So the last week has been mega hectic. I was asked by the guys over at Virgin Media Shorts to shoot a film to coincide with the launch of VMS 2011. They approached me about making something connected with probably the most famous pioneer of the short film medium and arguably one of the most iconic film actors of all time; Charlie Chaplin.
I had about a week and complete creative control. I wrote the script over a course of a few days. I knew I wanted to do something that nodded to the heritage of silent film and the legacy of Chaplin himself whilst also maintaining a contemporary edge.
With this in mind we cast young, up and coming actor Michael Peluso, it was a pleasure to work with him and I think he has a very bright future indeed.
I also wanted the cinematography to nod to silent film and so we used available light and Ollie, as always, did a magnificent job of shooting it.
The shoot was mental, we were a small unit trying to carve out the setups at hugely famous London locations with a tonne of ‘inconspicuous’ extras and so the general public were willing spectators.
We had to move quickly and efficiently but in the end it was a really fun and slightly bizarre day. The image of 20 identical Charlies atop a double decker bus will haunt my dreams…
Due to a press embargo on the VMS launch and the photographs from the shoot we had just over twenty four hours to do the post on the film which was a grueling but really exciting experience. For me, attempting the edit, grade and sound mix on my own, in a day, was something I was nervous of. Turns out it was a great learning experience and meant I could craft the film in a way that was quite personal to me.
As we began post there was a veritable buzz on twitter with people guessing at what ‘Charlie’ could mean, including these gems:
None of which were correct FYI. So we got there in the end, it was actually quite fun to pull an all nighter and get the film out there so quickly. At 4am last night, myself and Moritz our composer, whose wonderful score (achieved in less than 12 hours) really elevates the film, were on the phone in the final stretches and it was then I realised quite what we’d achieved with limited budget and time.
With that in mind I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved, all the usual suspects: 2AM, James, Ollie, Briony, Moritz, Anna, Alex, Turbo, Jason, Pasha, Simon Paul and Cross Street Studios, Take 2, Sophie at Virgin, Corinna at Borkowski, Jo and everyone else for their help and enthusiasm on such a tight deadline.
Well here it is, enjoy!