Choke Mate

Wow it’s been quite a few days!

On Tuesday we were kickstarters ‘project of the day’ and yesterday we were one of three projects profiled in their weekly newsletter. It has really given the project a shot in the arm and opened us up to a larger audience.

And ‘Choke Mate’ our 48 hour short film has been going down very well – which is a relief.

As promised (although a little late) here are a few behind the scenes pics and a run down of what happened.

Choke Mate: As it happened

Throughout the week we had been asking the online community to suggest the story tagline, prop, location, etc. So come Friday night we had the main elements in place

The basic premise? (Suggested by Chris Knight)

‘As an air raid siren sounds two people play chess for the last gas mask.’

We also had to have a snow globe in there and shoot it on a beach – I was hoping for a warm, sheltered house!

With those three elements in place I expanded the premise into some sort of story. Originally I wanted the film to be closer in tone to The Fitzroy but for me comedy takes an age to write. So to save time we went dark! Time is also the reason there is hardly any dialog in Choke Mate.

By Friday night – we had all the elements in place. Although I had never met the actors before or been to the location, I did have a kind of rough idea of what we wanted to make.

Friday morning at the crack of dawn – no scrap that it was about two hours before dawn we set off from London to Southend on Sea. Thankfully Mother Nature was kind to us and the weather was gorgeous, if a little nippy but then it’s December.

We were a tight crew! The two actors, the two producers (James and Liam – multi tasking to the max), Ciro (DOP) and me. Like I say tight.

When we arrived at the location the first thing we did was to scout out the beach. Luckily there were a lot of cool sections all within a few hundred meters of each other.

The actors, Ben and Anne-Sophie, changed into their costumes while we set up the first shot – Ben jumping over the beach brake.

And we were off.

We were pushed for time from the get go. Being winter we only had until 3.30pm of usable light. So we moved quickly and generally didn’t go over two takes, although there were a few shots that required more. The running in the mud at the opening of the film was one.

The actors did a great job and I can’t thank them enough. They really were thrown into it and had to spend the day sitting, lying and running on a cold wet beach. They were both stellar.

We shot right up until sunset and just managed to get the last shot in time.

To be honest I wasn’t quite sure we had managed to capture enough. But there was no time to worry about that. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then it was back to London to cut the film.

We edited until around 2am, by which time we had a rough assembly and I was shattered. We grabbed a few hours sleep and then got back to the edit. After a few hours we had a locked cut and sent it off to Tom who was doing the sound design.

Unfortunately because we had shot on the 5d the sound was rather awful. We knew this going in but because we were essentially shooting on the fly it was our best option. This meant Tom had to work some magic and create a more ‘alien’ sound-scape. He did an amazing job.

While Tom was doing the sound mix we were working on the grade, titles and a few sky replacements.  Almost exactly when I hit render Tom sent through the final mix and the film was finished. It was almost like it was planned!

So that’s how the weekend went. It was very intense but great fun. I can’t thank everyone enough for the work they put in and thank you to everyone who came up with suggestions and has shared the film.

Don’t forget to check out The Fitzroy’s kickstarter page – we’ve got just over a week left. With a bit of luck and support we just might make it!

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2 thoughts on “Choke Mate

  1. Pingback: Speaking the same Language | The Fitzroy (feature film)

  2. Pingback: Kevin Macdonald watches Choke Mate! | The Fitzroy (feature film)

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