Projector (2015)

How It Was Made

Projector-shooting-script

Photos (behind the scenes etc)

Summary

Projector is a 20 minute, surrealist dramedy. It follows Christopher, a young and burnt-out filmmaker, on a dreamlike odyssey through three of his films: with the help of his own fictional creations he confronts the bitter, lonely man he is becoming. It takes influence from Fellini’s 81/2 and Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York, with the surreal and meta techniques they use to explore the mind of a creative character, and the ways in which their lives influence their art, and vice versa.

Characters

Christopher: An amateur filmmaker, who after some critically successful shorts was contracted to adapt A Christmas Carol into a trendy and modern feature: a script that has now become his personal Moby Dick, and driven him into isolation. His small successes have caused him to become egocentric and a smartass, eschewing the people closest to him. His character arc progresses as he finally gets over himself by seeing where his attitude will get him, and rekindles his love of film, remembering the joy it used to bring him and others; in many ways it mirrors the Scrooge character arc from A Christmas Carol.

Phillip and Lesley
Philip: Christopher’s close friend and old writing partner, who shares his taste for snark. He was left out of the writing deal by Christopher. This fragmented their friendship, but Phil still genuinely cares for him and wants to help.

Lesley: The protagonist from one of Christopher’s earliest films, Venetian Blind. He was a happy-go-lucky detective jaded by the ‘film-noir’ detective lifestyle he idealised. He was portrayed by Phillip with a Bogart swagger, so takes his form and is a symbolic representation of their friendship. He is similar to Phillip, as he genuinely cares for Christopher and wants to help him, but is more hard-edged, and willing to push Christopher further to make him hear sense.

Maria: A character from Christopher’s second short film, Super-Ego, and based upon an ex of his. Because of this she thinks, and knows the worst of Christopher. Fiery and unapologetic, she speaks her mind and takes some pleasure cutting Christopher down to size, only showing the sympathetic sweet women she can be, after he shows her genuine remorse.

Mike: A stoner from Christopher’s comedy-horror, EXIT. He appears to be very passive to Christopher, not really caring about his problems and why he’s there, too busy doing nothing. A small character, but he represents Christopher’s possible future if he continues as he is, becoming a shut-in slacker with no ambition beyond the next bowl.

Synopsis

Act 1: Christopher is procrastinating from writing when Phillip calls him. They share a short conversation in which Phil tries to convince him to come out for his birthday, but Christopher refuses, using his script as an excuse. Phil offers to help, frustrating a defensive Christopher and the conversation ends bitterly.

Act 2: Christopher wanders through his first two films. He meets Lesley, who is coy about how or why Christopher is here, confronting him about his recent attitudes and the lack of work, showing an old video of him and Phillip and how they used to work ideas out together. But this only proves to aggravate Christopher, and he leaves. He then meets Maria in the second room, just after her angry break-up with Sean. This leads to a biting argument where Maria harshly calls Christopher out on his self-pitying nature and his short comings as a writer, while he tries to defend himself. But just as they seem to be coming to a break through, Maria’s ex bursts into the room and Christopher is forced to flee.

Act 3: Christopher enters the third room and meets Mike, a pot-head from his third short film, the comedy-horror EXIT. Still stressed Christopher sits and smokes with him, as he has no real interest in Chris, being far too occupied with his own smoking. Christopher spirals into a bad trip and is left alone in the dark, where he is confronted by a monstrous manifestation of his issues. He kills it, and it transforms into him. Faced with his own death and the possible repercussions of what his life will become, he is dragged away and forced into an intervention by Lesley. He finally watches his silly, cheap debut film Attack of the Deadly Gust, which he made when he was a teenager. Finally remembering the joy films use to bring him and others, rekindling his filmmaking spirit. He re-enters his room and calls Phillip with a new film idea, at which point the director, crew, and camera are revealed, and that Projector has really been a film.

Style
The surreal elements of the film are largely visually meta, with a motif around common movie mistakes, e.g. boom shadows, crew reflections, audio glitches ect, which Christopher becomes more aware of as he goes further through his films, as the lines between fiction and reality break down. It also uses touches of psychological horror, with the appearance of a monstrous manifestation of his issues. The direction of the in movie films will be split between the group, with Mark directing the opening and closing scenes, Conor directing the film noir Venetian Blind, Chloe directing the horror EXIT, and Lee directing the superhero comedy Super-Ego. This is to give each of Christopher’s films their own unique look and style, and give each one its own in-film identity. With this in mind to help Projector feel like a coherent film, and not a series of shorts, there will be overarching trades, like each film existing in a black void, with the set and props lit like a stage production, with only his bedroom having visible walls.

