The Bladder Run Blog - The BRB!
Monday 23rd February 2015
The film is pretty much edited but needs a sound mix. Its been a few traumatic weeks for me with a bout of ill health and then the death of two beloved cats. As such the film went on hold for a while but now the final push is at hand.
I have recreated some of the early special effects shots that looked primitive now that I am starting to get the hang of After Effects and I am now at the point where the audio mix is the priority that will complete the film.
Please hang in there for the final push.
Thursday 25th December 2014
What? What? What? Its 54 weeks since I blogged? How on Earth did thath happen? If anyone has seen 2014 please hand it in to lost property!
Its been a roller coaster year in my personal life but the film has continued post production in the background and hopefully little snippets posted will show a flavour of the progress.
But its now the end of the actual edit and the sound is the focus going into 2015. To be honest this is probably the most difficult part of the task but will be the most rewarding based on the scenes already completed. Kit, Steve and others will be visiting chez Hev to re record dialogue whilst Dee Emm is recording his dialogue at home and drop boxing it to me. Technology!
As I learned layers of effects I decided to add more FX shots to the film and five or six have become about 30 (so far) I look at scenes and think I wonder if I could add.....and then do.
Having showed Tom some scenes on Christmas Eve 2014 I was pleased with the reactions. I hope everyone enjoys this labour of love as much as I have enjoyed its creation. Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year!
Saturday 7th December 2013
Review of the year
As another year mysteriously disappears I note that its just around 12 months ago (December 2nd 2012) that we shot the last footage of the year at the Top Dry Cleaners in Leamington. At that point I had 27 pages of script left to film. This may not sound like a great deal, but it can be a daunting task. For example, a line in the script may say "A fight ensues". That could take a whole day - or longer - to shoot. So 27 pages was a mountain to climb. That all of it was "in the can" by September was a testament to the dedication of the cast and crew that appear in front of and behind the lens in this film. I call it a "film" although it has been described elsewhere as "a shi**y home movie". Whilst I can laugh and shrug off a comment like that - and look forward to its originator getting off his/her backside and doing something (anything) it does put things in perspective.
Bladder Run is and always was a labour of love with no budget. That we can look at scenes with 60 extras or special FX showing the car park at the back of a disused cinema apparently becoming the roof of a 100 storey building means that we have done something the naysayers said we could not. We got off our collective arses, worked together and made it happen. Even if the film turns out to be a "shi**y home movie" I have made loads of new friends and learned a lot about films, organising, editing, fund raising and enjoying myself.
The year got off to a chilly start. Snow and lots of it plagued the UK and our first major shoot - at the TSB (sponsored for the day by Colin Cooper) was like shooting in a freezer. My abiding memory of that day is a rather forlorn Vicki Walkden standing in the middle of the space we had hired looking a different shade of blue ever time we went for a take. I don't think anyone really enjoyed that day and certainly I was disappointed with the results. The actors hit their marks and gave lovely funny performances - but to be honest - magic didnt happen. This was not the last time we encountered this issue in 2013. As it is, editing saved the day and i hope that you enjoy that scene when you see it. Its very important to the film and one I hope looks good.
We managed to shoot off and on, on pick ups and cutaways through the year and in the early summer I contacted the Custard Factory. Juliet, the marketing manager, very kindly arranged a fantastic - albeit it brightly lit - space for us to film. What I *should* have done wa sto shoot at night. As it was I shot on a hot day and the chances of moody lighting we nil. I fessed up and the cast and crew reconvened a few weeks later to reshoot the scene, over a very long weekend that ran all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday - and on those days i pulled up to 18 hour shifts.
On the friday night we filmed the Dr Lorell scenes with our secret guest artist, Turk thrust IV, who was brilliant in the role. Saturday saw the stuio of Wayland Thor Badger - our host for the weekend - transformed into the home of one JFK Subastud. Dark, moodily lit and wonderful on camera. The shot I nearly dropped from the film but then reinstated - the "hot eggs" scene worked well and the stars Begona and Kit were ably supported by the bevvy of "living dolls" with a few new faces - our old friend Kez Sahin and Geisha Girl Jessi Wong joing the extras cast.
By the Sunday it became apparent that my hair was falling out in scary amounts. Id bleached it vigourously and left the solution on far too long. On Monday I looked like I had a 6 inch parting down the centre of my head. Its mostly grown back now but its still not what it was. But it was good on camera and thats what counts!
During the shoot we flitted between DSLR, 1080i and 1080p cameras, but the overall tone was maintained. Wayland shot some impressive footage - including a recreation of the Pris airbrushes her eyes shot - when he stepped in as 2nd unit director. Another great shot - with interactive lighting by Sarah Simons, a pen and a battery lamp(!!) - had me delivering the lines I'd waited 20 years to say. This was shot in the warm of the studio on a black set. The outdoor shoot was if anything, agony!
We were on the 4th floor roof of the Custard Factory, it was 9PM on an August Saturday and it was a warm night. But 60 feet up felt like we were shooting in Iceland (the country not the store) and I was dressed in a pair of lycra cycling shorts which probably showed up my short comings to all and sundry.
After three hours of cold I had lost the plot and the will to live. the death speech was delivered badly and didnt look right. I ended up reshooting it on a green screen in my living room and it worked a treat. Note to self - next time you make a film, shoot it at home! And keep the heating on!!
