Category Archives: Richard Joe James Film-maker

Third Year! – Blog Post

Hello 🙂

I’m back on the blog after an incredible Summer and am well and truly settled into my last year of university. The pressure’s high but I think I’m enjoying that really. There’s so much work but it’s modules I’ve chosen or a dissertation I’m choosing to write so I’m way more focused. And knowing it’s the last year helps a lot too.

My dissertation is about the impact of the 80’s Brat Pack teen movies and John’s Hughes on modern cinema. Handed in my proposal for it last week so should be getting feedback on that tomorrow. Hope that they think it’s a good idea.

The Breakfast Club

We’re also working on a film at the same time, which should be finished before Christmas. I’ve got the role of editor for this one, excited to try editing a fiction piece for the first time. I have had some success editing docs (Multiple Lives is up for an RTS student award, which is exciting!) but I’ve never been the main editor for fiction. We’re pretty early on in the process, but our film is about an old couple and how they deal with the wife having to be put into a home. The two of them used to bond over watching old romantic movies and this link allows them to feel like they are still together. If we get good actors for this, it’s gonna be emotional.

I’m in charge of the online support for the film so I’ll be making up a website for it as soon as we have a title sorted, so please look out for that soon. There’ll be a twitter and a facebook too, so follow and like away as soon as you can and help support us.

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Blog Post – Exciting New Projects

Hi all, lots going on!

Main focus is finishing up on filming my documentary ‘Behind The Illusion’ focusing on Mind-Reader Chris Rawlins. We have filmed a lot of footage already, all that’s left is filming one of Chris’ performance. This is taking place on Thursday at York St John and everybody is welcome to come along. Find all the details here on the facebook event.

We’re starting editing the project on Monday, can’t wait to see the footage. We have a lot of options, but I definitely know the frameworks that I want, and it should be a very entertaining doc. It will be up on here and my youtube once the new year rolls around. We have somebody composing some music specifically for the project, and they will likely be working on that over Christmas.

The next thing I’m most excited about is a Short Film Competition that I found on twitter. Ironically I found it in a lecture all about using twitter and other forms of New Media to seek out opportunities. But yeah, all the details are here, and it’s very exciting. 3 minute short film on the theme of The Boss, with some amazing prizes! I’ve contacted a group of people from my course to form a crew that I would really like to lead. I’m going to direct the project. Should be good fun, and we have quite a decent chunk of time to make something good, the deadline is the end of March. It was ironic because I had just been saying that I want to start up an independent project, and also talking to some of my friends about working on something together. I’m struggling to think of a concept for it, but hopefully as a team we can come up with a good one.

I’m spending the next week working as a runner on a third year project called Isn’t It Romantic? which is a romantic comedy all about an actress who stars in romantic comedies. I really like the idea, and it came up at a time where I was hoping to work on something much more light-hearted, especially after my first short film The House. I enjoy being a runner, getting to work on a set without any real responsibilities or worries is nice, and you can learn a lot if you try. Hopefully going to learn a lot about lighting from the Director of Photography, as that is my weakest area that I find really intimidating. I’m just going to be annoying and ask loads of questions, unless they seem really mean.

Writing this blog is really making me realise how much I have going on at the moment. Oh well, I can take it.

I need to write a script over Christmas for our screen-writing module. There’s 3 of us writing scripts based on somebody else’s treatment. The film idea comes from Woody Allen’s short story, The Kugelmass Episode, which is all about a middle-aged man seeking an affair to spice up his life who encounters a magician who can send him into novels, where he has an affair with the character Emma out of Madame Bovary. It’s pretty wacky. We basically need to take the general idea as inspiration and write whatever we think would be best. I’m keeping a similar character and the idea of an iconic character appearing appeals to me, but I’m throwing in a sort of Disney villain twist. Our tutor told us not to worry about copywright or budgeting for the project, so I’m just going to go crazy with it. I don’t know if these projects are going to get made or not, like the last scripts were, but I’m not going to worry about that.

Finally, we got given a film challenge by the director of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, Mark Herman. He always takes interest in the graduates work, but I don’t know if this has ever happened before. We basically have a series of things that must be included in our film. The scariest thing about this project is that it is a very intensive schedule. VERY intensive. I think it is 3 days shooting and 2 days editing. Mental!

We’re in the same crews as we were for The House, but we can’t have the same roles. We are going to arrange the roles on monday as well as pitch our ideas for the concept, which need to be based on this weeks news and have the theme of injustice. I really can’t find anything! I imagine there might be some clashes over people wanting the same roles, as always, but as always it will sort itself out. I’m pushing myself as producer for it as I believe I am extremely organised. But we’ll see how it plays out.

Side note, I went to see My Week With Marilyn this week and thought it was amazing. My friend hated it and said nothing happened, but I thought it was beautifully shot and really interesting. And it had Hermione in it! Maybe a film just for film buffs? If anyone has seen it let me know what you think.

