Last month we sold our 1,000th copy of Gone Fishing on DVD (trailer here). So I asked Nick, the buyer to share his thoughts on the film, and his own film making journey.
I first became aware of Chris Jones when I purchased the 2nd edition of “The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook. I was 23 years old and working as a Contract Manager in the public sector after having completed an degree in economics. I’d loved film since I could remember but I had no idea how to transition into working in the film industry from a career that bared no relation. The book was an incredible eye opener and hugely motivating. A lot of other books I had looked at seemed to adopt an approach of do xyz and you will have a complete film but this looked at real people fulfilling different roles in the industry and the case study approach really made the whole industry seem so much more tangible. It also covered Chris and Genevieve’s fascinating foray into feature film making after choosing to leave film school. Reading about the arduous journey of making their films, “The Runner”, “White Angel” and “Urban Ghost Story” on very little other than passion, talent and drive was hugely encouraging. Inspired by the book I spent my bonus on a Canon XL1 camera, headed off to Ealing to undertake an editing course from The Metropolitan Film School and started producing corporate videos. This has paid my bills for the last 6 years and given me the skills and confidence to recently write and direct my own short film, “Lie With Me”.
This leads me nicely into the real reason I’m sat at my keyboard with a fresh cuppa and a fig roll… Chris Jones and short film.
I remember reading about Chris shooting a short last year and was incredibly impressed by the way he had managed to get the project rolling. Namely having worked at getting a nice list of contacts but also selling Associate Producer credits in order to make up a shortfall in the proposed £15,000 budget. It was hugely innovative idea but I put it to the back of my mind and plugged away at earning my bread and butter. This was, however, until I joined Twitter last month. I saw Chris was actively marketing his work via the website and I subscribed to these feeds, to which I discovered he had made the film AND picked up some serious awards. After checking out his website www.livingspirit.com I decided to buy a copy of the film on a DVD laden with extras. I was the 1000th person to purchase a copy and as a result I was offered the chance to write a review of the film. Let me tell you my thoughts;
The film has a runtime of 13 minutes. This is a length that appeals to me as I’m quite impatient. When I look at the back cover of a DVD and see that a feature film is under 85 minutes I get hideously excited. It’s not that I hate films… I love them… but what I really love is a nice truncated story that gets straight to the point. The good news is that those 13 minutes flew by. I’d been so engrossed in the story that as the end credits began to roll I had no idea how long I’d been sat down for. The story was really nicely paced and it didn’t feel like anything on screen wasn’t there to drive the story. The photography, courtesy of Vernon Layton was sublime. The colour and framing of every shot really helped tell the story and there was a really nostalgic feel to the piece. The production value of the film on the whole is incredible. There was no doubt in my mind that Chris must have had a finely tuned team working with him to achieve the end result. The casting was great and everyone on screen new their craft well. James Wilson’s debut was delightful and well done to Chris for getting such a measured performance from an actor at the start of their journey. Bill Paterson has a long C.V of high profile productions so I expected no less than what he gave to the role and it was great to see Devon Murray doing something pretty far removed from the Harry Potter Series!
Moving on to extras, the option to listen to the film with a Dolby track was a nice, unexpected extra. This proved to be one of a knock out selection of extras including, commentaries, behind the scenes photos and video diaries. As a budding filmmaker, I really enjoyed watching the Rhode Island Film Festival Diary which followed Chris across the pond to attend a high profile, one week festival. It was great to get an insight into a process that is often overlooked in filmmaking. It really doesn’t stop after an edit is locked if you want your film to do anything for you and this really sold that message.
All in all I’d recommend grabbing a copy while they’re still available. The success it has achieved alone warrants any Indy film maker to give it a look. (You can buy your own DVD or BluRay here)
Nick Padley, Director
Giant Leap Productions Ltd
Blimey – thanks Nick!