FMP. Concept Art

About 5 minutes ago I was just emailed over these brief sketches of concept art by one of my pre-production graphic artists. They look really nice and show the story in the first few scenes, with the opening funeral, the procession down the road, overlooking the sea with the urn and sitting on the balcony watching the sea.

Hopefully there will be more professional concept art like this in the coming month I can use to plan the film out more, for now these have been quickly added into my proposal video!



1534910_10201115057102906_1140129859_o 1014540_10201115056862900_1889814191_o


FMP. Plagiarism

So I’ve got my next stumbling block, after the locations fell through, as this morning I was contacted about plagiarising someone else’s work. I won’t go into the details online, however the short description is that I was accused of plagiarising an idea after the offended party had only read a 3 line brief description of my film.

If I was going to suggest “A wealthy nation invades a land and attacks the natives” you may think Pocahontas, or… Avatar? or…. let’s just go with the whole list (

My point being, it’s easy to summarise the base components of my film in 3 lines. ‘one brother reconnecting with another through death’. That’s the official summary I was accused of plagiarising, but it’s more like ‘One brother tries to reconcile with his dead brother using an urn as a substitute for his emotions, and they go off to have macabre and joyous adventures to reconnect, and the ex-girlfriend occasionally makes an appearance’.

Perhaps I should mention Charlie St.Cloud? A film that has two brothers, one of them is dead, the other alive and they go off to have adventurous fun to connect with one another. “Wait a second Andrew, isn’t that what you wrote above?”, and I would reply yes, it sort of is. My argument being, your film exists already, my film exists already. Everybody has a sibling so it’s not too hard to include the idea of that into a script.

Now i’ve gone off track here trying to make my point. An idea (technically) isn’t copyright, a piece of work however can be. My original idea came from a film called ‘Ten Thousand Days’ and elements of that can be seen in my first draft (which is on this blog), with the family curse and the back history of family portraits. Indeed since then my idea has changed and grown, also can be seen in the documents I’ve uploaded.

To provide a fix for this if there is any hassle, I’ve uploaded my last updated script outline. Its not the most recent, as that has the last scenes wrote out, however the one below contains most of the dialogue, actions and the full film plot included. Feel free to read through it and see if I have copied an idea, or if I have plagiarised. Indeed, I hope my honesty by saying which film I copied ‘this’ idea from and having uploaded all of my production documents provides enough evidence to show that this was just an unfortunate misunderstanding.


FMP. Budget Proposal. V2

Here I have drafted up the expenses for the production of The Brother Code, utilising the production rate hire sheet that Karen put on Moodle. On the budget below is my initial outline, including a draft price for what I expect everything to cost, and how much my budget is, £2000.

Detailed below that on the next two pages are an estimated budget for my production if I shot it outside of University in a professional environment, and covered both the cost of hiring all the equipment and paying the crew/actors. The actors rate was not included on the rate card so I have given by the national minimum wage outline.

Total Equipment Hire for 1 week is £5502.

Total Crew Hire for the production is £28617.18

Total Crew + Equipment Hire = 34119.18

Total Cost is estimated around £36,000

The total cost would include all the details outlined over all 3 pages. Crew hire, equipment hire, insurance, location, transport, catering, props, costume and a petty cash fund.

Even though I have used the ‘rate card’ included on Moodle, I feel that the estimated day hire for crew/equipment is vastly off target for a short film production.. The crew hire is exponentially high, whilst the equipment hire is too low, such as £674 per day for an Editor is too much compared to knowing my friend Ricky edited a feature and his rate was £115 a day as Senior Editor. Despite this, I have still used this rates to create a projected estimate at the ‘real’ production costs of The Brother Code



FMP. Budgetting

For any film, there needs to be a budget. From the princely price of 1 sandwich to the high range of billions of dollars. For my short film, I’m going to spend a relatively decent amount on it, more than I have on any other production before, as I want to create a stunning product, both to get a decent grade and also as a good representation of my own skills and work.

This budget is going to go towards a variety of things. Hiring a location, paying actors, hiring equipment, paying travel fees, food, extras, ect. The budget is going to be entirely self funded, out of the government loan i’ve saved up the past 3 years. So the film is going to be government funded, thats nice!

As a breakdown, i’ve set aside between £1000 – £2000 for the budget of the film.

£273. 1 week location. Both to film & accomodation

£200. Transport/Fuel

£150. Catering costs

£100-200. Props. An urn, picnic basket, ring & box.

£100. Costume

£50. Insurance

£200. Potential actor payment

£500. Petty/excess/back-up cash.

£100-£200. Festival Entry Fees

Total. £1473

The max total is roughly around £1500 for my film. I’ve also been mentioned by a friend that I can rent some Zeiss Cine lenses off him for £500, whilst I think this will add to the film overall, I feel it might be a bit of a waste of money for a minor short production.

Equipment has not been included on this list as it will be rented from the loan shop, however a potential ‘equipment rental charge’ would cost upwards of £10,000. Not only because of the multiple cameras being used, 1 FS700 & 2 5Ds, but also the excess kit such as lenses, lighting and audio is also expensive.

I have decided not to attempt crowdfunding for this film, as this time last year myself and two friends attempted to crowdfund our berlin documentary. Overall the crowdfunding campaign raised 1/4 of the total amount needed, so it wasn’t successful. Learning from this, I feel that the time and effort put into crowdfunding my FMP could be spent elsewhere either looking at raising grants, getting local sponsorship, or even doing my own freelance work (as a model photographer) to raise and levy the costs of the production.

