Monday, 15 July 2013


Dear Supporters,
First of all, I'm not really in touch to tell you the progress of SCREEN. The last update still covers this period, as I still plan to have the perks out to you by October. Nothing has changed there. 
I was prompted by this post I saw that was retweeted by @shericandler. Don't get me wrong, I do update you folks. I'm sure there's filmmakers that barely update at all. But they are not my concern. I just know I could always be better. 

I have no regrets about many of the things I have done. But this did strike a nerve. Made me reevaluate my approach. If I don't learn from mistakes, I'm over in this biz. 
I had a VERY tough experience in Tulsa making SCREEN. But what kept me pushing against almost impossible odds, was the fact that other people backed me. I HAD to come back with the film. It wasn't executives that backed me. It was you folks. Other filmmakers, school bus drivers, shop assistants, all sorts of people from various walks of life.
Nobody here or elsewhere has ever complained about the length of time the perks have taken to get. So I'm extremely grateful for your patience. Several of you have told me you don't even care about the perks. You said you gave me the money to gave see me pursue my dream. However, It's my job still to deliver. And I will.
Also, I have no regrets about juggling another project, before my other two are out yet. This world is changing so fast, so if I don't evolve with it, I have no doubt I will sink. I have to go with my gut feeling about things. Sure my path has changed, evolved, took another direction since you all funded me. But I don't apologise for that.
However, could I do better in terms of communication, keeping backers up to date more often, or really letting you get an insight into what I am trying to do? 100% Yes! This post I saw today woke me up to that. If we crowd fund, we should all look at ourselves. I did today.
My communication should be a little more than an update every few months. After all, I think many people backed "The filmmaker" to see where they go with all this. I sometimes think because I am posting to social media all the time, everybody gets all the latest info. But obviously backers should get exclusive communication for backing. 
Bear with me I'm getting to the point! 
I also have backers that helped me raise post production funds. Around $3000. And a very small group of backers for my short film I made as a test for CITY OF SIN. They got access to some private videos. My point is, EVERYBODY should have got that option to see what I am doing. From ALL campaigns.
So here's what I plan to do
My plan is to give ALL backers the option to follow my progress via the one private site.  A site that is more about a story journey, rather clinical facts about my progress! To be honest, I know that's what I would like to see from others. I really don't back others for perks, but because I believe in them. So it would be cool to see how creatives tackle this all biz through the ups and downs.
Anyway, my point is simple. I'm still pushing to build CITY OF SIN from nothing, and I will get the film SCREEN you guys funded out there with the perks. But I just wanted to let you know the address of the new site for weekly updates for ALL my backers. 

Password: redrum

Hey, if you don't want it, that's cool! I know we don't all stay socially connected to each other online. However, outside that, you still backed me! So you deserve getting the option of keeping up to date with the project you backed. And like I said, not just the project, but the "filmmaker". if you want to of course. If I decide I don't want to share my life with backers, I wouldn't. I know I don't have to.
However, I don't want to start giving some backers the options of this, and not to others, as you folks all helped to get me moving again. That's where I really made a mistake. My communication about my filmmaking efforts should be the same for ALL backers. This post today made me look at myself to see where I could improve for the future. 
Like I have always said, I do a LOT of shit wrong. But I'm never comfortable with my mistakes in every area. I can get the hang of all this over this next few years in terms of making films, building an audience. But I have to get this other side right as best as I can too. Not because of "Good PR" shit! People that know me know I am not into bullshit insincerity. I'm brutally honest. 
I just want to get things right. I want to do the right thing. If people have believed in me ALL through this journey, then they deserve to get the option of more communication. From next week, you will get that. Whether I am successful or not on this new campaign.   
Thanks for all your support and understanding. I want to get better at this. Forgive me for my mistakes over the years. I'm trying to get all this right in every area. 
All the best to you all.
Best regards

    Tuesday, 5 March 2013


    I rarely do things the way you are supposed to do them. I do what's right for me personally. Whether it's classed as right or wrong. I'm writing 5 films at the moment. Stories that all connect with each other in Las Vegas. 

    When I'm creating I like to move fast. Too much over thinking, in the first draft stage anyway, kills me! Providing I have a good idea to start with of course. I like the speed of thought. Whether that's writing, shooting, editing. Moving too slow leads to me talking myself out of something. "Ohh this was a bad idea anyway!" Or " I should have went into the cow shit business!"

