Monday, 28 January 2013

Interview with Shark Defenders

Angelo over at Shark Defenders did a little interview with me the other day so if you haven't already seen it, take a look!

I do quite like doing these so if you think it may be of interest to your readers, get in touch and I welcome, no, I actively encourage to the point of insistence, that you not be afraid of throwing some heavy/controversial subjects and questions at me, I don't bite!

Thanks again Angelo, you're a gent.

Hear endeth my shortest blog post ever.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

New Website And First Official Teaser Trailer!

Remember this?

Two and a bit years ago, having never directed anything before, I took Hamish out around Leeds and we tried to capture my rather primitive storyboard for a trailer to a film I wanted to make about sharks in Fiji so I could kinda show people who might be interested in helping me, an idea of the sort of thing I was attempting.

How far we have come...

The first official teaser trailer for "Of Shark and Man" is out today in conjunction with the updated, brand spanking, better looking, easier to navigate, new and improved website!

As I said, this teaser is "the first" and it is, the first of no less than three teaser trailers, the other two will appear in the coming months and will then be followed by two full trailers when the film is finished and ready to go.

This first teaser starts in the best place from which to tell a story, the beginning. This is a scene and mood setter, very much saying loud and proud that I am approaching this in a totally different way to everyone else, an introduction to one of the main characters (me!) and a visualisation of the quality and style of look I am going for.

Each teaser will focus on a different element of the story and will help to build an image for the viewer as to what they are getting with this film. When the final edit is at least half done, perhaps waiting until it is totally finished, there will be two full trailers released, much like those that would accompany a major release.

The website you will notice is sleeker, easier to navigate, is more focused in its content and just looks so much better. Thank you Kris Allen for all your hard work, you sir are a hero.

If you like the look of the teaser, you are into the concept of the film or you just want to help support independent film, please share this stuff. This is about representing an incredible story and an incredible animal properly and accurately, treating the audience with respect and as people who can look beyond what they're used to and who might just enjoy something a little different.

Music is by the always brilliant Chris Zabriskie and Lifescreen both of whom it's no secret I absolutely love. Chris's music will feature quite heavily in the film itself as well.

New to this and want some more info? Check the new website!

Feedback is of course, always welcome, share and share freely with friends, family and the weird strangers who stalk you on Facebook and get involved. The more people who can help build an audience for this, the more likely it is that we can start getting some more responsible, factual and most important, inspirational shark media out there!


p.s. This blog will take us over the 100,000 unique views milestone too! :)

p.p.s Thank you Mike for the kind words!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Talented Graphic Animators - Fancy Seeing Your Work In A Film?

Some things, you just gotta leave to the experts...

The concept of low budget indie film-making is one of great creative flexibility and control, sacrificing the kind of budgets that help you realise your creative and artistic ideas, contrary to high-budget film-making, in which you often have the budget, but not the creative flexibility or control. 

Such is the life of a Film-Maker.

I much prefer the former but would also like a bigger budget, in fact, I'd like an actual budget! All the editing, colouring, grading, sfx, graphics, marketing, music, sound design, everything in fact, is being done for zero pay, almost exclusively by one person, myself, although I owe a huge debt of thanks as always to Kris, Mark and Liam for their help along the way and continued support on various things.

I have had to teach myself Direction, Production, Cinematography, Editing, Colouring, Grading, Graphic Design, Photoshop, Web Design, pretty much everything involved in the film-making process but there are some things which are just better left to people who are naturally good at them and have the technical skills one can't just pick up using tutorials on Youtube. One of those things is the art of graphic animation.

I have a dilemma. Firstly, one of my biggest bugbears is the fact that an inordinate amount of people in the world expect that if you have a creative talent and the tools to realise that talent, then you should work for free or at least if not free, less than you'd get paid to work in Burger King. I refuse to tiptoe around it, it really, really pisses me off. I committed with the formation of Scarlet View Media that I will charge clients a fair valuation for the work they want doing, purposefully avoiding the lower quality jobs because to be honest, I value the amount of effort and enthusiasm I put into each job higher than to compete solely on trying to be the cheapest. I'd rather clients pay the going rate because I give the best value for money.

And herein lies my dilemma, I feel a bit dirty by admitting that because "Of Shark and Man" has no post-production budget, I have to address the possibility of asking if there is someone talented, professional, creative and enthusiastic out there who might just be interested in having their considerable talent showcased in a high quality film on a global platform without the compensation of guaranteed payment. Let me explain...

The other night, whilst editing and going through the OSAM script, I had a brain wave, something which would be really, really cool, a bit different, creative and would really bring to life a hugely important part of  the story. Immediately, the first thing that came to mind in regards to the style was the Japanese anime, and animated, graphic novel style, used to brilliant effect in the example above from Kill Bill, basically, something very similar but softer, obviously a lot less violent, about a minute long and which illustrates a story to ensure it is easily understood to audiences from a variety of cultures.

The problem is I cannot do this myself and the quality absolutely must be of the highest standard possible and that usually means a pro and pros charge money, money I don't currently have.

That leaves me two options:

A) Find a super talented person to do the animation to my exact spec in return for exposure for their work in the film, association with the project, potential for future properly commissioned work and a caveat that you may actually receive payment for your work retrospectively in the event the film gets distribution (contractually agreed beforehand of course!)

B) Carry out a crowd funding campaign to raise the money to pay the artist up front, something which would ultimately put the project back considerably in respect of when the first rough cut can be completed.

