Friday, 21 December 2012

21st December 2012 - Post 100!

What a milestone day today has been; rather than the end of the world, it's been the end of a hard slog and the start of a glorious new dawn... The first semester has finished at college and I feel I've got everything tucked in just nice, in time for the holidays!

This time last year, I was making my Die Hard/John McClane fancy dress outfit; this year I've been making a prop/set piece for The Grand Hotel in Hartlepool. It's the last week of term and many people are winding down - some have been winding down for longer than that, but I've been at it, a million miles an hour until now. So, please forgive me for having a moment of reflection and a pause...

I'll get back to film making tomorrow (meeting one of my actors in Newcastle) but tonight I just want to rest, and if the world ends, at least my desk was tidy!

Take care all,


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Port of Tyne's Reflect photo and film awards

Last night Laura Degnan, Jay Moussa, James Harris and I travelled to the Baltic art gallery in Gateshead to attend the Port of Tyne's Reflect photo and film awards, in which we had been shortlisted for the final four in our category.

Their film, 'But a Dream', features a man imagining a boat trip along a river, without ever having left his armchair. Here's a link to the video:

The film was a runner up but it was still well-worth taking part.

After the event, we had the pleasure of meeting one of the judges, David Parfitt, producer of such British hit films as My week With Marilyn (2011), Shakespear in Love (1998), Frankenstein (1994) and Henry V (1989); here's a link to his IMDB profile:

Here's the writing and camera crew - indeed, Laura did take one floor-level shot on the night!

We're all greatly looking forward to the next competition - whatever that may be!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Bad Samaritain, Good Times

Yesterday evening saw the cast and crew screening of 'The Bad Samaritain Must Die', the 'accidental' first feature film from the Producer/Writer/Director/Actor team of Andrew Leckonby and John Raine - Hydra-X.

This is the first footage I've seen from the film I worked on back in June and finally all that banging and crashing, stomping and shouting makes sense.

The story is set against a backdrop of one man rising up in the face of a national crime-wave, becoming an icon to the disillusioned masses, and a vigilante, wanted by the police. A young girl wishes to join his movement, but his cause is more fuelled by drug-addiction and lunacy than and real political agenda.

I'm not sure what the budget was for this film but there was a real crew at each shoot and a real buffet in the green room... Using all the tricks in the book the film makers have stretched whatever budget they had to tell a small story on a grand stage and we look forward to seeing the full, feature-length trilogy get off the ground soon - before the world ends!

Here's a link to the Facebook page, I suspect pictures of the event will show up soon:

It was great to catch up with the cast and crew and a shame we had to leave early... A film premiere on a school night - who's crazy idea was that!?!

Monday, 12 November 2012

RTS Yorkshire Student Awards 2012

It's not long since the 2011 awards as they were postponed to earlier this year, but once again, tonight is the big night and, we here on the Cleveland College of Art and Design table, are all rooting for...

Andy Harrison of York St John's University!?!

Andy is a graduate of the FdA Creative Film coutse at CCAD, so this year, in the absence of any final year students ourselves, we're backing our greatest rivals!

Andy's film is called 'Hello, My Name is Simon' and all of our fingers are crossed that he picks up the win tonight.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Song For Marion Crew Screening

More than a year after I'd been on the set of SFM, I was finally back in the company of some of the craftsmen, technicians and film akmers who brought this to the big screen. There were some standout performances in this feelgood movie about a grumpy old man who joins the local OAP choir following the death of his wife. I'm sad to say that I was not in the film at all - having only been a lighting stand-in - but four of our students saw their names in the credits: Billy Cessford, Rachel Lee, Sarah Gaunt and Christina Powell - great work guys! Song for Marion opens early next year.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Soaked To The Skin? It's All In The Mind!