Cast:

Christopher: Bradley Godbeer

Gerald: Jordan Medley

Lesley Mattock: Adam Diskin

Maria: Amy Woods

Sean: Josh Hayes

Crew:

Mark Tonkin: Camera Operator, Casting Director, Director, Director of Photography, Floor Manager, Location Scout, Producer, Prop Maker, Props Buyer, Set Designer, Writer

Conor Amos: Camera Operator, Director, Director of Photography, Editor, Sound Editor, Visual Effects Artist, Writer

Chloe Tennant: Director, Editor, Lighting Operator, Visual Effects Artist

Lee Garrod: Casting Director, Director, Floor Manager, Location Scout, Producer

Cristiana Alves: Location Scout, Producer, Props Buyer, Set Designer

Jordan Medley: Lighting Operator

Bradley Godbeer: Casting Director

Alex Sheene: Boom Operator, Sound Recordist

Christopher Harris: Set Builder

 

Advertisements

Projector Photos

Posters

10454996_911295568935295_8404518168414821345_o11055381_901167109948141_6857221548004299262_o10906370_848589475205905_4868082281257976918_n11187844_911295545601964_8561918181380885405_oprojector poster neon

In-film posters

Since this is a film about films, we had to design a lot of posters for use within it.

10360253_893708514027334_8179479946787523879_n11013529_893708504027335_5266303329693262044_n10984256_893708494027336_1276275958903558032_n11100868_900441150020737_5151034440158488858_n11054841_900433543354831_6558579770354859076_n11080897_893708540693998_6881390861493894368_o

Behind The Scenes

11130093_900284583369727_4881112867973572952_n10407043_900284603369725_7730625032995996781_n

11118857_900284436703075_2578160919078633600_n
Accidental Team Rocket reference.
11138639_900284250036427_7031026733463861276_n
Won’t lie. I love how voyeuristic some of these are. This one in particular.

 

11150389_900341276697391_5424584016997663385_n
Everyone was so happy to be there. 
1975007_900284496703069_2303166113444061515_n
The elongated shadow makes him look sort of like a Batman villain. 

11141327_900284413369744_2856725953737237438_n10525853_900284383369747_6010793094918948861_n11102903_900284356703083_4026545591667160793_n11147027_900284273369758_7313933583245997375_n11071684_900284200036432_5272716727438757450_n10384056_900284176703101_3966729765156972909_n11150267_900284060036446_3733383872145797808_n10985208_899887903409395_6903264334698557494_n

 

 

11141155_900284226703096_6852310243102064442_n
I try to take pictures of shadows. Love the contrast between dark and light they create. 

11109270_900284326703086_8552208251806603994_n10580189_900284306703088_777979217836088449_n11052440_900284103369775_1125900061715944157_n

1798330_900295580035294_4184197979944313214_n
This is how we motivate people. It works.

 

11078226_899793580085494_2178279852365131170_n
Definitely the album artwork for if I ever did a dark disco pop punk album

11149507_899793566752162_7660840130133149308_n10255749_899793540085498_8944835790643271923_n10985878_899793480085504_879702216463013266_n

19494_899793436752175_542327008374804713_n
I wish I got more pictures during the filming of this scene. The actors moved between colours so every few seconds it looked completely different. 

11083889_894236480641204_2740898225524281984_n11096680_894236453974540_2328345962838633015_n11083645_894236423974543_4852428499584609120_n11081304_894236387307880_968402484810826018_n10881491_894094700655382_4772388691047670785_n

11102724_894094687322050_5888867188296508606_n
Cyclops has had a rough time of it since the demise of the X-Men

11100156_894057510659101_8873396752802503170_n10686654_894057490659103_2669103679921034274_n10308050_894057473992438_843326180647766615_n19800_894057460659106_6162794710166676555_n

 

 

11045408_899121920152660_1825787351700516873_n
The posters in action

11073976_894571433941042_2470743180895675311_n

10366230_894094713988714_6646350105791266702_n
We built a door. 

