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17
Sep
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

I recently got back from two weeks' holiday in France with the family. After the insanity of the trailer shoot a few weeks before, here was an opportunity to relax and unwind after what had been a manic couple of months with the film. As well as the trailer shoot itself, which were three of the most inspiring, illuminating, exhilarating and terrifying days of my life, there was the paper edit to get in place before we went away. For this, our editor Verster du Plessis had timecoded all the rushes and send them over to select which takes I wanted to use, and then which specific section(s) of the take. Thus my notebook slowly filled up with masses of painstaking notes as the trailer gradually came together on the page. 

Whilst this process crawled along, we all began to think about maybe some kind of launch event for the trailer. Until now, our film has only featured in sidebars in the news pages of the music press and online, it hasn't generated any features (except for one - thanks Martin Horsfield at the Guardian!), which is understandable, since without anything to SHOW, the project has up until now been purely conceptual - we've been a website and some visuals: good fun, and with plenty of incredible support from around the world, but you could still call us just a folly. With this forthcoming trailer, however, all of this should be about to change. We will have product. We will have shot some film. We will be fundamentally exposed for all the world to see. This, frankly, scares the shit out of me. But I guess that's how it's meant to be. Nobody rides for free. 

Much rides on this edit. I've read a lot, and will repeat here, that you make a film - or indeed a film trailer - three times: 1) on the page, 2) in the shoot, and then 3) in the edit. And it's in the edit where the alchemy takes place - where one's helpless raw vision ought to come together and BECOME ART. Or so they say. 

So with the trailer safely in the hands of our editor, away I went on holiday for a fortnight. We went to Brittany. Ferry. Portsmouth - Cherbourg. You don't want to hear about this, do you? MAYBE YOU DO. 

Anyway, there we were, in Brittany, having a very relaxing time indeed and with no internet access and thus zero distractions, when we arrived at a new campsite this time with internet access and BANG there was an email from Vertser our editor saying sorry, but because he was suddenly swamped with other (paid) work, he was sadly unable now to edit our trailer after all. My subsequent mood quickly led Faye to loudly regretting our newfound internet access and we argued bitterly about this all the way to St Malo. 

This unexpected news was especially devastating, as literally on the ferry on the way over to France, Helen our facilities manager and myself had confirmed and booked our trailer launch for 3pm on Friday October 19th. This was a done deal. So here we were, with just over a month to go until our public trailer launch, but without anybody now to actually put together our trailer. And here was I, stuck in the middle of nowhere in France, unable to do anything other than SEND PANICKY EMAILS TO OWEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS, and passive-aggressive emails to poor Verster, who doubtless felt bad enough about this already. It turned out Owen was also on holiday in France without internet access too. WHO ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN??

Fortunately after a bit of late-night email crisis management while Faye was asleep, our 2nd Unit DOP Clive Tagg suggested his own trusted filmmaking partner Mike Peter Reed, and, well, to cut a long story short, not only is Mike now our new editor, but he's a stand-up gent and lovely, multi-talented fella too, so all I have left to say is: thanks Mike - it's great to have you on board!

All's well that ends well. Isn't it, Mike? ALL'S WELL, RIGHT? THIS TRAILER'S GOING TO KICK ASS, RIGHT??

I am currently consumed with fear that it's going to be terrible. 
I am currently consumed with fear that we are going to assemble 100 hacks in a Soho screening room and they are all going to burst out laughing at how terrible our trailer is. 
I guess this is the way it goes. 
Mike tells me that by this time next week he ought to be in a position to be able to show me a rough cut. And we'll be able to move it forward together from there. 
And I am frightened. 
I feel vulnerable. 
But we must remain strong! 

If you have been wondering about the music in the trailer, allow me to put you out of your misery. We will not be using any KISS music in the trailer, as we can't afford to and it would be inappropriate. Instead we are using W.A. Mozart. Almost the same thing, really. And who is dead, so we do not have to pay him. 

