Crowd funding campaigns we love

Here at The Fitzroy, we’re huge fans of crowd funding and not just because it helped us get the Fitzroy off the ground. We truly believe it is a great way to create and share new ideas and projects.

So in the spirit of the season, we thought we’d share a few of the projects that have caught our eye recently.

Frogman Returns

Who doesn’t love superheroes and frogs!

“He’s green, he’s wet, he ain’t your pet… he’s FROGMAN, and he’s back in this ‘darker and grittier’ comic book sequel.”

twitter: @Mattfitch81

Obvious Child: a 2014 Sundance World Premiere!

Obvious Child looks like a very funny and touching film, premiering at Sundance.

twitter: @ObviousChildMov

Life Itself

If, like us, you love cinema, you really should check out this feature documentary based on the late great Roger Ebert’s memoirs.

twitter: @EbertMovie

Ralph’s Life Charity Music CD

A great cause and a great idea! Help produce a double CD of unsigned UK Indie bands and artistes, to raise both funds and awareness for mental health in the UK.

twitter: @Fruitbatwalton

I hope you like them as much as we do and you can give them a tweet or facebook mention and help spread the word. If you have any projects that you think deserve sharing too – please post them in the comments below.

Disclaimer time: We’re not personally involved in any of these projects, some are by complete strangers, some by friends (both online and real world). Some we have financially backed, others we support by helping spread the word. All of them we just think are pretty awesome.

‘The clothes make the character’

 ‘The clothes make the character’ is a famous quote I’m probably misremembering by a famous actor. Well it’s true and I would include make-up in that mangled quote.

‘The clothes and the make-up… er… make the character’ – Andrew Harmer

Pithy!

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One of the real pleasures I had when shooting The Fitzroy was watching the actors come in in the early hours of the morning, often tired, occasionally grumpy, only to emerge a little later from the make-up and costume room as laughing, smiling, characters, completely transformed. It was a joy to behold.

Make-up and Costume are so important to a film, especially when the film is a period piece. We’ve been blessed on The Fitzroy to have a great team creating the look. Spearheaded by Poppy Bell (costume) and Karen Evans (make-up), they have worked wonders on a minuscule budget.

But enough of me waffling on. I’ll let them explain it themselves in our latest behind-the-scenes video.

So how’s the shoot going? 

We completed the six days of pick-ups, four in the studio and two back on our old friend, the submarine.

This section of the shoot threw up a couple of interesting challenges.

We had the worst start imaginable. The kind of start all film productions fear… we had no camera gear!

I won’t go into details (if you fancy that you can read more about the ‘day of panic’ on producer James Heath’s blog). Mercifully, by 4pm the camera arrived and we flew into shooting. Thanks to the hard-working cast and crew (the art department had to pull an all-nighter, what stars!) we managed to shoot everything and claw ourselves back to being on schedule.

ciro with camera

The other issue again was somewhat unexpected. Due to unforeseen circumstances our wonderful 1st Robyn, had to drop out the night before the last two days of the pick-ups.

With a few scrambled phone calls and emails we managed to find another 1st. We met her on the sub, introduced the cast and crew and gave her a tour. We started to talk through the first setups and all was going fine. I went to make myself a cup of tea. When I returned I was greeted with the news that our new 1st had been feeling ill and had left!

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Catching some rays while shooting some rare exteriors.

So we were stuck in the middle of the Medway with no 1st ad. Now a 1st ad basically runs the shoot. They hurry the crew along and make sure we are sticking to the schedule – they are kind of the boss. Normally a 2nd or 3rd ad would step up, but we didn’t have those guys on this shoot (keeping the budget tight). The only solution was for one of the producers, James Heath, to step into the mix and become the 1st ad for the two sub days. Thankfully he did a good job and we managed to capture all the shots we needed.

Around 90% of the film is now shot and we are very happy with the footage. Some time in July we’ll be shooting the last few scenes, which will include a day of exteriors on the beach and a day of green screen studio shooting. Then the film will be fully wrapped.

In the meantime we are jumping into the post production and cutting what we have shot so far!

As always please share this blog and the film with friends and family. Sign up to our newsletter on the the website or like us on facebook … or follow us on twitter. Social media hey!

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Bernard did lots of hanging around on the recent phase of the shoot!

Ready for Round Two.

I was trying to come up with a pithy little title for this blog, ‘Back in the Saddle’, ‘The Return of The Fitzroy’ (or ‘Revenge’ if you’re more Sith than Jedi), ‘Picking up The Fitzroy’, etc. But I decided to go with a fighting reference, some how it feels more fitting.

Making this film is a constant battle, it is a blow for blow, bare knuckle dust up between our will and the film! Okay maybe I’m taking this fighting metaphor too far but we are having to wrestle this film in to existence.

