Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Neil Parmar

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NEIL PARMAR is a writer, director, producer and editor who has worked on many short films and is currently working as the editor on the feature film Junction Six. We spoke to him about ‘Reflexions’,  the latest short from Red Mosquito films. It’s a piece of experimental cinema written by Nick John Whittle which gives a snapshot of six people’s lives through what appears at first glance to be disjointed narrative. However, the structure is not as complex as it seems. As each person presents his or her secrets it soon becomes apparent that the characters are not disparate and have much in common, even relational. Throughout, only we are the inquisitor and as such privy to the interconnected stories of six broken individuals and one entity.

What sort of themes do you explore in the film?

Ultimately, the film explores the complications of being human in today’s society and how our relationships with other people shape our feelings, whether they are happy or sad feelings. If there was one thing I wanted to have with this film, it was a cast of 5 or 6 characters that explore a range of different emotions, therefore there is a range of themes explored within.

Tell us a bit about how the film came about?

I had recently watched a video essay on Vimeo that explored how characters in films are often at their most vulnerable when they are alone in front of a mirror. It looked at how women will cry in front of a mirror, where a man will smash and break. I loved this idea therefore I simply jotted down the basic idea (in bullet points) and listed character types i.e. ‘Cheating Woman’, ‘Man in Love’ etc. I then sent the notes to scriptwriter Nick John Whittle and he came back with the script complete with a story arc with for these characters.

How did you fund the film?

The budget was very minimal, as all Red Mosquito productions are. The equipment we used was our own; the locations were spread between my own house and Nick’s house. The actors all worked for free. The music throughout the film is royalty free. I’m actually struggling to think if we spent any money specifically for Reflexions.

In all your films, to what extent does money become a barrier? How do you overcome it?

Obviously without any real budget, you are restricted to using what you have access to. This could be why I took on so many roles to produce this film (producer, director, cinematographer, editor). I’m so used to figuring things out without a budget that the question of do we need to spend anything rarely comes up because we are already know that spending money is the last thing we want to do.

What challenges did you encounter when making the film?

This shoot was actually one of the most relaxed shoots I’ve ever been apart of. It could be that most of the time the crew was very minimal and it was generally very straightforward as we had easy access to all the locations and scenes were fairly simple to shoot. All the actors were well prepared with script and gave great performances, so there was very little time wasted.

What, if anything, did you learn while making the film?

By the time we went into production for Reflexions we had already worked with most of the cast in previous productions. Therefore casting was very straightforward and relaxed. As there was a relationship there already, everything felt comfortable on set and that relaxed environment brought out the best performances. I knew this already but it really came in to fruition when producing Reflexions. Good relationships create enjoyable productions, in my opinion.

What are you hoping to achieve with ‘Reflexions’?

Just to make a film I’m proud of and better the last production. We are going to enter into festivals and try and get it screened anywhere and everywhere but ultimately, I just wanted to make a good film. Festival entries, wins and any other accolades are a nice bonus. I do feel like I have achieved what I set out for.

There are a wide number of festivals these days in which you can submit short films. How do you decide which are best to go for?

I have no real preference. When on filmfreeway, I just enter it into where I feel like it could be appreciated. Oh and where it’s not too expensive to enter!

Interview by Phil Slatter

Interview #13: Wyrmwood

wyrmwoodofficialposterThe filmmakers behind Australian zombie film Wyrmwood Road of the Dead describe it as: “A rip-roaring Ozzie classic with beer and people being very sweary.” If first impressions are as important as they say, then Tristan and Kiah Roache-Turner’s debut feature leaves an indelible scar on the consciousness of any genre fan, the bold vision of what genre cinema can be embraced with great affection by the filmmakers.

During the course of our conversation, the brothers looked back on the Wyrmwood experience while keeping their one eye on the future. As Kiah explained: “Usually it seems like filmmakers take about three films to find their tone. I do feel that Wyrmwood is kind of a pastiche of Romero, George Miller and all these people. It is certainly bursting with original energy, but I think Tristan and I have to make a couple of other films before we really find what our style is as directing brothers. But it will be fun finding that tone!”

 

Why a career in film? Was there an inspirational or defining moment?