I only very occasionally do work for free these days, in fact it's extremely rare and only in special circumstances, I am actually doing something for free at the moment for a very special lady and a very good reason, the reasons being the same as here, the project has no money but I am an admirer of hers and the work she does and I am sacrificing payment for credit. For that reason I can totally relate to the issue raised for you, the talented animator I am hoping will contribute your talent to this film, essentially for free and I don't feel great about asking to be honest.

I like this ^^^ A  lot!

OK so there it is, is there anyone out there who would be interested to get involved? I want to pay you, I genuinely do and in the event I can pay you retrospectively, that would probably bring me almost as much joy as it would you! On the other side of the issue, if you're a millionaire with a little bit of cash you are desperate to spend, get in touch!!

Contact me at

Let's do something cool together!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

"Of Shark and Man" - Get Involved!!

Yes. It has a logo now!

Happy New Year!!

The blogs were less frequent at the back end of 2012 for the simple reason I was just so damn busy, primarily launching Scarlet View Media, trying to earn a living and making preparations for when the first draft edit for "Of Shark and Man" is finished. The first draft running order for the film is now half done and looking good so I need to start looking seriously at the marketing and promotion of the film to get it to as wide an audience as possible and to make it as financially successful as I can, the latter point being key to the development of "From the Office to the Ocean" as a genuine, long lasting series of films.

My trusty right hand man on the graphic and website design side of things, Kris, has been sweating over a hot computer, redesigning the OfficetoOcean website and it's not far off completion. It's simpler, quicker to navigate and it looks better and I am very much looking forward to its launch, especially because it will not only mean a new website, but because it will also see the release of the first, official teaser trailer for "Of Shark and Man."

I like teaser trailers, I think they're pretty cool things, in the old days, trailers used to show practically the entire film, observe this, the trailer for the original JAWS which seems to go on forever, in comparison, nowadays we have things like this, the teaser for the new Superman movie, "Man of Steel," which to be quite frank, looks cool as fudge. It gives you just enough to let you know something cool is on the way, you might have a bit of a wait, but it'll be worth it.

Of course, this first teaser for "Of Shark and Man" will be followed by others as 2013 progresses, showing more detail and more of the film, but this first one will hopefully set the tone and give you an idea of what you're in for. Don't expect what you're used to either, this is not your average shark film...

Help spread the word

When I was in Nerve Engine, one of the most valuable things I spent time doing was putting together a "Street Team." For those who aren't aware what that means, a street team is basically, in the traditional sense anyway, a group of people based in different parts of the country/world who really like a band, and who go out and flyer the streets, promoting upcoming shows by whichever band they're street teaming for. In return, they get free entry into shows, discounted merchandise, credits on sleeve notes, all that kind of groovy stuff.

In the modern age of social media, it seems Street Teams have fallen by the wayside which is a shame as I always thought it a great way to bring bands and their fan base closer together. What has all this got to do with my film you ask...

As a one man team, I simply cannot do everything myself and I am at a massive disadvantage because of that, there just isn't enough time and I don't have the resources to promote "Of Shark and Man" properly on my own, I am also making all this up as I go along as well having never promoted a film before so I thought, "why not put a street team together?!"

So, what would a "From the Office to the Ocean" Street Teamer be asked to do?

It's simple really, promote "Of Shark and Man" regularly on your social media pages, post updates from here, the website and press, share trailers and media and maybe even some outdoorsy stuff as well, like plastering stickers and any other promo materials all over your neighbourhood, upsetting your local council/town hall/police department etc whilst knowing that you're being super awesome in the process.

In return you get a thank you credit in the film itself and also discounts and first dibs on future merchandise and stuff. It's not massively labour intensive but it is enormously helpful and in keeping with the grassroots, "in it together" approach this film has had since day one, it's also a brilliant way to maintain the most important relationship of all, that of the film-maker and audience.

Obviously, one would assume that anyone interested in sharks and their proper representation in the media would be keen to climb aboard but it's a competitive world out there so anyone signing up is going to be a big asset to the film's growth in the face of apathy and the competitive elbowing for market share in the 21st century shark related media community, they sure as hell won't help us so we just have to do it ourselves right?

For example, when the new site is launched, you'll be emailed with details and asked to share on your Facebook pages and groups, email subscribers, mailing lists, newsletters, Twitter etc, encouraging people to get involved, become interested in the project and want to be a part of all this with us. You can also feel free to suggest promotional and marketing ideas, organise screenings when the film is finished, get actively involved on the Facebook page, stuff like that. It is essentially the odd couple of hours a week but even that minimal level of help will increase the chances of this film reaching the kind of audience it deserves.

Worth pointing out as well, simply posting a link isn't really enough, we've all seen the same turbo posting people on Facebook who seem to spend all day just plastering links to things that all blur into one to the point you just switch off and block them out of your mind, I don't want people like that. I want people who want to discuss, debate, enthuse and promote, people who actually give a shit about what they're sharing, people who believe in what it is we are doing!

If you want to sign up all you need to do is email me at with the title of the email as "Street Team" and provide basic details, your name, location, Facebook pages etc, that's it, we can then go from there. You may already help with things like this but please, if you do, still email me to be involved in the Street Team so I can keep a record of everyone involved!

I can't wait to get this started with you!

Just to finish this blog off, check out this short film I made about Autumn and the change as Winter approaches. I did it primarily to get out of the house as I was going stir crazy and the odd few hours of solitude in nature here and there really helped!

In Amber - A Very British Autumn from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

I will do the final part of the help blog for aspiring film-makers soon as well.

Brad has been on the telly as well, check that out here

2013 is already shaping up positively, not only will Of Shark and Man be completed but Brad and Bea are having a little person (I can say that now he announced it on TV), Hamish is getting married and two of my very closest friends, Mark and Fran, announced their engagement yesterday! Great stuff :)