This week Laura Degnan from Writer's Block NE asked me to star in her short film about the River Tyne, but not to worry, I wouldn't even have to leave the house!?! The whole shoot took just a couople of hours - almost as long as it took to put my house back to the state it started in! I play a man on an imaginary river boat rowing session in his living room, although this film features a classic James Harris style twist - and a typical John Noble 'stunt'! Well, Writer's Block have painted me green, dunked me in a river, and made me hug a tree in public... Bring it all on I say! Special mention must go to Laura for snatching the camera, from the utterly competent Jay Mussa, and climbing under the furniture to film a couple of 'up the nose' shots! Here's a link to the film on YouTube: The film, 'But A Dream' is a competition entry for the Port of Tyne Reflect Competition. Results will be in soon - watch this space!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Song For Marion Trailer

It's been a long time coming, but Song For Marion is finally finding it's voice and here's a trailer showing all the best bits that didn't include me..!

I'm sure it will be very heartwarming and charming and I look forward to seeing it soon.

Friday, 3 August 2012

it's times like this that I wish I'd brought my cowboy boots...

So here I am, in the international arrivals lounge at L.A.X., waiting for my friend Dan to show. This is my third nine-hour wait at am airport on the trip - and it really was part of the plan too. It's about lunchtime back home, I ser off 9pm on Wednesday. It wont be far off that when we finally pick up the car and get to our hotel - that's a long tome in the same clothes! Fear not, I'd packed a change of smaller in my hand luggage and I've been washing my hair and brushing my teeth with handsoap. Yum. So why the cowboy boots? I wish I could take a picture: I'm rocking the double-denim and sitting back on the seat with my feet up on my case, cowboy boots and a hat would look so good now. So good. I'm attempting to write a script too. I'd settle for even just reading the book at this point but I'm a little too beat to take anything in..! Ive just noticed a bunch of much comfier seats over the way - forgive me, I'm gonna slip on over and get some quality kip in before our adventure really begins. So long.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

hooray for...

Hollywood, here I come!! It's currently 5am, I've been 'on the road' now for eight hours already AMD I'm still only at the airport! I'm supposed to be writing a script but I'm too overwhelmed from being rudely awoken an hour ago my hundreds of holidaymakers, who'd have thought it. At an airport? In the summer? It's my own fault, I'd tried to grab a little kip without realising I was in the middle of a thoroughfare!?! Chicago will be my first contact with the good ol' US of A, then not far behind California awaits! Lets see if I get picked up in a coffee shop, as a writer or actor would be fine, thanks! More news when it breaks.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Earth to Earth... Eyes, Nose and Mouth!

Yesterday was the second day of shooting for Laura Degnan's SBTRKT music video competition entry and I suspect it was a day that actor Ben would rather have stayed in bed!

We drowned him in a river, burried him alive and 'gave birth' to him - all after he'd worked all morning in Brighton and driven up for the experience!

I was wearing my 'Health and Safety' hat yesterday, attempting to make Ben's experience as safe and painless as possible - however, Laura was not; "more soil over his eyes", "go deeper into the water... ALL the way under..!" - That's one non-compromising director!

The soil was my 'safe' recipe, made in the kitchen, so it should have been OK in his mouth... apart from the sand I added for texture - ooh, that makes one's teeth really grind!

That's me in the water, doing a reccee for Ben

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Dead Again!

I've played dead more times than not this year and today did it three times in an hour! Laura Degnan is shooting a music promo video and I was drafted in as production designer, and not doing too shabby a job either, but, times are hard and finding stiffs just ain't as easy as it used to be! I played - at separate times I might add - each of the three dead bodies on mortuary slabs... Tables to you ad me! The shoot is going well, more news to follow...

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

'Buck', Back?

Last year I played a character in a CCAD live production called 'Buck Turbine'; this weekend I was enlisted as an extra on The Bad Samaritain Must Die but ended up being a runner.

Relevance? There were already two 'Johns' on set and a third was just silly. My first choice of nickname was 'Doc' but wouldn't you know it, in the dozen-or-so people there, there was already a 'Doc'!

Someone came up with the name 'Buck' and I was fine with that - afterall, I've been 'Buck' before!