TRT: I’ll jump in there! I became obsessed with film when I was thirteen maybe fourteen; absolutely obsessed with Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars. We had a family friend who had thousands of movies, and so I started devouring Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner and Taxi Driver at a very young age. I developed this weird OCD obsession with filmmaking and as soon as we got our first camera when we were fifteen or sixteen Tristan and I just started making films together.

The first film we made I chopped him up and put him in a bag. When our mom saw that film she started screaming and crying. It was then that we realised what a strong reaction we could get from an audience, whether it was our mother or somebody in Spain, which we would find out about twenty years later. So we just started making films: short films and music videos for ten, fifteen years and then inevitably we would wind up making a feature. We sat down and decided to make a zombie film which took us four years. We started in 2010 and here we are now talking about it.

Why do you think the Zombie monster and the apocalypse continue to endure within narrative fiction?

KRT: It is a difficult question to answer and we have thought about it a fair bit, because we are in that genre now. I think people have an obsession with the end of the world, and zombies represent the end of the world. The apocalypse is a fascinating thing especially with global warming and all that bollocks. But if you move all of that intellectualisation aside, one of the things that people love about zombie films is that you are in a world where you can blow your neighbours head off with impunity. There are are shuffling corpses wandering around and suddenly you are in a live action video game where you can pick up a shot gun, run out the front door and cause a bit of mayhem. It is like a game and you have to survive. One thing that people love is the video game concept, which is a challenge and it can also be adventurous. Years ago Tristan and I used to have a big obsession with shoot ‘em ups, and zombie films are basically living through a first person shoot ‘em up. Hey what do you reckon Tristan…did I answer that one well?

TRT:  Hell yeah! Me personally I just love shotguns. I just love the idea of having something coming towards you that wants to kill you, and you have not only the right but the responsibility to blow the damn thing away! [Laughs]

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Reflecting on your experience in the director’s chair for your feature debut, how did the expectations compare to the reality?

KRT: What do you reckon Tristan?

TRT: I reckon this movie turned out so much better than I expected it to. I always thought it was going to be awesome; a good romp and good fun. I thought it was going to be so patchy and rugged, but it actually doesn’t look like a movie that was filmed over four years, and it doesn’t seem like the script was created in this haphazard, completely transformational way that changed dramatically over the time that we shot. It seems to be a pretty cool complete little piece, and for me it was great. The amount of articles and reviews that have been written about it, I wasn’t expecting at all, and so it exceeded all expectations. It has been a great ride, and it has been humbling. It makes me think the world is a really beautiful place… It has been great!

The British setting of Under the Skin and Nina Forever afforded these films a certain feel. What does the Australian setting bring to the Wyrmwood and is the identity of the film intrinsically linked to its spatial settings?

KRT: Definitely, and just to say that I loved UNDER THE SKIN. I fucking adored it. It is one of my favourite films and I could never make a film like that. It is brilliant! But, yeah the landscape and the country should be intrinsic to the art of the film.

TRT: With Wyrmwood what we really wanted to do was to make a film that celebrated Australianess, like they did back in the seventies with Mad Max and all those Ozploitation films. There has been a tendency in the last couple of decades for Australian filmmakers to kind of make these films with American accents, and I think that is where it started to pander to an American audience. But we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to make a rip-roaring Ozzie classic with beer and people bring very sweary. We wanted to make a zombie film where the lead guy is a mechanic from Bankstown, which is a suburb in Sydney where tough blokes come from; where the real Australians come from. It was important for us to shoot in the bush because most of the zombie films that you see, whether it is World War Z or 28 Days Later which is London, they are always shot in those settings. It was very important for us to go out into the bush and the Blue Mountains and film a landscape that is deeply Australian. We were also very lucky that we were able to find someone like Leon Butchill so that could we could also bring the indigenous side of things to the film, and make it a fully rounded Australian experience. So that was very important, and Tristan and I discussed that while we were writing it, and it was definitely something that informed us during the making of it.

Once you have made the film and you have put it out there for the audience to experience, do you perceive there to be a transfer of ownership?

KRT: As soon as you release your film, go onto YouTube, look at the trailer and the first comment underneath the trailer is: “This is shit! You realise that it is no longer your baby. You have released into the world and some people will hate it and some people will love it. It is a very interesting lesson because no matter how much you love it the audience makes up their own mind. Tristan, what do you reckon?