11035287_899177456813773_5333016658058004363_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blockers (2018)

I expected to be underwhelmed by this. I thought it would basically be disposable fluff. It kind of is, but it’s also more than that. “Teens make a pact to lose their virginity” is a story that has been told many times in films, albeit usually with guys. And there we get the first big difference: female sexuality is oddly underdeveloped in stories we see. Judging by what we see in films or on television, sex is something that women put up with in order to get flowers from men, as a means to persuade men to do something, or to get pregnant. The very notion that maybe, just maybe, women might ACTUALLY ENJOY sex is woefully underrepresented. So it’s nice to see a film which treats women as sexual beings, and not just in a “men will conquer their resistance to it” kind of way. It even has a gay sub-plot, albeit one which is kind of underdeveloped, which is a shame as the way that Gideon Adlon plays the character is brilliant. Most of the cast play their parts brilliantly actually. It would be easy for them to not care and to phone their performances in, yet almost everyone here is thriving to do the best with what they’re given. Luckily, what they’re given is really good. The script is incredibly funny, gross and puerile, but funny. This got some of the loudest laughs I’ve heard in a while, not just “polite titters”, but genuine belly laughs until it hurts (actually caused one person in the cinema to choke on their popcorn).

The decision to split the time between the two sets of people (the parents, and the teens) is a great move, both in terms of marketing potential (opens it up to a much wider audience), and in terms of story. It means that you can have emotional heartfelt moments, and then a scene of someone taking a beer enema, and because they’re happening to two separate groups of characters, it doesn’t feel too much of an emotional whiplash. The characters are well developed as well, all of the main six are fully developed characters, all with their own unsaid backstories and history. For some reason I don’t see this becoming as big a hit as American Pie, but, honestly, I think it’s better. The writing is smarter, the jokes are funnier, and it’s more grounded. Also, it isn’t (yet) diluted by way too many sequels. I think you could probably get one or two sequels out of this, there’s enough interest in the characters to see them develop into future situations, but it would need to be a really great story for it to work. Also, you cannot recast. John Cena is a lot better at comedy than someone as inexperienced as him should be, his delivery and facial expressions stop JUST short of being over the top. There’s not much chance of him challenging The Rock or Batista for the best wrestler-turned-actor, and he’ll never be in a film as good as They Live, but he won’t be an embarrassment and could easily lead his own sitcom. Ike Barinholtz also plays his character with a lot more pathos and subtlety than you’d expect from the character. This film definitely belongs to the teen cast though, and they nail it. Not a weak link or moment in their performance. Geraldine Viswanathan, in particular, deserves plaudits for her performance. With the right roles, she could easily develop into someone at an Anne Hathaway-like level, definitely one to watch out for.

So in summary, I would recommend watching this film, it won’t be your favourite film, but it will make you laugh. It’s not perfect, it features an annoyingly high amount of scenes in the trailer which aren’t in the film for some reason (like at least half the trailer), which is just odd, and the music choices could have been better in some moments. But other than that I highly recommend giving it a go.

Isle Of Dogs (2018)

Have you ever seen a Wes Anderson film? Or even the poster for one? Did you hate it with every fibre of your being? If so this is not the film for you. The reasons you hate it: the colour schemes, the odd idiosyncratic nature of it all, they’re all prevalent here. But if you’re a fan of his work, then the reasons you love it: the colour schemes, the odd idiosyncratic nature of it all, they’re all prevalent here (thank you copy+paste). Personally, I adored it, and I chose that word specifically. I didn’t love it, it’s not the kind of film where I have a deep personal affection for it and will sing its praises to all and sundry. It’s not a film where I can spend hours talking about how it’s brilliant and everybody should love it. But it is a film I have warm feelings for, it’s the film equivalent of a cosy chair by a fireplace. You watch it and everything just feels, I dunno, right.

Part of that is down to the look of it. The stop-motion REALLY helps this. The style suits the story and is a great example of animation-story integration. If this was a heavily polished CGI film it would lose some of what makes it work. Even if it was animated like a 90’s Disney film it wouldn’t quite work. Characters are roughed up and damaged, this is great as it makes them seem real, like they’re actual things which have been damaged. So when someone is hurt in a fight, the damage stays with them throughout. The vocal work is great too, sometimes in animated films with all-star casts (and with Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray,Ken Watanabe, Scarlett Johansson etc, this is a definitely an all-star cast) it can be hard to be truly invested because every time a character speaks you go “hey, I know that voice”. You don’t really do that with this, probably because of how well suited the voices are to the characters, the characters sound exactly what you expect them to sound like when you look at the character designs.

The way the voices were handled was actually really well done too. The human characters mostly didn’t speak English, but Japanese, because the story is set in Japan (I know that seems obvious, but you’ll be amazed how many films make everybody speak English no matter what the location). The English come from either the dogs, an American, or a translation service, where the Japanese is still audible under the English (they essentially find an in-universe method of dubbing voices, and it’s genius).

