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Thursday, 26 August 2010


Any of you who are actors or filmmakers will have had to put together a showreel to show others what you can do in your chosen field.  I have had one for a number of years now which I try to keep current and interesting, though unfortunately it's changed little in that time.  I am currently looking at it again and wish to improve it which has reopened thoughts that many of you may be familiar with.

Very generally there are two types of showreel, for actors at least.  One contains clips from short films, commercials, TV shows or features that the actor has been in.  The other is created by a showreel company or similar.  The actors may recreate a scene from a famous film or a stage show or even perform a monologue.  

Now as far as I know the common thought is that the first version is the best.  Clips from films you've actually been in show that someone has liked you in an audition enough to cast you and that you have been in a film that's made it all the way through to completion.   It shows that you can actually do your job on a 'real' production and have worked with a director etc.

There are two problems with this.  Firstly, the catch 22, you need to get work to get a showreel and you are more likely to get work with a good showreel.  It's not impossible though so this is not a major problem.  The other problem, and this may be controversial, many people make films, but many of them are pretty poor.  Sorry but you know it's true.   You may get a role in a short film, you most probably work for little more than some expenses, if you're lucky, but is it going to be good enough for your showreel?  You may even find that the film is never edited and finished, or it is but you never receive a copy.  The film is finished but the quality is very low, the shots are bad, you have no nice close ups, or the poor script has damaged your performance.   My point really is that you could spend a lot of time, money and effort working on quite a number of short films for very little return.

NB. I do think working on shorts is extremely useful no matter what the quality as you can use them to practice your craft and work with new people.  You never know where that short film director might go.  However this discussion is about getting good footage for showreels.

I was going to add some showreel examples here but I'm questioning it now.  I wanted to show you what I think are bad examples but now feel bad about highlighting people.  This does bring me to the point that although showreels are invaluable tools, put together a bad one and you can kill your career before you've even started!   I have thought someone was pretty good in an audition only to change my mind after watching their showreel.

So where am I going with this little rant.  Well despite having been in this game for a number of years I think my showreel is quite limited.  I have at least 3 or 4 short films shot over the last year or so that I have yet to see.  I therefore find myself having an old debate.

Should I just write, shoot and edit some footage especially for my reel?  I think the answer is yes.

I have clips from films I've been cast in so I've ticked that box but rather than wait around for new films, I will do my own.  My plan is to intersperse my existing film clips with new original footage I create.  

My other reason to do this is that this industry is so over populated and there is so much competition, you need to show a casting director what you can do.   If you'd love to play a tough gangster chick but your showreels and headshot only shows a sweet girl next door, why would a casting director think to get you in for an audition?  Show them you can do it and they might think of you when a job arrises.  Also, why wait for someone else to stereotype you?  If you want to do romantic comedies, then why not put some clips of you doing just that in your showreel.

Anyway, this blog entry is way too long.   Just thought I'd put that out there.  If you have thoughts please write in the comments.   If I end up filming some stuff I'll keep you informed.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Let's do lunch

So Wednesday was an interesting day. Chris Dane and I drove off to Brighton for a meeting with Michael from Spice Factory and Stealth Media. We had randomly had a meeting with Jason from Stealth when we were in Cannes and had obviously made a good impression. A couple of weeks ago Chris sent them a copy of the 1st draft of "Blood Traps" our supernatural period horror film and it turns out it rose above the usual crap their script reader has to go through. It then got passed around the team and they all liked it and wanted to meet.

So Chris and I drove down and went out for Lunch with Michael and chatted for what must have been about 3 hours or more about films and about Blood Traps. Now before this meeting, Blood Traps was written so that we could go out and make a film this year with about £20,000 we could scrap together, shoot it in Scotland and London and pass it off as Canada, act in it ourselves and hope to sell it in Cannes next year. However, over lunch we were suddenly talking about getting a Canadian Production Company on board to Co-produce, a known director, named actors and a budget of 1million or more.

All quite amazing and exciting if it actually happens, though it also means we are back to not having a project to film and act in this year. I wonder if we can write something new that we can film for about £20,000? Back to work :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Cannes Vlog Day 2

So it's taken quite a while, new computers etc but finally here is Day 2 of the Cannes Vlog!  The other days should follow very shortly.

