Extreme UK Guerrilla Film-making #3

Why Extreme? Well, this is a feature film project shot in multiple locations (Leicestershire) with large cast, in 21 days, with no money or subsidy of any kind – nada, zilch. That’s what we did with Do Something, Jake and here are some insights in a series of blogs from the director and production team.

The film is nearing post-production completion and due to be released in 2017.

The Weather

At time of writing (June 2017) the temperature in Quorn (one of our filming locations in Leicestershire) is 29 degrees with 46% humidity and a 9 mph wind. This, quite a contrast to the mix of autumn weather experienced during production of Do Something, Jake back in November 2015. Check out these two B-Roll clips, filmed indoors but cold nonetheless, since it was an old derelict building with no heating:

Indeed, freezing hands, long hours, big coats, and gruelling conditions are often part of film shoots whatever the budget. There are some hurdles that money will not resolve: you cannot pay the sky gods to make the sun stay a little longer, thus increasing shooting hours, and you cannot prevent the weather from taking an unexpected turn at any moment. English director Christopher Nolan said of his Iceland shoot on Interstellar (estimated budget $165m), “We did three days out on the water standing in 2-foot-deep water in the freezing cold. And I’ve never had a crew complain quite so much.”

On our no-budget film, we were generally lucky with the weather. Although it was extremely cold, we avoided torrential downpours and extreme winds – but only just. There were a few occasions when an approaching storm, rain, and other climatic changes could have aborted the shoot, or at least changed the schedule radically.

My approach is to film with what you have in terms of weather. If it’s raining, we roll cameras! Also, in scheduling, we try not to split scenes across days, thus mitigating the risk of continuity problems.

The other thing is to get stuck in and enjoy the early mornings, late nights, the cold, the heat, the rain, the wind, the mud… everything.

“People have no idea how physically tough doing a film is.” ~Ridley Scott

Whatever the budget, we’re privileged to be involved in film-making and out there doing it in the elements. I’ve spent enough time working in dreary offices to know that for sure!

So, that’s the weather, a challenge indeed… but what about directing the actors? That’s coming soon in the next installment…

James Smith, writer-director