So would I recommend seeing this? Definitely. Not if you’re a kid though (and if you are, why are you reading this?) Despite being marketed as a kids film I’m not sure how well this will be received by them. Also, it’s not quite as twee as the marketing and visual style might have you believe. It’s incredibly dark at times, one of the opening moments of the film features a dog dying of starvation, and it doesn’t lighten up too much in terms of story. If you’re a fan of Wes Anderson, watch it, if not, this won’t change your mind.

Ready Player One (2018)

I’ll start this, not with a long pretentious wordy diatribe. But with a quick snapshot of my thoughts from the time I sat down, to the time I left the cinema:

“I’m not gonna like this”

“Oh it’s about individual liberty, in a film made by a major studio and overseen by a group of people aiming to make sure it reaches as many people as possible. You suck, movie!”

“but it’s all fake! These characters need to live in reality”

“just adding references is not a good substitute for plotting and characters”

“I understand that reference”

“Okay that was pretty cool”

“Damn, that’s really well done”

“That guys performance has been really f*cking good”

“hah!”

“no! stupid tears, go back in my eyes”

*melts into a puddle of splooshy mess*

Trust me, I went into this deeply cynical and scathing. I was ready to tear this film a new asshole about how overly commercialised it is, about how it spent so much time trying to please the fanbase that it forgot to put a good story in. Yet as the film went on, I just couldn’t do it, it won me over. The director is REALLY good at what he does (I predict good things for this *checks details* Stephan Spolberg). It reminded me of when I watched The BFG and was just overcome by the pure joy and magic of cinema. Spielberg is amazing at that, he just doesn’t just tell stories, he creates honest-to-goodness art with what he does. Also, he really knows how to get the best out of Mark Rylance. This, Bridge Of Spies, The BFG, he’s played vastly different characters in all of them, and in not one of them did you think “hey, it’s that guy from that thing”, he encapsulated the characters so well that you were drawn in and lost in the performance.

The story is….well you’re not watching this for the plot tbh. There’s not a lot here that will surprise you (with the possible exception of one character revelation that is just superbly well done and makes sooooo much sense), it’s the usual “ragtag group of misfits do good, and the character finds true happiness is in vagina” along with the standard “a relative dies to inspire the main character, as does a step-relative who’s an asshole” (it’s nearly always aunts and uncles who look after the characters in these type of things, why is this?). But it doesn’t matter, because everything is so wonderful and beautiful and amazing that you’re sucked in anyway.

The biggest criticism I have of this is the real world doesn’t seem as fully fleshed out as it could. With the exception of the technology, you don’t really see the real world that much. It’s a shame as I feel there’s a lot of backstory to all the characters here, but it’s not fully explored. I don’t know if the book goes more into it but I’d hope so. It’s all okay though as the VR world is BRILLIANT. The Shining scene, in particular, stands out, not just as a highlight of the film, but possibly one of the best scenes of the year. It’s smart, funny, inventive, and is the perfect use of pop culture references. It actually handles pop culture references a lot better than I thought it would, all of them have reasons for existing. I mean it is odd that in 2045 everyone seems to only be obsessed with things from 80’s-2010’s but there’s really no way you could avoid that without the ability to see the future.

Look, if you’re kind of tempted to see, go see at the cinema, it not only deserves that, but that’s where it’s at it’s best. This film is magic, and deserves to be appreciated as such. It really won’t have the same effect if you sit there watching it alone on a tiny laptop screen, this is made for big screens. This, is, cinema.

Unsane (2018)

This entire film was shot on an iPhone. I think that’s an important point to start out on. With that knowledge, you admire the shots, you gaze at the beauty and creativity of some of the scenes. Without it, it looks incredibly amateur, the colours don’t match from shot to shot, with some scenes looking incredibly washed out. There are some places where it really worked, some of the long shots of the main character shot like it made it seem slightly voyeuristic, like the audience were following her without her permission, which REALLY suited with the script content (a great example of using filming techniques to compliment the tone of the story, one of the best I’ve seen in a while if I’m honest). Also, there were moments where the filming methods made her look slightly insane, like her reality wasn’t quite right. Again, for those moments it worked. But when you apply those same filming techniques to her just sitting there eating lunch whilst talking to her mum, it just seems a bit weird and pointless. It would be like doing a slow-motion sequence of someone taking a dump.

