100 Years of Claas

Heres a video promo of a DVD I produced last year.

You can buy the DVD here at De Courcey Classic & Vintage Club website. It costs €15 plus €2 p&p in Ireland and €3 for rest of Europe.

Running Time is 60 minutes with 30 minutes of extras.

A Picture I took

or rather pictures is on display in The Blue Horizon, Garrettstown. I’m not sure where but I’m told it’s in a prominent location.

It is of the De Courcey Vintage Clubs, Harvest Working Day which took place on Monday August 6th 2012. Very little effort or thought went into it as I was actually videoing the event and once noticed all the gear was in place grabbed my stills camera and snapped it, I think it’s about 5 photos in total, I did it twice and then went back to videoing.

Unfortunately by the time they had all the gear lined up the threshing crew had started to pack up hence the out of place looking 2012 tractor hooking up to the thresher.

But other than the new tractor and the packed up thresher I’m quiet happy with it. You’ve got the gear lined up, the band playing, the tricolour flying and of course the scenery!

What? You want this wonderful picture on your wall at home? Sure no problem! The picture sells at €75 unframed or €150 framed.

Directing a film I didn’t write (Part 2)

One of the challenges I faced with this project was visualising Niall’s words. It’s grand when your writing for yourself because it’s already in your head and in some cases writing with a particular location in mind, or at least you have an idea of what you are looking for.

For instance, Kitchens. Maybe it’s the country boy in me but when I think kitchens, something like this will pop into my head and certainly not something like this.

I had great visions on what the kitchen scenes would be like until I saw the location, in fact on first visiting the house it took me some time to figure out where the Kitchen was. You had the Living room and Dining room down stairs as well as that hallway leading out to the backyard. Oh, that hallway IS the Kitchen!

When I used to receive earlier drafts, I would read it and then start to visualise how it would look, even come up it some really cool sequences only to find by the time the next draft arrived, that whole part had been written out! I then realised I’d have to wait until we were closer to a locked script before I would do that, we had to get the story right first.

The updated draft finally arrived in my inbox in early February. After reading it, I felt the rework we had discussed worked better than what was there before. What we now had, was a solid script. A script someway different from the one I first read in June the year before. The two main characters remained, but other characters were gone completely, some replaced by others.

But this was all a good thing. We would have made a mistake in shooting it six months earlier, I’m sure we would have had a fine film, but what we had now was better, it had evolved into a much improved piece. The new ending worked so much better as it got rid of the concerns we had before.

By the end of February the script was locked down, from here on in only minor changes would occur, mainly after read through’s with the actors.

Ten Years On!

Its hard to believe it’s been ten years since I sat the leaving cert, way back in 2002! When I think ten years ago I’m thinking mid nineties!

So it was this time ten years ago that I had to decide what I wanted to do after finishing school. I had applied for some courses via the CAO but realistically I knew I wasn’t going to go for any of them. I did get accepted into a multimedia course in Clonmel, but eh, Clonmel like, pass I think.

The reality was I knew what I wanted to do, and I had known since I wrote my first treatment at 14, first feature length screenplay at 16 and when asked what I wanted to do by the guidance councilor in fourth year. I replied I want to be a filmmaker, to a chorus of laughter from my classmates. I can’t remember what she suggested I should do but from what I can recall it was something ridiculous. Yes I wanted to be a filmmaker.

So I enrolled in St. John Central college film and video course, although I didn’t do film in first year, can’t remember if I didn’t get in or wasn’t too bothered about getting in. The fact was at the time I wasn’t that bothered by it. For me video was the way forward, I was going to be shooting in video and not film.

However come second year and working on the 16mm shoots I think I may have started to regret that decision. I fell in love with film! I was lucky in that, in almost every shoot I worked on in both second and third year I was in either the camera or lighting departments.

I started searching ebay to see if I could find some deals on something like an Eclair NPR or ACL or even an Aaton xtr. I’m sure I became tempted on a few occasions but never purchased. I did however pick up a Krasnogorsk-3 for something like €80 which I would later plan to use to shoot My Ball, which is one of the reasons there is no live dialogue in the film.

But by the time it came to shooting it, Seamus Hegarty who shot my first film Turn had bought a new camera, this of course made more sense to use. The film could be made at the cost of a DV tape, as against the costs of going down the film route. Shoot in colour and take the colour out in post.

And as the advances in digital technologies continue, I can’t ever see myself shooting on film. The K3 is only an ornament in my room now.

