Sunday, January 22, 2006

Kit and Caboodle

For Folie, I'm thinking of buying an HDV camera, and possibly also a sound recorder of some sort. The idea behind buying as opposed to renting is that the same gear can then be used on other projects (such as a documentary on The Knights Templar, which has been mooted on and off over the last few years - usually after drink has been taken). My first thought was to buy a Sony HDR FX1, which I know has been used for features, but I have since discovered a site selling a better camera, the HVR Z1P. Alternatively, there is also the HVR A1P, which is the cheap option. (There is in fact a cheaper camera still, the HDR HC1, but that would only be used if there was a serious lack of cash. Which is always possible.) I'm off to a trade show in two weeks' time to talk to the good people at Sony to find out the whys and wherefores of these various cameras. Soundwise, we will probably use a Marantz PMD 670, which again, I know has been successfully used on low-budget features. If there's any money left, I can either then buy a microphone, or hire one.

Once a camera has been sorted, I will be shooting a short documentary as a dry run, to get to know the equipment. This will be called - almost certainly - Lanterna Magicka, and will be a documentary about Bill Douglas and his collection of pre-cinema optical devices. We are hoping to get it screened at the National Film Theatre in London in June 06, as part of a season of Bill's films. (June being the 15th anniversary of his death.) I'm firing off letters to potential interviewees over the next few days.

On an artistic note, we now have the first 24 pages of the script done. Or at least a draft of them. No rest for the wicked, or, indeed, the overdrawn.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Simple is Strong

The title of this post is something the late, great Scottish filmmaker Bill Douglas used to have as something of a mantra whenever he was working on a film or a script. As I want this film to be something of a return to basics, it's a phrase I think I would do well to recall as often as possible. I also want to study again not just his films, but also those by filmmakers who have consistently used this as a working principle: Bresson, above all, but also Kieslowski, whose relentless paring down was also coupled with a fairly high emotional charge (the same could be said of Bill's films). Of course, I do not want to compare myself to any of these people, but their work is something I think we can keep in mind during the run-up to the shoot.

I may of course post my own mantras, once I can think of some...

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Gospel According to Jean-Luc

Jean-Luc Godard once said that all you need to make a movie was a girl, a car and a gun. I think he also said that films could be described by one word: emotion. (Echoing this, one of Wim Wenders' books of articles is called Emotion Pictures.)

Well, for this one, we have a girl - she's half the cast - and a car (a crucial scene takes place in it towards the end), but no gun. This is England, after all. We don't generally have guns, unless we're blasting burglars in remote farm houses or shooting clay pigeons.

But what the film does have, I hope in droves, is emotion. I sometimes think that a film is like a pair of scales: in order to make it balance - and therefore have a successful (at least on its own terms) - film, you need to make the scales balance. So if you have lots of plot and action, you probably don't need that much in the way of character development, and vice versa. For Folie à Deux, we don't have a great deal of plot: a guy and a girl meet, and spend the afternoon talking. But what happens between them becomes increasingly emotional, so I hope that that is what will make the scales balance. Only time will tell if my scales theory is right, or just a load of old cobblers.

Happy Birthday to Jimmy Page (OBE!), by the way.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Folie à un

On a long nighttime drive last week - 29 December - I was mulling over various film projects that could be done while we search for money for The Gulf Breeze Caravan Park UFO Society. The essential factors would need to be that they are cheap to make - very - and quick to do - 6-8 months from start to finish.

I have occassionally thought about doing something along the lines of Straw Dogs -people in a country house becoming increasingly psychopathic as only the repressed English middle and upper classes can be, and decided that all this would require would be about 6 actors and one or two locations (the house, the village pub), and lots of stage blood. However, the problem with this idea was just that - the bloood and the lack of a redemptive ending, as what I have in mind is basically something that reminds the audience that we're not even noble savages, a pretty pessimistic ending.

This led me on to my other idea, which I've only been thinking about for around a month, after reading something in the paper. The more I thought about this idea, the more it appealed to me. Minimal story, maximum emotion. And very cheap to shoot. I can't tell you what it was I read, as that will give the film away completely, but all I can say at the moment is that it's along the lines of Before Sunrise. With a twist. A big twist.