This film would have been great as a concept short, just to prove it can be done. And if it must be a full length I don’t think it should have been a cinema release, I’d have been a lot more receptive to this if it was a netflix release. But cinema, you have different expectations. You’ve invested more in a cinema release, not just money (seriously, I love my cineworld card), but also the time to get there, and being forced to stick to someone elses schedule. At home it’s different, you can watch it when you want, you can even pause it to go make a cup of tea in the middle if you want. You’ve invested less, so you have (not so much less) but different expectations, you’re more open to experimentation.

Now onto the weirdest down for this film, and I warn you this contains spoilers: too much Matt Damon. He has a random cameo in it and it’s really jarring. Because of how realistic the film is played, you forget you’re watching a film, you kind of feel like you’re watching almost like a found footage movie. Then he appears and you remember you’re watching a film. Also, is “unannounced Matt Damon cameo” now a trope? It seems to happen a lot lately. I’m now just going to assume he’s in every single film I watch from now, including porn (especially porn).

All of this is a shame because otherwise, it’s a pretty good film, the performances are pretty good, a lot of acclaim will go towards Claire Foy and Joshua Leonard, but I think more attention needs to go to Juno Temple. Her performance in this is so unsettling it’s a shame she’s not given more screen time. Her character, and the way that she plays her, are so well done it’s like they could be the main character in a horror film.

So to sum up: a Blockbuster film. By which I mean: it would have been the perfect film to rent a few times from a video store back in the day, but you don’t need it in your collection. Unless you’re a film student, in which case you’re probably going to be shown it by your lecturer a few times.

Tomb Raider (2018)

This is definitely the best video game film I’ve seen, although that’s like describing something as “the best smelling piece of faeces”. Video game movies don’t have the best reputation, and for a good reason, most of them are REALLY bad. Like “worst films ever” level of bad. I’m not entirely sure why but I have theories. One is that the movie industry doesn’t take video games seriously so when they make video game movies they don’t do any research into what made the game work, or why people like it. They usually just look at a still image of it and take it from there (for Super Mario I’m not even sure they did that. I would actually love to hear a podcast series where people interview scriptwriters, directors and studio executives to see how certain films came out as bad as they did). So they go in just paying lip service to the source material and it comes out terrible. The other theory is that they deliberately don’t put much effort in as they know “the name will sell it”, then the film gets bad reviews and nobody sees it. This causes it to fail, which then makes studios less likely to put effort into similar future releases as “they always fail” causing a circular journey of failure (which is the title of my biography). The annoying thing is they can be good, some of the best storytelling of modern times has been in video games (especially in terms of original concepts), so if they were made by people who knew what they were doing they could end up being cult classics.

You can tell a lot of effort went into making this, and yes, I am aware of how super condescending that sounds “they tried really hard”. But when watching this you can tell that this won’t be anybody’s old shame. This is one of the few video game movies that works as a movie, to the point where you almost forget it’s based on a game. Admittedly that might be because I missed a lot of references to the games as I’ve never played them (I was always more of a Nintendo person). The trouble with a lot of video game films is they focus more on the “video game” parts, so if you’re not a fan of the games you’ll detest the films, or they’ll be so full of unsubtle references that you sit there going “I assume that would be very entertaining if I got the reference”. This is a movie, first and foremost, it’s not just a video game movie, it’s an action movie that happens to be based on a video game. Which is how it should be, people don’t describe Rambo, Princess Diaries, or Jaws as “book movies”, they’re just “movies”. I’m hoping this film changes things, and that we will soon get more movies like this. Eternal Darkness, for example, would make a great horror movie, and the fact there’s not even rumours of a Saints Row film is confusing to me, after Deadpool proved that that kind of humour in films can make a lot of money, that should have been optioned by somebody and made.

I suppose I should actually talk about the film itself. The story is simple but effective, you’re not going to be wowed by the script really, it’s incredibly workmanlike. It has a job to do and it gets it done. Performances vary, but Alicia “looks like Brie Larson in some films, and Natalie Portman in others” Vikander (yes, that is actually her middle name, honest) does exactly what she needs to. You won’t remember her performance at the end of the year but that’s not a bad thing, on the plus side it means it wasn’t bad enough to become notable (and let’s face it, it’s going to be incredibly hard to stand out as a good performance in a year which both The Shape Of Water and Three Billboards were released). That’s a summary for this film, you won’t love it, but you certainly can’t hate it, and if somebody said it was their favourite film you wouldn’t judge them as much as you would if they said it was Resident Evil, in which case you’d be well within your rights to shoot them.