TRT: I agree! You are releasing it out there into the big bad world and people are going to either love it or hate it. I totally agree with that, and I think you can hone it, and father it for as long as you want, but once you actually get it out there and release it then it is up to the masses mate. It is up to whether they like it or not.

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The collaboration between the filmmaker and the audience is a vital one. Wyrmwood has shown a new level of interaction exists through the audience’s active participation to help make the film. How do you perceive the way that film is evolving and the benefits of this level of interaction?

KRT: That is a very interesting question because back in 2010 we shot a scene which we considered was going to be the opening scene of the film. But it turned out not to be – we cut it from the final film. So we released ten minutes of footage online and had a huge response. We were lucky as filmmakers in regards to that we knew we had an audience; a fan base that was waiting for the film for three and a half years. When we went after crowdfunding the anticipation meant people wanted to buy the film ahead of time. So we were very successful in that people bought into this project very early on and we have been interacting with our audience for four years prior to releasing the film. We didn’t release this film nervously because we knew that we had an audience waiting for it. We hoped that it made a bit of money and it got a distributor, but what we didn’t know was that we had a much larger audience than we actually thought. So when we were seeing the tweets from Glasgow, the film premiere in Texas and all of these fans come out of the woodwork…when we premiered in Toronto the film hadn’t even been released, but all these Cosplay’s turned up in costumes that they’d made from the film; from posters. So it is a very interesting time for filmmakers because you can build a fan base without having even shot or finished a film. I am fascinated by the concept because I know a lot about film and film history and this has never occurred to me the Internet has blown the doors wide open in that regard. Obviously the piracy is an issue, and is something that we have to work through, but in terms of being interactive and having a personal relationship with your fans, it has never been better. It is an exciting time to be a filmmaker.

What have you taken away from the experience of your debut feature film, and how will the experience help propel you forward?

TRT: I think momentum is the best lesson that I have learned from making Wyrmwood. You just have to keep up your momentum and keep on moving ahead no matter what, because if you stop then everything just comes to a grinding halt. But if you just keep on going forward, then you are going to be able to make it happen.

KRT: You know what I learned from this whole experience more than anything – it is the simplest possible thing in the world. I learned that I can direct a film and people will like it. Being a filmmaker and as it is my dream hoping – can I, will I be able to do it? Yes I can, and that is a fantastic thing to be able to say. The best lesson you could learn is that you can follow and fulfill your dreams.

The hardest thing that we are going through at the moment is how do we top it. We have had this success; everyone loves the film and it is a cult classic, but now we have to make our second film. In a way it is more important that we get this one right. So now all I am thinking about is the second film. I love Wyrmwood but it’s like we’ve got to get the next one totally right, and we’ve got to build on that. So that is a scary concept.

Interview by Film Frame editor Paul Risker.

You can find Wyrmwood on Twitter here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#12. Angela Peters – Actor

angela-petersAngela is a London based film and television actor and voice over artist who also works in Australia and Europe. A familiar face on Australia’s Seven Network (QLD) for the 2009 season of “Queensland’s Best Living”, Angela has also appeared in award winning feature films and short films screened at the Dubai International Film Festival, Queens International Film Festival, Budapest Film Festival, East End Film Festival, and in cinemas throughout the UK and Europe.

As well as acting Angela also set up UK Actors Tweetup, a networking night for actors.

What or who was it that inspired you into a career as an actor?

From an early age I was inspired by the likes of Naomi Watts, because of her performance in 21 Grams and later Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener. When I watched 21 Grams, I was so completely affected, (oh and her role in Mulholland Drive too) I knew I wanted to be an artist like that. To affect people when they watch cinema, to take risks.

Are there any actors that influenced your style?

Definitely. In the early days I studied method acting and I was really into Al Pacino and some of the other greats who I had heard studied method acting too. Interestingly though, as I’ve got older my style has changed, and it continues to depend on the director I’m working with and how we work together. I find that’s half the fun of finding the character and the story – the journey you take with them and the other cast.

What steps did you take to make becoming an actress a reality?

