Second Best All Rounder – Full Version

Second Best All Rounder shot 2


“Yeah, fine, it’s a dump anyway!”

So its been a while but i have finally made those last little amendments and completed Second Best All Rounder!

Overall I am quite happy with the film, there are elements that I would have done differently if I had the chance but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

I really would love to hear from you on what you think works and doesn’t work!





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Hausu – what the?! (in a good way)

hausuHaving a day outing at the London BFI on saturday prompted a visit to the BFI store. I appreciate why the DVDs and Blu Rays are always at least a couple  of quid more than online but buying it from the store at least helps keeping the BFI afloat. I then had to decide on what film to buy , after much searching and researching I chose Hausu (1977, Nobuhiko Ôbayashi) it was £12 so a couple of quid more expensive than online, but the extra charge is a memory of the past since after sticking it on last night I was blown away. Without doing too much reading into any film, i just knew it was supposedly worth a watch and had high cult status, i just stuck it on and anticipated the surprise. I have never seen ANYTHING like this before, it was absolutely mental and 93mins is at the low end of the length of film and i must admit if they had of carried the story on somehow it wouldn’t have got boring. Comically i watched this yesterday after the dullest Hitchcock film I’ve seen called Topaz, i wont talk any more about it because its unmemorable and long. Back to Hausu, well don’t go back to THE Hausu, i wouldn’t recommend it there are crazy cat paintings, a violent piano and a killer lampshade.

Firstly, I just want to show appreciation to the Masters Of Cinema releases, they vary from DVD to Dual Format films with a 35ish page booklet and as much extras as they can get their hands on. I have only been seeing these collections recently and Hausu was my first Master of Cinema purchase. Although they are more expensive than other DVDs and Blu Rays them seem worth it, not only because they are a very eclectic and diverse bunch of films. Also some of the films are previously unreleased and the extras help to the films that more satisfying feel to the purchase.

The film follows the story of 7 girls as they head out to a more desolate location of Japan visiting an Auntie of the protagonist; Angel. From the first shot you can tell that this film is going to wacky and inspired, I was gripped from the beginning. I swear there about 5 separate scenes in first 3 minutes, it keeps that pace all the way though and you have no time to get bored. I see no point in giving away too much of the film because the surprise will keep you on the edge of your seat but to give you a feel to what you will experience, the director Obayashi had never made a feature before and was known for his commercials with many stars such as Kirk Douglas and Ringo Starr. After being offered money by one of the top 5 production studios in Japan: Toho, he set about writing a script with the aid of his young daughter. To give you a bit of the macro elements surrounding the film, JAWS the first film to break the $100million box office mark had made the whole world ripple, thus House was inspired by a man eating shark. The only inspiration it got was a man eating (woman eating) creature, in this film, as you can predict, its a house. Going back to the narrative the 7 girls get directions from a watermelon seller to the house on the hill, apparently no one has been there for years, DUH DUH DAAAAA. You don’t really have any time to think in the film you have a quick milli-second to work out whats happening. What is amazing is the film actually follows an enjoyable and interesting narrative to keep you gripped and I LOVED the ending without giving too much away. The “horror” elements are still quite tongue in cheek but the first murder is pretty memorable and twisted, well they all are.

Im not going to lie this is no Shawshank Redemption but it is a World Cinema experience and there is no way you will forget it. BUY IT there’s some good documentaries and a interesting and beautiful booklet with it too.

Feel free to leave a comment,


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Old Joy, oh boy, destroy – the worse indie film i’ve ever seen

Last night I sat down in the company of my girlfriend to watch a film, I would say generally this is an enjoyable experience since I try and pick a film that would be different and interesting even if it isn’t perfect.