It was a fantastic day, my duties included marking the performers feet, holding reflectors, moving lights, continuity, swapping lenses, being a lighting stand-in for John Raine - The Bad Samaritain himself - cleaning up fake blood, general lugging around and most importantly - keeping the coffee cups full!

It's hard not to want to contribute more as you're so close to the action and you might have your own take on how a shot could look but Andy L, Andy R, John R and 1st A.D. Chris all knew what they were doing with knobs on - I just kept my head down and the coffee cups full - with a lot of help from Melody- the original and best runner in town!

Andrew Leckonby, John Raine, 'Buck'

here's a link to Hyda-X films:!/groups/104155326383237/

and The Bad Samaritain Must Die site:!/groups/296824433696208/

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Bad Samaritain Must Die - Shooting soon!

Northern film maker Andy Leckonby of Hydra X films is filming scenes from his new thriller 'The Bad Samaritain Must Die' on 23rd and 24th June - and he'll need all the help he can get; all the help that fits into the over-eighteen, male vigilante bracket anyway - although I suspect age conforming females could fill out roles BEHIND the camera...

Here's a link to his Facebook posting:

I'll be picking up a couple more film makers on the way; raise your hand James Kent and Richard Eaborn. Room for one or two more if you read this in time!

Also from Facebook:
Looking for someone to take video and stills...
Andrew Leckonby 13 June 18:49
Looking for someone to take video and stills for Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 June, from 11am-10pm in Cramlington Village pub for a big shoot. Experience shooting video and taking stills needed. Do not need to bring own camera as can provide our own to use. We have Canon 550d with plenty of SD cards. If you know anyone please give them my email:

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Twelve Angry Men? - Not Even One!

On Monday I was on the set of George Gently 2012 in Durham, for what I knew not why...

After a quick shave and hair 'trim' I was ready - for my glorious role as 'press man'.

Well, the hours passed; fellow supporting artists were taken away and brought back into the green room and all the while I sat there, waiting.

Around 5.30pm I was called through; there was room for one more on the jury... An eleven man jury all day and I just sat in the green room... Must've been shooting tight I suppose..!

So here I am, the last man in the Jury; cameras ready to roll... and...

"John, could you leave the jury please, the blocking is all wrong now..."

Cheers then.

Well I did then have the opportunity to sit behind the camera monitor and watch the show being recorded, so it wasn't a waste of a day - and I did see some familiar faces from Song For Marion and Harrigan's Nick.

I spent most time between takes chatting to a chap called Garry Allsopp - a North-East based editor, sound recordist and FIGHT CO-ORDINATOR!?!

Garry has worked on recent features such as Interview With a Hitman with Luke Goss and runs a martial arts club where he teaches his own brand of fighting called 'Wing Tai Ch'uan Gung-Fu' - here's a link:

Here's a link to the Hitman film:

There's a lot more 'extras' work just around the corner so finger's crossed I have the chance to do a little more next time!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Today I died, again.

So yesterday I was leaping from tall buildings, today I was knocked down by a speeding car...
All this on top of failing to blow my brains out earliernkn the week and mowing down a child myself... All in the name of Film!

There were a lot of good things that happened today, my favourite being that of all the random streets in Hartlepool, and of all the houses I could've parked outside, I ended up outside that of James Kent, personal trainer and actor/musician, who i'd only just met two weeks ago on the set of Harrigan's Nick!

James was kind enough to allow mento use his house as a green room, wherein I made two costume changes - and a cup of tea!

I do love working on films of any size, but it's when you go from £3million to £30, you van really see where corners are cut, initiative takes over and where the extra money goes!!!
If we'd had another few crew, and the permission to actually block off the road, I'd have gelt a whole lot better about lying face-down in a pool of blood in the middle of the road!!! Also, we might not have upset a local resident with the car noise as much if we'd given him theoney to put his kids through college!

All-in-all, things went well today, we've got to go back to the Grabd Hotel to finish off my little nudie-suicide scene and then it's off to the edit suite to perform te magic!

Good luck to everyone involves, check out the links below for more details:

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

My Little Nudie Shoot...