But even though we all froze and turned to shivering wrecks the gang all gave their all. Jo made up he blood on my face, Zak moved lights, Sarah and Wayland shot the scenes and Tom awaited his cue. Poor Begona shivvered and dreamed of her native Spain where a cold night is T Shirt weather!
The last few shots of the year involved Tom, Steve Evans and I creating pickups. Steve falls into Junior like a drunkard into the gutter - easily and with great speed. The man is funny on and off screen and so talented. I love acting with him and want to use him in bigger roles in 2014. The afore metioned abandonned cinema was the setting for Botty and Dickards final exchange and when married with footage from four different days' shoots should look great.
And so we are now into the lull; the edit is taking place as your read this (unless you are reading in the year 801702 and you are a Morlok) and we are looking forward to posh frocks at the premier - I hope you all like my slinky dress!
See you at the movies and THANK YOU to all of you involved this year - if I miss you name please forgive me
Tom, Vicki, Colin, Steve, Kit, Begona, Dee, Cameron, Annelise, Wayland, Jason, Mike, Matt, Duncan, Jo, Kim, Ozlem, Jessi, Kez, Julia, Sarah, Maura, Helen, Zak, Karl, Sharon, Michaela, Lilly, Gemma, Nick, Val, Nigel,
Thursday 12th September 2013
"Never mind the f&*%$£g geometry lesson - just throw that b@$&@£d dove!!"
Imagine the scene. The roof of the Custard Factory. At night. In what feels like sub zero wind chill enduced freezing conditions. A small dedicated group has followed me to film some of the crucial moments of Bladder Run - Botty and Dickard on the roof.
The only problem is, most of it won't end up in the film? Why? Well after the initial thrill of being on the roof in only trainers and a pair of lycra cycling shorts had worn off (after about 3 minutes) I began to freeze - starting with the director part of the brain.
We set up a series of shots that didnt work and a few that did, but all in all the main thing I remember from that evening was Tom - playing Dickard - sitting on an icy cold roof having a foam gun and plastic dove thrown at him.
For coninuity we had to toss the dove to land at his feet. Its less than aerodynamic body caused it to clatter to the floor usually shot of the mark; the gun on the other hand just refused to go ANYWHERE. It was so light that we needed to stand about 30cm from Tom meaning we were in shot.
After about the 7th attempt I was royally pissed off and from somewhere behind the glare of the red head lights I heard two of the crew discussing the angle at which to throw the bird.
Before any chance of becoming a father had disappeared I shouted "Never mind the f&*%$£g geometry lesson - just throw that b@$&@£d dove!!". Its probably the first time I've ever lost my cool on set and moments later I had recovered composure enough to give a full blast Tarzan call and a bellowing "HELLLLLLLOOOOOOOO BIRMINGHAMMMMMMM" from the highest point of the complex - much to the awe of my crew. I say awe - it was more WTF.
A week later Tom and I recreated the same scenes at gound level behind the old Clifton Cinema (long since closed down after a stretch as a bingo hall) and the following day (Sunday) I completed principal photography alone in my make shift green screen studio - otherwise known as my living room - giving the final soliloquy before dying once more - this time in a centrally heated house.
What did die was a mas sof my hair that fell out in tufts after bleaching and dyeing had taken their toll. I think its growing back if not its the final reminder of those happy days freezing one's knackers off for the role of Ray Botty - 300lbs of lethal blubber in Bladder Run!
Friday 23rd August 2013
The TV Series "Enterprise" (latterly Star Trek Enterprise) broke the tradition of symphonic theme music by featuring a ballad sung by Rusell Watson, called "Faith of the Heart". The first line pretty much sums up the production of Bladder Run:
"It's been a long road, getting from there to here"
I first thought about making a 5 minute skit based on Blade Runner after my disappointment that there were hardly any changes in the so called "Director's Cut" of the movie. Our star, Tom, a friend called Graham and I went to see the re-release at the Arcadian Cinema in China Town off Hurst Street, Birmingham. We walked out having enjoyed the movie but I was amazed that Ridley Scott had removed the voice over that to me was as much a part of the movie as the rain or the Spinners.
I felt that the film had become more downbeat and although I applauded the removal of the happy ending, I felt that the film lacked warmth. When I got home I took out my typewriter (kids get your grandparents to explain) produced a short skit that had elements of Laurel and Hardy, Carry On movies and nods to various Harrison Ford films including Witness and The Fugitive.
Nothing became of that script (although I still have it) and about two or three years later I decided to flesh it out and write a "full" script. What happened was that 22 pages were written, and Graham, another friend Ray and I found our way to the Rag Market in Birmingham one Sunday afternoon and a few test shots were made. I built a gun based around a water pistol and the plastic packaging from a wrist watch. It was actually, looking back, quite a good gun, but of course was nothing like the original. We watched the footage back at the house and filmed the scene with Brian and Dickard, with Graham as Harrison Ford and Ray playing his boss. Frankly it was shockingly awful!
Nothing happened after that until 1998 when Simon Green, Dickard #2 and I filmed some shots in and around our office and stairs at work on a Saturday afternoon. Convincing the security guard to let us out onto the roof was easy and we shot a few tests. We came back some weeks later and shot scene 7 with Forence Betts as Raquel. She was very good.
And then we shot one evening in China town (in a location that appears in the real film) when Simon was drunk and it was again bloody awful. The idea was dropped for ten years.
During 2008 Graham handed back his Bladder Run script and I decided to rewrite it.
This is over a period of four years, where you lot come in!
