Your new movie P.O.V. - in a
few words, what is it about?
So itís a horror about this guy (Zack) whoís just been dumped by his
girlfriend. His big brother, whoís a bit of a loose cannon, decides the
best way to cheer him up is to throw a house party in this abandoned old
peopleís home heís refurbishing that was rumoured to be abandoned
because the previous owner thought all the residents had been possessed by
demons out to kill him. Then as things start to kick off Zackís friends
fall victim to this Ďdemoní curse and it Ďall hits the faní.
Then the part thatís a bit unique is that the whole thing is seen directly
through the lead characters eyes in real time.
What were your inspirations when writing P.O.V.?
It was originally gonna be called Rebound. I was making this other horror
film which didnít have the Ď1st personí gimmick; was just
a more traditional style filmed piece. But then at the eleventh hour it
all fell apart. I was close to giving up on my filmmaking daydreams and
kinda on the rebound when I wrote this which sort of parallels with the
The opening two lines of the film in fact where Zack says ĎYou didnít
deserve what she did to you. Youíre not gonna let this tear you apartí
is Zack venting about his girlfriend dumping him but for me is a bit of a
cathartic dig at the actress who walked out on the previous film we were
making. She did apologize about a year later and to be fair
far more unique animal and a better story so in retrospect it all kinda
worked out in the end.
In another odd coincidence my girlfriend at the time actually dumped me the
Monday I got back from filming P.O.V.. Maybe I shouldíve written into the
script that instead of being dumped the lead character had just won the
lottery. Never mind, eh.
In terms of the shooting style there was a music video in the 90ís by The
Prodigy called ĎSmack My Bitch Upí that was done entirely in this
first person style which had always stuck with me and thought could be a
cool concept put into the world of horror. The three police characters in
the film were actually named Howlett, Jonas and Akerlund after the
Prodigyís Liam Howlett (who wrote that track) and the director of that
Music video Jonas Akerlund.
being a horror movie - is that a genre at all dear to you?
donít really have a favourite genre. I like all types of films but am
always drawn to horrors for some reason. Even if a horror film just has a
cool poster, itís enough for me to give it a watch.
P.O.V. is shot in
its entirety first person, p.o.v.-style - what made you choose exactly
this approach? And what were the advantages but also challenges
I guess I knew from the outset weíre never gonna be able to compete with
all the big budget films in terms of production value and grandeur so just
wanted to find a different way to tell a story with what resources we did
An advantage to doing long-all-in-one-take scenes is you can get through lots
of pages of the script really quickly, but then this is also a disadvantage
as you canít cut and certainly canít save a performance in the edit.
The actors really have to be on it every second; not just the principals
but everyone on screen. Everyone has to hit the mark and the energy has to
be right and to change just one thing you have to go all the way back to
the beginning of that section. Itís not a shooting style I would
recommend to anyone to be honest. It limits what you can do in terms of a
score for the film too; especially with horror the music is massive in
creating tension and suspense. The novelty of sticking a camera on an
actorís head has well and truly worn off but Iím pleased to have had
that experience and really proud of what we achieved.
In your film, screentime equals real time with
hardly any noticable cut - but how long did the movie take to shoot for
main bit in the nursing home was done over 9 days in November 2013 and
then the other scenes over 4 days between then and April 2014. The last
scene we shot was actually the first scene in the film. Thatís not too
unusual on traditional films I guess but for one thatís played out in
real time is kinda ironic.
Do talk about your main location for a bit, and
what was it like filming there?
It was perfect for the story. In the script itís an abandoned retirement
home and thatís exactly what it was in real life. It had been unused for
about 5 years so in terms of set dressing it was already all there.
Did have a few draw backs. Only a few of the lights still worked. Weíd
bought loads of new light bulbs but unfortunately the wiring had eroded.
Not all doors had handles so there were a few rooms if you went in there
was no way out. Also someone had previously broken in and stolen all the
copper piping so there was no heating.
The cast & crew all seemed to enjoy themselves though and become quite
fond of the place. The owners have sold it on now. Iím guessing
theyíll re-carpet as I couldnít get all the blood stains out of the
What can you tell us
about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Iíd worked with quite a lot of them before and most of the main roles were
written with those specific actors and actresses in mind. Luckily they all
said yes when I offered them parts.
One thing Iím really pleased with in the film is the acting. Thatís
something I think other no budget films suffer with a bit but the actors I
had were great and very natural; especially considering all the long takes
and the odd shooting style. I wouldnít be surprised to see all of them
go onto bigger things; itís just a case of catching that break and being
seen by the right people as they definitely have the talent.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
have really wished for a better cast & crew. Everyone seemed to hit it
off instantly. They all had a laugh and looked after each other and when
it came down to business were really professional. There were no divas. No
egos. Just an amazing bunch of people both creatively and on a personal
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of P.O.V.
Itís been pretty positive so far all round. I think people are a bit surprised
by it; especially once they realize itís not another Ďfound footageí
horror but something a little different.
Itís got into film festivals in the UK, Australia and the Philippines and is
out on VOD in the UK via thehorrorshow.tv
and soon to be released in the
US with Continuum Motion Pictures.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
most recent project thatís in post production is actually a romantic
drama, so a bit of a departure from a blokey horror. Thatís called You
are my Sunshine. I also did a 2 minute comedy short recently called Mr Snuggles about a soft toy who canít wait to meet his new owner
and am planning and rehearsing another short film for the festival circuit
called Jump which Iím really excited about.
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
I guess Iíve always been a daydreamer and just want to be a storyteller.
I donít really know why, thatís just what excites me and gets me
through the dead end day jobs.
I never went to film school. If I had that kind of money Iíd probably just
use it to make a film. So am self taught I guess. Iíve certainly made
mistakes along the way and obviously trying to make films without any real
money is tough but I think you
learn more from doing.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to P.O.V.?
done quite a lot of short films now which have won a few awards and been
selected to film festivals internationally including one into an Oscar/Bafta-qualifying film festival. Iíve had 3 feature scripts
optioned too and some short scripts produced by other directors. Also had
my debut novel published (Tabula Rasa Ė available on amazon - cheap plug).
would you describe yourself as a director?
like to think Iím a director that gives the actors something to sink
their teeth into and then let them do what they do best; making the odd
tweak here and there. I think itís definitely a collaboration between
the director and the actors and the DoP, sound recordist, composer etc etc,
not a dictatorship. If you bring these creative people into the fold it
doesnít really make sense not to give them room to do their thing and
make the most of their talents.
who inspire you?
guess the heavyweights that everyone probably says like Christopher Nolan,
David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky, Tim Burton, Scorsese, Kubrick. I like
Steve McQueenís style too. For horror Neil Marshall.
Your favourite movies?
all time would be Fight Club and after that thereís so many this would
turn into an essay.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
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nothing I really hate. Knowing how difficult it is to make films and just
how much time and work goes into making a film Iíd never completely
slate someoneís film. Thereís a few that have been a bit of a struggle
to see through to the end I must admit but then the thing about anything
creative is what one person thinks is a masterpiece another thinks is a
pile of ...
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Out now on VOD: http://thehorrorshow.tv/movie-display/pov-2014
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
really. Hope people check out the film and are entertained for 90 minutes
... well, 85 minutes.
for the interview!