    I can come up with an idea for a film in hours, or days if I really had to, but most of my film ideas were subconsciously planted years ago. Literally hundreds of them for years. Now, I only play around with the one's in my head that I know that have a possibility of being made. It keeps me moving, feeds the spirit.

    These Vegas stories at the moment are being written fast. I had them all last year, but now that all the characters interconnect with each other, there's a lot of redrafting going on. I don't use screenwriting programs to write, and I don't write with a pen and paper. My ideas flow better when I'm away from my computer. 

    Going for a walk and just focussing my head on the writing is the way I like to do it. I like to talk through scenes, structure, lines into my phone. Of course it's all open to change later, but this is the best way for me at the early stages. I can't write in front of my computer. A blank screen doesn't inspire me. 

    I have the same problem as a lot of writers when I decide to do that. You suddenly find an excuse to clear the fridge, check that email, or check out twitter. I'm focussed, but writing is the weirdest thing. I really need to be walking around in my head for the first drafts. Which kind makes sense to me.

    Anyway, I write on this cool little voice recorder app. I have tried several. I like this one for the moment. I know there's many options out there, but I like this. I have created 5 folders for each film. Once I start the app, I just shake the phone, then it starts to record. You can pause it too. You can then name each audio file easy, and then select what folder it goes into. It's simple and fast. 

    Once I have fully fleshed out many areas, I then transfer to index cards, then I start writing the script. Which is obviously already written, so its just a matter of copying from the phone to the page. I then rewrite on the computer. Rewriting is really what it's all about for me. First draft for me is to just get all these ideas, scenes, lines out of your system. 

    I am not sponsored by this app to write about it. I just wanted to share how I write, and what I use to write at the early stages. It's only a tool of course. Like all the tech tools in this business. But my mind works better when I can be fast and very organised . This works for me. 



    Saturday, 9 February 2013


    I knew I would only need to do one inexpensive "CITY OF SIN" film to see if I could continue with this. The first "City Of Sin" film is "CALL GIRL" I decided to make it with almost nothing and fast. I got support from a small group of online backers who believed in me to get this City of Sin project rolling. 

    Call Girl was an experimental film that was shot over 24 hours. One evening, and one all nighter. I wanted to see if I could shoot again without a crew, and pull off a film in a month. I also wanted to see if I could be happy doing shorts for a year to learn more skills, get more disiplined, and hopefully build an audience for bigger work too later. Conclusion?


    Yes!  I got off to a slow start because of the Xmas-Jan holidays, but once I got the idea for the film, cast, raised a little money, it then rolled. I need deadlines in life. I might not hit them exactly, but without them, I might have been editing for six months! Waist of life! Been there, done it! And kills your spirit as an artist.  If you are preparing a sci fi short full of effects for a Hollywood concept pitch, I get it! it takes time. Character stuff with no SFX, you can move. That's the disipline TV drama works under. 


    I was using CALL GIRL to test out this approach. With a little more money, better sound kit, I can build with this film a month thing. But do I want to continue with making shorts every month? No! Not as my main focus anyway. The work and doing the film a month is not the issue at all. It's doable. I love working! I wasn't stressed. if anything, I have felt more alive and creative than ever. In fact, if I had a better sound recorder on the shoot, I would have finished the edit in 4 days instead of 7. 

    My biggest concern was could I hack making short films at the expense of character driven stories? Could I be happy doing this? If you are not happy in your work, especially where you can't pay yourself for years, you're screwed with building anything long term. You can hack it for years if you love what you are doing. 


    Breaking Bad
    I'm probably a bigger fan of TV serials than movies today.  Blockbusters bore me. A 24-48 hour series, rather than 90 minutes in a movie does it for me.  Unless it's a character driven movie, but most movies today are not character studies. They are roller coasters. TV is where it's at if you like character driven stories. You get to see a character flesh out over dozens of episodes. 70-90 minute movies really are the minimum time limit to do good character tale. Or a three hour "Jackie Brown" or "Boogie Nights". 

    I could do a web series but I don't want to do a web series with the same characters for years. Not unless I grow an audience and get a real budget to keep the actors coming back for years. It's a little fragile and scary when your brand relies on your lead cast over a long period of time. Unless you are paying a lot of money. However, that's not the real reason long web serials don't attract me at this time. I just like moving from one genre to the next. A Call Girl story, A bounty Hunter film, whatever. As long as there's interesting characters. It also lets me test out what characters, story has the potential for a future series. Like a pilot. 