Was postponed due to a technical fault!!!

We shot a few scenes this lunchtime but when the 16mm camera started to rattle, we decided to call off the shoot...

It was shaping up well; we got a few shots inside the hotel room in the can and I was just prepping for my first suicide when the fault occured.Have you ever killed yourself on screen? Have you ever looked for the truth in the character at that point? Liam Neeson has; and thanks to having seen 'The Grey' twice, I was ready for my take on such a scene.

Well I was pumped, but it didn't happen today... such is death!

And my little nudie-shower scene? That can wait till tomorrow too!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

"okay, let's see how loud to can mime..."

That was Nick's greatest piece if direction tonight on the shoot for Harrigan's Nick.

Turns out we 'background artists' were a little too passionate to see Craig [spoiler alert] 'interact' with his 'co-star', played by the ever-present Bill Fellows..!

Tonight was great; the first half was being stuck at base, not having been selected for the earlier scenes. It all kicked off after 'dinner'?!? When we hit the set proper.

All indications were that temperatures would be super sub-zero, so we were all dressed in multiple layers... Well it was only around four am that I became grateful for my three pairs of socks, two pairs of longjohns and a thermal rashvest, usually used for surfing!

We rioted in the street and watched cars explode... Could've been a lot worse all told!

Work in three hours then back to the unit HQ for 4.30pm to do it all again.

My secret weapon is fake redbull and my big plan is to sleep all weekend...

More updates tomorrow.


Okay, so I just found out that the 'night shoot' really is an all-night shoot!

5pm till 4.30am, same tomorrow. Well that's fine, at least it doesn't clash with my 9-5 day job... AND I get four hours kip!

As I told the casting agent - "I can sleep when I'm dead", it's just that death seems so much closer today!

Here's a link to Tall Trees Pictures, the production company:

Monday, 6 February 2012

Back on the Horse...

Well, January was a relatively quiet month, nothing solid manifested, nothing ecept my obligatary 'Winter Beard'...

I had two casting calls mid-month - one's I had to turn down because both required a bearded actor - hence the re-grown beard. And no sooner has the beard returned, the phone has started ringing again.

I'm set to appear in a riot scene for 'Harrigan's Nick' on Thursday and Friday this week, here's a link:

Further to this I'll be playing a 'tired and listless' man responsible for the death of a child in a short 16mm film by Creative Film student Richard Eaborn and my old friend A.J. Garrett (The Cement Factory) has resurfaced with an ongoing project that could kick off sooner rather than later.

Added to this some pre-production test shots with Billy Cessford at Tynemouth Castle AND Barnard Castle next Saturday and I am stuffed - hence the perfect casting as 'tired and listless'!!!

Here's a link to a trailer for AJ's last film:

and the Facebook information page:

Here's a sneak-peek at some of Billy Cessford's upcoming projects:

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2011 Review of the Year

Here we are in 2012, a year I've been looking forward to since 1997 - and not because of any 'End of the World' disaster movie coolness either...

2012 is set to be the Golden Age of Mankind. We can all play a part; many of us have been involved for some time now. But that's the future. Let's have a quick look at the past:

Over the past twelve months, I've acted in fewer productions than before but worked on much bigger things; I've completed two mire short films, acted as production designer on a couple more, entered three competitions, the results of two of which still hang in the balance, I've worked on my first feature film and visited the Cannes Film festival, Leeds Film Festival and The Cutting Edge Horror Film Festival in Newcastle;I've attended seminars on the future of Transmedia production, won a pub quiz and costume competition and built up a professional and reliable crew of my own.

This year I'm looking forward to winning a couple of prestigious competitions, making another short slapstick film about an innocent abroad and digging right into the Jonny Fox/Grand Scheme of Things trailer, set to hit Cannes in 2013.

2011 brought a lot of surprises, plenty I didn't see coming, nor could prepare for. Well I made it through the other side and in ready for whatever 2012 has to bring - just so long as it's not a mile high tidal wave!!!

Happy New Year to one and all.

Peace, love and light.