So that long road...
At time of writing it looks as though the film will complete principal photography on Sunday September 1st 2013.
The weekend will be full to the brim: Friday August 30th sees the Dr Lorell scene, Saturday 31st day is JFK (Kit Summerfield) and Pritt (Begona Fernandez Martin) part one whilst the evening features Botty's death scene (with yours truly bleaching the barnet one last time) on the roof; Sunday 1st sees Botty back to life in the last JFK and Pritt scenes.
Amongst this are pick ups for Brian (Dee Emm) and Tom as Dickard.
And then begins the task of editing, adding SPFX, music and so on. We intend to create a full 5.1 surround soundtrack for the film and will be dubbing and adding to the sound in scenes as we go.
And then there is the first showing.
Like many of you have said, it will be sad to say goodbye to Bladder Run. I've made loads of new friends, met wonderful people, fallen out with some of them and laughed and cried with others.
But you know what? Its just a movie; what I take away from this is the experience and all those new friends. Because just around the corner is the next one. And it will be bigger and better and noisier and happier and sadder and well ...different. But Bladder Run is my first born so to speak and will always be special to me. I hope it will be for you too.
See you at the movies
Sunday 12th May 2013
Friday 17th May will bring together the earliest HD scene and its linking material. Way back on that first shoot Dickard and Junior faced off in an alleyway. At that time I had not given thought to how Dickard got there and it ocurred to me recently that the filming at the Custard Factory could lend itself easily to the requirement.
Following the conversation with Guff and Brian, Dickard will walk off camera. By filming a few seconds of linking footage in the same alleyway we can marry scenes shot almost 4 years apart. Luckily our star has not aged although I hear a portrait in his loft is wizened and grey these days.
April 23rd 2013
A trip to the Custard Factory
The last few scenes to shoot have proven quite difficult to stage in that the locations must look unique, interesting and be easy to film. The plan was originally to shoot the JFK and Pritt scenes at a location in Balsall Heath but sadly this was not to be; the price was wrong and the conditions unhealthy.
I descided to contact the Custard Factory and have been corresponding with the marketing manager for a week, and arranged a meeting for today. I arrived and was met by Juliet who was very well prepared and punctual. She was interested in the production and was eager to accommodate.
We visited a couple of locations including an unused gallery and several corridors that I had highlighted as suitable for the shoot. the gallery is a big space and is totally bare save for the odd discarded chair. It will take a lot of dressing but fulfils several key requirements - firstly it is big allowing us to give JFK's apartment a sense of scope. Secondly the area is away from the main drag which means sound will be kept to a minimum. Around one of the corners we should be quite well protected.
We next visited the roof which is accessible from an old staircase that leads out onto a large flat space that gives a magnificent panoramic view of Birmingham from the South approach. The BT tower, a viaduct, Selfridges and several other landmarks fill the skyline to the left of the door whilst looking towards the South we see the gasometers and flight path of the airport beyond.
There are still negotiations and paperwork to conclude but I am hopeful that we can utilise the eclectic look of the location - and bring Bladder Run full circle as its where we did the aborted standard definition shoots way back in November 2008!
Sunday March 10th 2013
Looking back in my records, this week marks the 4th anniversary of finding Bladder Run's Raquel - Vicki Walkden. Yesterday marked the third attempt at shooting Raquel's opening scene. It also marked Vicki's final shoot on Bladder Run. Amother part of the jigsaw is in place.
At the time of writing, with only a few scenes left to complete, I confess that this gas been the hardest scene to get right. Firstly the location is that of the Lorell Building and the quest to find the ideal room led us back to the TSB Bank on Broad Street.
For the third - and final - shoot of scene 9 we had the help and considerable talents of set dressers Michaela and Liane Bowen who furnished us with some very apt props. The room - I feared - would soon reveal itself as JFKs apartment but hopefully careful editing will hide that.
The scene on paper at least seems to be a simple one. Dickard and Raquel meet, sit down and talk.
The staging is a complete nightmare and has given me sleepless nights trying to work out how to do it with lights and crew to deal with also.
In the end however the scene is all about the characters and the actors and I dont think we could have had a funnier scene thanks to the subtleties of Vicki and Tom's portrayals. I found it hard not to laugh on set with their delivery - some of it silent looks and reactions that will sell the movie when its complete.
The joke I thought we would never do - Carry On fans will spot it - worked like a charm - on about take 7 - but OMG when it did, it DID!
We also managed to squeeze in a green screen scene with Colin Cooper who was once again our sponsor for the day. Gill Goodwin who created the wonderful Raquel costume was also on hand needle poised.
Once again we froze quicker than Han Solo on Bespin at the TSB but from the footage Ive seen back I can reveal - We cracked it - and third time was the charm.
Thank you to the patient cast and crew. Onwards to the next shoot.
January 7th 2013
After three years in production Bladder Run has amassed over 100 hours of footage, ranging from HD1080i tapes to full 1080p progressive files. This footage has been edited roughly on various occasions and you will have seen the results on Facebook, You Tube and or Vimeo.
Much of the footage will never be used; there will be, for example, three versions of scene 7, that was initially shot in December 2009 and then January 2010, and again in early 2013 (Date TBC) , but I feel that the reasons for the reshoot are valid. However, this does give us a wealth of behind the scenes and deleted scenes footage for the Blu ray and DVD of Bladder Run. Scene 7 has bugged me like a monkey on my back as I wanted a big entrance for our leading lady and never gave it to her. It was all too claustrophobic and tight. Now we can go back - with a better costume - and kick that scene's ass!