This time it was quite possibly the worst experience of my life from watching a film, well 2 films (and i think Julia shares this opinion)! We started with watching Along Came A Spider (Lee Tamahori, 2001). The opening sequence was seemingly fine until an appalling CGI moment reared its ugly head.  Tracey with a y (I think), clings helplessly to the ruins of a car as it teeters over the edge of a smashed motorway barrier and a wholly unrealistic waterfall,  before looking into the eyes of Morgan Freeman and falling to her death. Julia and I both looked at each other in shock and amazement that that sequence was actually in the film, I dislike over used CGI action anyway but at least make it look a bit realistic?!That was strike one for this film, strike two was about 2 minutes after when there was a teacher with the stereotypical quintessential British accent that very little british people actually have. Luckily it turns out he was putting the voice on which was a relief. At this point I was also very confused at the visuals of the film it was highly saturated with bright sets and comical characters, isn’t this supposed to a violent psychological thriller? Anyway strike three which ment it had to be turned off was about 5 minutes later when a girl is kidnapped and has a cheesy dream where she say’s “mummy where are you” or some bullshit all verisimilitude is lost with this unnatural convenient sleep talk, btw the kid says it clear as day and just at that moment there is a voice recorder hovering by her mouth. Strike three. You’re out of there. We couldn’t watch on.

So with the hope of finding something actually watchable we turned to a slow paced drama called Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt, 2006) we had the feeling where we going to see this until the end no matter what (I thought i would watch it all, at least until I grabbed the nearest sharpest object and hacked by throat to relieve the pent up anger of the worse film I have seen in years) It starts off as you can guess…slow. The acting from the female character was dire but with an indie film you sometimes have to let it go, the two characters definitely did not seem like a couple expecting a baby. Un-talkative and awkward. Anyway the first male character speaks to the second male character on the phone and they arrange a trip to a nature reserve for a night. Basically to sum it up so you don’t ever waste your time watching it they go to the place and get lost a bit then stay in the woods and talk about nothing really, then go to a natural spring and then go home.that its.nothing interesting images. The script is dribble and boring. The direction is equally pointless (I noticed some mug must have put some money into it because the shots where the characters are doing nothing in the car is filmed by a camera rig attached to the outside of the car, this would have cost a bit) so with these sort of films that are hideously slow usually there is a quirky character which make it enjoyable to just stare at their mannerisms and gestures, these guys had neither but they had clearly practiced the blank vacant expression because they used it enough. Also with these sort of films you can usually predict a bit of round the fire philosophy whilst in the great outdoors, it did, well sort of. There was no philosophy well anyway that had an interesting view or original concept. one element I haven’t mentioned yet was the soundtrack, I sort of got excited seeing Yo La Tengo as the musicians accompanying the film, I shouldn’t have, the music was really boring and sludgy, maybe it was the fact that it was put with way too many pretentious tree shots and car tracking shots either way it did not help at all.

I always like to mention a favourite shot and there was one, the most blatantly obvious goof I have seen, where the microphone boom is seen in the reflection of the van door when the characters are loading up. What a shot! That must have taken a genius to plan that and completely miss it all the way through the editing process. Who edited it anyway?a monkey?well a baboon could have quite happily edited it anyway…on iMovie…blindfolded… oh the best bit is the dog, the dog looks really nice!the dog kept my attention since the two characters blank expressions were making me question existence.

Its very unusual for an indie film to have nothing going for it but this Old Joy is utter shit and without being sexist I think partly it is a female director writing a story about two men, she clearly doesn’t know what blokes actually get up to if they meet up and go for an adventure but they sure don’t sip at a single beer and shoot beer cans with a small pellet gun. I have been watching slow films recently so I am willing to be patient and stare into a film until I see the beauty (all works by Bela Tarr are very slow, Werckemeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr, Agnes Hranitzky 2000) is a film that only has about 39 shots or something but it has a brilliant eerie feel and the slow pace works for it.)

I also have to mention the reviews, there are reviewers who LOVE this film some even considered it the best American Film of the Year and praise the performance by the actors, absolute shock. Did these reviewers see something I didn’t?! Please make your mind up for yourselves and let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading,


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Second Best All Rounder – 3 minute version

Its up and live the three minute version of my second short film: Second Best All Rounder

Please have a watch of the three minute version but also understand that i am not that proud of it since the actual version is 7-8minutes long and it has the feel of what we trying to create a lot better, the full length version will be available in the coming weeks and then its on to the next film – all I can say about the next film is Grass…

Feel free to leave a comment or follow me, i also have twitter: leobynorthwest

Cheers for reading and watching!



