Sunday, 21 August 2011

Picture Lock!!!!

To the Cast and Crew of Hangin',

So it's been a VERY long time coming but at long last, we have Picture Lock on Hangin'. It took a fair bit longer than we had anticipated as paid work-loads of our wonderful post team decided to vastly increase just after we wrapped.

But after many long nights and bleary eyes in the morning, Chris and I are happy. Very happy indeed.

So Chris is now going to press on with the Online, Grade and VFX work at his new digs in London. Meanwhile Joel who has been scoring this film since before we even shot will be putting the finishing touches on the music whilst Jack layers on the all important Sound Design.

We are still up against the incredible busyness of our post production team but we are squeezing in everything we can. With that in mind, I am aiming for mid-September as our finishing point as there are some fantastic festivals coming up in the latter part of the year that I want to submit Hangin' to.

So once again, my sincerest apologies it is taking longer than planned but please know we are ploughing through whenever we can. We'll get there soon!

As a token of thanks for your patience, check out a new poster Alex has done for the film below!

Keep y'all posted


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Monday, 13 June 2011

Musical Musings 01

Joel and I have been messing around with some early ideas for the score. What's interesting is Joel has seen nothing of the film. He is very fluent in the story and our intentions, but has not seen any rushes or the first assembly. We thought it would be cool to start messing around with ideas with a wider vantage point, really think about what we want the music to do, as apposed to just finding what music best suits the pictures. We've been having a crack at the Lynch/Badalamenti style of Joel improvising over my wanky meandering monologues that tried to create a mood.

We have been listening to quite a bit of Badalamenti - from Twin Peaks to Lost Highway to Blue Velvet to The Secretary - along with some Clint Mansell, particularly music from Moon, The Fountain and Black Swan. We are endeavouring to find a strange and kind of uncomfortable union of Mansell's simple, effortless elegance and Badalamenti's over-stylised fusion between distorted jazz and haunting synths.

We're also constantly finding tit-bits and fragments of ideas on youtube clips. I'll try to keep putting some of the better ones up here. Here's one from Punch Drunk Love. I like this one because Joel was messing about with some drums for the living room scenes and as we worked at it, it reminded me of this scene which is in turn from a film that continues to influence my ideas. Skip in about 1:50 and enjoy how the chaos of the score alone is a perfect reflection of the mental chaos with which Barry is in constant combat.


First Assembly + Some Pretentious Crap

We have big plans for the cut of Hangin’. It has been my intention from early on to take our mountain of footage and to slice it finely, pull it apart, stretch it, twist it, mangle it and ring it out until we have carved our morbid little story out of it.

Chris an I have long been discussing experimenting with, among other things, flash-frames layered on top of images, jarring close-ups interrupting otherwise conventional sequences, jumbling the sex scenes to the point that we don’t know who is who or when is now. We have had a plethora of ideas for how we can distort the way this fairly simple narrative unfolds so that the focus becomes Stan’s succumbing to the transformation he is undergoing.

N.B: Pretentious Segway -
I am wary of the word ‘transformation’. Because our story involves vampirism, the word “transformation’ instantly becomes synonymous with the more traditional mythology of vampirism - being buried and rising again with pale skin, newfangled youth and strength. They essentially transform into an immortal super-being, albeit an evil one.

However, when reading Dracula, I noticed that Lucy’s becoming a vampire was in fact a very drawn-out and painful process. Lucy’s human body withers away slowly as the Count saps her life-blood away relentlessly. I really like how Stoker takes time to show that the human body must decay before the vampiric force can infest it. Similarly in Cronos, Guillermo Del Toro focuses his story not on the romanticism of vampire mythology, but on how Jesus Gris’ humanity dies but his body does not, becoming fueled only by the need for blood.

I wanted to look at vampirism as a disease, as a virus that genuinely attacks our body and accelerates decay. Not so much a transformation in the sense that he is becoming more powerful as is the case with most vampiric transformations, but more of a descent into ravenous, bestial urges beyond his control. This is what is happening to Stan. This is the idea the editing had to convey.

