When I was a lad I was convinced I was going to grow up and become a famous Hollywood superstar. I was in all the school plays, the local amateur dramatics group, a weekend theatre course…and, in all honesty, I wasn’t that bad. No, seriously, false modesty aside, I was actually pretty good. Maybe, in a parallel dimension, if I’d pursued it more vigorously…who knows?
But life, with its twists and turns and knocks and its general rollercoaster ride nature, had other plans for me. It seemed I was destined only to watch the silver screen, rather than appearing on it. Until there came a day, a glorious day, a day that will surely go down in the annals of Hollywood history, when my friend Ben said “fancy being in a short film?”
Now, this was not something out of the blue, Ben and I have been film enthusiasts ever since we’ve known each other, and we’ve talked for years about making our own films. We’ve got scripts waiting to be developed, lofty ambitions and we’ve even toyed around with various names for the production company we will obviously one day co-own. My favourite is Ben And Dave All Star Studio Productions. That’s right, BADASS Productions.
Ben has always been more interested in the whole filmmaking process, whereas most of my talents lie on the other side of the camera, although I like to think I contribute to the writing as well. But Ben is very much the driving force, and he told me about the short film he had come up with. A man (me) wakes up on a beach, stranded, confused, and forced to use his (fairly inadequate) wits to survive. What follows is a short chronicle of his buffoon like attempts to build a shelter (badly), construct a bow and arrow (which ends up being more dangerous to him than to any of the completely safe wildlife around him), and to go spear-fishing (the results of which need to be seen to be believed). It’s around eight minutes long, and damn me if Ben and I aren’t absolutely over the moon with the end result.
I shall save details of the day we spent filming for a future post, suffice to say that when Ben said “fancy being in a short film?” what he should have said was “fancy getting up at 4 in the morning to spend the day either being cold, wet or a combination of the two, with a stroll through an honest to god swamp and a dip in the sea off the coast of Southport at 8 in the morning to really freeze your *******s off?” At least it would have been more honest.
In spite of the hardships of the day, though, the end result was something we were both very, very pleased with, even in its rough format, and once Ben had worked his editing magic on it, it was something else entirely – a masterpiece. Watching that 8 minute slice of entertainment for the first time, I suddenly how Michaelangelo must have felt when he looked up at the roof of the Cistine Chapel, how Capability Brown’s heart must have swelled to look out over his first landscaped garden, how the Spice Girls must have been over the moon to hear Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want, I Really Really Really Wanna Zig A Zig Ah booming out of their speakers for the very first time…but don’t take my word for it, watch it yourself and bask in the glow of a complete moron trying to survive life in the wilderness with nothing but a Hawaiian shirt, a surplus of damp earth and faintly woebegone expression. Oh, and you get to see me eat a pine cone. A scene Ben made me shoot 8 times. In a row.
You can find How I Survived the Island on YouTube here, and I really hope you enjoy it. Any feedback will be immediately passed on to my partner in crime, and a more detailed narrative of the day we spent filming will be on this site shortly. For now, a few piccies:
Writer, producer, director, editor…all hats that this amazing filmmaker wears. The one, the only, Ben Lingham!
No expense was spent on crew, the star being forced to carry his costume, props and a camera tripod for about seven miles. OK, it just felt like seven miles, it was probably only two. Or maybe three. Distance is hard to judge at 6 in the morning.
Yep, he made me climb over a wire fence.
The infamous spear fishing scene. I performed all my own stunts, don’t ya know. Oh, and that water? Freezing. Another scene he made me film over and over and over and over again. Sometimes I think he doesn’t really like me. Wait, no, we’re British, mocking and forcing your friends to endure physical hardship is how we show love.
Can you see the stick poking out of the bottom of my foot? Looks even more impressive in the film. How did we do it, you ask? Trade secret, I’m afraid. Although I can tell you that the first of the surgeries on my foot went very well.
And finally, a glimpse into the glamorous culinary experiences of intrepid movie-makers. The venue? Ben’s car. The cuisine? Ham sandwiches and crisps. Which were delicious, by the by.
I do implore you to check this little screen gem out, we put a lot of hard work into it, and then Ben put about a million times more into it after that, and it wouldn’t be much of a post if I didn’t also shamelessly remind you that my novels are all available on amazon (preview chapters and links are available on this site), reviews so far are good, and the sequel to Realmborn is currently at 32 of approx. 50 chapters, so is coming along nicely.
Been a while, but I’m going to say it anyway. Stay Frosty, People.