Wed, 10 Aug 2022 11:47:30 GMT
If you’ve got a process, Straight8 will make you question it. If you’re unsure on where a shot should go, tough. If you’d like to test a scene a different way, you’re out of luck.
So when I sat in the Prince Charles theatre last summer watching that year's films, I was under no illusion that it wasn't as simple as it looked. And once the applause for the winner came to an end, Ed was straight on the mic: “right, we’ve got enough production companies in the room to commit to next year, hands up who’s in!?”
This felt like the first time in years that you could feel the excitement in the air at the cinema. And when my producers looked at me to say “You’re doing it, right?”, who was I to deny them?
A few months later, and 400 scraps of paper strewn around my office, I’m starting to feel the grip of time around my throat. But, if I learnt anything from being an art director, sometimes your best idea hits you in the final hours.
After a few phone calls with my hero of a producer (Flip Thomas), she said “what about a Seamus Heaney poem?” and it just clicked. It felt right for the format and the way I like to make film. We started pulling it all together - cast, location, crew…you know the drill.
The only slight issue was getting the copyright for the poem, and needing to shoot it in six days.
'Leave it with me' Flip said, and probably 30 calls and 300 emails later, we were given permission, with a mere 24 hours to spare.
From the outset I wanted to make something that, firstly, felt like it came from the same era as Super8 (late 60s/70s), and second, felt cinematic.
I’d definitely say that you have to stay militant with your rehearsals: repeat, repeat, repeat, shoot, and move on. You have to keep crossing shots off your board without looking back. In a way it’s fairly liberating - no playback, no comments, just “did we get it?”, “I think so”.
Overall, I’d say it was an experience made easy by having a great crew around me, both on set and during post. And it never hurts to get a Bafta nominated actor to do a VO for you.
For anyone thinking about doing a Straight8, just think - what’s the worst that could happen? Even if you don’t know what you’d make, there really isn’t a better time to get in touch with Ed and say 'count me in'. You won’t regret it.