Age : 37
Role : Illustrator & Film maker.
Location : Bristol UK
GIVE US A QUICK INTRODUCTION ABOUT YOURSELF
My name is Kirk Stacey, I have worked many years as a Freelance Illustrator / Artist here in Bristol. Besides Art I enjoy the world of Short Film making. I have recently started experimenting in this area by shooting and editing my own mini short films using my smartphone and iPad. I am currently shooting my first no-budget short film.
YOU ARE MAKING YOUR FIRST SHORT FILM, TELL US ABOUT WHAT LEAD YOU HERE?
I always feel if you are creative you have to have a go! It’s a rule of life. You don't know until you try something. I knew James Ewen from Cineme Films and he was well connected with people in the Short Film World here in Bristol. I was later introduced to Short Film maker Wayne Lee who I've been working with on projects for a few years now.
For 4 years, I was a helping-hand at "Cineme" (a Bristol-based platform for screening short films - also feature films), and having watched a multitude of short films over this time period I’ve really been inspired. Everyone who came to the gigs were already making their own films or wanted to make their own film - so it was a great place to be.
I have always written scripts based on visuals / ideas in my head. 5 years ago, a friend suggested I make a short film based on one of my scripts. This was a short called “Partners In Crime”, a neat little idea about two lonely hearts who meet up on a date as superheroes and fight crime.
We got a crew together, however my heart was not in it, as I wanted to call it off to work on longer on Pre-Production. It felt like a rushed production, I lacked confidence and literally didn't know how to direct, so that film fell by the way side, besides that, the sound was poor and we had no editor! I felt guilty for many years, feeling like I’d had let the cast and crew down, and I never wanted to be in that position again. If I was to make another short film I would want to be in charge on all aspects of production.
Five years on I’ve been shooting my own films /sketches on an iPad and editing them in a basic movie maker. Some of the films were improvised on the spot. I think I’ve made over 100 mini-shorts - a few specifically aimed at Sufferers of OCD to showcase how the disorder works / effects people. So my first ‘tip of the hat’ about my producing skills came from that avenue. I even had a request to make more!
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO BE SO CREATIVE?
The idea. If it’s a good one you have to find a way of showing it. Because I have a background in illustration this was always easy to do on paper, I would receive a brief and I would brainstorm it and then set to work.
With film it takes a bit more effort. If people like your idea you kind of feel empowered to make things happen. So it's good to have that supportive pat on the back. I have worked behind-the-scenes on a few local no-budget films and there is a lot of great fun to be had - this being another motivating factor.
I used to be under the impression that a film-set was a tense, ego-ridden place to be, and at any given moment you’d be snapped at by an Actor or a Member of the Crew. This may be the case at times on serious blockbusters, but having the element of fun on a no-budget film project is really essential.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FILM?
In a nutshell, “See you on Wednesday” is a dark satirical, surreal piece set in a world gone mad. It contains Three Metaphorical elements that portray how we persevere and react to the "Terror threat"
INSPIRATION FOR THE FILM?
I remember Working on an art-piece at the time of the recent terror attacks in Paris. I was saddened at the Loss Of Life and I detested the way the news was being reported! It often felt like a movie was being played out hour after hour....But this was real life!
I thought to myself, how do we actually stop this Madness happening? We’d all love a solution of sorts, but I feel we all search yet end up frustrated. I wanted to make a film to sum up everything. If the film appears utterly mad and nuts then that's pretty much the world I wanted to capture. Job done!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS FOR THIS FILM
I will say that this is my first ‘legitimate’ no-budget film. I'm starting from scratch, at the bottom of the ladder, and it’s about having an idea, picking up a camera, bringing your mates on board and getting it done . I did manage to pull a budget from my art fund, last year I had a great run of selling my Art prints all over the world (much to my surprise) so I decided to use part funds from that to create this film. (Because what I sold were cartoon standees of film stars I was tempted to call the production company / title "Paper Doll Present's" But I think I will stick with 'Kirk's Pen Productions' as it has served me well in the past).
As for the process, I spent many months brainstorming the idea. I only seriously sat down and finished it after a few friends said that this sounds great! Go for it! So I needed a nudge. After that, I got a cast together, many of whom I had worked with before and I was delighted that they liked my ideas. I scouted all locations and designed the look and feel of the film.
When you take your time to ensure that your pre-production process is ‘water-tight’ and you map out the route for your film, it makes it so easy to communicate to cast and crew, and as a result they feel rest assured that their time is really worth it.
Lots of people have different ways of working, each to their own. Sometimes you learn from others, even from their mistakes. I was acting on a shoot last year that was very tiring, tedious and I even injured myself. That film still hasn’t been released, so I came away thinking I would rather be behind a camera than be in front of it. There is nothing worse than coming away from a production feeling alienated and used.
For me, it’s all about ‘team effort’ from the very first time you’re together all the way through to the end. And by communicating effectively with each other and having loads of fun - all of this goes a long way to ensuring that the whole film experience is an enjoyable one.
As a Film Director / Producer / Creative, you have a duty to make sure that a project is started, finished and delivered. It’s this rule and practice that keeps any business on track. I feel it’s a massive ‘let down’ when an Actor prepares and gives up his or her time and never ever gets to see any film footage, not even a screenshot or anything at all at the end of it - so it's absolutely vital that cast and crew are kept in the loop on that perspective.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CREATING A FILM NOW? ARE YOU MORE CONFIDENT?
I am very happy that I have full control over this project, that being, the Shooting, Directing and Editing. I always used to think that editing was the hardest, most tedious, time-consuming job, on a film project, but I really enjoy it, because at the end of the day it’s just like creating a piece of art, just using different tools. You are working to your vision and if you know how that is going to look and be put together, then the process can be easy.
Whether I could edit someone else's vision, I am not entirely sure, because it's not about being a jack of all trades, as you have to learn all aspects of what you are trying to master and also be honest if you fail at things. However no matter what you do, you will still learn.
WHAT WERE YOUR EXPERIENCES MAKING THIS FILM ?
I do suffer with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), so I did experience a fearful night before the First Day of Shooting. Thoughts such as ...
"The camera will break down midway through……You’ll get hassle from crowds on locations….My very young nephew who is in the film will be seriously hard work etc. I had all those fears hanging over my head, but in actual fact, it went smoothly.
It was a hot busy day with lots of set-ups and I was literally sweating buckets. I remember filming the actor, Angus Brown's last scene, with sweat dripping off my nose, after we over-ran by three hours, but I was desperate to get the shoot done. It was all worth it and I am grateful to all the actors going the distance, they were so professional. I came away from the shoot absolutely exhausted, but very happy!
WHEN AND WHERE WILL WE SEE THIS SHORT FILM?
I finish shooting in early July. I would like this film online in late July via Youtube, Vimeo and to also be available as a personal DVD. I’ve prepared a Mini-Teaser, and there is to be an Introductory Teaser to the film. I am not keen on full-blown trailers for short films. I saw two recently online and they pretty much gave you good reason to put watching the film on the back-burner because the story board and spoilers were all in the trailer. It kills the Project in a way, so a Teaser is enough for me, that's just my opinion.
DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE FILM PROJECTS LINED UP ?
I want to create my first solid short film that I am happy with. The title "Director" or "Writer" does not sit well with me, as I feel at this stage I am just a chancer. But if you have vision and confidence you have to take a chance and simply step into the "Role" to get things done. When any piece of art is put out there, it’s the audience / public that buy it and they're the ones who actually decide if you’re good at what you do or not.
I have many Film ideas – an additional three have been written. So, if I am happy with my first, it may be something I do again. At the moment I am confident and happy the way things are going.