Harry Sherriff - Making Of
Writer and Director Harry Sherriff is premiering a film a month on Coney's Loft throughout 2016.
Here is Making Of.
Below is an excerpt from Harry's book, Scenes From His Life, written as part of his Masters at the Manchester Writing School. It will be available for free download in Early 2017.
Harry said: "I had the idea for Making Of back in April but I doubted myself. Like ‘Harry Actor 2’ in the film I wondered “Are the audience stupid enough to fall for that?
It helped that two of my friends Nick and Jay were also on the same wavelength and suggested I do something about the making of the films but present it as fiction. It gave me the confidence to at least write the script.
I’m a very lazy filmmaker in that I don’t like writing what I’m not going to make. I need to get better at this because to really push yourself and be ambitious, sometimes you have to see it on paper or send it to someone who can give you the crucial thumbs up or down.
When I sat down with Mike the cinematographer to go through the script, we were a little concerned that the first minute of the film was me talking on the phone and the two and a half minutes following that was a conversation between two people sat down. Not exactly Citizen Kane. We attempted to get some track for the Canon C100 so we could at least do a slow push in for the opening shot.
The films are starting to get a solid amount of views now, normally 600 in the first week but then it peters out. It took January & February’s films probably another 2 months to get to 1,000. Besides copy and pasting the film everywhere, which can have the opposite effect on people I’ve been thinking of ways the films can break the ceiling of 600 views. This is one reason why I’m so keen to improve the production value of the monthlies. For the future films I would like more camera movement and to try interesting things with blocking. A tall order considering the time frame on prep and a budget that will only buy you pizza (albeit Sainsbury’s Pizza Express range).
Unfortunately we couldn’t get the track so you’ll have to imagine that smooth push forward at the opening of the film. I think it’s a good workout as a filmmaker for things to constantly change and fall through. It would be abnormal to always get what you want and for people to say yes. Experiencing this every month is great training. Sadly, I know too many aspiring filmmakers that wait and then wait some more and then two years go by and you bump into them in the street and say “Hey, whatever happened to your cool short idea?” and they reply looking at their shoes “Oh, we couldn’t get the money/camera/location/actor.”
Shout outs to James John Harkness, Ethan Meyer and Harry Dyer for acting in the film. I think they nailed it. Ethan still argues he can’t act and I met Harry on the day. I feel like besides James, the actors were just thrown into the scene with little knowledge of what the hell was going on, which kind of fits the story. I generally cast from word of mouth on Facebook, which I’ll admit is amateur hour but it seems to work for me. If I did anything more advanced than that I would probably have to pay the actors and unfortunately I just can’t do that at the moment.
I believe Making Of is the best of the six short films so far. It’s nice that a lot of people who have followed all 6, have said the same thing. It was the most ambitious and the least planned, which I’m not proud of but it excites me to see what this small crew can do with a short space of time and a £25 budget. When I sat down to write the film I thought about Spaced a lot and Martin McDonagh. I’d recently read his brilliant Behanding in Spokane and of course his meta Seven Psychopaths sprung to mind.
Thankfully I know the next film idea and it’s something different once again. To the point where I don’t know if it’ll work. July’s is going to be more a teaser for a character than an actual narrative short film. I want to see what people think of Detective Jack Peace before possibly giving him his first proper case."