Low season : a short synopsis, notes

In my attempt to bring the ideas of the film into an abridged and shortened pitch I began to make notes, here is one of the early attempts. part of the reason was to apply for music rights through Moby gratis where they required a condensed synopsis.

The film follows a man in a seaside town in the winter, it is bleak and run down, the pier is falling down, posters are peeling from the walls reminding us of the glory days. The film behind with a note blowing along the street, we follow the note as it tumbles along. the scene cut abruptly to the inside of a busy cafe steam hissing and the clank of cups.We follow this character from him having a cup of tea in a small cafe, he is writing a note, he looks up sees himself through the window and the camera shifts it is he looking in at an empty seat. We know that he is troubled and cut off from other people. he is dressed impeccably in suit and tie he is in his late 5os and we follow him as he walks along the front to the old pair, various shots intercut with sound suggest the pair in its summer heyday before financial ruin. he ends up on a tiny patch of beach where for a brief time he watches a young boy spas around in the icy water with his ageing dog, whilst his father looks on. They leave huddled against the cold.

Our character walks down onto the beach and very carefully undresses, each item stacked neatly on a pile and finally the note perched on the top the cars settles with the note we see him walk out of focus and into the sea imered he disappears. the note flutters off in the breeze. The camera follows the note as before as it tumbles along the pavement it blows against the leg of a man dressed smartly in the same suit and shoes he stoops and picks up the note fade to black

First notes on potential cast and crew for Low Season

The potential crew for LOW SEASON:

Producer: Jake Bench

Director: Chris Lake

First assistant director: Caroline Morley?

Camera operator/DOP: Rusty

Lighting technician: Aden Barwick?

Sound mixer/recordist/boom operator: Daniel Eastick?

                                                             Dan Smith?

Cast & Extras:

main character: over 40 years, male?

Boy on beach with dog: 12 year old boy (has to be able to get splashing in cold water)?

Dad on beach: 30s-40s ?

Dog!?:  scruffy small dog preferably a bit old Jack Russel or Terrier?

Extras:

Cafe extras:

Waitress in Cafe: female non actor

Assorted customers in cafe minimum of six individuals needed mixed sex and age.

First production meeting with Jake and crew structure

First production meeting for ‘Low Season’ 6th of December 2016

Chris Lake: Director & Jake Bench: Producer

After Jake offered to produce Low Season, and I shifted all of my focus on this module toward the film, we very quickly set up our first meeting.

Jake has produced several shorts in the past and I have worked with him before on several of my own films. He brings a great deal of expertise knowledge and a zen like unflappable calm to a production. The ability to talk in short form with a fellow film maker is invaluable.

The beginning of the meeting consisted of me putting across a break down of films requirements, locations (yet to be granted permission) Alist of the crew including those on board and those still to contact. And a list of the cast and extras, who and where.

A lot of the discussion revolved around the structure of the crew as well, As I want Caroline Morley as Assistant director, which normally suggests a much larger shoot. In this case It covers a role that is crucial in allowing me to work with the actors and crew in a more creative way. That is of organisation of cast and crew and running orders on the day. In my past experience on my short fade I took on the producers and organiser role for the bigger shoots and essentially tried to do everything, not only is this exhausting it is counterproductive and can lead to micro management of a shoot, This time I really wanted to trust even more in a solid crew structure and release myself from the management of the shoot to concentrate on the films Aesthetic and artistic elements with the ability to stand back a little opportunities that may arise on set can be easier to see and act on.

The crew structure is as follows:

Me: Director

Jake Bench: Producer

Caroline Morley: Assistant director

Rusty: Dop/camera operator

Samuel Johns: camera/lighting assistant

Sound: Daniel Eastick?

Julia Claxon: set designer

Tamzen Howe: transport and hospitality

We also discussed the logistics of locations and getting cast and crew to and from and developed an idea of roughly how many days shooting may be required, the early cautious estimate seems to be 3 days shooting 4th as a pick up day if needed.

The budget of the film is a constraint on all of the emoluments above so some discussion revolved around the potential main budget needs and of course how to meet these. the kick-starter campaign That I am building I obviously a big part of this. and we identified sound recordist from london expenses and possible pay for actor and set design budget.

Factoring in the need for a realistic figure on any crowd funding campaign we came up with the figure of 750 pounds asa a working total to reach for.

A boy, his dog, and a dad.

I will keep this blog post Brief partly because I do not want to jinx anything at this stage! It has Taken a great deal of date changes and jiggling about to secure My other important cast members, they are my oldest friend Marc Eastick and his 12 year old Son Morgan, they are not just friend or family shoe ins for the parts, I have wanted the relationship for these roles to be real not two separate actors, and as the moment in life I witnessed was so full of pathos I really wanted to maintain as much of this as possible.

I realise that my reluctance to work with actors on the whole must seem perhaps an easy way out or even a means to save money! But it is far from it, It is too early to say what my first experience of working with a trained actor will bring to the film, but I can say this, I would always choose reality over fake if I could manage it, I need to feel that there is a connection somewhere between the character and what I am asking them to portray and real life, perhaps it stems from my attitude to lived experience. I have mentioned the Turkish Director  Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and the impact his film ‘Kasaba’ (1997) had on me, this was increased when I found that he worked for the majority of time with non actors and in particular with his family!

It has Created a few problems for me sticking to my guns on this one, and It did look like we would have to go the actors route at one stage because Marc and Morgan both live in Norfolk so it would involve a weekend trip for them and none of the earlier dates in March or earlier in April fitted with there schedules.

However when I realise that Things would simply not be ready for the shoots in March and with the deadline for this module looming, I saw we should clearly  hold on and shoot in late April.

It does mean the weather will be better (not necessarily wished for in this case) and that there will be a lot more tourists and people about generally to clog up the works, but, we get the right people for the roles and the more time to prepare properly. Add to this the increased daylight and the fact that we have to shoot early in the morning anyway. And I feel we win out all round.

 

 

 

 

LOW SEASON Production meeting two: 13/12/2016

20161213_135946

Cinematographer: Russel Cleave, Producer: Jake Bench, Director: Chris Lake

This meeting was an important chance to work through the ideas with both Rusty and Jake and also see where we were at with pre production plans.

We started by looking at what had occurred since the last meet, Jake had been busy and had secured permission for the cafe location at Dawlish and the pier at Teignmouth.

With two important catches, firstly, the cafe as we knew was for sale and not being used but will be sold and occupied from march Onward. This has pushed the shoot for this location to a date in Febuary, the owners are also away on holiday in Febuary so we are awaiting dates that will suit all.

The pier owners (family owned and run) are having works done to the pier and we are awaiting dates on availability. They are happy for us to shoot in the arcade, but we need to ask again about shooting the outside area at the end of the pier.