The immense task of digitising the footage begins in January 2013; I have taken on a video commision for which I am not being paid, rather I am to receive a new, and faster, mac on which to begin the mammoth task of the *real* Bladder Run edit. I have decided to tackle the edit in scene order and I will cut the scenes so that I get the pacing and see what we need to redo (for example the redubbing of dialogue) and then add a grade which will colour the scenes and make light scenes dark and match shots that in some cases could be up to 18 months apart (the Nora chase for example was filmed July 2011 to November 2012 will be a particular challenge as its hot over three nights and two locations).
This will take up a lot of time, and effort, but in the mean time we will complete the live action shoot and be working on other projects.
Over the next six months I want to get to a point where we have a work print of Bladder Run ready for you all to see. The work print is the first complete edit of a film and will be used to screen to a test audience and ask for comments and feedback; does the story flow, what shots work and more importantly do not/
Following this, the final cut will be issued. I will also create a longer - more indulgent - director's cut which I will make available as a "what if we included almost everything version" but the real version will be a leaner beast that we hope will allow us to get funding for bigger and better projects. The director's cut may feature alternate or extended scenes I dont quite know yet.
I hope,however, that the final cut is worth the wait!
January 1st 2013
Just 48 hours ago, on Sunday - back in the mists of 2012 - I was thinking to myself that that day represented the 3rd anniversary of the first "big" scene shot for Bladder Run on HD equipment. It was Wednesday 30th December 2009 that the team assembled at Fort Dunlop to shoot scene 7 - Dickard's first meeting with Raquel. Of course on December 5th of that year Tom, Steve Evans, Russell Smith and I had braved the wet conditions of an alley and a factory car park to commit the very first HD scene to tape - the fight with Junior, but this felt like something big - a "real" shoot if you will.
The scene featured Vicki Walkden as Raquel and was set at the Lorell building - in fact a large, spacious area supplied free of charge by Urban Splash. The crew arrived at lunch time and we set up a rehearsed throughout the afternoon until it approached dusk and we set the cameras rolling. By 10PM that night we had the footage in the can and upon watching it back the following weekend we discovered that it just wast right.
The performances were good but their lines were clunky and responses were hessitant - the characters were not quite there yet and the look of the piece was marred by my insistance that we shoot in very low light conditions. We remounted the scene some three weeks later at the same venue and this time with a slightly altered script we got a more polished end result. But that wasnt the end of that scene...
Now three years on, we have shot some - in my opinion at least - excellent footage and on each shoot we have learned something new or finessed something that has added to the film's look. Costumes have improved, the way in which people are lit certainly has, and that scene 7 has always bothered me. Its Vicki/Raquel's big entrance and the opening shot is too "small". She appears standing before a whitewashed wall with a visible plug hole and a light switch. She walks in beautifully and delivers her lines with aplomb. Against a wall with a bloody plug and a sodding light switch!!
I spoke to Tom and Vicki recently and asked if they would consider a THIRD go at this pivotal scene and luckily they were both up for it. Added to this Gill Goodwin has tailored a lovely facsimilie of Rachael's suit from Blade Runner and with our new found skills it seems only right that the script should be dusted down and looked at too. I've added more gags, cut the less successful lines and added a few here and there.
This will be one of the first scenes we shoot in 2013.
The location is most likely going to be our old friend the TSB which will give us the grandeur of the Tyrell Building in our version - the Lorell Corporation HQ.
Also up in the spring are the other scenes with which we intend to draw to a close this movie. They are The JFK and Pritt scenes, the last ten minutes of the movie plus a few pick up shots with Colin Cooper, Dee Emm and of course our star Tom, who is now anxious to grow a beard and let his hair get longer.
And then Rex Dickard's adventure will be complete. For him there will be no sequel; he is a character whose story begins and ends in Bladder Run. But that doesnt mean WE will end.....far from it - for us the adventure, like 2013, has only just begun!
Late 2012 Round Up
As we draw to the close of another year its fitting to look back on what can only be described as a successful year for Bladder Run.
We began shooting in the early part of the year with a small scene which was filmed in my living room and featured only two characters. By the end of the year we have a number of major scenes in the can, and have welcomed a number of new members to the family.
I'd like to take a moment to thank a few people, and in particular to begin with, everyone who helped make the film leap forward this year. Several notable people spring to mind, Firstly my heartfelt thanks go to Geoff Hutchinson and Colin Cooper for sponsoring two of the larger shoots both filmed at the TSB in Broad Street Birmingham. Had it not been for these two individuals stepping in at the right moment filming would potentially have ground to a halt prematurely.
Geoff is a Blade Runner fan from the South East of England and his generosity and friendship are made doubly special by the fact we've never actually met! The fact that he wanted to help make the film a success says a lot about him as a person as well as a fan.
Colin Cooper - who plays Guff in the film - has also helped with venue hire and he was kind enough at very short notice to book the TSB for our crowd shoot.
To both of you a big THANK YOU!
We must also mention Yvonne Hyde of the Baron's Court Hotel Walsall Wood, who allowed us to film in a suite and the bar for two weekends over the Spring of 2012. Thank you to you dear lady. Thanks must also go to the Kingstanding Ex Service Men's Club for doubling as a sushi bar!