Through an illuminating chat with my old friend and classical music producer Craig Leon, (who also, fact fans, produced the debut Ramones and Blondie albums), I learned that if we use a pre-1957 European recording of Mozart's Requiem (the piece we're using in the trailer), then we can use it without paying, as it will be entirely clear of copyright. So after a little research (thanks, eMusic), I managed to locate a pretty good one.

But it sounded old, and scratchy, and slow, and thin, and frankly pretty shit. If only, I thought to myself, I knew an expert classical music engineer who might be able to tart this mofo up. It was then that I remembered one of my best friends, the legendary Trapper Ragg from my awful teenage heavy metal band The Trash Can Junkies, was in fact these days employed as an expert classical music engineer at the world famous Abbey Road Studios in London, England. Trapper and I had not spoken for several years, but I phoned and he picked up immediately and said: 'You either want me to do something for your stupid film or you want to reform the band YET AGAIN for some stupid fucking "special occasion". Which is it?'
These were his exact first words. 

And well. Within the time it takes to boil a kettle, Trapper had cleaned up the piece, edited it, stereo separated it, sped it up, EQd it, mastered it, changed its underwear and cleaned its teeth and read it a bedtime story. The 50+ year-old Mozart death mass recording suddenly sounded amazing. I was seriously impressed, but did not tell Trapper this, as his ego is bad enough as it is. 

And in fact I had also wanted Trapper to come and play bass for the reformed Trash Can Junkies at my sister's wedding in a month or so's time, but he simply told me to fuck off. Which I was secretly delighted about, as he can't play the bass for shit. 

So we were all happy. 
For the time being.

Next week: a bit less name-dropping. Featuring legendary KISS album designer (1974 - 1987) Dennis Woloch.

13
Aug
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Written by Seb Hunter

Quick progress update.

I'm currently sorting through all the takes from our three-day trailer shoot a few weeks ago and selecting which ones to go with, and in which general order they're all going to go in. As soon as this is finished (later this week), I'll get these notes over to our editor Verster du Plessis in London, who will then spend the subsequent couple of weeks putting together the edit. I'll then sit down with Verster and we'll work out a final version.

While this is all going on, our new Facilities Manager Helen Bradley Owers and myself are going to be planning a series of launch events for the trailer, the details of which we are keeping under wraps for the time being, but details will be forthcoming shortly. With these events we're going to be going all-out to maximize publicity - after this launch we're going to be in official pre-production for the feature film we'll be shooting next summer, so the trailer launch h
as to be BIG, and the world has to HEAR about it. So we'll be hitting the press / promotion trail pretty hard, in various exciting different ways.

This Elder movie trailer launch looks like it's going to be in EARLY OCTOBER, so these events are all being planned for around that time.

We will also at around this time have a finished screenplay too, so armed with these twin barrels, we really hope to be in a good position to get out there and raise some serious finance with which to make our movie. With a great script, you have bona fide cinematic currency, it's as simple as that, so we've got to make sure this finished screenplay is really goddamn humming and pressing all the buttons it needs to press.

We will then attempt to go and pitch this whole movie project to KISS themselves, in person. We still want Gene to play Blackwell.

So that's what we're going to be up to over the next few weeks and months. We'll continue to update you here and on Facebook and Twitter and ElderTube - this movie site is going to be radically overhauled at some point in the near future - so watch this space!

Thanks as always for your continued support and faith in this film project. We appreciate it 100% and are all working incredibly hard in order to make this happen.

We've still not quite paid for the trailer yet so please go here to buy yourself a DVD copy of the finished movie!

www.indiegogo.com/elderthemovie

Many thanks - we're getting there!!

08
Aug
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

The Shooting of the Elder trailer

by Owen Oakeshott
(producer / actor)


Friday 20th July 2012; 10pm.