So these are the overall plans for the edit that we are working towards. The same can be said for the music and sound design. They are the final destination of what will no doubt be a challenging route through the post-production stage of Hangin’. But every journey has to start somewhere and Chris has turned in a very solid first assembly. Though it is a fair distance away from what our final intentions are, it is a strong foundation to build on. Chris has kept it very simple - all the shots pretty in the order they appear in the shot list - with a steady but constant pace. It has been very useful to look at it this way first because it has given me a strong sense of the rushes and opportunities we have without clouding our judgement by throwing in too many ideas too early. It has also really handy to see that the story works and makes sense, sure it doesn’t have much impact as it stands, but its good to know that the script we shot and how we shot it is narratively coherent!

So now I have asked Chris to do the complete opposite. I’ve said to go as nuts as he likes with the next draft. No barriers, it can be as F.U.B.A.R as he likes. The reason for this is that once this is done, it will present the opposing extreme to what we already have in the nuts-and-bolts first assembly. From there, we can start to see what works and what doesn’t in both and will have a much larger palette of ideas to work from.

So that’s pretty much where we stand on the edit at the moment. Its taken a little longer to get up and running, but now its got momentum and Chris is working tirelessly on it as you read this (well, he better be) and I’ve been bouncing ideas with Jack (Sound Design) and Joel (Composer) so things are good in the Hangin’ camp.

Updates on Chris’ F.U.B.A.R cut coming soon


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Music inspiration

Here's one of the key inspirations for the score, and how we're gonna go about it (click on 720p HD option for a better experience)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Booze, Blood and BIG Close-Ups.

So it's in the can!

It was tough. At least, a lot tougher than we thought it was going to be. Days stretched much longer than we promised our tireless cast and crew. It was a cramped three days shooting in the house and a hectic few hours shooting in the bar but everyone kept positive and focussed and just generally performed magnificently so a HUGE thank you to everyone involved. I would be delighted to work with every single one of you again!

We got a whopping 3 hours of footage (a quite ridiculous 18:1 shot ratio) which means we have equipped Chris with a plethora of options when it comes to carving a story out of our mountain of footage. Speaking of which, news is that he is making good headway on the first draft, which should be done shortly. Once that first draft is done, Joel can get cracking on the score and Jack on the sound design whilst Chris and I continue to refine the edit. We are looking towards mid-July for having it finished but will of course keep updates coming.

And having had a look at the rushes, I'm really excited with what we got - it sounds and looks great, the performances are fantastic, design and make-up superb. So everyone's hard work is definitely evident in the rushes. Now we just have to make sure our cutting, sounding and scoring of them crafts a worthy finished product!

I am hoping to arrange a cast, crew and friends screening down in Brighton when it is done. And due to not everyone being able to attend the post shoot drinks, we'll turn this screening into a much belated wrap party!

Lastly, the Production Stills Flickr photostream has been updated and for high-res versions head over to this Gallery. Also check out this still for your viewing pleasure...

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Ok so I've got some stuff together on the characters. Its not too in depth but just so everyone has a clear idea who's who and what they're about. This might not be hugely relevant to everyone, but I thought I'd put it up anyway, keep everyone on the same page. Also, I'm casting at the moment, so if after reading these bio's you have any ideas of someone know who could be good, let me know!




Amy Adams in Junebug. Not as ditz but as endearingly sweet, good natured and full of love towards Stan. Not in an annoying way, but just the way you feel when you first get it together with someone and you're both brimming with excitement at finding someone who loves you as much as you love them.

Lily is a symbol of good, innocence and purity. She has to charm the audience, so that the impact of her demise is what hammers home the message of the film. Because she is the victim, the sweeter and purer she is, the more we feel for her when she is engulfed by all the wickedness around her.

But even before, Lily’s infatuation for Stan and her desperately doing anything she can to please him, is very painful to watch when we know what he has done. I also want to get across that Lily is so in love with Stan that if she had discovered his betrayal, she would be beyond crushed. Lily ultimately embodies the tragedy of the story.


Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction. But silent until the end. Playfully ignorant, oozing sexual energy. Darkly beautiful, sultry and with air of all knowing-mystery. Though at first she seems to not understand, just pleasantly amused, but we soon see that it is all a ruse. She can own a room without saying a word.

