Tuesday, 26 March 2013

"Of Shark and Man" - Progress Update

"Pole Cam"  - Keeping it creative!

After the madness of running around all day and almost drowning in alcohol at night during this weekend's London Dive Show, it's time to get back to normality, "normality" meaning cracking on with "Of Shark and Man" and trying to get as much paid work in as possible.

What was hugely encouraging about feedback I received at the Dive Show from people I'd never spoken with before is that upon hearing either my name or the name Scarlet View Media, is that many of them had seen and more importantly, enjoyed my work! A lot of those people were also asking how things are going with "Of Shark and Man" so I figured it was time for an update!

The edit is really coming along well, we have a very stylistic intro and a bit of back story, some of which you will have seen in the first teaser trailer, some scene setting, an intro to Shark Reef, the first dive, how Shark Reef came to be, my own progress towards shark heaven and the dive we refer to as "Rourke's Drift," and a ton of other stuff as a retrospective look at Shark Reef interweaves with a very current story unfolding in real time which is immensely challenging, mainly because it has to make sense and be entertaining and the sheer volume of content could easily tumble down like a house of cards and the viewer is lost. Doing this as a one man band with no budget is not easy!

Watching the film unfold before my eyes is a fascinating process, especially when it comes to what the final result will look and feel like in the format in which it is delivered. By that I mean how you, the viewer, actually gets to see it and that is a major influencing factor on what the film is actually like in the sense of how the edit is constructed and how long it is.

In probably 99% of broadcast TV, the programme you are watching is treated as nothing more than mere wrapping around the really important stuff, the commercials, that's what the broadcaster is most interested in, selling those 3-5 minute gaps in the broadcast of your film for as high a price as possible to a queue of corporations desperate to sell you something you probably don't need.

It's not that TV broadcasters are evil behemoths enslaving poor, naive members of the public into a zombie-like army of unthinking consumers, well, not all the time, because the attitude towards art in the 21st century has evolved in a way in which quality is now no longer seen as being of major importance because the public at large have developed a sense of entitlement to everything for free. In short, nobody, well almost nobody, values creative quality, hard work, passion or inspiration anymore, not unless a celebrity tells them to anyway. They might like your work, but they want it for nothing unless someone from the telly tells them otherwise.

Don't get me wrong, giving stuff away for free is great, I love it and do it regularly myself, I shouldn't because nobody should work for free, but I do, so people can hopefully enjoy the end result of the hours of work end thousands of pounds of investment I put into all my work. One of the reasons A Ray of Light got so popular was because it was easy to view (streamed and F.O.C).

You can't rely on your niche market being automatically interested in you or your work either, especially if they have to (shock horror) part with a couple of quid to see it, so for all they say how much they "love" sharks, lions, tigers, music or whatever, if they're not willing to part with a couple of quid to enjoy your hard work and creativity on a subject they supposedly are so passionate about, they obviously don't really "love" it, they merely have at most, a passing interest. That of course, is absolutely fine, there is nothing wrong with having a passing interest in something, but you can't rely on passing interests, take for example the From the Office...Facebook page, 534 "likes" but nowhere near that amount of people and I really mean, nowhere near even 10% of those people, have watched "Behind Blue Glass" yet...

Of course, television broadcast and films passed around social media for free are two completely opposite ends of the spectrum financially and creatively. I can assure you of this, "Of Shark and Man" will not be available on line for free, nor however, will it serve merely as wrapping for a series of commercials, hacked to pieces, resembling nothing of the film I want it to be, just to get it on TV.

So why is any of the above important? Well, it's important because it affects the outcome of the film. I said from the off that I wasn't making this for the ever-growing  number of shark lovers, I'm making this for everyone, even people who hate sharks, but in doing so, I am making the film I want to see. You can't please everyone all the time so if you concentrate on pleasing yourself you at least don't risk ending up with a film you wish was something else when you had the control to make it what you wanted!

With that in mind, "Of Shark and Man" has evolved into a somewhat epic telling of two stories, an ambitious cinematic motion picture, trapped inside a documentary's body and it even has some animation work in it! That wasn't in the original storyboard believe me!

For all the acceptance of the things which make being a film-maker such a difficult way to make a living, there are also the great things which come with it, one of those being discovering young, raw talent that wants to work with you and in the animation team working on a vital part of the film, I have found some real gems, talented and intelligent gems who can hopefully use their involvement in this film to go on to big things one day.

There are some truly amazing people in this film as well, Brenda Adkison, Michael Patrick O'Neill, Mike Neumann, Rusi & Papa and Helen Sykes to name just a few and it looks beautiful as well. In short, I'm very happy with how things are going, the only thing I would rather, is that it would come together quicker but unfortunately, life gets in the way, bills need paying, cars need filling etc etc...

OK so where are we now...the film is going to run around 90 minutes and the plan is to shoot some more UK stuff for a "flashback" sequence which expands more on my story prior to leaving for Fiji (this is a result of feedback from a few people who want to know more about my motivations for making the choices I have), the film currently features four main dive sequences, the first of which might just be the longest in a film since the Oceanic Whitetip sequence in "Blue Water White Death." I have the most complex elements of the story to come as I want the film to build to a climax with the viewer already full to the brim with information and as familiar with the story of Fiji's relationship with sharks as they can be so they can relax and truly immerse themselves in the final, major dive sequence.

When the first rough cut is done, I add the music, do the sound design, colour correct and grade it and then take it to a handpicked group of people for a few private screenings to get feedback. From there, I make any changes suggested (which I agree with of course) then do some small test screenings, after that, I make any more changes so I can get the film to the best it can be for release.

For the promotional side of things, I will start thinking about Teaser Trailer 2 in the next couple of weeks, after that, a third teaser will be released when the rough cut is finished and two main trailers will be released after the test screenings are complete. I am already looking at a strategy for release where the film can gain a global following in an organic manner, using the film itself as its own promotion, by that I mean taking the film on the road, the film festival circuit, media screenings etc, the aim is to then get the broadcasters to come to the film, not vice versa.

There's no way for me to tell how successful that strategy will be, all I can do is work as hard as possible and be as focused as possible. I am aiming for the finished film to be released this year and I am excited about the possibilities of what it can achieve.

I am always looking to grow the Street Team so if you really want to help then email me at david@officetoocean.com because your help is not only greatly appreciated but desperately needed.

There is something coming your way soon also (June to be precise) which lends a little more info to what I was actually doing shark-wise whilst in Fiji so keep coming back to this blog to check when that's available.

Questions, feedback and comments, as always, warmly welcomed.


Anonymous said...

Love Behind Blue Glass and everything else I've seen of your stuff. I'm highly confident that "Of Shark and Man" will be as good as I expect it to be. This is a highly professional and passionate man making these films, guys. He's gonna keep doing amazing things, so make sure you watch.

Jason Perryman

OfficetoOcean said...

Thanks Jason that's really nice of you to say!!