Seb & I are in the Black Boy (a pub, not a vulnerable young man, I feel it crucial to establish)  interviewing Tom. Let me intoduce you to Tom. Tom is a lovely old gent in a fairly permanent pin-stripe suit - and is a regular in the Black Boy. He also happens to have a mad glint in his eye. (The one that's able to focus.) Perfect then, for "the white-haired, white-bearded old man who lunges out of a car door and stabs someone in the leg" – a character who pops up towards the end of the promo. First though, we have to convince Tom of the merits of appearing in said promo for nothing. Seb is good at this; indeed, so persuasive is he that, after we shake hands with Tom and tell him we look forward to seeing him on Sunday morning to film his moment, Polly (landlady of the Black Boy) has to drag him back to the bar in order for us to be left alone to continue planning our weekend. Once her back is turned however, Tom sudenly reappears and silently stands by our table, boring into us with his one focused eye whilst noticeably perspiring. Polly guides him back to the bar once more. This becomes a disconcerting routine for the rest of the evening. Tom is sweet, but a little strange. Mind you, he used to be a choirboy, so he's a total dude in my book.

Following his dismissal (one of them at least), Seb & I continue planning the shoot. I advise Seb (for the umpteenth time!!) that he'll need to film a whole bunch of different angles & takes rather than just the one basic shot in order to "give himself options", as they say. (Aswell as to keep the piece moving at a fair lick. Pace is all in movie-making.) He says he knows what he's doing, he's gonna shoot one shot per scene, that's all it needs and tells me to get another fucking round in. I entreat him to benefit from my twenty years experience of acting in the occasional crap programme for British television. He threatens to sack me. I sigh. And proceed to buy some Guinness for us both.

When I return, Tom is back & gurning once more. Polly drags him back to the bar. I say loudly I cannot possibly work under these conditions and storm out. Seb follows.

We pick up some NHS hypodermic syringes from someone's front garden for use over the weekend.  I assume their owner has consented to their removal but choose not to press the point, as it's late and one of us could kick off.


Saturday 21st July; 12:30pm

So, my first scene for the promo of The Elder: a country-lane on the outskirts of Winchester, suitably decorated with extra twigs, branches & tufts of grass (for that extra dash of end-of-the-world encroaching wilderness) - and me, lying in the middle of the road, with one trouser leg rolled up.

"Left a bit," says Seb.

I move my naked leg fractionally. It is a pale, thin, unattractive thing, but it's mine – and I'm proud of it. I tell it so in my head.

 "Yup, that's perfect. We'll have that. Let's go for a take. Owen, nice & still."

Silence. I can feel the breeze purring through my copious leg-hair.

"And action."

Ian, our demon camera-maestro, records. I stay stock still, imbuing my lower leg with all the emotional truth of a limb lying lost & bereft in post-apocalyptic Hampshire. Perhaps still attached to a corpse - you decide. (The rest of me is out of shot.)

"Cut!" says Seb. Job done. It's a wrap.

Ladies & gentlemen, my first ever nude scene.

Saturday 21st July; 5:30pm

St Cross Church. My big Father Morpheus scene – the 'spine' of the whole piece. I am enveloped in a parabola of light outside of which in the darkening church stalls I can vaguely discern grinning faces. Sceptical faces. Irreligious faces. Faces of the DAMNED!! (Actually, the faces of a few of our hardy young production assistants, Rob, Josh, Levi, Dan & Tamara. Children of the Damned, then.)

I've spent the last hour or so being made up to look like a cancer patient by Tamara in the vestibule. My character, Father Morpheus, is a tricky sod in a dog-collar who likes a tipple, has a few skeletons in the cupboard, and has the power of life and death over his terrified and greatly reduced flock. Father Ted if he'd joined the Taliban. Seb has given me a fat old fucker of a speech to learn – involving Noah, the Flood, words like 'centralised' and 'infrastructure', and a passage that I swear he's nicked from Handel's 'Messiah'. It goes on for AGES! And I started learning it on Wednesday. I'm all over the shop.

In the end, I get my lines out and in the correct order in what, I'd like to point out in my defense, is a bastard of a long tracking shot (with Ian in a wheelchair being inched backwards by someone grimacing while he hugs his camera like the resident of an old peoples home). However, in a move that foxes everyone, Seb decides to do another take from a different angle! Then another, then another! He says earnestly, as he does so: "We can't edit what we haven't shot, guys. This gives us options."