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One project ends, another begins…

Hey blog readers.

My directorial debut The House is completely finished and edited! Very exciting. I’m going to wait until we’ve had the university screening next week before I put it up online, and then it will be posted here straight away. I’m excited and nervous about having it playing up on the big lecture theatre screen. Any slight issues that seem so small before are suddenly loud and huge and glaring and it can be mortifying.

I’m proud of the project though, and believe it is as polished as it could be with the time we had. Of course there’s always things that I wish could have been different, but you have to just deal with it and move onto the next thing. I think I’m a slight perfectionist (aka control freak), but I think that’s good. Maybe..

I’m currently at home (Chesterfield, near Sheffield) and showed a couple of my best friends the film. They seemed to be impressed and went “awww” in the right places and seemed to actually feel something for the main character, which is the aim I guess! So that’s good. I definitely want to direct another fiction film in 2012, hopefully one where we get some more pre-production time.

I want to be involved in something much more upbeat, like a comedy or maybe even a romcom. I totally am not a typical film student, I love the mainstream stuff as well as the really amazing films. I guess I’m just sort of against any pretentious attitudes in regards to film. The number one aim should be to entertain and get the audience involved, however that may be. Sometimes I think certain things are scorned just BECAUSE they appeal to the masses, and that seems daft to me.

I slightly went off on a complete tangent. But yeah, I would like to do something more upbeat. I would actually love to be involved in a musical, but I’m not sure if that would be possible as I would need somebody who knows all about music to work with me throughout the project, which could be tricky. But if one came along I would snatch it up straight away. Or a thriller. I guess I just like a bit of excitement and extravagance with films. I like ‘The House’ but it is all very dreary and depressing, like something out of a soap. Not that I have anything against soaps, Coronation Street brought my family together every night it was on throughout my whole childhood, and I have a lot of respect for how much work they do to churn out episodes constantly.

So yes, I have my reading week where I have two assignments to be working on, ending on a short holiday in Butlins, before heading back to York and begin directing my documentary ‘Behind The Illusion.’ I’ve arranged a lot of it in my mind, which always makes me excited. If everything comes together it’s set to be a really great program that is likely to be a good showcase for all 5 of us involved. I’m at the point of the project that I hate however, when you have to wait for things to be confirmed and you’re still waiting to hear and the start date is edging closer… But I have faith that my producer will sort it out, I just need to relax a bit. 🙂

I think I’m going to start blogging about other things going on in the film world, such as my thoughts on the new ‘Hunger Games’ trailer (a blockbuster based on my favourite book series, a young adult dystopian type of thing) and probably another one all about Christmas films as I’m feeling extremely festive.

I want to see this:

Arthur Christmas

Stay excellent.

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Back on the blog.

Hello, unfortunately not had chance to update this blog in quite a while. I have once again been crazy busy.

Anyways, what I’m up to at this point is updating my CV. We had a guest speaker today and I do feel really motivated, and also slightly terrified. I did enjoy the realistic yet optimistic attitude though. I completely believe you can get somewhere in this industry if you put in the work, same as anything really. But yes, re-drafting my CV and hopefully get it sent out so I can try and get some work experience in 2012.

Update on my projects..

– My first film The House wrapped last week! We are currently finishing off editing, just the music to sort out now. So sad that there’s so much music I would like to use, but darn copywright laws. Ah well, there’s actually good stuff on royalty-free websites, you just have to drift through the hilariously bad stuff to get to it. All going well I will be able to have it up online by the end of the week, would love to get feedback on it.

The shoot went pretty well, although unfortunately our producer didn’t manage to secure locations that we needed so we needed to make some last minute changes to the script/structure. Ah well, it still looks good. Although I do think it was obvious that the script that was written was meant to be much longer. Our uni is making us limit the film to 7 minutes, although this film could probably do with about 10 to 12. But there’s nothing we can do about that, just go tot make it the best it can be.

Working with actors… I was really quite nervous as it was my first time working with actual actors and they were both so great, they made it so easy. They were also impressive actors and responsive to my directions, which is great. It was interesting to see how the guy who plays our main character Ben, Nathan Unthank, dealt with his first screen performance. It’s so different from the stage, where most of his work has been so far, so much more repetitive than anyone ever expects. But he dealt with it fantastically.

