Fiona Ryan

The casting for Life Just Is has not been easy. From overwhelming choice to scheduling conflicts, every step of the way has been fraught with tough decisions. But in the end it has all been worth it, and I know that we have a fantastic line up of extremely talented and passionate actors on board. As a debut feature director, it's everything I could hope for and everything I've always dreamed of.

Friday, 8 October 2010


Things are hotting up as we head into our final stretch of preproduction, and we're all very busy trying to pull things together for the shoot. Although there's far too much going on for me to write about everything in detail here, I thought I'd write a quick post to mention a meeting that we held yesterday: Yosuke, Murat, Jason, Tom and I got together in the downstairs bar of the Curzon Soho to talk about workflow. One mistake I see independent filmmakers make time and time again is under-planning their postproduction route and underestimating the potential difficulties involved. In this respect I'm lucky as I have a very dedicated and experienced crew who agree that it's vital to make sure we have our game plan finalised before the shoot – and hence the meeting. We discussed a range of aspects, from kit to codecs, from paperwork to timescale. We still have a number of decisions to make and details to finalise, but the plan is certainly coming together.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Tech Recce

Yesterday Tom, Alice, Emily, Yosuke, Niina, Jason and I spent the day on a tech recce, visiting all of our locations to discuss the logistics of the shoot and the production design, and to try and finalise our shot list. Since my post on storyboarding, Yosuke and I have been through all of my sketches, talking through them shot-by-shot, on location, with a viewfinder in hand. Off the back of our discussions I've made a written shot list, added illustrations to it, and tramlined a script so that we know which part of which scene each shot is going to cover (this is also very useful for giving Murat a good idea of what footage he'll be getting in the edit room, allowing him to suggest further changes before it's too late). Yesterday's recce also gave us a chance to talk through the shot list from a sound point-of-view, a production design point-of-view, and a schedule point-of-view. I'm sure things will change once we're on set (inspiration will hit, the actors will want to reblock, the light won't be right, etc, etc), but at least now we'll be prepared and have a lot of notes to fall back on.