We have both crew and cast positions available, open to those with tonnes of experience and also none! The project is to encourage skill sharing in Northampton and the county, and also to expand the reach of Northampton’s Holocaust Memorial Day and its theme of ‘Don’t Stand By’. We are making a short drama about a refugee who, through acts of kindness from Northampton strangers and unusually positive media coverage, creates a new life for himself. This will be coupled with a docu-drama about real acts of kindness in Northampton. What if we all went out of our way each week to perform one act of kindness and made sure the media covered those instead of scaremongering about immigration, refugees and terrorism??
We are looking for crew to work under professional Producers Becky Adams and Paul Mills of Reelscape Community, and Director Brenda Lee (feature film Fortune Cookies). Please get in touch with your CV.
We’re also looking for cast. We’re interested in hearing from any cast member or person interested in being in the film regardless of experience. We have roles for varied ages, ethnicities, etc and even if it doesn’t work out for this one we have plenty of other films coming up this year.
We have specific roles too:
35-45 year old male refugee (could be Syrian, Iranian or of any ethnicity suitable for playing a refugee fleeing war, discrimination, persecution)
8-10 year old daughter (or son)
30 year old woman (nice face)
40 year old white male cafe owner (bit grumpy)
The Guildhall opened their lesser-known doors to Reelscape Community’s Movie Hub with a group of students from The Arbours Primary Academy to explore the cells beneath street level, and assess whether they would make a good film location.
The Guildhall is Northampton’s town hall, located in St Giles’ Square near to the ‘Cultural Quarter’. It is a historic site that dates back to the 19th Century and was built to replace the old town hall that became too small fro the growing town, however today it is used by the Borough Council and as wedding destination. The guide who showed the group around also explained that the Guildhall has already been used as a location for two films.
The Movie Hub team proceeded to judge the pros and cons of filming in the old cells. Initially, the team noted some drawbacks to it being a film set due to the distinct lack of light and power sources, as well as minimal headroom with low ceilings and narrow corridors.
But The Guildhall would lend itself to a variety of genres; the neo-gothic architecture would provide an instantly interesting and castle-like backdrop to any historic or fantasy film, while The Great Hall and Courtroom create a feeling of grandeur that could be the set of any period piece, and the cells beneath create a dark and eerie atmosphere that could be incorporated into a crime or horror film – especially as they are rumoured to be haunted by former inmates.
Overall, the group decided that The Guildhall would be a suitable film location and are adding it to the Northampton Film Location Database. Watch this space for the new website
‘I’m Still Me’ an original stage production by Northampton School for Boys has been well received, and with the help of Reelscape Community it has been transformed into an educational film.
The play by Northampton School for Boys Sixth Formers focuses on sexual orientation and gender identities; with the message at heart being it is okay to be different. As more celebrities and public figures such as Tom Daley, Ellen Page and Caitlyn Jenner ‘come out’, Northampton Borough Council has decided it is time for schools to become more tolerant and supportive of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students.
Northampton Borough Council (NBC) approached Reelscape to work on the project with them due to their previous involvement with the Council.
Becky Adams, founder of Reelscape Community, said: “We have never filmed a theatre production before, but have worked with NBC on a short film for Holocaust Memorial Day. I’m Still Me was a fantastic production to work on because it offered us some really unique challenges as a theatre piece and meant we could give our Movie Hub young people some more experience on a professional film set.”
The film will be made freely available to schools but will also go to film festivals. ‘I’m Still Me’ will be released to coincide with International Coming Out Day 2015 – it will screen at a free event at the Errol Flynn Filmhouse cinema at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton on Friday 9th October at 5.15pm.
Student Tiffany: On the first Friday of my work experience, I was able to go to the Avenue Campus of Northampton University, where I, along with others was able to record a show for the UonTV at the Uni. It was a very cool experience, as we got to go into their studio which was set up with lots of cameras and even a green screen. We also got to read off a Autocue which was sometimes very amusing as it would go to fast or too slow (depending on who was operating it) which ended up us losing words! Ha ha. It was also really interesting to see how all the clips went together. Altogether a very cool experience.
Student Tyra: My university experience was insightful. I was introduced to a lot of things which I would have never been exposed to before. Getting the chance to be a presenter was very fun yet challenging because, the reading of the auto-cue led to hilarious bloopers. I got to try out a lot of high tech equipment which I would have never been exposed to before, such as using camera, lighting and using a mixing desk. It really gave me a chance understand the TV industry better with all the commotion going on.
Student Emma: At The Northampton University I was given the opportunity to use film cameras, a green screen room and auto-cue equipment and see how television is made behind the scenes. Even though learning how to use the equipment was quite complicated, I found it really interested, and enjoyed the challenge and problem solving.
Student Caitlin: At Northampton University we had a good opportunity to learn about how a tv show is made, and how the equipment used works. I worked on the sound equipment for the microphones and the video clips used in the show, and also learnt how to use the auto-cue and do editing. It was a valuable experience to have, as it gave me a good insight into how a tv show operates. it also tested my skills in working as part of a team, because everything had to be done in union, involving a long of intercommunication and good timing.
This week we’ve had young people in The Movie Hub on work experience from Northampton Academy. This is what they said:
Emma: During my work experience at Reelscape I got to learn how to use sound recording equipment, and then use it behind the scenes of a real film being recorded. This was a really great experience, because I got to experience what it’s like behind the set of a film and how the director works. I also saw how the staff worked together as a team to produce the content of the film. It was also interesting to see how long it takes to record a short piece of a film, and how many roles there are, besides being the actors or the director. I believed this helped me gain a greater understanding of how film is created.