    I like plotless films where you just hang out with extreme  characters in their world. Like "Taxi Driver", "Shame", "The Wrestler" "The Cuckoo's Nest", "Bad  Lieutenant", "Lost In Translation", "Easy Rider", "Boogie Nights"  and too many others to mention. The type of films we used to get. Even classics like "The Godfather" have very little plot. For me, plot is overrated. 

    Which is probably why I like my film MISSION X best, even though it has a TON of flaws. But you get to just hang out with these guys for 90 minutes. When I started writing CALL GIRL over 24 hours, I realised I wanted to explore that character and world. I wanted a bigger window into that world. Not for a whole series but 70-90 mins at least. Not a short film 29 mins. But I had set up this monthly film concept, so I thought I would try it.

    As I got writing, and shooting, I hated wrapping the film up with a a plot driven route for the short film format. I like characters talking, fleshing out other sides to them. So I only needed to do one short film to fully test myself out. That's why I made it so cheap and fast. I'm not going to burn away people's money and time with highly invested experimental work. Like I said, move fast, break things! See what works, so what does not. 

    I could have made a more character driven story in 30 minutes no problem. But then it becomes a moody visual piece where you don't really get the characters talking to each other. So if I am going to do that, then it shouldn't be 29 minutes long. It should be like 10 mins. And besides, I feel my strengths are having characters talk to each other. I need to get back to that. I like going from theatre like set pieces, to cinematic scenes. I need to do features for that. Short content can also spin off from that.


    I still believe in the CITY OF SIN route, the branded destination for all my work. Nothing will change there. I'm building on this as planned. But after doing this first short film, it confirmed to me 100% that the short film route is not for me. Saying this, I also have no desire to make one feature film every year or two. This experience and the SCREEN experience confirmed to me that there's no reason I can't make 4-6 films a year. Even if I double my shooting and post schedule, I still move fast. 

    Joe Swansberg recently shot seven features in the one year. I would say around one every three months is my goal. They take much longer when you are submitting to festivals, taking that usual route. Then you have to promote them all individually. But that's not what I am doing with this project. The films get made, and they get shipped via CITY OF SIN. And each project helps each other, as the CITY OF SIN brand as a whole is promoted. I will try and build my audience all around this universe. 


    I still might continue to do a short film a month, or when I feel like it. But these will be made for like £100, and be 5-10 minutes in length. Shot in my local city here. On an iphone, 5D, whatever I have access to. I want to keep creating and releasing content, so that fills that gap. CITY OF SIN can have features and shorts. In fact, one of my past films MISSION X is perfect for this. It's an urban set feature, so I'm uploading it to the site for free next week. I will also share new pics and behind the scenes video of the film.

    The main focus now is getting these features going. I might make CALL GIRL into a feature. But my goal is to hit New York and Las Vegas this year to work with new talent and some names. I'm also going to try and shoot and share video as I try to pull this off week by week. I know how important it is to sell yourself too to make it happen. This could be a little series on it's own. 

    Thanks to everybody that has supported and promoted me with CITY OF SIN. Nothing has changed with me building on this. And I will probably still do small shorts too, but the features are the main focus for CITY OF SIN, then hopefully a full series in the near future. 


    Friday, 8 February 2013


    I like to move fast and break things cheaply, because I can quickly define and distill the approach that works for me. Life is too short and cash is to scarce to make huge mistakes over long periods of time. I'm allowed to conclude that, because I have the experience of making all these mistakes I talk about. I don't just pull theories out of my ass. That's my approach to this long term CITY OF SIN project because of my past experience. 

    You can waist YEARS of your life in this business pursuing money for projects, before you have even learned to be a filmmaker. And in this new world, you can also spend years on projects, and you still have to fight for them to get seen. For me, it's better to be prolific and drip out a body of work over the years. Even if it's flawed, as potential fans could get what you are trying to get to with time, money, and experience. My best work is way ahead. At the moment, I'm really just learning how to juggle so many things, and learn new skills for the journey ahead. 