Initially I went to a school that taught acting because I wanted to improve my singing voice. So I accidentally fell into acting. After that, once I realised I love it, I just worked on anything and everything that I was offered (of course avoiding nudity or things I didn’t agree with) so I could build my credits up and make industry contacts. Some actors choose to only do well paid work and they sit and wait. I think that does essentially work for some. But for me, as a female in a market with twice as many females for half as many roles, I wanted to accelerate my progress as quickly as possible by gaining as much experience as possible. I even remember my first film role being a stand in and hanging out with Sam Worthington for a whole day on set. I just loved being able to watch these professional actors closely and learn, learn, learn.

I also think early on I was lucky in just choosing a few lovely projects that won awards and had high production values. I was able to use those to help with building a showreel and getting seen for more auditions.

Cannes Film Festival

Angie at Cannes Film Festival

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Definitely it would be a Casting Director who said to have a hobby or something else that you love to do. Don’t ever make acting your “everything” or it will be all-consuming.

It is still a job after all, even if it’s a wonderful and very rewarding job. Create a world for yourself which involves having hobbies, be that sport or leisure, and surround yourself with wonderfully uplifting people who have the same energy as you. No one wants to hang out with a Debbie Downer all the time and, in an industry where you are constantly being rejected, you definitely don’t need any more negativity.

What do you look for from your director?

I love working with directors who have real vision and want to create something truly unique and non-generic. I particularly love it when those said directors are going for something really raw and gritty, or they have this really unique story whuch must be told, they know exactly what it looks like to them, and they can communicate this exciting vision to the cast and crew they’re working with. That’s when I feel most involved and part of something big and magical.

What do you look for in a script?

Interestingly, I find scripts are much tougher than directors [in terms of what to look for]. Over the years I’ve become more particular about what I want to work on and unfortunately a lot of stories, especially in short film form, don’t tell a full story. It’s really disappointing when someone gives you a piece that they’re interested in attaching you to, and you get to the end of it and think, “wait, what…I don’t get it”. I want a script that will challenge an audience. I remember watching this BAFTA winning short once that was only a minute or so long and I still talk about it today. ROOM blew me away. And SIX SHOOTER, Martin McDonagh’s Oscar winning short – the performances are spellbinding. I look for scripts that blow you away or surprise the hell out of you.




You’ve set up and run the London Tweetup (@UKActorsTweetup), what are the benefits of these events and how can people attend?

Yes I founded the London Tweetups (@UKActorsTweetup) about 7 years ago to give actors a chance to meet industry professionals in a really informal environment, and ask questions they don’t normally get to (Independent, Hubbard Casting, Conway van Gelder, Award winning directors and producers are a few examples of previous speakers) and without spending much money. Then afterwards there’s time for free networking, so actors get a chance to meet working directors, Casting Directors, Producers, Writers and the likes. The real benefit for all who attend is that they get the chance to mingle with all of these different industry people and then often gain contacts or work opportunities as a result.

Recently we also set up the TweetFest Short Film Festival, off the back of London Tweetups. It is in it’s second year now, is an IMDb recognised Film Festival, and we hold it at the Picturehouse annually with over 100 filmmakers and industry VIPs in attendance. It’s a chance for our members to have their work seen by some of Britain’s professionals and we are thrilled to be championing local talent. The next TweetFest is actually coming up on the 1st November (couldn’t help mentioning it!).

UK Actors Tweet Fest

UK Actors TweetFest

In your opinion, are there any common mistakes you see actors make?

I think acting is one of the toughest professions out there, so I am hesitant to knock any actor who is earnestly trying to make it work for them as a career. But having said that, I do find there are things which can help and hinder a career. I think actors commonly spend too much time worry about their next job, and not enough time enjoying the one they’re currently on. It’s going to be a long steady road so we may as well enjoy each and every baby step. By being mindful, you can really appreciate the journey and be the best possible actor on the job you’re currently working on.

I also think lots of actors, especially when they’re starting out, make the mistake of thinking everyone else needs to hear their CV (usually because they’re insecure and keen to impress). Be comfortable with where you are at, and don’t give an abridged version of your Spotlight CV when you first meet an important CD, Director or Producer. Just be yourself and talk about what you would with your non-actor buddies. This will leave so much more memorable an impression, and you might discover things you have in common.

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If you could change one thing about the film industry what would it be?

More female roles so that we actually see an equal depiction of women and men on television and in films. If 50% of the population is female, shouldn’t our future generations see that on screen? That and sexism in the industry. They are the two things I’m constantly frustrated by.

Do you have any tips/advice for anyone wanting to pursue acting?