Day 2, which was actually the first full day in Cannes, felt pretty full on. We did so much walking, some of which was pointless as you will see, which is always the case in Cannes. You need good shoes and even then it might not help.  I hope you enjoy the video. More coming soon.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Standing In

Today I'm on set as a stand in for camera tests for a new film called One Day. I'm standing in for Anne Hathaway and the film is being directed by Lone Scherfig the Danish director who did An Education.

This is my third day on the film. The first was at Angels, the costumiers being a human walking clothes dummie, trying on various potential costumes. The next was my first day on set as Anne's stand in. I met Anne and Lone who were both lovely and even spoke to them over lunch and they were asking about what I do and I was promoting Born of Hope to them. I wonder if they'll take a look?

So today was more of the same. A 7:30am call after I foolishly went to bed at about 3am because I'd made a pitch video for my Pirate Movie fundraising on IndieGoGo and wanted to get it up on YouTube and the indieGoGo site but it wasn't working for some reason. I finally gave up before it got light and I'd have had to go straight to work with no sleep at all! Two hours is ok right :-S

So in theory it's not going to be too late a day today. Which is good as I'm due to go watch a show tonight that an old drama school friend of Chris is in.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 3 July 2010


I went to another networking event the other night. It was the Wrap Party for The Production Office Live, the internet show from Chris Jones and the team at Living Spirit. After 10 weekly shows they realised that they were spending more time organising the show and not actually making movies. That's the problem with social networking etc, it can take over if you're not careful.

Anyway, despite the Phoenix Room in London feeling like we were all in an oven, there was a nice amount of people there supporting Chris and the show and networking with each other. Networking is a funny thing. I don't consider myself very good at it and following up by contacting people from their business cards is something I'm especially bad at. My poor communication was actually highlighted to me when I got chatting to a screenwriter who, it turned out, had emailed me at least twice before and never recieved a reply. My problem is that I can often flag emails to follow up on rather than email straight back. Then what happens is I get more emails, more are flagged and they start to disappear off the bottom and some never get a reply. Crazy I know and I know I need to get better at this. I really do. I apologise if any of you have emailed me and never heard back. I need pestering I really do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Darkside?

I have changed sides and I've been warned that once the line has been crossed I will never go back.

What am I talking about? PC vs Mac of course. Yes, after years of being a PC girl and laughing at all my Mac obsessed friends, I have decided that, with my old desktop PC on it's last legs, an iMac is what I'm gonna try next. After working on an iMac for most of the last year while editing BoH I've kind of gotten used to them. I think buying an iphone probably also contributed. They are easy to use, have a compact design and I was just starting to think that an iMac with Final Cut Pro might be the best way to go.

I hope I don't regret it. A friend built my PC computer and could probably do it again for less than the mac but I guess I'm a bit impatient to wait plus the iMac is basically just a big monitor with no huge box taking up space. I'm keeping one foot in to PC world though as I have a little PC laptop.

I only bought the iMac yesterday an it's still sitting in it's box in my room. I'm out working today but would rather be getting it out and having a play.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Cannes and other events

So, I failed. I've still not gotten used to blogging. Ah well. Maybe it's because I think I have to write something profound. Forget it, you'll find none of that here.

So as I mentioned last time I've just been to Cannes. Here's a little video of highlights. I will be editting together more of the footage shortly and will then blog more about what happened each day.

Here's also a video from the Living Spirit team's book launch for The Guerilla Film Makers Pocketbook. All a bit of fun and I learnt an interesting rumour that's apparently been going round the BBC. If only it were true!

I decided to go along to this event, which was just before I headed off the Cannes, to not only get a copy of the new book to add to the collection but also to start working out my networking muscles. If you know me I will tell you that I think I'm pretty useless at networking. However, I've finally, after years of denial, realised that in this business as in life, who you know is better than anything. Advice to everyone, don't deny it, embrace it. I'm trying but I need to work harder. One thing I still need to do is follow up with everyone I met in Cannes. Lots of business cards to go through and lovely people to say "hello, remember me?" to.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 6 May 2010

First Vlog with my new Flip UltraHD camera

I wonder if this will actually be the start of more regular updates on this blog?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Anyway, I bought this new camera to make vlogging easier.  For example I'm off to the Cannes Film Festival next week and want to be able to document my time there.  So, here we go.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Back on Youtube!