When it comes to sex with Stan, she is totally dominant. She not only takes control, but starts taking this control too far. As she grips, pulls and scratches Stan, the line between impassioned and violent becomes blurred.


Haven't got a reference for Stan. Going for young, mid-twenties, fairly good-looking. He's very much a product of his condition - i.e. massively hungover. Well spoken, but also considers himself a lad (of the most middle-classed kind)

Stan’s character is a tough one to pin down because, as much as I hate the phrase, he is the ‘every-man’. He is Harry Potter, he is Frodo Baggins. He is the character that has a very straight-forward agenda - to deal with everything thrown his way. The other characters are more clear-cut because although the audience can sympathise with them, they do not identify with them. Though the audience may not like Stan because of his actions, they do identify with his plight. In the audience wanting to know will happen, they are invariably positioning themselves beside Stan, whether they agree with him or not.

For that reason, the every-man character is the best means to get the audience to align themselves with him. Where Lily is the innocent sweetheart, Dave the useless foil and Sasha the malevolent seductress and puppeteer, Stan is the audience.

Having said that, there are also certain characteristics within Stan that guide his actions, and the story, in a certain direction. He is not, at his essence, a bad person. He is irresponsible, careless and impressionable. He is stupid and lacks a massive amount of foresight. But there is not malicious intent behind his actions. He lies to Lily in part because he is a coward, but also because he really does not want to lose her. Though he lies to her face, we see that it is cutting him up, full of remorse and regret. That may not absolve him, but it does show an inherent compassion in him.

Stan loves Lily, but ultimately, he shouldn’t really have a girlfriend. Regardless of how fond of her he is, he cannot show the same level of commitment as Lily does. This is the story or Stan’s carelessness catching up with him. He is the cat that, on its ninth life, still runs into the road.


Ed in Shaun of the Dead.

Dave is the foil character whose purpose is to provide comic relief, but also to ground the story in the real everyday world. He is Stan’s best mate. They live on winding each other up. He is naturally quite useless but he is also putting it on thick because he loves to watch Stan squirm. He makes it very difficult for Stan to get any help out of him, pretty much wanting him to beg. Furthermore, when he finally submits to helping Stan, he then throws Stan a curveball by calling to Lily when she arrives, just because he is going to enjoy watching Stan panic.

Having said that, when it comes to it, he has Stan’s back covered. He plays it ice-cool and totally gets Stan out of the spotlight of suspicion. This suggests that they are well practiced at this. There is an unspoken trust between them - a bros always come first ethos. Dave was always going to help Stan out, but he wasn’t going to make it easy for him because Dave has to use this opportunity to get one over Stan.

He would expect nothing less had been the other way round.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Defining a Look

After many months of discussion with Dan about the look of the film. We have decided upon a few simple ideas that will help us to further define a look.
Firstly we are going to try to soften up some of the harder digital edges that you get with 5D’s and 7D’s by using a pro-mist filter throughout, except in the inital flash back scenes when we will use a 1/2 fog filter.

1/8 Black Promist
1/2 Old Fog
The reasoning behind this is that as these are flashbacks we would like them to feel slightly hazier than the rest of the film. We have also discussed using a tilt-shift lens on this scene, to again make this feel more like memories obscured through a drunken haze.

My thoughts on this Chris were that if it is possible to create the effect of a tilt-shift lens in post we should, as it would be much quicker, easier and cheaper on our end. It means we won’t have to rent the lens and we also won’t miss any details that may prove to be important, I think we should definitely test this though before the shoot. If we are in anyway uncomfortable with the results we get blurring details out in post, lets do it in camera!

As for depth of field, I want to shoot this a f/5.6 this will give us a shallow depth of field, but will still give us some depth to the images. We will be able to knock things out but won't be killing our focus puller.

Lighting wise, what has remained in my mind throughout this shoot is the work of Marcel Zyskind, specifically his work on ‘Live With Me’ a music promo for Massive Attack.

Although the lighting is supposed to be naturalistic, it would be good to keep quite a high contrast ratio. Especially in the bedroom the should be areas (I’m thinking corners) that fall away into darkness.
The lighting will all be motivated by practical sources (obivously I’m going to cheat this a little bit).
The dominant colours in the bedroom will be, moonlight and a red glow from a lamp (their may be a tungsten source for some scenes). The colour for moonlight will be Steel Blue, here is a reference photo from a short I did recently.

