Week One of the Shoot

Wow, we are one week into the shoot of the film and what a week it has been!
I can’t quite believe we have already shot six days. It has gone by in a blur of ‘actions’ and ‘cuts’.
Discussing the next shot

Discussing the next shot with Ken Collard and Ciro Candia

The first week has all been on location on the Black Widow Russian submarine in Rochester.
Shooting on a submarine has thrown up quite a few logistics problems. Some we were able to plan for and others have come as complete surprises. Having to schedule around tide times has been an interesting experience for our brilliant 1st AD Robyn.

Cramped is an understatement

Cramped is an understatement

The biggest problem by far is simply working in such a tight location. Once you squeeze in a crew and cast, there is literally no place to move. I know how a sardine feels now. Just moving positions between shots is an epic undertaking of elbows and head bashing. We have all got to know each other very well!
The limited space has caused real problems with the daily shooting list and unfortunately we have had to overrun a couple of days and shuffle scenes around. We have also had to drop a couple of scenes from our schedule. Hopefully we can figure out a way to pick these up down the line.

Stuart McGugan and Cerith Jones rehearse one of the opening scenes

Stuart McGugan and Cerith Jones rehearse one of the opening scenes

This all sounds like doom and gloom but it isn’t! The footage we are capturing is looking amazing and far beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of. I can’t wait to share some of it with you.
We have a wonderful cast and crew who are all working their socks off and achieving the impossible under incredibly hard conditions. Everyone has been incredibly patient with us as we find our feet on our first feature film and I can’t thank them enough. From day one this has been an ambitious project for a first feature film and I am constantly amazed by the talent of the people who are involved. I feel very blessed.
Ken Collard and David Schall enjoy a joke between takes.

Ken Collard and David Schall enjoy a joke between takes.

Tomorrow is the last day on the sub. We then have a week of studio. I think I speak for everyone one I say we can’t wait to get to the studio! In some ways it should be a lot easier – we will have space for one! In other ways it will throw up a load of new challenges, including meatier scenes and a tighter schedule! Best of all, we wont finish the day smelling of diesel.
Ciro Candia - the only one aloud to wear a backpack on the sub! (It holds the batteries for the camera)

Ciro Candia – the only one aloud to wear a backpack on the sub! (It holds the batteries for the camera)

If you would like to know more on how the shoot is going, do check out this brilliant blog by Alex Scott who is doing a brilliant job helping out with the behind the scenes filming. And of course as always you can get even more updates on our facebook and twitter feeds.
It's cold on the sub and each morning the lenses need to 'breathe'!

It’s cold on the sub and each morning the lenses need to ‘breathe’!


Titles: Animation Tests

We are moving forward with the film and will soon be heading into pre-production!

Hopefully the updates will start to come thick and fast, but this blog is all about how the titles are progressing.

Chris and Marko have been working hard to develop the style and ‘story’ of the titles.

As we discussed in an early blog we gathered a bus load of references over on pintrest, stuff we liked (and didn’t) and I briefed the guys on what the titles needed to do.


From those references the guys worked up a number of style frames and possible approaches.

A few early ideas:

Initial Idea

Initial Idea 02

We really liked the idea of ‘simple’ graphical backgrounds and environments with more detailed characters.

The guys took these core elements and expanded them out into a number of different scenarios. They also played around with different looks within these constraints.

Inspector ideasSub ideas

The Chef ideas

Marko also began working on different styles for the characters.

Charachter ideas

These frames gave us a good idea of the feel we wanted to create, especially in terms of detail in the backgrounds, texture and if they needed extra 2d overlays.

The next step was to do an animation test and see how some of these ideas worked moving.

And here they are…

We were a big fans of the ‘black frame’ (#3) look; it will give us the opportunity to play with different farmings and transitions between scenarios. We might also include some of the parallax elements from number 4.

As tests, these give us a great idea for the look and energy of the titles.

Now we have a style (pretty much) locked down, the next step is to figure out the ‘story’ of the titles and begin story boarding the whole sequence.

I hope you like the way they are looking!

One of the rewards we offered during the Kickstarter campaign is to be featured as an animated character in the titles! If you backed at this level we will be in touch soon on what we will need from you to turn you into a little animated person.

cartoon charachter

If you missed out on the campaign and would too like to be featured in the titles – well you can! Just head over to our shop. All money goes to making the film better and bigger!

For a closer look at some of the above images, check out the gallery below.

Sharing the love.

This is a blog I’ve wanted to do for a little while now.

During our crowd-funding campaign we received a lot of love and good will – not just families, friends and strangers but also from other filmmakers and crowd-funding projects.

Well, I would like to pass that good will on wherever we can. Personally I’m a huge fan of the crowd-funding model and not just because The Fitzroy reached it’s target. I truly believe it is the start of a new model for creatives to reach, build and share with an audience. It is, without doubt, an exciting time.

So I thought I would share with you a few projects that have caught my eye recently*. Hopefully this might become a semi-regular blog? Who knows.

*Disclaimer time: I’m not personally connected to any of these projects, but I have backed them all and think they are pretty awesome.