Screen shot 2014-01-05 at 15.32.33


This experience of prior crowdfunding has taught me that if you want to do something, you need to either do it yourself, or change your idea so other people like it and will pay. I don’t want to change my idea, as I have several times in the development process, and the money is already put aside as that has been my dedicated goal since I came to University, to save up the loan and spend it on something worthwhile.

Overall the budget for my film if shot outside of University would probably cost in the region of £11,500.


Location estimate taken from

FMP. Jurassic Park.

The first film I ever remember watching was Jurassic Park. I won’t go into the backstory, but it’s my favourite film. It’s a film I repeatedly watch almost weekly, every time it or a sequel is on iTV I stop channel surfing and watch. It’s a film I’ve probably watched more times since 93′ than the cumulative amount of places I’ve ever visited.

I know I’m not making a film about dinosaurs, or making a PG film for children (a very real line from my script is “fuck you plant pot”), but it’s the elements of JP and Spielberg that I love, that I want to take and add into my film.

The first time you get the Spielberg face from Sam Neil as a Brachiosaur walks across the shot, and it looks like a real dinosaur with the soundtrack crashing to crescendo and the large vistas panning away to reveal more dinosaurs. Its this sense of wonder and believe that I want to encapsulate and breathe into my film.

How exactly? Obviously the soundtrack plays a factor, evoking that emotion in the audience to deepen their connection with the film. It’s the way the shot is setup, with the landscape, the characters all in specific positions to create that sense of depth and scale. Why have words, when there is nothing to say, let the shot do the talking. These are the core elements I want to take from my favourite film.

At the end of The Brother Code, there is one shot (hopefully on a beach at sunset or a hill overlooking the sea) where Jason is in a massive cloud of..***, and it’s all raining down around him. I can visualise it, with both characters laughing and leaping through this gently descending cloud whilst the soundtrack plays in the background, the exposition dump and the reveal was shown minutes previously on the journey/run to that location, and this is the new equilibrium, the ending of the film as the characters come to a realisation of themselves and the script settles towards an ending.

It’s that sense of wonder and the slight smile that creeps onto the viewer’s face because of that, the joy that the characters narrative is resolved and you’re now basking in the ending. I want to capture that, and that is influenced solely by Spielberg.



FMP. Second & Third script outline

Recently I’ve finished writing up and redrafting the 2nd & 3rd outlines of my script, with the idea growing and changing each time. I have now moved away from the idea of a man trapped in a house and wanting to visit the sea, instead I sat down and made a chart of ideas, beginning with ‘Jason’ in the house and then reasoning why he is there. The eventual idea I came up with is that he receives an urn containing the ashes of his dead brother Richard.

The new draft still contains elements of the older ones, such as the main characters Claire & Jason, and other elements including the funeral & the house as a primary location, however I’ve now changed bits to be more interesting such as a plot device of an urn (also taking the place of a silent 3rd character) instead of receiving a DVD or a letter. The urn this way can also be used for Jason to extrapolate his emotions and talk to, pushing the ‘black comedy’ more by literally having one character talking to a prop.

How this will work depends very much on the lines and the actor delivering them, as it could turn out really good or fall flat, however I feel a new plot device in the urn allows the script more room to expand and the two main characters a lot of room to turn and evolve in the script, fleshing out the film more from around 3 minutes to 10 & beyond.

These are my initial draft notes when rewriting the idea, i’ve also included brief lines of dialogue I thought might work, some various setting ideas and camera directions to emphasise and build on the the actions written down.

The treatment above is a lot more fleshed out now, however I still haven’t included the main details in it from the draft notes above as I want to find a coherent way of mashing the two ideas together, utilising aspects of both and creating a better script idea overall. I feel elements of the treatment aren’t working as well at the moment so they may be dropped, such as the penultimate funeral scene or the listing of copious relatives, this is a lot of extra unnecessary detail and will cost a lot more money that the budget probably doesn’t have.

I sent my script to Clifton for feedback and he emailed back with some suggested changes and ideas, a lot of them have been incorporated above such as cutting excess roles and making the narrative a lot simpler

Screen shot 2014-01-09 at 14.45.42

FMP. First script outline

I’ve finished writing up the first outline of my FMP script, it is a ‘black dramady’ (black comedy/drama) focused around a young man, Jason, who is attempting to escape from a family curse after his brother’s death, and the eventual acceptance that he can’t outrun destiny so instead confronts it head on.


 – Older


 – Newer

The first document is my initial basic research, and contains a brief outline of the overall plot of the film, alongside some links to locations I like and music I think will fit. I also attempted to write some of the ‘comedy’ parts by dropping some dialogue in.

In the second document, I expanded this by fleshing the outline into a basic treatment, with expansion on the characters and their motives, whilst detailing the plot more and expanding on ideas in the original outline. There is no ending yet, as I wrote this whilst on the train and the journey ended too soon, however I am expanding on the ending currently to add into it.

I feel this film is going to follow a very basic progressive narrative of 3 arcs, with a set start, middle and end to the film. It will be linear and feature some elements of flashbacks, however the main body of the film will be progressively linear as that suits the story the best, to allow the audience the chance to watch the plot expand at the same pace as Jason does.

Do I feel this will work? I hope so. I am trying to write the treatment so it features as minimal characters as possible, as I don’t want to work with too many actors. The only scenes where I need a lot of actors are the preliminary funeral shots, for these I was thinking of contacting local theatre or acting groups at the location I’m shooting to see if anybody is free and would like to be a background funeral actor for the day, or part of the day. Does it also need to be near a beach? Possibly not, as travel will be a problem with crew/kit, so I need to take these aspects into consideration. So already I have outlined two problems here, managing my amount of actors in the short, and location accessibility due to lack of travel via the crew. Cars is the easiest option, however I need to find people who can both crew & drive, as I do not yet hold a license.