Above: Actors Derek Crawford Munn & Claire Waugh
In 2008 I made a short film (with fellow film professional and friend Colin Ross Smith) called THE RAGE. It was released on three consecutive Fridays as a mini web series. The film, set in the world of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days/ Weeks Later films was made on a low budget and released free on You Tube. You can watch it on the following links.
The film benefits from having some of Scotland's very best actors on screen. The incredibly awesome William Ruane, Derek Crawford Munn, Claire Waugh, Chris Somerville and Joe Cassidy made up the main team but if you look back at even the actors playing the infected now, you will start to see some well kent faces in there. The film was DOP'd by John McPhail who is doing very well for himself as a director.
The combined viewings on the film have hit about 1.7 million which makes this the most successful thing I’ve made. That’s certainly success in audience terms but as we knew when we made it, there’s no way to monetize a “fan film”. The benefit of making it a fan film may not be at first realised by other film makers and can be of course much scorned by professionals, but their are reasons for taking one on.
1/ The world of the drama already exists and every department and every cast and crew member knows pretty much exactly what’s expected of them. On a low budget when largely you may be working with amateurs, this shortcut makes it easier to get your point across. Luckily I had a pretty high end cast and crew behind me.
2/ You have a ready made audience who will very quickly buy into what you present them if you do it well enough. That audience will share, talk about and generally stay interested in your product. I doubt if this had not been called a 28 Days fan film, whether we would have had 1.7 million hits at this stage.
So how did it come about? I had been directing theatre shows for many years now and had some great successes during that time, but theatre shows are fleeting and soon are gone. I eventually figured that in making films I can create things which last much much longer and, well some of the time at least, have fun doing it.
My other reasons for making films were more business related. I had lost faith in the reliability of my “regular gigs” – IE those that I rely on to pay my bills. I came to the conclusion that it was no longer enough to just be good at what I do. Cut backs had forced regular fight gigs to write the fights out of the productions rather than pay for a fight director. This is crippling for a freelancer, so my hope was that down this route I might be able to, somewhere down the line, stabilize my income. There was always the thinking too that at some point I would no longer be physically fit enough to direct fight sequences and that’s got to be on the mind of any fight arranger or stunt person.
NOTE In changing my website to a wordpress site (effectively blog hosting) I felt a word about this mini series was necessary, but stay tuned: It is my aim to produce three full length director’s commentaries on the series, where I will let you in on some of the secrets, as well as the trials and trepidations of completing such a film on a budget of next to nothing.