    I would rather be the type of person that gets things moving with work that is flawed out of the gate, than wait around and dream with those perfect masterpieces in my head that never leave my head. The more I do it on a regular basis, the more skilled I will become. If I am making several films a year, I'm learning a lot of skills fast! But that's not why I do it. I need to create. I just have to do this shit! And I want to be good at it in every area one day. 

    Ok i'm off to break something else!

    Tuesday, 5 February 2013


    Just completed "CALL GIRL

    The idea for this film came around Jan 10th, then I cast, raised a little money online, and the post production is now complete. I'm uploading it now for the cast, and the small group of backers to see. It will then be released online tomorrow for free. My date is a little later than planned because January got off to a slower start because of the holidays, so I will release it online tonight after 12pm UK time. 

    I have done three features. "Call Girl" is the first short film (29 minutes) Like every film, I learned a lot. It's a never ending learning process. I have been trying to create a personal model with the "City Of Sin" destination for my films. The indie film industry and many other creative industries are all looking for a model today. The smart one's know there really is no mass model that works for everybody.

    I think the key is simply about about creating good work on a regular basis, and build your fan base. And be open to other opportunities that come from that too. Or of course, try and get a job in the industry if you want that. 

    My "City Of Sin" idea is purely a model that I see working for me personally. However, it has a few flaws. Which I knew would happen, but I like to experiment to find out what parts work for me, and what parts don't. So I will continue with the "City Of Sin" branded destination for my work, but there will be a few changes. Which I will blog about tonight when I release the film. 

    Thanks for reading.


    Thursday, 31 January 2013


    I always try to push this micro-no budget filmmaking approach to the edge, so my first "Call Girl" short shoot was just too ambitious for a 20 minute film. Basically, I tried to shoot the whole film in one evening and through to the early hours. 

    It would have been possible if I had started early in the morning in that day, but most of the film is set at night, so I had to go back for another full evening the following week. But at least people could see I had started. I had some images, so I managed to raise a small amount of money to shoot another evening. The whole film took about 20 hours to shoot. That's still very fast by filmmaking standards for making a 20-25 minute film. 

    I knew this first "City Of Sin" debut film would be the toughest, as I was working with around half the money I needed, but I felt it was important to get this first film rolling no matter what. I had a great cast who were fully behind it, so they helped to make it fun. I also have to thank the small group of online backers and retweeters for helping make it happen

    Vanessa-May Dolphin & Stephen Brady "Call Girl" 2013

    This first film will have some flaws, be a little rough around the edges, have some minor sound issues, However, I have started! I would rather be the type of person that gets things moving with work that is a little flawed out of the gate, than have those perfect masterpieces in my head that never leave the gate. I have started the ball, so I'm not going to stop. I'm confident each film will get better through the year. 


    I had hoped to finish the edit by last night, but once again, I sometimes aim too high. The story for this film didn't even exist just over two weeks ago. Writing it, casting, raising the funds, and shooting in this time frame is not bad. So I'm cutting myself a little slack. Especially when the beginning of this month was a little slow to get rolling because of the holiday period. 

    This experience has proved to me that I can come up with a fresh idea, shoot, post, and release within a month. I will hit the release date with the next film. If I had £250 more in the budget, "Call Girl" would have been released today. Simply because that's the cost of a sound recorder I used on SCREEN. Without that, my sound has taken double the amount of time to sort out. 

    Next months goal is to also get one of those H4N recorders. I also want to try and get my own camera in the months ahead. If I have the kit, I will be unstoppable. I'm determined to make this work. I know how to move faster each month, because of the lessons learned on this one. It's doable. 

    I enjoy creating this way, so I'm continuing with it. This first film could help roll the others. I already have a couple of sponsors interested for the next film, and hopefully people that see the film might give a $1 or few to help fund the next. 

    The film will be finished by this saturday. It gets released to backers first. The next day, it flies out there to the web! Anybody can see it sunday. No bullshit! I want to build an audience for my work, so this is how I want to do it. I enjoying creating this way much better. This approach ticks a lot of boxes for me, so I plan to give it at least 12 months to see how it goes. 


    I will get better with social media, and all my behind scenes content as the months go on. This goal is just as important as the filmmaking, because I know people also follow and support people. However, because I shot so so fast on this first film, I could barely get any behind scenes footage. And because my edit deadline is so tight, I have barely been online in the last week. 

    My plan for next month and the future films is to get a crew member that solely deals with all this type of content for me. I give them details what to shoot, questions to ask, and then I will drip out all that content.  I'm learning it all as I roll with all this. I will get the hang of it in the weeks, months ahead. 