The cast and crew of Bladder Run have certainly made a stirling effort this year - whether its turning out with kit and expertise - Jason, Duncan, Matt, Gurmuhk and Mike for example - or standing frezing in a marble mausoleum - the Living Dolls cast - people have been fabulous and really into it.
Our Assistant Director, Anneliese Cherrington came to the production early on with an offer to use her kitchen as Dickard's apartment, and has since gone on to be a regular major part of the team.
Its a team where everyone knows what they are doing and more importantly - does it. No one on the team does not deserve to be there from the runners and make up people (such as Jo Lees, Kit Summerfield and Kerrie Sahin) to the actors.
I must thank all the actors who have taken part this year, whether that was one of the living dolls, (aka the Ice Lollies!) the crowd at the TSB or the speaking cast. The speakers included Vicki Walkden - our leading lady - who turned in a great comedic performance as Raquel back in the Spring, Michael Bradshaw as the Kaisersm the magnificent Joanne Marriott and her stunt coordinator Sean George, Begona Fernandez Martin who waited two years to stand before the camera as Pritt, Kit San who stepped in at the 11th hour to play JFK and Steve Evans as the incomprable Junior! And then of course there is the Chameleon; Cameron Moon who has played no less than three roles this year alone from the bearded vendor to the anorak wearing Choo. His auntie will be pleased.
Of course Bladder Run would be nothing without our star Tom Bradshaw. Tom has certainly grown as an actor writer and director and owns the role of Rex Dickard so completely.
All in all we have had a great year - and 2013 will see the end of production and the editing and release of the film. Honest!
Thanks to you all especially if I forgot to name check you - and see you at the movies
December 9th 2012
August 27th 2012
To bleach or not to bleach?
So its soon to be my turn in front of the cameras, playing the role of Ray Botty the over-weight psychopath leader of the androids. I've toyed with the idea of wigs, purchased a couple and even spoken to my barber about trimming one down to size. Problem is, there are none that look *quite* tight. OK, so this is a comedy, but everyone else looks picture perfect; as the leader of the androids should I not look 100% accurate?
So - do I bleach my hair, attempt to semi perm dye it or wear the wig?
I just don't know what to do!
August 14th 2012
A quick update on things happening in the Bladder Run universe.
Firstly a warm welcome to Geoff Hutchins, who has been following the production of the film for a while but is now an executive producer following his kind sponsorship of the November shoot at the TSB Broad Street Birmingham. Geoff is based down South but hopes to join us for the shoot, which encompasses the Living Dolls, Pritt and JFK, and the Kaiser scenes.
Additionally Vicki Walkden will be joining us for a few hours to film a pick up shot for scene 9 - namely Raquel's first appearance in the film. I was never happy with the way that it was shot due to the fact that the scene was not "big" enough. My fault as I shot it! In fact I shot it in four different ways over two weekends and we never did quite nail it. Its a pity as Vicki was faultless in her performance. Having thought about the scene - in the bath , where else! - I decided to take the opportunity to add a few more gags to the short sequence which will tie in nicely to the existing footage if I get my angles just right. The added advantage of the huge entrance hall at the TSB will add a look of grandeur that the Lorell building needs. Instead of walking 20 feet from a plain wall in a room 3m high, Vicki gets to stride across a 30m wide and 10m high! With added jokes it should add spectacle to the sequence sorely lacking before.
Im still working on Botty's hair. Having purchased three wigs I'm still not happy with any of them so I have decided to buy a longer white bobbed wig and ask a hairdresser to style it as I wear it - so that we can gauge the look.
Also joining the cast is the mysterious Turk Thrust IV. This shaddy character is a bit of surprise casting that will remain a secret until you all watch the film. Turk has appeared in a number of productions and is confident that he -or indeed she - can tackle the demading role of Dr Lorell.
Tom Bradshaw has been working on the Kaiser's outfit and has assembled a really excellent replica of the original costume. Having purchased a Roman Centurion helmet he passed it to me and I have stripped it down, sprayed it and added to it to creater the Kaiser's helmet. I designed a strap and buckle on Powerpoint and printed it out in colour and added it to the front of the helmet then added a disposable chapagne flute (inverted with teh base removed) to form the spike atop the head gear. I have to say I am very pleased with it. The role of the Kaiser is taken by Michael Bradshaw who was an extra at last years Great Western Arcade shoot.
Speaking of that shoot, its another scene with which I was never really happy - again nothing to do with the stars or the extras - more the execution. Luckily our female co star, Joanne Marriott, has agreed to done the slinky Nora costume again and we will have a date very soon for a reshoot. I hope that we can round up about 100 extras for this shoot as last time the lack of people came across on screen. So if you are reading this think about all the people you can co-opt into bringing!
Right lets have a good rest of the Summer and see you at the movies!
July 24th 2012
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. Bladder Run has had its fair share of false starts since we started filming - actors and crew who dropped out, didn't turn it to rehersals or worse still filming and alarm bells and music on set. Through all of this we have soldiered on and are close to completing our work.
Such a curve ball was tossed on Tuesday 17th July. Having secured permission to use the Drapers Hall in Coventry for the Pritt scenes I received an email from our council contact to say that important work had begun and we could not in fact film in the rooms and nor were there any alternatives.
So we have begun a mad dash to try to find an alternate location. Our AD has put me on to one location whilst I have contacted Film Birmingham and even an old friend who is on the TV industry.
As it stands at the moment I have not got the location in which to film!