I though I'd already posted this via Youtube but it obviously failed. Anyway, we are back! After about a month blocked by a copyright claim, YouTube have finally put us back online after the claim was rejected.

When the claim was made we were left extremely baffled. What could a Japanese gaming company possibly own in BoH? I panicked that maybe one of our sound effects sounded like it was from a game. We contacted all the sound guys, no one had used anything but copyright free library effects. What could it be?You might think, "well surely Youtube tell you what the claim is?" of course not. That would make sense! No, all YouTube do is take down your video and tell you the name of the person/company who has an issue with it. Desperate to find out the claim before I counter claim and potentially end up in court for making a false claim, I called Konami in the USA. The receptionist took my details for someone to call me back, she probably filed them straight into the trash bin. The next day I called again and was told that she couldn't put me through to the law dept without a name. Nothing but a frustrating dead end!

I tried calling YouTube and got an automated message which eventually sent me straight back to the website. Useful!

Meanwhile Chris Dane also started some investigations. With more luck. Chris managed to discover that Konami actually had a branch in London and unlike the US got hold of a lawyer straight away. He's already heard about the issue from a journalist who had tried to get the story. The lawyer didn't know what the issue was but agreed to contact the Japanese branch to try to find out. They came back saying that they knew nothing about it and had no issue with BoH at all. The lawyer then contacted the Americans who also knew nothing about it and were actually quite concerned that someone on YouTube was possibly using their name.

So with this knowledge a counter claim was made and Konami also contacted YouTube from their end. We got an automated message saying the claim had been registered and if accepted the video would be reinstated.

Well as you all know the video was indeed reinstated but we still have no explaination as to what actually happened.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Hurry up and wait.

I thought it appropriate to title this post with this famous saying from the film industry. I think it might take me a while to get used to writing this blog and also keep it interesting enough for you all to read. As I write this I am sitting in the centre of a set for the last Harry Potter film. Too much secrecy for me to be able to go into detail or show any photos but I can tell you that the studios at Leavesden are freezing!

So what has been happening since my last post?
Well, typically, a high is always followed by a low. As you may have noticed Born of Hope is currently not on YouTube. Annoyingly a copyright claim was filed by the Japanese computer games company, Konami. We have managed to investigate this and discovered that it looks to be a complete mistake, as Konami says they know nothing about it and have no issue with the film. Of course YouTube don't make anything easy when it comings to copyright or communicating with them so we are currently still trying to get the film reinstated.
Hopefully it will all be sorted by the end of next week but we'll just have to see. It's very annoying as we are definately down in viewing figures and probably would have hit the million mark by now. Fingers crossed it all gets sorted soon.

I've been doing a decent amount of reading lately. This is because despite having made a feature film that has got a lot of praise and interest, moving into making more commercial, non fan films is a whole new ball game. I have never set up a business before or had to take to lawyers and accountants and investors, so I'm trying to at least learn the basics so I'm not too far out of my depth.

So as you might have noticed, I've been hinting about a new project and I know that has got people intrigued. Well I'm not going to spill the beans just yet. Partly because nothing is very clear yet, I actually have about three projects in development but really need to decide on the next step.

Ok I'm gonna check out now. Still on the Harry Potter set but it's looking like we might wrap early which will make a nice Friday.

I will try to blog again soon.

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Friday, 12 February 2010

What a way to start!

Well hello there! This is the first post in my new Blog and I'm starting on a high. Probably not a good idea. I mean it could be all down hill from here. :) For the last couple of days I've been in a media feeding frenzy because all of a sudden, Born of Hope is a huge story and everyone wants a piece of it. FANTASTIC!

I've been doing telephone interviews with Radio stations and pieces for the paper. I've dashed back and forth across Norwich between BBC and ITV for local News shows and generally it's been quite crazy. Anyway, I've been making the most of it. I'm no fool and know that it might be news today but they will have forgotten all about it tomorrow.

Well I know that's short but this is the first post to get me going. I hope I can keep it interesting enough for people to start to follow my story and that I can give you an insight into what it's like trying to make ambitious movies here in the UK.

Hugs all round