INCOMING - 48 Hour Sci-Fi Challenge - Thank You

It is Wednesday evening as I type this. It took a few days to reset my equilibrium after our manic, full on, tiring and enthusiastic weekend of Sci-Fi madness that was our entry into the London 48 Hour Sci-Fi Festival challenge.

Last Tuesday, I put a text out to the amazing Chris Lane and suggested that "maybe we could make and enter a film this weekend. Is it too short notice to put a team together?" Bearing in mind that the previous weekend had seen the first Filmonik Kabaret of 2013, most of our film-making friends in Manchester were already exhausted from 2-3 days of impromptu film-making (the films from this Kabaret were brilliant, as always). But, Chris put the call out and sure enough, people responded. Perhaps we caught some folks on a post Kabaret-high, or folks seem to want to work with us, but regardless, we had a massive response to our "Avengers Assemble" call on the digital soap-box that is Facebook.

Saturday rolls around, and we have a core Producing and Writing team, and a small army of cast and crew on standby. The whole point of this competition was that we had to make a film with a specific Title, prop-plus-action, a line of dialogue and an optional sci-fi theme; all supplied by the festival organisers. The challenge was that these details would not arrive until Saturday lunchtime. All of this meant that we could not really plan ahead to much, or promise parts and roles to everyone who had shown interest. At this point, I have to thank everyone who did offer help and time to be involved, but who we weren't able to call in the end. It did not go un-noticed, and hopefully there's always a "next time!" where we can work on something en masse together.

So, Chris Lane, Jenny Longworth, Daniel Crooke, Jonny Pratt and I all assemble on Saturday and receive the following brief; "The title is 'Incoming.' Your prop is a calendar, which must have a date marked on it, and a page ripped out during the film. Your line of dialogue is 'Regard it, inspect it, admire it, this will be your only opportunity.' Your optional theme is 'a year long Eclipse changes the world forever.'"

Normally, this would be the point at which we tell you what we came up with, but that would spoil the film. Needless to say we spent a few hours and came up with some very different ideas (some of which could be future films anyway guys?) - but we ultimately settled on one that looked do-able over the remaining 44 or so hours, and had some very nice Sci-Fi themes running through it. There are a few sci-fi nods, what I hope s a strong sci-fi story at it's core, and some easter egg's for the ardent sci-fi geek's amongst you.

So, script in hand, we turned into production mode, and really stepped it up a gear. And this is the bit where everybody gets a thank you and much love from me, as without the cast and crew, we wouldn't have a film and would not have an amazing story to tell around the old film camp fire.

 Our cast! Liam; it was great to meet you again after all these years. You totally nailed the performance and being able to drop into the middle of the madness, and to keep the energy up all day is a massive thing on set and it really helped us get through. More in future?

there will be an extended edit of the film entirely due to your performance. Your delivery really anchored the film and provided it with the heart and emotional kicker it needed. Under very trying and odd circumstances, the humanity shines through. Again, without your performance, the script would not have worked at all. Huge, huge, thanks.

Dave 'The Face' Edward Robertson.
I don't think you know that we nick-named you 'The Face' but we have, and it is why I insist on shooting you in close up as much as possible. It is a compliment and an absolute pleasure to work with you again. Let's not make a habit of odd scripts though, and ensure our next project makes sense from the start! ;-)

Serena, Jane;
thank you so much for being our "Film Ninjas." You flew in late in the day, delivered some beautiful improvisation, and really helped us sell that part of the film (Spoilers!) - the film wouldn't have worked without you, and so again, massive thanks and look out for an extended cut!

We had an absolute blast thanks to the amazing Chris Taylor of NoiseBoy Studios. He not only recorded all of our sound,and did an amazing early hours sound mix, but he also allowed us to totally take over his studio, turning it into all of the exotic locations required by our script. Chris; it was an absolute pleasure to meet you, work with you, trash your gaff, tidy it upafterwards, and I hope this is the start of more things to come. Love the fact you started referring to your own studio rooms as the (Spoilers!) and the (Spoilers!) after half an hour!

Ben, Darren, David, and Liam;
if somebody had told me earlier in the week we would have a VFX department, I'd have also bought some snake oil from them. You guys were the secret weapon in our humble team, our Hulks in the loose Avengers analogy we've been using. There may not have been many comms flying around until the last minute, but when you guys did drop all of the graphics, it was the final punch we needed. Thanks for all the eleventh hour commitment; you went above and beyond the call of duty.

anyone who can make sense of my babbling "I want it sound like that dinkly dinkly bit from Batman Begins when he falls in a well, crossed with the Violin bit from the Episode III before Anakin goes ape-shit" deserves a medal. The score hit all the right notes, and without it, I can honestly say we wouldn't have been able to 'sell' the hastily written script as well as we did. Thank you, and again, I hope it leads to more things in the future.

Peter Michael George; an absolute honour and pleasure to meet you. Again, it is not something to skip over, but keeping folks' spirits high, spotting jobs that need doing before we even know they need doing, and diving in at the deep end at a moments notice are admirable and essential qualities on any set. You delivered amigo, and it would be great to have you aboard again.

thank you so much for make-up and keeping our spirits up throughout the day. An absolute pleasure to meet you, and I hope your camera stage fright is not any worse off due to the experience!

Daniel Crooke;
our wounded man in action. You were gone but not forgotten, and it was your germ (no pun intended) with the title idea (Spoilers!) that lead to the initial Genesis of the whole film. I hope we did you proud!

Jenny Longworth.
You are a MACHINE. Where and when ever Chris and I had a panic over something, there you were, prop, script and/or common sense in hand. You are a ROCK and you have to be on my next film(s) simply because you are ESSENTIAL AND AMAZING. Right, enough block capitals, people will think I had a favourite!

I don't know how you did it, but you did. Synching and cutting non stop for 24 hours with crippling drives, no interweb and dog-slow computers... Lesser men (myself included) would have thrown hard drives through walls after half an hour. This film rests on your shoulders, without your graft, we'd just have a pile of files. I sometimes use the word too much, but you Sir, are an absolute genuine Legend.

Dan W;
I don't know if it is because you are my Bro or because you have the patience of a Saint, but anyone who can interpret my frantic mutterings and turn it into fantastic photography deserves admission to Mensa. Or Arkham. If we actually had time to plan stuff, I think we would actually be dangerous. Love ya.

So unless I have forgotten anyone (which I probably have, sorry!) then it would be the amazing CHRIS LANE who would remind me I'm a doofus and generally sort it out whilst I continue to bounce off the walls. It is pretty fair to say that as film-maker, I'm half as useless with you than without you. We're the odd couple, the dysfunctional dynamic duo, the well oiled machine that other Director/Producer combos can only dream of aspiring to! Well, two out of three ain't bad. But seriously, I love you too Bro, and I love making films with you. We won't always be on the same films, but the ones where we are, are always dynamite, and are always my favourite as you always, always, always make me RAISE MY GAME. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for kicking my proverbial ass, and I hope you continue to do so for many years yet.

Whew. I was only going to write a quick update, but it has turned into a love letter/thank you note. I will sign off and leave it in its usual typo ridden state and say thanks, thanks and thanks again. I will go back over this post and links to all your websites, Twitter accounts and any other digital haunts of yours.

The film will be unveiled soon; we're waiting to get the go ahead from the Competition to reveal the film.

For now, Peace out, GO MAKE MOVIES. Cos it's fun.
Roll on to the next Project. Wanna be involved, just holler. Col xxx