Can you help? We need a delapidated room, preferably furnished that looks like JF Sebastian's apartment in Blade Runner.
Ideally it will be free to use and FREE of charge to use! If you know anywhere let me know ASAP!
Thursday June 14th 2012
We've filmed a lot of scenes this year so far, and there are still 25 pages of script to shoot. A lot of this is description and it really now boils down to the following:
The Mr Choo Laundry scene
The JFK and Pritt scenes
The Ray Botty scenes (this fills the last 15 minutes of the film)
It doesnt look like much but it will still require a lot of prep and we are still looking for locations. We have potential locations but we have yet to get them signed off. The JFK apartment building has been the hardest part of the film to complete; one of our stars - Begona playing Pritt - is based in London, and the script calls for an abandonned building with some furnishings. Sounds easy, right? Well its been hard to find anywhere that either a) looks right or b) we can get hold of. Keep your fingers crossed
Looking back at the recently filmed scenes I wanted to comment on the scene we shot at the Ex Serviceman's club in Kingstanding Birmingham. The camera crew were great and the lighting I set up really transformed the function room into a gritty street vendor scene. All the extras were great and special mention to those who turned up coming in on the bus and pitching in with props.
Again the cast was superb and I want to talk a little about "the vendor" and "Guff". The vendor had been in the script since about 1996 and was always designed to be either a Chinese or white man. I cast my good friend Cameron Moon in his 3rd role in Bladder Run, and I think he blew everyone away with his bushy beard (grown for the scene) costume supplied by Kit San (who with daughter Stef improvised some zany serving sequences) and an accent from - well who knows! The performance was note perfect and hilarious. Ive watched the scene maybe 30 times whilst I edit and have projected it in HD on the living room wall, and he's just brilliant.
Guff is another key character and Colin Cooper brought him to life in ways that the script really didnt suggest. In short the performance was perfect. I was tempted to write more dialogue but as Id just cut half of it to help Colin learn it I chose not to in the end.
Tom as always excelled - he's grown so much as an actor during the last few years and this portrayal of Dickard was purposely kept until late in the shoot to allow him to get into character, and boy did he get into it. The subtleties of Rex Dickard belie he fact that this is a zero budget film with a bunch of mates at the helm. As the core of the movie Tom carries it on broad shoulders. I'm so glad I cast him.
Filming on Saturday 26th May seems to follow an all too familiar pattern: after weeks of wet weather we are (as I write) enjoying warm Summer sun. And so it is with great regret that the scenes we are shooting - are indoors!!
The scenes to be shot on Saturday feature a major plot point in the movie - namely the intoduction of Guff and Dickard's first dialogue spoken in the movie when it is complete. The so called sushi bar scene is to be filmed in a darkened room at the Warren Farm Road Ex Service Mens' Club courtesy in no small part to the commitee and in particular Kaz - Tom's sister.
As well as shooting the sushi bar - which features a host of Bladder Run stalwarts including Cameron Moon as the Sushi Master, we will be completing a couple of other smaller sequences which fill in gaps throughout the film. Of particular note Colin Cooper will be joining us for his second of three shoots and will be acting to the dialogue of Raquel that we completed back in April when sadly he was unavailable. When we cut in together you'll never notice. I hope! He will also await Dickard outside room 1187 (see pic) whilst Tom searches Junior's apartment. Again this is a slight rewrite as Colin wasnt in that scene although he should have been. Shooting out of sequence really has major advantages.
Sarah Simons will give her rendition of the old hag with one eye (as the script describes it) or the young woman in a slinky dress as she is playing it. I'm contractually obliged to mention that she provides the dress and sequined eyepatch herself.
Look out also for Nick "the drunk" Allen who in a bizarre crossover is playing said alchoholic who first appeared in Unlucky Actor a film made by Brian Harley and starring our very own director of sound, Duncan (DIncan) Woodhouse!
See you at the movies!
Thursday 24th May 2012
Wednesday 2nd May
Tempus Fugit! Its a month since my last blog and a lot has been going on beyond the world of Bladder Run but I won't bore you with any of the mundane "life" stuff.
As you will recall we were recently the guests of Yvonne Hyde the General Manager of the Barons Court Hotel in Walsall. As a thank you to Yvonne I offered to shoot some footage of the hotel in order to make a promotional video. And so, early on Sunday 29th April - amid some rather nasty rain - Tom and I arrived at the hotel.
The rooms were set up for a Wedding Demonstration - to show the various configurations that are available - as well as the conferencing rooms that can be hired. I was amazed at how low the prices were - and certainly I have booked meetings where the hourly rate was the same as Baron's Court chare for a day!
In all we shot Seven setups and then also shot in the dining area - the lovely Brasserie - and very kindly Yvonne invited Tom and I to sample to carvery for free. At £7.99 for a full on carvery on a Sunday I have to say once again the price is brilliant. The quality and the surroundings are both superb. Coupled with excellent service from the friendly staff I am sure that the Hev Mobile will be heading towards the Brasserie on a semi regular basis.
A big thank you must go to the staff such as Sabrina, Mel, Sam and their colleagues who all took part in the videos. I am editing them ahead of the next Bladder Run shoot - which is on May 26th. More on that in my next blog!