Now, ten years on, am I where I thought I would be? Well, I guess no. I had hoped I would have shot my first feature by 27, when that failed I pushed it on to 29, now that’s looking very unlikely I may have to push it on a bit further.

However I am about to complete my fourth short, I may not be prolific in making them but I am proud to have my name attached to all of them. Two of them have picked up awards along the way, while they may not be major awards they’re awards none the less, so I must be doing something right!

I’ve also gotten to know some wonderful people along the way, it’s great to be part of the Cork filmmaking community. There is some very talented people here and I can only see things getting better. Onwards and upwards!

Directing a film I didn’t write

Up until now I had directed three short films all of which I had written myself. At the brilliant Fastnet Short Film Festival in Schull last year (2011) myself and Niall Owens were discussing future projects. Niall asked what I was doing next and I told him although I had several ideas and scripts I had nothing jumping out at me saying “shoot me”. I wanted to do something a bit different to my last film “Gemma?”, something a bit more uplifting.

Niall said he had this script called “Where Letters May Fall” and would I be interested in directing it. About a week later I got an email with the script attached. On finishing reading it my first reaction was “Niall, this script is about fucking depression!” But despite it not being as uplifting as I was looking for, I liked it. It was a bit different and I liked the narrative. So I agreed to direct it. I had always wondered what it would be like to use someone else’s material, this was a good a time as any. We would shoot late summer. We didn’t.

So we started discussing the script, what I felt worked, what didn’t and so on and Niall was constantly working on rewrites. One thing that helped from the word go throughout the whole process was that we always seemed to be on the same page, we both wanted to make the same film, there was never any real arguments over “oh it should be this and not that”, although I do remember Niall suggesting we shorten the title to just “Letters”. I was never fully sold on this idea but by the time the next draft arrived, there it was “Letters by Niall Owens”. The bastard!

We brought Jenny Dixon down from Dublin and did a script reading with Timmy Creed, it was good to have them go through some of their scenes together, get a feel for it. We were hoping to now shoot sometime before Christmas, however this coincided with my real life work busy period so didn’t have time to make Cork that often. It was then pushed back to March.

We were having discussions on where the film was going or where we didn’t want it to go. I had fears that people may interpret the ending wrong. Take it up as boy meets girl, boy and girl get together and live happily together for ever and ever. I did NOT WANT TO MAKE THAT FILM! I have no interest in making that clichéd Hollywood bullshit!

I think this might have been one of the occasions when myself and Niall were not completely in tune, possible because I did say “That’s not the film I wanna make.” ‘That’ wasn’t the film we were making.

We needed to nail the final scene, otherwise everything that went before that would have been for nothing. Generally I’m all for the audience making their own mind up on the fate of the characters after the credits roll, but not in this case, not if they went there. Missing entirely what we were trying a achieve.

In January however one of the most important changes to the script happened, Niall came to me and said “What if it went like this?” and I was like “That could fucking work, I like that” now bear in mind these are not actual quotes but just something along those lines, I can’t remember what was really said so just putting them in there for dramatic effect. But this changed everything, for a start the film would no longer be called “Letters” as well it had nothing to do with letters anymore.

Niall was off to Cavan to work on a feature for a few weeks but while there he was going to work on the rewrite. I was looking forward to seeing this new draft more than any, to see how this new approach would play out.

At this point I think I’ll break this post into a few different parts, stay tuned for part 2!

Blog reboot!

Hmm, I appear to have neglected my blog again. Then again, it’s not like I recently shot a new film and had something to blog about… oh wait!

I have given it a little redesign and will hopefully add more soon as well as post about the new short.


Best Performance Award for Brian Fortune

Delighted that Brian Fortune picked up the Best Performance Award for his role in Gemma? at the recent ShortDay Film Fest held at the Sugar Club.

Well done Brian and well deserved!

Gemma? Wins Two Awards at Underground Fest

Gemma? picked two awards at the DareMedia Underground Film Festival for Best Local Film and Sponsors Choice.

Kevin with Sue-Ellen Moloney of Directors Cut (Sponsor)

Gemma? Screens at Daremedia Underground Film Festival

Gemma? screening in Directors Cut

Watching Gemma? Screening

Gemma? had a great screening in Directors Cut on Daunt Square in section one of the drama at the Daremedia Underground Film Festival on Monday 11th of July.

USA Premiere

“Gemma?” will have its American Premiere at the Bodega Bay International Short Film Festival in California on the 28th of May. This will also be a HD screening.

Bodega Bay was the location used for Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.