Absolutely, pursue it if you are passionate about it as a career choice, and not because you want to get famous (if that’s your motivation, I can suggest some awful reality TV shows). Make sure you put away your tax for every job you earn, and 10% on top of that aside for savings! Between jobs can feel like a terribly long time and it sucks to have to go back to ‘other work’ in the downtimes.

To finish on a high – I think it’s the best job in the world! You meet incredible people, work in some incredible locations, and get to play every day. So if you want to pursue it, don’t listen to anyone who tells you to get a real job. They’re just jealous.

Angela can be found on Tweeter: twitter.com/angiepang, IMDB and you can keep up to date with Angie’s blog here: actingbabe.com



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#11. Andre-Pierre – Actor

ipm_casting_1280Andre-Pierre Is An Up And Coming Actor From Birmingham (West Midlands) And Is Represented By Imperial Personal Management (IPM).  Coming From a Dance Background, Acting Was Always Andre’s First Love And Now He’s On The Verge Of Making A Storm In The Film And Television Industry With Numerous Music Videos, Short And Independent Feature Films And Stage Performances Under His Belt. His Recent Credits Include, Curiosity Calls, 3/5 A Man, Uncle Ben: Block Party, Roman, Ain’t Nobody (Remix) Directors Cut – Maverick Sabre, My Life My Choice And Many More.

He Recently Made His TV Debut By Appearing On BBC’s Crimewatch. He Has More Coming Up, Appearing Next In Feature Film Blitz In The Bits, Indy (Short Film), Desolate (Short Film), When Will We Want Us – TrueMendous (Music Video) And 3 Untitled Projects Soon To Be Announced. Andre Is Definitely On His Way To Becoming One To Watch In The Future.

Andre Appearing In Music Video Home – Plain & Simple Ft. Nia Ekanem

What or who was it that inspired you into a career as an actor?

I’ve Always Loved Films, Since I Was Young I’ve Been A Film Lover At Heart. I Think The First Actor I Saw Growing Up That First Influenced Me To Be An Actor Was Will Smith. Watching His Early Films He Was Always Someone I Loved Watching As A Young Kid. He Made You Enjoy The Character And What Was Happening Throughout The Film. From There, At The Age Of 12 – 13, I Got Myself Involved In Acting Classes, Stage Plays And Dance. I Was Very Shy, Quiet And I Really Didn’t Know How To Express Myself Until I Started Acting. Performing Gave Me A Sense Of Freedom As It Was Where I Felt Most At Home.  The More Performances I Did And Learnt How To Develop Characters, The More I Fell In Love With The Craft Which Confirmed For Me That This Is Something I Want To Be Doing For The Rest Of My Life. I Think When Star Wars: The Force Awakens Came Out And Seeing John Boyega ON The Big Screen It Hit Me To Think That If This Is Possible, Maybe I Can Reach That Point One Day. With Acting There’s Always New Challenges, New Skills To Learn, More Things To Learn About Yourself And What You Can Do As A Performer. As An Actor You’re Constantly Learning Day To Day. It’s One Of The Things I Love About My Career As An Actor.

Are there any actors that influenced your style?

Yeah Definitely Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch, Denzel Washington, Jack O’Connell, Chadwick Bozeman, Michael Fassbender, Michael B. Jordan, Christian Bale, John Boyega And Tom Hardy. With These Actors (And Theres Still Many More I Admire) They Immerse Themselves In Their Roles Each And Every Time. These Actors Always Showcase A Wide Range Of Roles And Ability To Their Craft Which Always Makes Them Standout In Everything They Play. I Always Want To Make My Characters Stand Out, Be Interesting And To Be Well To The Point Your Anxious To Know What They Are Gonna Do And Say Next. I Always Apply That Commitment And Discipline To All The Characters I Play As It’s Important For Me That The Characters Feel As Real As Possible.

Andre As The Villain Liston In Blitz In The Bits (Feature Film) Coming Soon

Andre As The Villain Liston In Blitz In The Bits (Feature Film) Coming Soon

How would you describe your acting style?

I Would Describe My Acting Style As Honest And True To How The Character Is. When Playing Different Types Of Roles The First Thing I Always Think Of Is Who Does This Person Remind Me Of Then I Build On The Character From There. I Also Base My Style On Real People And My Own Experiences So The Emotions And The Reactions Are Coming From A Real Place. I Think That’s The Best Way To Make The Characters Feel Real By Basing It On Or Being Inspired By The People That Are Actually Living The Experiences So It Never Feels Fake, Unnatural Or Out Of Place For The Audience Watching. When I’m Going Through Scripts And Talking With Directors I Always Ask Questions Because I Wanna Say, Do And React How The Character Would So If That Means Changing Certain Lines, Working On Certain Scenes More, Then We Get It Done Together Because We Wanna Create Something Substantial And Important. My Goal Is Always To Have The Audience Have An Emotional Reaction Watching My Character Whatever The Circumstance.




What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

I Think The Best Piece Of Advice I’ve Been Given Is To Love The Craft First And To Be Myself. Theres No Greater Asset Than Being True To Who I Am And What I’m Capable Of As An Actor. I Think That’s Enough In Terms Of People Understanding Who I Am. I Do Acting Because I Love Storytelling, I Love Portraying Different Characters, I Love The New Challenges I’m Given As An Actor. You Can’t Be In This Business For Fame Otherwise You Wont Last Long. I Do This Because I’ve Loved Doing It From An Early I Respect The Craft and The Process Of How Things Come Together. I Love The Potential And Impact A Performance Can Have Whether It’s Film Or Theatre.

Andre In Indy (Short Film) Coming Soon

Andre In Indy (Short Film) Coming Soon

What do you look for from your director?

I Always Look For A Director That’s Trying To Do Something Fresh And Different But Also Wants To Tell A Strong Story First And Foremost. A Director That’s Got Something To Say, A Point To Prove And An Overall Theme Or Message They’re Trying To Put Across. I Also Like The Directors To Be Passionate About What They Are Making And To Have A Real Structure, Know What They Are Doing And Take Risks With Their Material. Also Directors That Are Willing To Collaborate With Their Actors And Bounce Back And Forth Between Ideas. We Have To Make The Overall Story Great, Because That’s Our Job As Storytellers To Create Something That Will Resonate With Our Audience. It’s Even Better If You Have A Great Working Relationship With Each Other And You Relate To Them Which Also Helps Make A Great Finalised Film.

What do you look for in a script?

A Strong Script Is The First Thing I Look For Because Without A Strong Foundation For The Film And Story, Everything Else Falters. I Also Look At The Journey Of The Characters, Where They Start To Where They End Up When The Story Is Finished. What Changes Do They Go Through? How Do They Interact With Other Characters? What’s Their Purpose In The Story And How Relatable They Are Or Can Be? I Look At All Those Things Because If I’m Not Drawn To The Character Or It Isn’t Interesting On The Script, It’s More Than Likely I Wont Do It. I Like My Scripts To Be Engaging In All Aspects In Whatever Genre Or Role I’m Taking On. I Already Have A Strong Script For A Short Film. I Can’t Say What It Is Yet But It’s Gonna Be Quality.  I’m About To Film Soon But Because It’s So Strong, All I Can Do Is Experiment And Build On The Character More To make It Even Stronger. That’s What I’d Do With Any Strong Script, I’d Build On It So The Story And Characters Become Even Stronger.

Desolate Official Trailer (2016) from Robert W. Lawrence on Vimeo.

What kind of role do you prefer?

I Don’t Have A Kind Of Role To Be Honest, I Gravitate To Roles That Are Interesting And It Being Something I Would Wanna See Myself, As Apposed To Having Any Particular Kind Of Role. I Think That’s How you Trap Yourself As An Actor,  You End Up Being Typecast Because Of It. I Think The One Thing That Attracts Me To Any Kind Of Role Is That It’s Relatable First. To Me, In Any Genre Or Story, Having A Relatable Trait In A Character Gives You Part Of A Connection To The Audience Watching And Hopefully Keeps Them Invested. I’ve Played Various Roles Over The Years But I Always Make Sure That They Are Relatable.

Do you think there’s plenty of varied opportunities for actors in the Midlands?