Wednesday 4th April
We've done a lot of shooting this year and the last week saw us complete four locations in five days. I was really please with "Wall" scene although we need to shoot more footage to completely sell the idea that Dickard is 200 storeys above the streets of LA and not 20 inches above the streets of Birmingham! What does sell these scenes is Tom Bradshaw who over the last year has become Dickard more and more on each shoot. Offering ideas and nuances not on the page has helped the character come to life and I am glad that some of the big scenes - such as the confrontation with Botty are yet to do whilst other big scenes like the Racquel and and Nora sequences are pretty much complete.
I often load footage into one of my editing suites and complete various cuts of scenes and just recently I have been playing with the grading of sequences. One such scene is Four - Brian's Office which was shot just a year ago this week! The lighting and surroundings gave the scene a red caste but after manipulation I gave it a more subdued blue finish and it makes a world of difference. Add a few lens flares and faux lighting and the whole scene becomes something new.
Colin's brilliant take of Guff - soon to be reprised in the rest of his scenes - looked good before - now it looks great. I added a few presets to the mix and then played around with the grade and hey presto I got the look I didnt actually know I was after.
Add to this Dee Emm as Brian himself and the aforementioned Tom, and its a great scene. Special mention here to Duncan Woodhouse of The Dark Alliance whose sound really lifts the piece - even though he had to fighth against picking up the kids playing outside!
I cant wait for you to see the finished piece but as always I only show low res teasers - you ll have to wait for the full release.
By the way - each of you who had input will get a full colour disc with the movie either in HD on Blu ray or regular 625 (or 525 if you are in the states!) DVD.
Keep watching and see you at the movies!
Tuesday 27th March
Its been a long month and we have completed some great work on the film. Since January we have achieved the most consistent period of filming on Bladder Run since we started. As of time of writing we know have 24 of the 78 pages of script left to shoot; this includes all the scenes featuring Ray Botty, Pritt and JFK, plus some connecting scenes including the oft promised Sushi Bar scene and the Mr Choo scene.
24 pages sounds a lot of material to shoot and in fact it is, but when you think that on Saturday 24th March we shot a page of dialogue in 40 minutes, and that included 7 takes and four different camera set ups.
Tonight we are going to complete a few more connecting sequences - including several ambitious shots of Tom hanging from the outside of a building. Fear not dear reader he will be a maximum of three feet off the ground - I will just cheat it with a low camera angle. We are also shooting a couple of other "walking in the streets" sequences, which in and of themselves dont sound very exciting but tie together scenes either side.
On Saturday 24th March Cameron Moon, Tom and I were in the Birmingham Rag Market and there we shot footage that connects the microscope lady to the Abdul Ben Kenobi scene! Some of these run one after the other and are two years apart!
Wednesday 29th February 2012
I love the editing process. Adding a shot to a scene that comes from somewhere else can radically alter the whole piece; even rearranging, cutting or adding will give you something new. This has happened with the scenes that were shot last weekend. The shot of Vicki stamping on the ground and a piece on android tech falling to the floor was actually shot almost THREE YEARS ago and about 3 miles from where Vicki was standing on Saturday. It comes from the original version of the scene from the first day we ever shot in HD. By grading it towards red it slips in nicely and saved us twenty minutes of getting the right angle on the day.
Similarly, when we come to shoot on Saturday 03, I won't need to waste time setting up shots of Vicki playing the piano as we already have those - again from the Summer of 2009. These types of shot are really only noticeable when they are pointed out and so I will leave you to decide exactly which shots I harvested from that day. Needless to say I will try my best to itegrate them as seamlessly as I can!
Monday 27th February 2012
Phew! Another brilliant shoot over the weekend of 24 and 25 February. On Friday evening Tom and I set up the room and shot three small linking scenes - including Tom being hilarious in the bathroom upon finding the artificial snake, a trip in his apartment block's elevator and magnifying a photograph.
On Saturday we were joined by Vicki Walkden playing Raquel, and the crew of Duncan, Jason, Gurmukh, Matt, Kerrie and Mike. We shot from 12.00 until 3.30 and completed two scenes one long and one short.
Looking ahead we are back in the same location on 2/3 March thanks to the hospitality of Yvonne Hyde at Menzies Barons Court and we look to shoot the infamous piano scene.
Thursday 23rd February 2012
Filming approaches and I wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to Yvonne Hyde who is the general manager at the Menzies Barons Court Hotel in Walsall Wood.
To say that she has gone out of her way to facilitate the shoot is an understatement. Without her good natured and flexible approach I would be worried about completing this scene however I am confident that the shoot will be simple and effective.
On behalf of the team, THANK YOU!
Thursday 9th February 2012
When I plan the filming of the scene I like to think how I can maximise our time in a particular location. The filming at the hotel for example provides and interesting challenge in that we have limited time on the actual day and that one of our stars is available for only part of that time. Another can't even make it!
So one has to be quite inventive.
For the scenes in Dickard's apartment we reuire three characters: Dickard himself (Tom Bradshaw) Raquel (Vicki Walkden) and Guff (Colin Cooper)
Colin - busy man that he is - can't make the dates we want and so we will use a double for him that will stand back to the camera and off to one side so only a shoulder is in shot. When we get to Colin - hopefully soon thereafter - we shoot his reverses and slot them in so no one will tell he wasnt there. In addition I will shoot an empty room then Tom against a green screen and slot both of them into a quick cutaway so that it looks like at least in one shot they were together at the location. If people are not aware that the "cheat" is there then this cutaway should sell the subliminal message that everyone was together on the day.
