Whilst chatting with a University colleague, I mentioned the project I had been thinking about. I felt that I was moving towards a video piece rather than a set of still images. However, I was concerned that my limited editing skills would make a mess of what I was trying to achieve. I had also been talking with the model about the project more, and we both felt a video would probably suit.
I started to think about introducing a new element to the piece. A male model, who could actually follow the girl around the farm, almost as though they were tracing each others footsteps, it then struck me that the way to do this would be to have the boy sat on a bench by the lake and he could look over the water, stand up and turn away, where we will see a memorial plaque to the girl, as he does this, the girl could rise from the water, reaching for him. He will not turn back to see, just keep walking away. Thus, the track Wasted Time would become more relevant.
My friend mentioned she knew someone who might be able to help out. Due to lockdown the creative arts have pretty much seen work dry up. She introduced me to Josh Gwynne, who is a cameraman. Clearly my skills do not extend to the level that I needed to do this project justice, however Josh certainly seemed to be capable of filming what I needed.
My friend introduced Josh and I. A ten-minute telephone call became a couple of hours, as we were able to bounce ideas off each other. As I became aware of what could be done, it struck me that the story I was starting with was taking a life of it’s own.
I began to construct the idea that maybe the girl had not drowned in the lake, maybe she was a victim? Perhaps he had murdered her and the body was dumped in the lake? The possibilities seemed endless. I started drafting scripts and a meeting was arranged with Josh at the Studios for the following Sunday. During the next few days days, scripts were written by myself and many telephone conversations with my friends took place. I kept throwing the ideas out and they all seemed to have traction, and the project seemed to be taking a life of it’s own. I sat down for my break and spent the next hour writing a back story for the piece. I now wanted to produce not just a short film, but part of something that could be used to take the work forward.
My new thoughts were that the model would not be the only victim, there would be more. When she rises from the lake she will be joined by three other victims. Who will follow him as he leaves. I then thought that I would introduce a new element in that when he reaches the Studios he could be met by a glamourous new partner, this would be the sign to the model that she was in fact dead. She will see him fall into the arms of his new love.
Broken and crushed she will fall to the ground. She will be joined by the other victims. Next I thought about introducing a new element, a shadowy figure that would be seen in the pictures but not clearly, always there but not in focus. When you shoot at F2.8 the middle of the image is sharp, but the Bokeh blurs the sides. I wanted the Shadowy figure in the Bokeh. I also wanted the film in black and white until the point the model leaves the water and we transition to colour The Shadowy figure will start to take more prominence. When the Boy goes to his new love she will be there.
I realised that I needed something to tie them all together. I decided that I would use a rose, and when the boy greets the new girl the Shadowy figure could actually hand the boy a rose, the signifier that he is in fact a serial killer and the new girl is the next victim
I ran it by the others, and it was met with approval. The other thing to note was that I did not want this to be a spoken film. I still wanted to have a music track as the background to the piece as much as I had when it was going to be a series of images. Josh did introduce the element of copyright, so I felt that the Wasted Time track would not be appropriate, I did then start searching the internet for Royalty Free tracks. I found a website by Ashamaleuv Music, who produce royalty free tracks for use. I found a track entitled Dramatic Emotional. Which I felt suited the work perfectly. Discussions and suggestions were made for music tracks but I felt that this piece suits the piece perfectly.
My role seemed to be Producer, author and director. WhatsApp chat groups were formed and hundreds of emails sent and read. I met with Josh on the Sunday and a discussion took place around the feasibility of the location and it was agreed that we would do it. I agreed a rate for Josh, and the shoot was organized for the following Saturday. The story kept growing, as the back story that isn’t shown, now becomes important if I want to take the film on. I do think there is mileage in pursuing this as it would make, I feel a decent short drama, once the backstory is added to the film. However, this short film also has to stand on it’s own as a piece of work in it’s own right.
The next week then saw me making a casting call for actresses and an actor to play the roles. I sometimes use Manchester Modelling, a group on Facebook where models and would be actors job for work. I also put out a separate call for a makeup artist. I needed to find a very good special effects makeup artist as the victims would have to leave the water looking decomposed. I also put out a call on the messenger group that the photography students use to see if anyone wanted to help out. Josh had advised that he was going to be bringing an Assistant Cameraman with him for the experience but that we could do with a few extra bodies to help do the rest, reflectors etc. I thought this might be suitable for one or two of my colleagues. Who might want to see life on a set.
Within the following week I had written, directed and produced a film called the Lake of Souls.
Please watch it and let me know what you think. I have found the process really exciting and would love to be able to do more with film as well as still images.