I Would Say There Are A Few Opportunities But Not Many. I Feel Like The Scene Is Still Growing Down Here. There’s So Much Talent That It’s Sad That There Isn’t Enough Opportunity That Most Of The Talent Here Has To Go Elsewhere To Provide And Showcase Their Talents. There’s A Small Number Of Filmmakers That Are Doing Great Things Behind The Camera, But I Still Reckon There Needs To Be More Done Because I Still Think Midlands Is Heavily Overlooked When It Comes To Actors And Filmmakers And Theres Some Great Material Being Made Down Here That People Still Have Yet To See. I Think Over Time More Opportunities Will Flourish Over The Years To Come But More Opportunities Has To Be Happen.

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If you could change one thing about the film industry what would it be?

For The Film Industry To Take A Chance On More New Diverse Talent Of Actors And Filmmakers Especially In The UK. I Think In Order To Tell Stories Today You Got To Reflect That On What You See When You Go Outside Your Front Door. In Todays Society Most Cities Are Very Multicultural Now So TV Shows And Films Should Reflect That It Opens Up New Points Of View, More Interesting Storytelling And Overall A Broader Audience To Show. I Think Also Bringing In New Diverse Talented Filmmakers To The Industry Would Bring More Original Ideas Again As Apposed To Always Relying On Properties Based On Books, Toys, Comics Etc. I Think The More We Bring New Ideas, Diverse Filmmakers And Actors To The Table The More The Film Industry Will Bring More Quality Like TV Shows Are Doing Right Now.

CURIOSITY CALLS – Official Trailer from CarmaFilm Motion Pictures on Vimeo.

Do you have any tips/advice for anyone wanting to pursue acting?

I Think My Main Piece Of Advice Would Be To Love The Craft First Its As Simple As That. Study, Practice, Research And Love The Whole Process. Never Go Into This Thinking You Will Get Fame Quickly And Easy, Thats Not How It Works. If Thats Your Intention Then You Will Surely Hit Rock Bottom Quick. Always Be Willing To Learn, Be Open Minded, Willing To Take Direction And Always Be Willing To Become A Better Actor. The Better You Get The More Work Will Surely Come Your Way Through Time But Always Be Willing To Be Creative, Take Risks And Not Be Afraid To Stand Out With Your Choices Of Role, But Most Importantly Be True To Yourself.

Andre-Pierre’s Twitter Is @DrePierreTweets And Instagram: TheLifeOfDrePierre For The Latest Updates For What He Will Be Appearing In Next.

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#10. Jennifer Chislett – Sound recordist

Jennifer Chislett sound recordistJennifer Chislett is a seasoned Sound recordist who has worked in TV, Radio, Independent Film and Education. She has a wide ranging skillset and varied experience. Her credits include The Bill, Till Sunset and Junction 6.

 

What’s a typical day like on set as a sound recordist?

What a tricky question to start with! Each set is so different and I have worked on both TV and independent film sets.

So I start my day by getting all the gear ready, getting fresh batteries in the kit and prepping it. I will check over the sides for the day. If I’m boom operating, I will give the first scene a good read. I always keep an eye on the DOP and the director as we’re setting up and when they start talking about the first setup, I am right there. As a rule of thumb, no one ever tells sound when they start talking about setups and it’s good to find out what’s what. When I know what the first set up is, I will get any additional equipment ready and in position. If I am boom operating, I will keep an eye on the shot set up and any lighting. I keep an eye on where the shadows are being thrown and try and book myself a position onset as soon as possible. When they rehearse the scene, I am there watching and practicing if I can. Then it’s very much lather, rinse, repeat! At the end of the day, I try and hand over sound files if there’s time, before I go, otherwise as soon as I get home, I upload them to google drive or dropbox and send them over to the production team. Then I rest my arms!

 

What kinds of projects have you worked on?

I have worked in TV, and on independent film sets. I have enjoyed both equally! The best things have been ones where I have been challenged. One of my favourite experiences and the only time I have ever been in the back of a REAL police car is when I recorded the new sirens for the The Bill.

 

How did you get into working as a sound person?

For as long as I remember I wanted to do something with sound, audio or music. I’m currently working in education, but I pursue independent productions as I enjoy them. Previously to my employment in Education I was working in Broadcast. I worked for a number of years for a new defunkt Broadcast Hire Company, and that was a very good and interesting route in.

 

What project that you’ve worked on are you most proud of / enjoyed the most?