Tyra: I have been challenged with many activities in the Hub and also got to try and work in an environment many aspiring film workers would like to be in. This includes shooting behind the scenes for movies, working with many movie sets, getting in contact with people from film industry and even getting the opportunity to be part of a TV show. This has been a fun few days and I am excited for what the rest of the week entails for me and my colleagues.
Caitlin: My experience at Reelscape over the past week has been incredibly useful in terms of learning about and experiencing the film and television industry. We filmed some behind the scenes footage of the filming of a trailer, which will be used to generate funding for a feature film. Using the equipment, and watching professionals use the equipment, was interesting and helpful for learning about how films are made. It has been a great experience in which I have been able to talk to professionals from the industry and gain a more in depth knowledge on the industry I aim to be a part of.
Tiffany: I am currently at Reelscape at Weston Favell on work experience. For me, the most interesting thing I have done was help on set of a short film by David East on called ‘Enceledus’. I had to help operate a tube that was probing a poor man in bed while his wife got abducted by aliens!! *spoiler alert*. I had to crawl behind the bed and fit into this tiny space and pull the tube down to give the illusion of an alien probing. It was pretty funny, and another actor who was acting as the alien hand pretended to feed it through his nose. Creepy stuff!
If you thought that Week 8 was the end of The Movie Hub you were very much mistaken!
Due to a very slight underspend on our National Lottery funding we’ve been able to extend the scheme to include visits to the Guildhall to present the achievements of The Movie Hub to the Mayor and have a tour of their dungeons! We’re also doing a recce with the Movie Hub participants of the Royal & Derngate theatre, with the film ‘Fortune Cookies’ Director and Director of Photography where the young people can put their film knowledge into use. What spaces will be practical for which scenes? Do the spaces give us any camera and lighting issues?
And we’ve got 3 more workshops next week with local and industry guest speakers. PLUS we’re keeping on The Movie Hub space at Weston Favell Shopping Centre – huge thanks go to them and Redefine International for continuing their support.
Then there’s the news that we’ve just produced our first drama short film with the support of Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire Community Foundation called ‘Timetable’ for Holocaust Memorial Day 2015, working with young people from local schools as well as a fully professional crew. Check out the pictures on our Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ReelscapeCommunity
And there’s some exciting news to come about the future of Reelscape Community but I can’t say much about that yet. Keep your eyes peeled!
The Movie Hub workshop – Week 8:
There was a sense of pride today, as an awards ceremony took place for those who had taken part in the workshops.
Kids and parents from across all the workshops came together to attend, with each person collecting their certificate from Becky, receiving a handshake and round of applause. Don’t worry, even the adults who took part had the same treatment, no one was left out.
While this was the last of the scheduled workshops, there is the possibility of more to come as Weston Favell Shopping Centre has extended its welcome for longer. So, watch this space.
Reelscape Workshop – Week 7: Bringing in the cast. By Reelscape Volunteer Zach
Once you’ve got your script, set, crew, cameras, sound and lighting, the one big thing you are missing is the cast – the actors who are bringing the characters to life, putting faces to names.
In today’s workshop Becky Adams and Director Brenda Lee introduced the actors behind the father and daughter roles of ‘Fortune Cookies’.
Fiona Rene plays the defiant Susan. Fiona grew up in Austin, Texas and while at school she was heavily involved in plays and musicals, however she moved to London four years ago to develop her acting career. She has recently been filming commercials. She spoke about the importance of gaining credits..
Daniel York plays the strict father, Cyril. Daniel was recently in Hollyoaks and Casualty. Daniel grew up in the West Country and plays guitar in a band: he says it’s what he’d do professionally if he wasn’t an actor.
Both the actors gave advice to the aspiring actors in the room; Daniel says it’s a career you have to be serious and determined about “in a world everyone is always saying ‘no’”. Fiona says comedy is the best way of surviving the tough world. She recently auditioned for an advert but was told her arms were too fat! She said, “you just have to laugh your way through it”. Fiona rounded off with saying “surround yourself with people who will let you create. Stay in school! But don’t get involved with the wrong crowd or people who laugh at you.”
Afterwards, the group moved into the ‘Fortune Cookies’ set, the home of the Lee family, where the group began by watching the father/daughter act out variations of one of the scenes. Seeing this, the group took it in turns directing and acting out the scenes – working out how the scene should play out. Questions were raised: which direction should Susan exit from? Where should Cyril be sitting? Should Susan move closer or away from Cyril? Answers to questions were being found through everyone getting involved with suggestions and improving scenes.
When people discuss the most important aspect of film, most people automatically think of the picture, but sound guys will say that sound is the most important part of film, and set designers will probably say their part is what brings it all together.
Today was all about playing with and mapping out a space, which will form the main set of Fortune Cookies. Having a model set to be on and move objects around on allowed everyone to put thought in about how the family would utilize the space for both their take-away business and home.
The workshop encouraged thinking about the merging of culture through having a traditional Chinese family living in a traditionally British terrace house, while showing the conflict of personalities through their props and movements.
Writer/Director Brenda Lee said the session was useful to generate creative ideas from the children, which previously weren’t thought of.
As a volunteer for Reelscape Community at The Movie Hub, I believe this community project to be a very exciting one that not only gives the young people an amazing opportunity to work on set of the Pre-Production of a cinema feature and work with film industry professionals, but also to gain life skills from experts in the film industry. This isn’t just cameras and lighting. Its also learning from Electricians, Production Managers, Costume Designers, Make up Artists, Set Designers and so much more. Something I wish I had when I was younger. I think this is just what the Northampton community needs, particularly for young people involved. It is a pleasure to be a part of it and help bring awareness to such an admirable and innovative community-based project – Robyn Hill