This week saw S4London hold its second monthly short film night in Bethnal Green, East London.
Hosted at the rather fancifully named ‘Motel de Nowhere’, a time share studio space off Bethnal Green Road, the format is a simple. Show a short film and then invite principle cast and/or crew to answer questions about each stage of S4 (script, shoot slice and screen).
It’s the brainchild of local houseboat resident Steven Russell. He’s worked in feature film and television development since 2003; and in 2010 started his own script consultancy Love Me Not Films.
November’s film wasBlind Date, a wonderfully witty short film about what happens if your blind date doesn’t turn up. Written by, and starring, Abigail Blackmore as Rachel, the hapless single woman, who finds surprising honest conversation and the chemistry she is really looking for in Steven (played by Cavan Clerkin of Pulling), a stranger she is forced to share a table with while waiting for, and finally giving up on, her date to arrive.
After it played Blackmore, and the director, Joe Rosen, joined Russell to talk the audience through their process and outcomes of making this short. Russell explored Blackmore’s writing habits. She said she writes at least three hours a day. However, when she’s working from an outline of a feature then she sets herself page total targets. First draft, she’ll write seven pages a day and for the rewrite she works through ten pages a day. Impressively, and judging by reactions of the other film makers present, inspiring too, they shot the short in just a day. Rosen talked technical: in particular, the benefits and efficiencies of a two-camera shoot on a no-budget film. With a rough cut done they got lucky by gaining completion funding (from the UK Film Council) to put the film through its post-production paces in terms of colour, sound and the edit. This part of the process also demanded cutting a 14-minute film down to little over 10. A painful, but necessary experience according to both Joe and Abigail.
Once complete, UK film festivals they applied to did not select Blind Date for their programmes, but the it did find fans in the US. Blind Date not only got selected for Austin Film Festival 2010 and LA Independent Film Festival 2011 it also won the Audience Award at both of them too.
The whole experience has gained Blackmore an agent and travelling with her film out to the States, she talked with genuine excitement and amazement about pitching her feature script ideas in Los Angeles.
She says: “It was really nice to look back over [Blind Date] and share our mistakes and triumphs with a room full of other filmmakers.”
Russell is leap frogging over December and will be announcing the film and participants for January’s S4London very soon.