Taking this idea a step further, Tom and I are going to set up on both Friday nights and then shoot several solo scenes for Dickard - notably the final interior of the movie where Dickard returnes to his apartment. Whilst we are at it I have decided to shoot a lot of Tom's close up for each of the Saturdays with me feeding him his lines and then shoot Vicki on the following day so that we really speed up the production.
The camera crew have an hour to set up whilst Vicki has here hair and make up done on each Saturday and again we can be shooting Tom's scenes.
If this works I will utilise it on the rest of the film where I can
Mark Hevingham 09/02/2012
Saturday 4th February 2012
Its freezing today and I'm sitting in the warm house thinking of shots for our filming at the Baron's Court Hotel.
Tom and I will be creating a few scenes where Dickard is alone in his apartment and other rooms - these will be interspersed throughout the movie - including Rex's dream of the white horse, the search of Junior's apartment and the TV sequence. If we get in early we can have these done by the time the guys arrive at 10.00
Really looking forward to working with Vicki and Tom as a team once more they really spark off each other
Mark Hevingham 04/02/2012
Saturday 28th January 2012
Just a short note to say thank you to all the visitors who have taken us over 1000 visits in just over a week of being online. We are looking to bring even more content to the site soon including some more video content and links to our composer's music. Please do leave messages when you visit so we know who you all are?
Mark Hevingham 28/01/2012
Wednesday 25th January 2012
Tom and I spent an interesting hour at the Menzies' Barons Court Hotel, Walsall, with the General Manager, Yvonne Hyde. She has kindly agreed to sponsor the film by allowing us to film there on two consecutive Saturdays, 25/02 and 03/03. These scenes will be set in Dickard's apartment. Tom and I can get access from the night before and so we will be shooting early on the Saturday with a couple of cutaways - the TV Gag and the Snake in the Bath Gag.
Great location, great people. Can't wait!
Mark Hevingham 26/01/2012 07.53
Monday 23rd January 2012
I spoke with the lovely Yvonne Hyde today. Who? Well, Yvonne is the general manager of the Baron's Court Hotel and she has invited me over to the hotel on Wednesday 25th to discuss the filming. As you may know, we filmed several scenes with Vicki Walkden and Tom Bradshaw with which I was never happy. To be clear this was due to the technical aspects and not the actors who were superb - but the scenes just didnt work for me. I asked the actors and they agreed to reshoot and this we are doing at the Baron's court in room 306 - a huge suite that will stand in for Dickard's apartment. Luckily the hotel has a piano off the lobby and so we will be shooting a few cutaways of Vicki at the piano and Tom joining her, which will then be edited into the footage we shoot in the room itself.
As Colin - playing Guff - can't make it to the shoot I am going to cheat a few angles and shoot him at a later date and slip his performance into the scene so that Guff meets Raquel leading to a twist later in the movie. Sadly it looks like Colin and Vicki won't actually meet but I may gree screen Colin in one shot to cheat the effect!
Saturday 21st January
2012 has got off to a great start - with 23 minutes of footage shot today -Saturday 21st. Of that 2 minutes will appear on screen as the "microscope lady" scene (13)
Tom was joined by Debz McEwan and together they played out several versions of the scene. I was trying hard not to laugh on one take and they swiftly pulled off the scene with no hesitation or drying. Superb!
Friday 20th January 2012
I decided that the website looked too white so I redecorated! Hope you like the new look. Its early days and I may re-edit the scheme again over the next week or so until it settles down into a standard design.
Let me know what you think and please sign the guestbook!
Friday 20th January 2012
As we have entered the new year, the gears have sped up on production. In the first few months of 2012 we are looking to film almost all of the "small" connecting scenes and several major sequences, including the burger van that stands in for the White Dragon Sushi Bar, and a remount of the scenes in Dickard's apartment which feature Raquel, the "TV gag" and the "snake gag"
Before all of these we are filming the "microscope lady" scene. This was one of the scenes that we shot waaaay back in 2009, when we did our first - non HD - shoot that we ultimately dropped. March 14 2009 was a strange day in that we were filming at the Custard Factory in Derit End Birmingham in what can only be described as a "noisy atmosphere".
The CF very kindly donated a room to us that was asjacent to the main reception area. For those of you who know that site, this is where they hold the weekend clothes market. To induce a casual atmosphere music is played over a public address system. Which is lovely - but not if you are trying to concentrate and record dialogue!
OK we could have looped the sound, but on revieweing the scene, and those already shot at that time (scenes one, four and 15A) I decided to scrap all the footage shot thus far; things just weren't right; it didnt look like I wanted, it didnt feel like I wanted and it certainly didnt sound like I wanted! In fact, lets be honest, it was terrible!
It was this scene - with the microscope lady - that was the catalyst for me to halt production and regroup. For that I will always be grateful. We moved from my - albeit it lovely Canon XM2 SD camera - to 1080 HD kit, we worked on costumes and locations and we worked on the script.
So when on January 21st 2012 we return to that character - this time played by Debz McEwan in one of her two appearances in the movie - it will be with a lot of accumulated knowledge. First and foremost - better sound, better lighting and dare I say it - better direction!
Its a small, linking scene but it is pivotal to the rest of the movie - it leads to Abdul Ben Kenobi's scene (played by the original Brian, Peter Steel) and then on to Taffy Lews' bar and an encounter with Nora Botty. So this small scene - about three minutes and a two hander - will be in the can and edited quite quickly. Then it becomes part of the movie's history and we're on to other things!
Mark Hevingham 20/01/2012