1. How much did ‘Sunday Best’ cost to make?
Around £500 ($750).
2. C’mon £500. How is that possible?
By asking favours from talented, hungry people. A local college (Cleveland College of Art & Design) provided make-up, sets and costume people. In return I delivered a talk to their film students. Ben Race (DoP) had a weekend free and was up for shooting a bloody horror. The actors and crew are either good friends or people I emailed and asked to be involved. Nobody said ‘no’.
3. So what did you spend the £500 on?
The biggest single spend was food. A good friend offered to do catering. Her budget was £200 to feed 17 people over two days. She came through with flying colours. The next biggest spend was fuel – just running people to and fro. The rest was spent on props, costumes, sets and make-up.
4. What about editing and post-production? That usually costs.
Sunday Best was edited at Capture Films. Ben Race (DoP) runs a small independent film company and has all the latest gear. We spent a week editing. Then I spent the next month learning the dark art of colour correction/grading film. This was a steep learning curve but I’m so glad I took the time. Now all my films will look amazing. My background is in sound so I did all the audio mixing. Cost - £0.
5. And the script? How did that come about?
The script was something my friend Ian Fenton and I wrote a few years back with the intention of securing funding to shoot it. Ian has written features and for mainstream TV. He’s a genuine pro. The script was deliberately kept simple with low-budget/high production values in mind. For various reasons, that never happened. But the script was finished and gathering dust. So I thought ‘why not?’
6. What about sound? How did you get it so cinematic?
Arash Atman is a professional sound recordist who recently moved to the region and was looking to build contacts. So he came on board. His insistence on correct slating meant that the final sound mix ran like clockwork. I own composing software and CD sound libraries which I used extensively. But the main post-produced sound came from www.freesound.org. All for £0.
7. What was Sunday Best shot on?
Ian Fenton (co-writer) owns a Canon 7D. After very little sweet talking, he agreed to let us borrow it. I have a few Canon lenses. Presto – a movie making kit. Some exterior shots and pickups were shot on a 500D rebel. But it was all shot in lovely, full HD. 1920 x 1080.
8. Ok. The camera is fine but what about the lights? They don’t come free.
They do if you know film people. One of them is bound to have some lights. Carl B. Harrison and Nick Daniel own a few lights and know how to light a scene. Plus they are practical people who can build stuff. With their hands. So we spent the weekend before the shoot lighting the set. Which was my house.
9. Wait, so the set was the director’s house? How did that work?
It worked perfectly. There were no time constraints. We could take our time. Sets and lights were completed in the 2 weeks before the shoot. It was weird living on a completed set for a couple of weeks but it was worth it. The house next door is empty so noise was never a problem. The kitchen was used for makeup. The spare bedroom was a changing room (and a place to sleep). The living room and bathroom were part of the set. And the catering was served outside. Luckily it was a lovely, sunny weekend. In truth my house wasn’t the best location. It doesn’t really look like the type of place Gladys and Albert would live in. But Tina Frank (sets/props) and her team did an amazing job of transforming it. The results speak for themselves.
10. All that blood. Those vicious head blows. Those horrible wounds. How was that done?
Cleveland College of Art & Design (CCAD) suggested talented students who were, in all honesty, amazing. But at the time they were unknown. My solution was to test everything so we were sure it would work on the day. Sherilyn Oliphant (make up) did make up tests on her family! We used blackjack sweets to make broken teeth. Kwan Tahkaew (costumes) has a formula for fake blood – coffee, honey, food colouring, corn flour and water. A foam candlestick was made at CCAD which meant that we could really hit people with it. We also taped a sponge to a football, soaked it with fake blood, hid it just below camera and whacked it. Looked very real. With the right sound effects this was gonna be brutal.
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