Monday, 6 June 2016

Call sheets

Call sheets can be elevated to a complex science requiring at least two PhDs. In contrast our call sheets were just simple google docs. We've set up a shared folder which every cast/crew could view. There is a nice app which allows viewing the document directly on your phone so that last minute updates directly show up on the phone. No messy e-mails. Just up to date pages.
Each of these documents looked like this one:

5th Sept

Sound: 9.30am
Dir,AC,1st AD,design,runner: 9am
Edit: noon

scene 33/34/35: Anna, Robert (Scene 34 now just a voiceover of Josh)

scene 36: Anna, Robert, Jojo, Ruth

1pm: break

2pm: reshoot 48-49

scene 45: Anna, Robert, Jojo, Ruth

scene 85-89 first rehearsal/blocking: Ruth, Anna, Robert

Aspirin tampered with
Normal aspirins


all call times were actual 1st take times. Actors could come whenever they liked as long as they were ready when I called "action". Also in terms of clothing that was the actors' responsibilty and that worked perfectly.


Scheduling was done in a two step process. First all different locations were identified:


Josh’s car

In front of Josh’s flat

Josh’s flat, hall
Josh’s flat, livingroom
Josh’s flat kitchen
Josh’s flat bedroom
Company, street
Company, Alistair’s office

Company, main office
Company, coffee area

Company, staircase


Coffe shop

Robert’s car


Then on this basis a detailed schedule in form of an excel table was developed:
This was stored on google docs before and every cast/crew had access to it. On the basis of this schedule the call sheets where generated. This was all done on google docs and every cast/crew had access to it.

Shotlist / Floorplans

In order to plan the shots I do floorplans indicating the setups, the shots and the movements.
Here is scene 77 where Anna comes into the office and the camera follows her on a dolly which is pulled backwards.
The distance between camera and Anna is kept constant so that no focus pull had to be done. In order to keep the distance a thread was attached to the camera and Vasso held the other end straight so that she stayed in focus.
Here is the complete shotlist.

Screenwriting: from the treatment to the script

There are many ways of developing a script but for me it is roughly in three/four stages. First, there is a general idea which can be described in one paragraph. Then I develop a first draft of a treatment which I then give it to a writer who then turns it into a 1st draft and then we do as many iterations as required together.
The initial idea of Anna Unbound dates back to a practise run for the Glasgow 48hr film challenge for which I wrote a short horror treatment. This then turned into the short "Cut Free".
The film got selected for the Shockerfest film festival which encouraged me to develop it into a feature film script. With loads of feedback from Molly Illffe and Nic Motte this turned into a first treatment by the end of 2013. I entered it into a competition but it wasn't selected. This was a disappointment but at the same time I was glad because a production company might have cast somebody else instead of Vasso who I always had in mind playing the lead. Now I had my control back. Then, in Spring 2014 I went to Granada/Spain to lock myself in for two weeks and further improved the treatment. Vasso provided further input after my return which lead to the final treatment. Then I handed it over to Martin Brocklebank who wrote the first draft of the script. We then did numerous iterations till the summer until we arrived at the final script.You see that the treatment completly lacks the last part of the film which emerged through the collaboration with Martin. This is what I like about collaborations in that they lead to much more than one person could have imagined.

Location scouting: The office

On the Lion's share podcast Tanner asked me where we found this stunning location for the office and also at the Southend by Sea film fest this was noted.

We started looking at commercial properties in the city center of Glasgow and were first offered a tiny office to full commerical rential places. However a the manager of a basement office turned out to be a film fan and offered a large office for a massively reduced rental for a month.This was our preferred option at that time.
Pearce Institute (Creative commons Wikimedia)
At the same time we contacted Creative Scotland who provided a list of offices used in filming before. One of these locations was the Pearce Institute. We instantly fell in love with its architecture and old Victorian features inside and that became the office of the company.