Must have got it from a book somewhere.

Further snapshots of a great weekend of common endeavour: Billy – our gorgoeus young hero – pegging up & down an A-road dodging traffic with an Uzi sub-machine gun swinging round his neck. A younger version (Seb's eldest, 6 years old) standing in his boxer shorts being filmed by his father holding that same gun. Megan – our gorgeous young heroine – stuck in a cage trying to put out a burning newspaper with her plimsoles whilst being observed by a bunch of sweaty blokes. Josh floating down the Itchen fully clothed at seven in the morning. Dave looking like he's torn someone's innards out in the New Forest - and clearly pleased with the result. Filming a naked bottom down a hole (but whose??) - we called this the Moonshot.

It was fabulous. Cheers guys.

The crew:

Ian Williams – camera, sound, brilliantly salty quips.

Andrew Calloway – 1st AD, guru, calm voice of reason.

Clive Tagg – technical assistant, guerilla film-maker, gorilla.

Steve Webster – documentary maker, chauffeur, indispensable Top Motherfucking Dude.

Polly Perry – wig, local popstrel, landlady of the Black Boy, beers (NOT - Ed.) on the house.

Tamara Strode – hair & make-up, then the actors' hair & make-up.

Dan Strode – production assistant manager, Tamara's brother, sandwich king.

Levi De Sousa – production assistant, gobshite.

Josh Wake – production assistamt, floating corpse (see above), hero.

Robert Branigan – production assistant, naked bottom, another hero.

Owen Oakeshott – producer, bag-carrier, twat.

Seb Hunter – director, writer, producer, bigger twat.


And the cast:

Owen Oakeshott – Father Morpheus, scary voice of doom, hairy white leg.

Billy Mackie – Grigorss, heart-throb, ripped to fuck.

David Knox-Williams – Father Cerberus, bleeding hands, scariest moment on film since that
Japanese bird crawled out of the telly in Ring.

Meg West – Isabel, Lara Croft, long-suffering totty in all-male production.

Alistair Thomson-Mills – Boris, Russel Crowe lookalike, completely unprompted decision to immerse himself in a filty New Forest lake.

Steve Webster – Blackwell, sweaty wig, test-tube.

Reuben Hunter – very young Grigorss, boxer shorts, Uzi, please don't tell his primary school.

Tom – Stephen, pin-striped suit, beady eye, Polly ... Polly!...WHERE'S POLLY??!!!

29
Jul
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Written by Seb Hunter

 

You may recall, a few months ago we held a casting session for the Boy. And you may also recall that several of our auditionees failed to show up. This was particularly galling to me because one of the young actors we were due to see was my stone-cold favourite for the role - a young man by the name of Billy Mackie. 

Well it turned out that Billy was sick that day, and his folks had no way to let us know he wouldn't be making the casting as this was a weekend and his agent was out of the office and impossible to contact. So we didn't get to see Billy, and I was sad. 

However after the weekend Billy's parents got in touch to explain and apologise and assure us that Billy, who is a mere 16 years old, was still very keen to audition for the role. So after much to-ing and fro-ing - Billy is still at school, and this was the end of term, with exams and all sorts to be contending with - and a cheery Skype call under our belts, it was agreed that Billy would come down to London's Olympia and we would all get to finally meet at the comic con. 

And so it came to pass. 

I met Billy plus sizeable entourage (his very own Drama, Turtle, etc) at the exhibitors' entrance and brought him to our stand where he met the team and we all stood about awkwardly for a few minutes. After that, Billy, his friend and minder whose name escapes me but he was VERY TALL, my cousin Dave and our documentary-maker Steve all repaired to the vast balcony which encircles the main hall, we found a quiet spot, all sat down on the floor and with Dave as Morpheus, went through a reading of the casting script with Billy. What a trooper - what a pro!