That’s another really difficult question! I guess my favourite thing I ever worked on was Jools Holland. It was a work experience opportunity, but I got to set up microphones for The Zutons and Razorlight (remember them?). I’m probably proudest of my

 

Can you give us a kit run down? (what, why, cost)

With the exception of some branded sound products, you do get what you pay for with sound equipment. So you need to decide what your budget is and then move forward from there. The great thing about sound equipment is that most times it’s interchangeable so you can keep improving your kit.

  • Microphones

Rode MicrophoneSo for recording for recording dialogue you are going to need what is called a shotgun microphone. The Sennheiser MKH416 is a fairly industry standard model. I also know some Sound Recordists favour the russian made Oktava range. If you are looking for something a little cheaper and a bit more forgiving, I have had success with Rode NTG-2’s. Remember to get the best microphone you can afford, this isn’t an area you should skimp on!

  • Headphones

Recording on set you will need a lovely clean pair of closed ear headphones to monitor sound. Put down the Dre Beats, these are not the headphones you are looking for however cool they look. You can get a much better of headphones at a much more reasonable price – please believe me! My favourite are Beyerdynamic DT770’s or you could go for Sennheiser HD25’s. They are more than worth the money in comfort and clarity.

  • Portable Recorders

Unless you are plugging directly into camera (which I would generally advise against unless you have a portable mixer, an assistant, or can go wireless without compromising the quality of the sound) you will need a portable recorder. There are a wide range. If for the most part , if you are recording a single microphone signal a small Zoom recorder would suffice. If you are investing in kit, you have a lot of choices to make!

 

Best thing about working as a sound recordist?

Unless you’re dealing with fisher booms, you generally have a lot less equipment to lug around! There is a lovely, often subtle, artistry to sound which I personally love. Sound can often tell you so much more than a picture.

 

Worst thing about working as a sound recordist?

The worst thing about working in sound is that you are often an afterthought and can be overlooked. I think many people don’t value sound, because the best sound goes un-noticed by many. I always say that if no one comments on the sound you have done a blinding job, the only time people actually notice is when it goes wrong which can be incredibly disheartening. In an ideal world you will have a mixer and a boom op, but this seems to be rarer and rarer these days except on high budget productions.

 

Any sound recording tips for someone making a low budget film?

I have two pieces of advice. My number one piece of advice is to get the sound right on the day. At times it can unavoidable, but most low budgets will not have budgeted for ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement). ADR Sessions are expensive, even if you have the skills to do it at home, it still means you have to get the actors back for the day. If it’s unable to be done in a home studio, you’re adding on studio time to that bill. Also it takes a very skilled actor to get ADR correct.

 

So what can you do to ensure that you get the sound right on the day?

  • Do a Recce – if you can go along to the location and ‘listen’ – is the location on a flight path?, is it next to a building site etc… If you can’t get along before hand then when you arrive, have a good listen (and look) around for anything that may cause problems.
  • Make sure you gain permission from the location owners to switch off or move any equipment that makes a noise this can include things like clocks, fridges, fish tanks.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for another take. In high pressured situations it can be difficult to get your voice heard but it’s your job to get what is needed.
  • If you come across an impossible situation, you need to make the director aware of the limitations of what you can do with a shot.
  • Judge the situation. You will be working around all the other departments, it’s not appropriate to consistently pull your weight, or slow production down by creating problems. Always come to the party with solutions and if you become the problem, find another way to do it.
  • Record as much as you can. If there is a spot sound effect, for example a hand drier, record it separately.
  • Room Tone – always record a minute or so of room tone, it’s really going to help your sound editor.
  • Be tenacious, you probably can’t afford to hire radio mics unless your sound recordist has them so you will need to be creative, and they should only be a last resort. Use all the tools available to you!

 

My second piece of advice is to get a sound recordist. Don’t just hand sound to your 3rd AD or Production Assistant. Some shoots are easy, but the majority are not. There seems to be loads of good camera folk out there, but a good Sound recordist appears to be gold dust in the low budget world so treat them nicely!

 

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in sound?

Look after your ears. Start really listening to films and TV – what makes them good/bad? Start networking, now. Get all the experience you can. Go to Uni, if you can. Don’t undersell yourself – especially when you start getting paid. Learn about what everyone else is doing on a shoot and how you may have to interact with them. Learn how to live as a freelancer, because you will probably have to.

Jennifer Chislet is on Twitter and you can found out more information via her website.. www.chis.co.uk