– My next project, the documentary about illusionist Chris Rawlins, got comissioned and begins filming the week after next! It has a name now… Behind The Illusion. Just sorting out filming dates and still coming up with ideas for that, very excited. I’m directing again, I must have some sort of addiction to stress and lack of sleep. I absolutely loved directed The House, but I can’t lie and say it wasn’t stressful. This should be much more relaxed. I’m very excited for the interviews, as I’m genuinely interested in finding out how somebody learns the art of mentalism (the real word for it.) I’m also excited about some creative ideas we have brewing for it, and I have a team who seems committed to making it look really great while I concentrate on the content. I wonder if anyone else has taken on directing the documentary AND the film… Hmmm…

Apart from that, we have lots of assignments in soon. An essay on the film adaptation of Dicken’ Great Expectations as well as creating an online collection of documents and stuff about ‘The House.’ Also I have an idea for a film brewing, so I’m going to write a treatment and send it to my screenwriting tutor and see what he thinks. Then I make an attempt at my first solo script, eek.

Sorry this post is really text heavy, I’m just so tired and really wanted to get this out there! I won’t go this long again, I swear. Stay tuned for ‘The House.’ 🙂

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War Of The Words Documentary

I’ve finally managed to find the youtube link for the documentary project that I worked on last year. One day I will probably go into detail about the experience but for now I’m just going to post the link, which you could also see in the My Projects page, where you can find info about the rest of my projects. (There’s also a cheeky cameo of me reading my favourite book ‘The Hunger Games.’)

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What do I do?

So I’m still settling into my blog 🙂

I’m just setting out the main structure of my blog, as I’m planning on keeping this up! I really don’t want this to be something I start and then don’t finish.

So you have the main blog here, then you have a little section about me where you can get in touch with me and find out a bit more. Then I have my projects, which is sort of my online CV. It will have my past projects up in full as well as details of what I did on them, and tell you what projects I’m currently working on, which I’ll be talking about in much more detail here. So yeah, take a look at what I did last year. There’s not too much that I’m putting up at this point. I will probably make some posts featuring some of the other projects where I can talk about where it went completely wrong! But the two that are on there are two that I’m proud of. One because it was the first project I completed and liked, and the second because I am just genuinely proud of what we achieved.

As for upcoming projects, that is what I am very excited about! My main focus is the short film that I am directing called The House. We shoot in one months time, which in film terms is nothing! I am feeling very prepared in terms of how I imagine the complete picture of the film, I’ve completed the shot lists and prepared some storyboards, but that doesn’t mean we’re in any place to shoot yet. It has been very difficult as we received our groups for this project at the end of last year, and have had to try and work on this project throughout the summer, with everybody spread out throughout the country… It doesn’t work that well. But we’ve done what we can, and from the sounds of it more than what a lot of other groups have done. But when I return to university tomorrow, we’re going to have to crack on! We need to find actors and make sure the locations we are thinking of are suitable. Then we have the scheduling, which isn’t the most fun but it isn’t until that’s done that I feel like it is really happening. Finding actors is also scary, as up to this point we have acted in each others projects. But this year is going to be a lot more professional (I hope.) I sort of see last year as a tutorial on the basics of everything.

Other thing’s I’m working on:

  • We have to put forwards ideas for a new documentary. My main idea involves following the life of young illusionist Chris Rawlins. I filmed some work for him during the summer, when he played the York Opera House, and he has agreed to be in the doc if it gets green lit. If they like my idea I’ll have to pitch in front of the whole year.
  • I was approached on twitter recently by the Hamilton Panthers football club to help make a short film to represent them. I haven’t heard from them in a couple of days, but it pays to be patient. I find this project very exciting as they approached me to do it. It really does show how social networking and branding actually does work, and is definitely one of the driving forces for me to create this blog. I love the idea of just instead of just a boring CV list, I can send them here and hopefully in time this will look more and more professional and involving. I like how people can get straight to the information they need, but read more if they are interested. And hopefully they will see by my commitment to this just how determined I am in everything I do.
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Inspired to join a blog.

 

I’ve always liked the idea of having a blog, and now here I am.

As you may or may not know, my names Richard Joe James and I’m an aspiring young film-maker. I come from a fantastic town called Chesterfield but have been studying at university in York. I’m about to return to my second year, and I’m feeling more driven than ever, so I thought it was about time I set up some sort of online space that I can dedicate to my projects and can document my journey through the risky waters of film production. I also wanted to feel a little bit more professional than just my twitter and facebook(although feel free to look me up on there or send me a personal message if you want to) as well as a place to set up an e-portfolio of my projects. I had been thinking of doing it for a while now, but after spending a day at a Channel 4 4Talent event I was particularly inspired to get this going and share my story. It’s never too early to get a bit of name branding going.

So what am I going to do here? I guess I don’t exactly know yet. I plan on keeping it updated with how my projects are going, share things that are inspiring me lately and share as much knowledge as I can, and just be honest about how challenging yet fulfilling some of this work can be. Hopefully I’ll have some fantastic stuff to share soon, I’m very excited about the projects that I have coming up, especially having my first go at directing a film with The House, but there’s plenty of time to tell you all about, so for now I’ll just say hello, and thanks for checking this out!

And always feel free to leave a comment.

 

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