And OK, it was all a little embarrassing and difficult and last minute and needs-must, but despite that, Billy was perfect. I knew it right away. He had the, erm, light in his eyes. I knew he would. Billy and pal then fled into the depths of Olympia, and who can blame them? Prowse was awaiting.  

And we had our Boy for the trailer. (And possibly for the feature film next year too.) Job done. 

The comic con then continued and our stand continued to pique interest. Saturday afternoon was crazy busy and it was all hands on deck. At one point a pleasant-looking fellow wandered past (rare - it was mostly Stormtroopers & Klingons), had a good look, a good read of one of our postcards, and introduced himself as Verster Du Plessis. We shook hands. 
"I'm an editor," said Verster. 
"We need an editor, for our trailer," I replied. Ian, our trailer cinematographer, had informed us he would do the edit if he absolutely had to, but made it clear he absolutely did not, in fact, have any desire to do so the slightest - in fact he would be seriously pissed off if we had the thoughtless temerity to even fucking ask him. 
"OK," said Verster, and he handed me his business card. I handed Verster my own business card. We shook hands and smiled at one another. Verster gestured towards our big movie posters. 
"Nice," he said, and ambled off. 

The comic con then continued. It went on, and on, and on and on. Christopher Sciueref, who is in the new James Bond movie (I may have mentioned this before) and who plays the psychotic Father Dedalus in our film, came along to the comic con especially, stopped by the stand and immediately stripped off his shirt to don one of our special promotional t-shirts. Hell yeah! 

LFCC continued the next day, Sunday, too, but I was unable to attend as my family were about to fire me, and so Owen and Dave deputised extremely ably in my absence, and secured another couple of pages'-worth of email addresses for our ever-growing mailing list. The beat went on. Our exhibiting of the Elder movie at London Film & Comic Con was adjudged by all present as a spectacular success, and well worth the time, effort and MONEY that many of YOU contributed towards. We truly cannot thank you enough. We exhibited with utmost professionalism, and our promotional materials were of the very highest standard. We were taken completely seriously. The interest was enormous. The Elder movie at London Film & Comic Con 2012 was a unalloyed goddamn TRIUMPH. 

We are in the game. WE ARE IN THE GAME.

Verster and I emailed one another a few days later, and Verster is now going to edit together our trailer, and has offered his services entirely free of charge, just like everybody else involved in this project so far. 

Welcome aboard, Verster Du Plessis. Together let's make history!

Don't you want to come and join us?? 

COMING NEXT: We shoot the trailer. We really genuinely honest-to-God shoot the motherfucking Elder movie trailer. In real life. How fucking cool is that?!?

Pretty.

18
Jul
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Written by Seb Hunter

(The following blog post was written by our Art Director David Bailey, and not in fact, as it says on the left hand side, by Seb.)

Comic Con was great. An enormous hall filled with an enormous amount of lovely, nerdy people, many of whom were dressed as their favourite sci-fi characters. They were hungry for stuff: collectable magic, discontinued action figures and ageing celebrity's autographs. It was their big day out.
Our stall was well situated on the main thoroughfare/film aisle, where we set about accosting, enthusing and foisting on anyone whose face wasn't concealed by a mask. fyi. Talking to a Boba Fett is quite unsettling, let me tell ya.
Some passers by were too-cool-for-school, shrugging off our advances, but the majority stopped to listen and learn. "Sounds good" was the green light to aim them at our mailing list where suddenly they were the ones signing autographs. 
We must've collected hundreds (dozens) of email addresses and dished out thousands (hundreds) of postcards. My blind eye was defiantly turned to the few discarded cards seen underfoot/hoof/wheel etc. Idiots.
So, yeah, a success. We'd presented our project to an offline audience, sufficiently tickled hundreds of  alien fancier's fancies, plus The Elder Team had finally got to hang out together. As a gang. POW! 
We had however missed a golden opportunity to distribute flyers outside Kiss's concert at The Forum in Kentish Town just forty eight hours earlier. But lets not dwell on that. 
Forward!

 

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