For upstairs, although sunlight will be present, I think it would be best to feel this around the windows, but for it to only be creeping in. This has both practical and stylistic implications.


Wednesday, 23 March 2011


This scene from The Lover is absolutely perfect for both the opening sex scene with Sasha and Stan, and for how the scene with Lily escalates. The extreme close-ups, pacy editing work to create a collage of the couple's sexual euphoria without showing anything hugely graphic. This is exactly what I am going for! If you have any suggestions for scenes like this, please upload the links!

Sex Scene - Camerawork and Editing

The following scenes conveniently merge what I am looking for both in camerawork and editing.

This one from Sex and Lucia is, as ever, much more graphic than we will be going, but I really like how the quick cutting and constantly moving and swaying camerawork manages to not seem frenetic but keeps that playful urgency in the performance.

The next one from Sex and Lucia is really just a shot I liked. Again, ignore the nudity, but as an aerial shot for some writhing around on the bed, I like this as a reference.

The last one is from Lust, Caution. Although very quick, (the bit I'm referring to starts about 20 seconds into the clip) it gives a great representation of what I am going for. Though not as perfect as the scene from The Lover (see next post) it comes pretty damn close for very similar reasons.

Also, check out this one from The Last Seduction. This film is a huge reference point for Sasha's character, but re-watching it the other day I found this scene that is absolutely perfect for camera-work. Not so much in its editing, but composition, shot-choice and blocking, this is pretty much exactly what I'm looking for!

Sex Scene - EDITING

Another post will have a mixture of editing can camerawork. But although the camerawork in this clip has influenced me, its really the editing that stands out. It is not that I am looking to emulate it directly, but more as a basis for the rawness of the sex portrayed - its not glamorous, but it feels very real and sincere which is something I am looking for. Similarly, note the lack of sound effects, again something I am looking for in the Stan + Sasha scene, works sensationally well here. And generally, it is just a phenomenal scene, enjoy!

NB: Content more explicit than I am intending to go, but watch for cinematic techniques/devices

Sex Scene - Colour + Lighting

The colour schemes we are going for in the opening sex scene (Stan and Sasha) is deep reds and big shadows. Without wanting go into too much detail on how we plan to achieve this (Stefan is a much better person to explain this), I just wanted to upload a couple of clips that lean in the direction of the look we are going for.

As a side note, the sex scene with Lily at the end will follow the colour and look of the rest of the film but as the intensity build up and we cross-cut between that and the Sasha scene, the red will creep in, blurring the line between what is happening now and what has already happened.

The following scenes are from The American for the colour and from Lust, Caution to give an idea of the the lighting/shadows etc.

NB: Content more explicit than I am intending to go, but watch for cinematic techniques/devices

Monday, 14 March 2011

Opening Montage: Minority Report

I've slapped together a few scenes from Minority Report that I've been looking at in regard to the opening montage. I don't intend on making it as frenetic but in terms of how they convey a hazy, blurred recollections one has after a heavy night, I think its a good think to think about.

I also have some crib-notes a wrote a while back for the opening montage.

The montage both sets the scene AND style of the film. It is supposed to reflect the blurred remnants of memory after a night of heavy drinking, whilst giving the key plot-points the audience need to get cracking with the narrative.

They are familiar scenes that the audience can instantly relate to. Their purpose is to give a clear idea of what Stan and his mates are like in a lighthearted way. They’re just a bunch of lads who are only guilty of going out to have a good time - an ethos that so many disastrous nights start on. The scenes are not intended to vilify Stan, but ground him in a realm of reality, albeit exaggerated.

However, the cheery voice of Lily on the voice-over casts a darker and more ominous shadow over the images. In introducing only her voice, this emphasises that she is the primary force of tension - it is her impending arrival that is the catalyst for the action.

The flashback shots will be very chaotic, shakey close-ups. These will be juxtaposed with the static, composed shots of Stan asleep. The sex shots will be less chaotic but will stay in big close-ups, focussing on the bodies and limbs.

The montage should last 30-40 seconds. The images will flash up from black, lasting only a few seconds at a time. There will be no diegetic sound from the scenes, the only sound will be that of the voicemail message (ie Lily speaking and breathing).

Hope thats helpful!


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Bathroom + VFX

Again, following on from talking to Chris and discuss the mirror effect in the bathroom he put me onto this video. Also, just as a reference for how the light will be in the bathroom, I've slotted in a clip from Nathan Barley.

Bathroom Scene:

Nathan Barley scene (link) for the horrendously bright light.

Jump to 1:50 for bit when lights come on and Claire has to get up.

Black Swan VFX showreel for mirror effect.

Awesome video, but in particular the mirror stuff. Chris reckons he’s up to it!


Some ideas I've had for the music on a couple of scenes. Other than these, haven't got much else as I am yet to have a chin-wag with Joel.


Opening Montage:

Nine Inch Nail’s track “Underneath It All” covered by the Scala and Kolacny. I very much doubt I will be able to get permission for this but I’d like something along these lines. I want something really simple but haunting and utterly contrapuntal to both what we see in the montage and what we hear in Lily’s VO.

Stan’s transformation:

Grinderman track “When My Baby Comes” for when Lily and Stan have sex and Stan begins to change. I am going to try to get permission to use this. I love the build-up and how it takes so long. Furthermore, I think the break would be perfect for when Stan is finally consumed by blood-lust. I know someone who is very close to Nick Cave, so I’m going to try call in a massive favor with him. Fingers crossed!

The Look of Hanging

Following a meeting with Chris this weekend, we discussed some ideas for the grade. Still need to discuss these with Stefan. Hit me back with any opinions/suggestions!

Look of the film:

Trailer for Red State. I love the grade on this and am looking for something similar for Hanging. I like the ever so slightly washed-out greens. We were originally going to go from orange to red on previous drafts. I still want to keep the red for the sex scenes and flashbacks (a la The American) but what I like about the look of Red State is it has a very real and visceral feel but isn’t quite the plain crispness of documentary or reportage. Its shot on Red and 7D’s but the grade takes it away from the standard look of digital as well as the rich softness of film in a way I feel would suit the mundane world of our story.

Romain Gavras first feature Notre Jour Viendra. Though the look of Red State is closer to what I am after, I still really love the look of this film. I haven’t seen the film yet but I love Gavras’ work and his ability to make everything he shoots seem so real. If you watch his music videos for Stress by Justice and Born Free by MIA, what is so shocking about the violence in these videos is that it genuinely feels like he is just shooting it happen for real.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

What Is and Is Not in Place!

Ok so production stuff so far.

What We Have:

We now have a script that is pretty much locked.

We have dates - (shooting the weekend of 16th/17th/18th of April).

We have locations - my house for the majority of it. The Bar we have found the location and I am just sorting out permission - will update and upload pictures.

Camera/Lighting Equipment List - We will be shooting on a Cannon 7D and some stuff with a GoPro. See Stefan for more info.

We have a core crew: (with a few exceptions - hit me up with any suggestions)

What We Need:

A Cast! I was originally going to work with non-actors (friends etc) but with the nature of the script as it is now (ie. the amount of sex in it) has inclined me to get more experienced actors. If after reading the script, you have any recommendations, send them my way.

Some crew! We’re still looking for someone to take care of in camera effects (gore/prosthetics). Also someone to do hair and make-up. As you can see, it is a bit of a bloke-heavy crew and I would like to get some females involved, especially as we’re shooting sex scenes. So if you know anyone who you vouch for and is available, please put us in touch. We also don’t have a continuity position filled. This is something we are still yet to decide on as we don’t have a huge amount of room in the house and we don’t to over-crowd it.

Script breakdown’s from each department. If when you read through the script, you note down things you think we are going to need to source or sort out and make a list. If you could send that our way, we can factor it into our planning.

A shot list. Me and Stefan are working on this and plan to have it down by the weekend.

A Test Shoot. Once we have done the shot-list we plan to do a test shoot of as much of the whole film as possible to test the cut/blocking. We will also be doing camera/vfx tests at the same time.

A schedule. This myself and Quentin will compile once we have done the test shoot. It won’t be broken down into individual shots, but we will allot time to complete the scenes as a whole. As far as I am aware, we are planning to do the house stuff on the Saturday and Sunday and the bar/street stuff on the Monday afternoon/night.

A crew meeting! This blog is hopefully going to make up for the distance between most of the crew. But it would be cool to have a crew meeting closer to the shoot. I am thinking once we have a cut of the test shoot, we can all meet up to watch it and discuss what we need to do come the real shoot.

If you guys and feedback your breakdowns over the next week or so, that would be really useful!

Cheers very much


So me and Stefan are very aware that you guys will be taking time off your busy lives to get this thing made and although we can’t pay people, we will of course cover travel expenses and anything you need to buy for the film. Whatever happens, that is a given.

However, we have recently decided that we have nothing to lose in trying to get a bit of funding for external sources. This is not really with the intention of engorging the scale of the project, but more in the hope that we don’t have to rinse our own savings. It is a bit of punt, but we think if we can avoid bankrupting ourselves more than we already are, we might as well give it a go.

This idea really came from the safe-sex “strap-up” message inherent in the story. We figured this is an idea that is worth spreading.

The primary reason for this project is to make a short film because, quite simply, we love making films. But if it can promote a good cause as well, then all the better! We are not going to be asking for crazy money and anything we get we will of course go straight into the film. It would cool to have a bit more money put towards equipment, lighting, production design, special effects and actors.

We also plan to set up an online donation button (worked really well on a previous project, and that one had no such noble cause). Maybe even hosting fund-raising events.

What would be really cool is that if you guys have any cool stuff to say about yourselves and experience, its something we can put in to strengthen the proposal. So any awards or big credits or anything cool film related you have done, send it my way. Ideally if HOD’s can do a short paragraph bio, that would be awesome. Just the sort of thing you would send along with a film to a festival.

So yeah, that’s the story behind funding. We will keep you updated. We are very aware that we don’t have a lot of time, and that this could come to nothing, but as we are not asking for a huge amount of cash and we’ve got a noble cause behind us, it’s worth a crack!

Let me know any ideas/suggestions you have for this!


Following on from Stefan’s post, we’ve had yet another overhaul. Very sorry to keep doing this, its taken us a long old while to be wholly contented with the script. But we think we’re finally there!
So what’s new? Well the core elements of the script are the same. But we’ve simplified a lot of what was quite flabby in previous drafts. So now the story is very much focussed on Stan and his dilemma. We’ve cut down all the Dave and Sasha stuff and changed Lilith’s character (now Lily) to a much clearer contrast with Sasha. 
But I don’t want to get into too much detail in this post. Its best if you just give the new draft a read. There will be parts that seem familiar but I strongly encourage not skimming the bits you recognise as there are changes everywhere (eg the opening montage is pretty much the same, but Lily’s new voice-over changes it significantly).
The approach is the same as it always was - keeping it small (it’s arguably smaller now), shooting almost all of it in my house, small crew, over a couple of nights etc. Having fun cobbling together a little film is still very much at the heart of the project.  
That is not to say we’re not going to be well prepped - a huge amount of time and thought has gone into making sure everything we shoot is vital. Stefan (DOP) Chris (Editor) and myself have torn the script and shot-list to pieces over and over again to ensure that we are telling this story in the most efficient and engaging way. 
And we feel we’ve got to the point where we are content the story and our approach to it. So now we want to open it up to you guys. That is the main purpose of this blog. It is somewhere we can put our ideas, references, relevant information, production updates. But more importantly, it is a place everyone can input their ideas, concerns and suggestions.
I would really love for this blog to be a place where we can discuss the project over the next month and collect our ideas so that when it comes to shoot, everyone is on the same page on everything we are trying to do.
So please check in as often as you can! I will be emailing you the latest draft of the script along with log-in for the blog so you can all update it too!
Thanks guys!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Update on progress

Tonight we met up and instead of as planned shot listing the story we had a good old-fashioned ran-sacking of the script.

Dan's planning on getting this done tonight, but going by our current success rate of keeping to deadlines we won't be done until October.

Shoot dates have been pushed back until April 16th,17th and 18th.

Test shoots are 25th and 26th of March.

And the planned edit for the test shoot is due on the 8th of April.