David Gant and Ken Collard showing the fighting spirit

David Gant and Ken Collard showing the fighting spirit

Tomorrow morning we commence shooting the pickups for The Fitzroy. Having run over schedule in the initial section of photography we now have to finish shooting the rest of the scenes.

There are many reasons why we didn’t achieve our first section of filming – most of which I covered in this blog. Having to pick up days has thrown up a couple of major problems.

Firstly and always the biggest problem is money! We are trying to make The Fitzroy on a very tight budget, especially for a period sci-fi film. This means we have had to raise additional finance. Then there is the issue of ‘getting the team back together’, which has been a logistical nightmare to say the least.

The good news is we have managed both.

There has been one major benefit of having this break in the shooting, we’ve been able to take stock and put together a rough cut of what we have captured so far. This has allowed us to make sure the story is working and know exactly what we need to shoot for the pick-ups.

So tomorrow we jump back into the ring with The Fitzroy – we’ll be punching harder and smarter, and if the film fights back we’ll be ready for some more ducking and diving.

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Cerith Flinn aka Bernard (hopefully) ready for round 2

The morning after the 2½ weeks before.

It’s two days after the initial shoot for The Fitzroy and I’ve still not recovered. My head is awash with costumes, submarines, lenses, problems, guns, solutions, squeezing into small spaces, smelling of diesel, no sleep, wonderful people and chickens!

The shoot has flown by in a blur and now I’m back home it all feels like it was just a dream.

I line up the next shot with Cerith Jones (aka Bernard)

I line up the next shot with Cerith Jones (aka Bernard)

It was such a fun shoot but ultimately, very challenging for me… and still will be. Because the truth is we overran our schedule and will have to pick up at least a few days on both the submarine and studio.

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Final make-up checks before a take.

Why did we overrun?

Two reasons: firstly, our schedule was too tight and secondly, working in such a confined space proved much more difficult than we ever expected… never shoot on a submarine! On the flip side though, the footage and performances we have captured are stupendous.

This conflict between shooting great stuff and running out of time caused me untold internal conflict (and I’m sure occasionally external). Ciro Candia (the Director of Photography) and I had created an exhaustive shot list prior to filming but it became clear very quickly that we had to throw that out the window.

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Checking out a take – hopefully of something funny!

Ciro Candia lining up a shot in the studio

Ciro Candia lining up a shot in the studio

Scenes that were listed with extensive coverage became ‘one shot scenes’, close up’s became a ‘two shot’ and tracking shots became handheld. Now this all sounds very negative but (hopefully) we didn’t simplify anything to the extent that it has become detrimental to the film. In fact it’s probably the opposite. I can think of at least a couple of places where the simpler option has improved a scene. It certainly pushed me to make some braver decisions.

But it did mean I had to think on the fly a lot more than I would have liked, which I’m sure caused the cast and crew a few problems. But they coped admirably and if it did cause issues, they didn’t mention them to me. I really couldn’t have asked for a more hardworking and friendly cast ‘n crew.

So what’s next?

Well we have to go back and pick up the pushed scenes and shots. So it’s not over yet – not by a long way. Before we do that we are going to do a rough cut of the film and see where we’re at.

In the meantime, if you would like to see more, as always, follow us on twitter, facebook or sign up to our newsletter.

The cast and crew of The Fitzroy

The cast and crew of The Fitzroy

* Photos by the wonderful Angus Young

The cast read-through

Wow, where does the time go?

We are just five days away from the first day of principal photography on the film!

I’ve always wanted to say that. ‘Principal photography’ sounds classy, but the truth is I am feeling equal parts child-like excitement and bone-crunching terror. Okay, maybe that’s over-egging it a touch.

Last week we had a read-through with the entire cast. It was the first time I had met them since their individual auditions and the first time they all got to meet each other.

It was incredibly exciting to see how they would ‘fit’ together. Of course I was very nervous. As this is my first feature film, it was also my first proper script read-through. Now I don’t like talking in front of large groups at the best of times, but this was a large group that was about to read a script I have been working on for the last 4 years. A script, I might add, that is meant to be funny.

  • What if it wasn’t funny?
  • What if the actors hated each other?
  • What if they saw I was a fraud and knew nothing about making a film?

These were the concerns running through my head as we all sat around in a big circle. Unfounded concerns? Maybe… maybe not.

So in a trembling voice, I introduced myself and like an AA meeting, we went round the circle and declared who we were and what we were playing.

And then we jumped straight into it. The first read-through with the cast.

An hour and twenty minutes later we finished and I breathed again.

There had been some laughs and some jokes that didn’t hit. Moments that flew by and others that dragged. Suffice to say, I learnt a lot about the film; how it should be played and what areas of the script still need work.

After the read-through we discussed the script and some of the logistics of the shoot and then went to the pub!

As we speed towards principal photography (just wanted to say that again) time seems to be slipping away. Will we be ready? I think so.

Over the past few days we started to announce some of the cast members over on our facebook site. Do check them out!