    I will release some behinds video this weekend, after I get the edit of the film finished. I will also get some cast interviews released. I had no crew. 

    Ok that's enough for anybody that is listening to my shit. I hope you are all doing well. I look forward to a little twitter time to see what's happening with everybody else. 

    Thanks for reading and thanks for all the support

    All the best


    Tuesday, 22 January 2013


    I'm attempting to make and release one film every month under the "City Of Sin" brand. Basically urban set stories in various cities in the UK, then USA, and eventually Europe. For the moment, my focus is purely on one film at a time. "Call Girl" is the first film in the slate. 

    "CALL GIRL" 

    Chloe works as a Call Girl in the city. She has worked for Ray for the past five years. She wants a change. Technology and attitudes are changing the world, so she wants to evolve and move with it. She also has problems with a stalker who is beginning to creep her out. She considers one last job that might solve her problems in the "City Of Sin". The film stars Vanessa-May Dolphin & Stephen Brady. With support from Paul Reeves. 


    When I announced I wanted to try and get the ball rolling on this, I got a few people offering paypal donations to fund the first one. I started moving with it, but when I called in the pledges, less than half actually materialised. It was christmas and new year, so I fully understand January is not a good time for people. I know people can have good intentions, so I understand. EVERYBODY is looking for money. 

    However, I had already got the ball rolling based on pledges, so I still had to move because I had taken money from people that did donate to me. In turn, it was a VERY tough shoot, as I only had half the budget I needed. I needed a full weekend shoot, and I shot about 14 hours for a 20 minute film. 

    I am a guy that makes films for nothing. Even on the other side of the world. I always push myself, but this time it was really pushing it with so many scripted scenes with lots of dialogue. Despite this, I have 80% of the film shot, but I need to shoot another evenings worth in the city flat this weekend to make it work. I need to raise exactly £300 ( Just under $500) If you can help, check out here. 

    If I can do that, I can still deliver the film online by the 31st. ( 30th  Jan for backers) I also have some potential sponsors interested for the next one or two films, so this first one really could get the ball rolling. And of course, I'm giving "Call Girl" for free, so hopefully people might donate a little after they see it to fund the next one.

    If I can get three or four films done, I'm in a better position for a spring kickstarter campaign for the US shoot, or I could go back to some investors that were interested. They just want to see I can make and release a film a month. Either way, my goal is to keep it simple. Shoot and release a film a month! 

    After making three features over years, I now want to experiment, be a lot more prolific, and completely use the web-mobile devices to get my work to people. If I build an audience like many youtubers do, then I will also extend some of these films, have characters we saw before cross into other stories.


    I didn't really get any behind the scenes stuff on this shoot, because we had so little time. But I have a good bit of time scheduled for it if I can get the reshoot done. I also plan to bring somebody on all the next films, just to focus on shooting all the behind scenes content for me. I do know how important that is, as I do believe people like to see this too. If I build this like I believe I can, then I guess that is a story on it's own. I also want to promote all the people that work on my films in many ways. If I promote them, they in turn promote the latest film and the "City Of Sin" site.


    I have done three features films. but I also learned so much this weekend. I am setting up a section in my City Of Sin website to share a lot of the stuff I learn. Not to share advice, just to share how I am doing it. People can then decide for themselves if they can take anything from it. The small successes and failures that lie ahead. The arrow above points out where this section will be soon on the Rebel Mouse page on my website. 


    I think I can do a film a month, and I can see the potential for these characters and stories to go further too, but I just need to get this train rolling. I really feel this is the new way to do it for me personally. I can build something special and unique here. But of course, we all need support at the start. 


    If you want to donate to help finish "Call Girl", check out the perks  on the website. You can get a credit in the film, on IMDB, or you can even APPEAR in the film from ANYWHERE in the world. You could also sponsor the video section. 


    I will always share most of my content with everybody, but I also want to show backers some videos first. There's a couple of videos online at this minute at the EXCLUSIVE ACCESS area on the website and on a sub page below that. CONTENT FROM FILM Backers should already have the password I sent. 

    Thanks for following my project. Many thanks to my cast and Robert for the commitment to the film. They were all great! 


    David Paul Baker

    Vanessa-May Dolphin

    Stephen Brady

    Paul Reeves