Without further ado, here they are.

Bid For My Life

Comedian, actor and filmmaker James Hamer-Morton looks to sell his soul* and make a hilarious documentary at the same time. I think this is going to be such a blast to watch.

*I don’t think he is actually selling his soul.


We Are Monsters

A British sci-fi mutant film? Starring Doug Jones? Whats not to get excited about! These guys have been running an awesome campaign and made the amazing film PANIC BUTTON.


Borrowed Time

I love the trailer to this film – really funny and sweet.

These filmmakers are using kickstarter to help get their film onto cinema screen. If indie films can’t help each other do that, then what hope do we have trying to compete with the Hollywood marketing machine?


The Nightman of Nevermoor

An exciting short film from a phenomenally talented group of filmmakers. Seriously, check out their previous films and you’ll want to see what they do with this one – I do.


Like I say I have no involvement in any of these projects, I just think they are very cool and wanted to help spread the word.

I hope you like them as much as I do and you can give them a tweet or facebook mention and help spread the word… I wanted to put ‘spread the love’ again but was worried this would turn into a love-in.

Titles – the first steps

It’s full steam ahead for The Fitzroy and we’ve started to have our first few creative meetings! It’s incredibly exciting.


The title designers Chris and Marko skyping in the meeting

One of those meetings was for the titles. If you’ve been following us for a while you’ll be aware that the title sequence to the film will be animated and tell the backstory to the world of The Fitzroy (also you can be in it!! – more on that at the bottom).

I consider the titles to be integral to the film and we’ve got not just one, but two really talented guys working on them; Marko Anstice – he did the illustrations on our website – and Chris Tozer who did the gfx in the promo video. Do check out their work. It’s pretty amazing!

I love title sequences. One of my favourite sites is Art of the Title. For me the titles are a chance for the filmmaker to put the audience in the right mood for the film and reassure them that the film is going to be… well, good.

We also want our title sequence to do a few more things. Here’s the actual brief I gave the guys:

The titles must be…

  • Energetic, funny, engaging
  • Tell the narrative backstory of The Fitzroy
  • Answer ‘logistic’ questions about the world of the Fitzroy
  • Reflect the mood of the film
  • Contain all the characters.

Simple really.


One of the first steps to any creative process (as far as I’m concerned) is to brainstorm and put together mood boards and references.

So that’s what we’ve been doing and we thought you might like to check it out. We’re using Pinterest and you can see all our references for the titles. This is a working tool and is constantly evolving and changing.

Click here to see the references on Pinterest

If you have any suggestions for references then let us know, either in the comments below or on our facebook page and if we like them we’ll throw them into the mix.


Okay one of the awesome rewards we offered during the Kickstarter campaign is to be featured as an animated character in the titles! How cool is that? We’ll turn you into a character and put you in the titles. A bit Like this…

cartoon charachter

NB* The style might change a little as we are still figuring out the look of the titles.

If you would like to be in the titles – just head over to our shop. All money goes to making the film better and bigger!

So that’s the first steps of creating the titles. Once we’ve locked down a look we will start working up some tests… I’ll keep you posted.

And just because it’s one of my favourite title sequences, here’s the titles to the Pink Panther.

Indiewire Project of the Month

We’re up for Indiewire’s Project of the Month! …which is incredibly exciting. Put simply if The Fitzroy wins we receive a consultation with the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival and more importantly register a blip on the film world’s sonar!


We had a production meeting over the weekend. At the very start we went around the table and all said what we want the film to achieve and what was most important to us. Of course stuff like ‘be the first step on the career ladder’, ‘win awards’, ‘gain industry respect’ and ‘make loads of money’, all came up. Those goals are important but there were two things that we all agreed stood above everything else.

1)     Make the best film possible.

2)     Get as many people to see it as possible.

Those are our goals for the film!

But to get as many people to see the film as possible we need to start building awareness now!

We’ve had a great start with Kickstarter but we really need your help in spreading the word about The Fitzroy and getting as many people behind the project.

In my head I see a Fitzroy army!

So please gather your arms, join the front line and vote for The Fitzroy.


Please be sure to follow these simple steps. If not, your vote will not count!

1) Visit Indiewire: LINK
2) VOTE for The Fitzroy (or whoever you like – but we hope it’s the Fitzroy).
3) Enter your EMAIL address and then click on “VOTE”.
4) Check your email for an email from “Polldaddy” (it might go to your junk folder!) and hit “Confirm Poll Vote.” 

And that’s it. If only democracy were as simple.

Please help us SPREAD THE WORD – post it on Facebook, email to your friends, tweet it… if you’re in a coffee shop and see an attractive person on their mobile device but are struggling to find an ice breaker? Go over and tell them to vote! Okay that last one is a bit specific but you get the picture.

We think the vote is going to go down to the wire – EVERY VOTE REALLY DOES COUNT.

Thank you

NB* Even if you voted for ‘project of the week’ in December, I’m afraid you need to vote again for it to register for ‘project of the month’.

Here’s the link if you want to share it: