Wednesday, 11 December 2013

It WAS a Wonderful Life...

Seven weeks ago, I was offered the lead role in a local theatre production of 'It's a Wonderful Life' and in the interests of trying something new, I took it!
I didn't know 'stage-left' from a poke in the eye back then, but with the support and encouragement of the Billingham Players, I found my feet. I found them for real ONE NIGHT before the show started, on the dress rehearsal.

A few months ago, I'd been to see a stage show called 'Houdini' and wondered how any actor can remember nearly two-hours worth of lines, well now I know. I don't know how I did learn my 106-page script, I just did, and I'm very pleased that I was able to meet the challenge.

The show ran from 2nd to 7th December and was sold out each and every night - that's over 700 people all together - imagine if that was the crowd every night!?!

Here's a link to a Facebook photo album:

And here's a link to The Billingham Players website - who knows what they'll be doing this time next year...

Here I am, as George Bailey, celebrating my 'rebirth' with my family

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Excellent Elevated View

Only one hour ago, I was thinking what an interesting distraction it was, filming 'The Elevated View' with James Harris and Laura Degnan, as downloading the file slowed my laptop down to a crawl and caused it to crash twice... But now, having watched it half a dozen times, I'm happy to say that I think it's one of the best pieces of work I've been involved in..!

The story, about a man who takes a drug to enable him to see what his wife is thinking, fearing she is having an affair, was conceived, shot and edited in exactly 48 hours for the London Sci-Fi Film Festival Challenge:

Judges include Guillermo Del Toro, director of Hellboy, Pan's Labrynth and Blade 2 (my favourite!).

I've worked on a few 48 hour challenges with Writer's Block in the past, onoe of which, 'The Woman Who Loved a Tree' swept the board at Newcastle in 2011 and 'Distraction Jackson' made it to the last 15 in the world, neither feat is to be sniffed at, but I genuinely feel that this film is something else, on a different level altogether. While the other two took a mockumentary approach, this one tells a 'straight' story, although it manages to fit in a flashback and a 'trip' sequence, plus it's bookended by 'Rod Sterling' - fantastically played by James Harris.

Props to Jayne Elwell for once again playing a long-suffering wife and bringing such a warm heart to the film - while spending the majority of her time tied to a sofa with coloured wool... It makes sense in the film!

Laura and James have shown what can be achieved with determination, willpower and creativity alone and have restored hope to me that I can finish my film with a lot more than 48 hours to go!

Here's some screen grabs from the film, and a behind the scenes photo too...

A man suspects his wife of cheating on him...

So he buys the latest street drug...


The drug is taken like eye drops...

And lets you see what other people are thinking

'Everythign is connected' is the message of the film...

And we spent a long time connecting everythign with wool... and just look at the position Laura found herself in on camera!
I wish this film the best of luck in the competition and I hope it gets the respect it deserves.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Less Time I Have, The More I Seem To Do..!

In my last post, I mentioned some upcoming jobs and how I didn't really have the time to do them justice thanks mostly to being a final year film student... Well guess what? I DID work on those jobs and more to boot!

Amazingly, I turned down the role of Jesus in Chris Coles' 'the Waiting Room', only to be offered instead 'the hand of God'! This was a much better role for me as there were no lines to learn, there was no make-up to apply and I didn't need to grow a huge white beard, although I wasn't delivering my own lines, so that made it tough: no script, no idea what was coming, just a hand-reaction to a distended voice as I looked through the camera monitor.

In fairness, I was on this film all day as a set-dresser/art department/prop-master. Here's a couple of pictures from the shoot:
Zack Tinkler as Jesus, Chris Coles, Director, and Jay Hayes on sound

As you can see from the image above, we lowered the framed tapestry to fit in frame better - I really earned my cheese sarnies that day!
Although i was only on set fro one day, I also made Chris a 'crash-test dummy', a fake apple, and 'a railing from Saltburn pier'!?! I can't wait to see how it all turned out - Best of luck with the edit Chris and thanks for being my camera op on Championship hunt!


Sunday, 10 February 2013

Q. Why Was This Pirate Frustrated?

A. Because he 'AAARRRRR'... Nah, it just doesn't work, does it?

For one weekend in February a few of the film school students banded together to shoot scenes for Jo Wakefield's final major project, 'Call Me Baby', a short comic tale about a woman who loses her job and makes ends meet by operating an adult-themed chat line - only to be called up by her sexually frustrated boyfriend!

Thanks then to first and second choice actors, Craig Samson and Tim Marshal for dropping out and leaving me as the only bloke in the whole of the North East capable of filling their shoes - and I was already pulling duties as propmaker/set dresser!

'Call Me Baby' is one of those deceptively simple projects plagued by every conceivable hurdle, from extreme weather to ill-health, location conflicts and cast and crew schedule clashes... A lesser filmmaker might have given up by now and tackled Shakespear or something, but not Jo, she'll be shooting and editing to the last minute, I suspect - just like me!

Here's a couple of pics of the props I made for Jo... These are the more 'family friendly' one's I'd say!

In order to avoid using copyrighted images in Jo's film, we replaced her living room pictures with hand-drawn portraits and freshly pressed flowers.

Jo needed a few 'relationship advice' books, alongside some 'adult' and 'gossip' magazines.

Monday, 4 February 2013

We Final Year Students Can Be a Blinkered Bunch!

Good news, I've been offered two more acting jobs. Bad news, it all clashes terribly with MY final year project!

It's a horrible situation to have to turn somebody down who has bent over backwards to help you on your project when they ask for a little in return. It's logical though; all of our efforts would be in vain if I did a sub-standard acting job and made a sub-standard film myself.

This time next year - who knows?!! Heck, this time next year I may be able to take on some of those PAID jobs I keep seeing on the extras newsletters!

I did try and get a little cameo in my own film too, although that could well hit the cutting room floor... MY last take was perfect, I'm sure, I mean, I backed that wheelchair through those doors like a seasoned pro, but I fear that the lead actors were not on the mark of my choosing and a different cut may have to be chosen.

Fame, you are a cruel mistress!

That said, I do have a couple more catwalk modeling jobs on the horizion: an assassin and...



Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2012 Review of the Year

2012 was one of my best ever years, from the point of view of a film maker, prop maker and actor; I really got back on the horse one might say!

From early acting work with Writers' Block and a double night-shoot on Harrigan's Nick (where I met James Kent, a way-out crazy actor dude), to making a smashing little film with Billy Cessford in the early summer (currently known as 'Hy-Brazil' and awaiting a soundtrack from another new collaborator, Micky Cockerill) to writing, producing, propmaking, costume-ing(!?!) for my upcoming final major project at film school - 'Championship Hunt'!

I had a trip to Hollywood (although I still didn't make it to right up to the famous sign)...

But I was close!
I was in the crowd for the L.A. premiere of 'Expendables 2...
A split-second later and Sly came over and said 'Hi John, how's your blog coming along...' - I wish!

All the cast were there except Bruce Willis and Jet Li... I would have gladly taken their seats!
I had a trip to Universal Studios that was the most amazing part of my time in the USA, state-of-the-art rides and experiences, I highly recommend it to anyone with the opportunity to go.
One of my favourite things about 2012 is that the world did not end. That sounds silly now the time has passed, but it had given me great impetus for pushing myself harder than ever for twelve months and quite frankly, beyond completing 'Championship Hunt (and hopefully promoting it at Cannes 2014), I really don't have a plan from this point onwards...
Tune in throughout 2013 and we'll discover together what the future holds for 'John Noble - The Movie!'
Happy New Year Everyone!