Category Archives: Love Thy Neighbour

Love thy neighbour – Stills

Good morning! Before we really get started on the post-production phase for Love Thy Neighbour, I though I’d post some (low quality) test snapshots taken from our final take. Enjoy and follow progress on the project here

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One Take Wonder

It’s been an intense week leading up to the filming of ‘Love Thy Neighbour’.

Aside from the usual production headaches just before a shoot – we had one tiny issue to resolve: the script! We loved the concept of the story but had too many script variants.

A few days before filming I had a go at streamlining the latest 16 page draft into a snappier 9 page version. I was expecting Stan to hate it but aside from a few tweaks it essentially formed our shooting script. We also wanted the actors to workshop so they could bring their own ideas and interpretations to the table. Ideally you’d do this before the shoot date but time was not on our side.Slate

It was great to learn that Melissa Dalton (playing Kelly) and Louis Bernard (playing Rob) were traveling together on the same train. They had both bonded during the journey and had already come up with ideas and back-stories to their characters.  This allowed us to hit the floor running!Louis Bernard and Melissa Dalton workshopping

Natalie Martins (playing Michelle) arrived shortly afterwards, it was lovely to be working with her again after ‘Emmi‘.  We all bounced ideas around, fixing issues and occasionally adapting character motivations – it was a really productive morning! We encouraged everyone to improvise so they would react to situations at key moments (the script was more of a guideline), quite an exciting way of working!

After lunch, Daniel Epih (playing Harv) and Jacqueline Dunning (our make-up artist) turned up. We starting to doing some technical run-throughs to figure out how the camera needed to travel (and pick the camera we’d be using). We shot tests on a Canon C300 using a shoulder rig and a Panasonic GH5S on a gimbal. Personally I loved the look of the Canon more, but the Panasonic was shooting wider and seemed to be more forgiving (we settled on that).

Originally the film was going imply more than it showed, but our DOP Danny MacGregor pushed us to get more on screen. This created more headaches: additional make-up effects, costumes and props. Stan and I raced around charity shops and supermarkets sourcing items whilst our make-up artist Jacqui started getting actors ready. During the trip Stan confessed that it was madness doing this as a single shot film (oops – that might have been my idea!).Jacqui and Daniel Make-up

It was almost 4pm and we still weren’t quite sure if it was going to be more ‘Birdman’ (cheating by breaking the film into smaller chunks and matching the cut points) or Victoria (a true single take with absolutely no cuts). After practicing a few times without make-up effects we decided we could do it as a single take (no cheating). Maybe it was the euphoria of being on set, but it seemed to go extremely well – the only concern was it was all moving a little too quickly and we needed to slow things down. It feels somewhat alien trying to control everything in real-time when you are more accustomed to controlling the pace in an editing suite.

It took a few moments to readjust and reset after each take. The second take was better paced but it had a few technical issues. The next take was going really well until an air ambulance started hovering over us (a hazard of filming next to a hospital). When things had calmed we did another take which (wasn’t quite feeling it as we’d lost some of our momentum). We expected that one to be our last take being as light was starting to go and Jacqui had to leave to catch her train back. We decided to give it one final shot (just as well, this is the take we’ll probably use)!

I’m rather impressed with what was achieved in just a single day, the whole team was nothing short of amazing! There was a really excitable buzz on location, we all got along even though we were all being pushed outside of our normal comfort zone. Hoping the end-result will be worth it! The Team

Well done team, awesome work – we did it!!!

Love Thy Neighbour

My latest collaboration with local filmmaker Stanley Mackrell is a short film called “Love Thy Neighbour”. We’ll be shooting over the weekend and I’m really excited to now share some details about the project.

“Love Thy Neighbour” is a thriller set in the flat of a couple (Kelly and Rob). After an altercation upstairs, Michelle bursts into their lives shaking in terror. Dealing with an unprecedented situation Kelly and Rob’s must act fast before the situation escalates. The film will be shot in real time as a continuous take. The film will be a co-production between Midnight Show Productions and Ferny Films.

I’m also pleased to announce the cast:

Melissa DaltonMelissa Dalton/Kelly
Melissa really impressed us in her auditions bringing out a side to Kelly which wasn’t written down on the page. Being a teacher, Kelly is someone who likes to take charge and is used to being the calming influence in stressful situations. Perhaps the biggest mystery is why she still puts up with Rob (it must be her mothering nature). For more information about Melissa visit here or follow her on Twitter.

Louis BernardLouis Bernard/Rob
Louis brings an element of charm and warmth to the seemingly ineffectual Rob. Rob’s is like a contented house-cat. Whilst he isn’t entirely lazy, he is perfectly happy coasting through life and isn’t anywhere near the ‘go-getter’ his partner is. Under pressure, Rob tends to crumble – so thank goodness he is partnered with Kelly. For more information about Louis visit here or follow him on Twitter.

Natalie MartinsNatalie Martins/Michelle
Playing Michelle is Natalie Martins who some of you might recognise as “Emmi” (it’s great to be collaborating once again). After an apparent one night stand gone wrong Michelle finds herself at the door of Kelly and Rob pleading for help. Whatever happened upstairs has made her scared and  unpredictable. For more information about Natalie visit her spotlight page here, her personal website here or follow her on Twitter.

Daniel EpihDaniel Epih/Harv
Playing Harv, the intimidating tenant in the upstairs flat is local Oxford actor Daniel Epih.

To follow how things progress during the production please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Broke

Must be honest and say that the year has got off to a bit of a shaky start.

Firstly the on financial side our boiler (original boiler when the house was built) broke and had to be completely replaced at some expense. Lucky we still had hot water from the immersion heater, but I’m dreading the electricity bill when it arrives! Adding to the boiler expenses are the choices we have just made regarding secondary school education for our daughters. Both daughters are on the autistic spectrum and therefore the choice has not been entirely straight-forward or easy. We think we have figured out what the right fit will be for them (in terms of environment and practicalities), fingers crossed we made the right decision!

Speaking of fingers, I’m not just financially broke. Last weekend I slipped getting out of bed and hit the edge of the bed frame. I’m not quite sure what happened (been telling people it was a freak accident in the bedroom which sounds much more exciting than the reality). After falling, I ran my hand under a cold tap (shouting plenty of obscenities) before realising that fingers were pointing in the wrong direction.


Annoyingly it is my right hand – which makes every day tasks I took for granted much harder (writing, typing, putting hands in pockets, getting dressed/showered etc – I also now have a thing against hand-dryers!). At the moment I’m strapped up and it’s 50/50 as to whether I need surgery or not (really hoping not). I’ll find out about this tomorrow. Extremely sore and very frustrating!

Unfortunately this is all happening at the point I was hoping to get my follow-up project to Emmi off the ground. Ah well! The good news is I still have another project which can hopefully distract me over the next month or so until fingers heal and finances have a chance to recover. The project is called ‘Love Thy Neighbour’. It will be a collaboration with local filmmaker Stan Mackrell. Hope to post more about this and the other project very soon!