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Review – Hitch and Shadow of a Doubt

Hitchcock’s favourite film he made was said to be Shadow of a Doubt (1943). Watching it again this weekend reminded me how absorbing the film is. The film is quite overlooked and although it was earlier than other Classics that everyone has heard of like Rear Window  (1954), Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963) it should be rated just as highly.

Hitchcock has been in the limelight recently, over xmas The Girl was on BBC TV, this one off TV special really impressed me and already knowing all about Hitchcock’s obsession with the perfect blonde and more specifically the malleable Tippi Hedren, it gave a very accurate view of Hitchcock behind the scenes. Most credit should go to Toby Jones, his performance as the harassing director was never overacted and the mannerisms and gestures would be exactly as I could picture Hitchcock. I thought even the visuals of the episode were fantastic, I was watching it in HD but it did still give the impression that it was filmed 50 years ago. To juxtapose, a recent trip to see the Hobbit (8/10) (Peter Jackson, 2011) there was a trailer for the much anticipated Hitchcock starring Anthony Hopkins and Scarlett Johansson. Ive been looking forward to this film from the day it was announced, but the trailer put me off. Either it was from already seeing Toby Jones naturalistic controlled performance of Hitch at xmas or the fact that Hopkins was overacting they both made me really deflated at the film. Hopkins is seen prancing around, shouting, playing up and generally just being ridiculous. The script sounds way too “American” too. I never thought I could be put off of a film with a 2minute trailer but it did and after reading a brief few reviews I MIGHT watch it when it gets aired on TV but other than that I am not fussed. Toby Jones has had this affect on me before with a parallel performance of a biopic. Capote starring Seymour Hoffman was the first film I has seen with regards to Truman Capote and i thought it was great, until I saw Infamous (which came out a year after) I only saw Infamous recently but I was blown away, the film is even better and the acting of this Brit has once again stuck two fingers to the Americans for overacting ;)

Shadow of a Doubt was made in the first years after Hitchcock moved to America with the desire to have larger budgets and a grander production team. Shadow of a Doubt does start in a standard Hitchcock manner of a protagonist escaping the law. The protaginst is Charles played by Joseph Cotten, known from his earlier film Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941). Charles’ escape takes him away from his hometown and over to his sisters house in California.  Charles our protagonist is rated so highly by his sisters family that his sister named her daughter after him, the teenager Charlie. By spoonfeeding pieces of information Hitchcock does that build up of tension and suspense, these elements are what he is so well known for. I must admit although I have seen it before I couldn’t remember the ending so was just as surprised as the first time. I think the thing that makes the film utterly brilliant is the minor roles play a vital part, the sister of Charles is played brilliantly and convincingly  not only fast talking but also witty, she definately keeps the pace of the film. I think this is also one of Hitchcock’s darkest films, when you think about it (giving away a bit of the story) trying to kill your 15 year old niece is a bit messed up.  My favourite shot is the final shot of Charles and the transition after with some people dancing cross faded over the image, the first time I have seen Hitchcock layer a image over a transition.

Watch Shadow of a Doubt it will get that heart going way faster than most of that trash pumped out into the cinema!


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Second Best All Rounder – Post Production

Second Best All Rounder is still in post production but a first edit is ready, there will be two versions, a three minute version which will be entered into Reed Film Competition and the longer version which will be around 8 minutes, the 8 minute version will be way more how myself and Jakob Belbin (my collaborator) envisioned it.

Second Best All Rounder is a very different genre to little one, I would consider little one to be a horror where as SBAR could be classified as a comedy. SBAR draws alot on my opinions and ideas about the population of the UK; excuses and ballshit. As much as I appreciate everyone likes to say they are “too busy” and yes in their own mind I bet they do think they are busy. But seeing what happens behind closed doors, knowing from experience, busyness means staring into that rectangular pixel machine. I also strongly believe that most people are hugely ineffective, they have something that they do before going to bed after work, which will satisfy them to fall into a deep slumber but then realistically they are just hugely unorganized and take ages to get motivated to do that one singular job. My major concern is what will I be proud of when I am on my deathbed that makes me individual. I want to be defined as someone that really appreciates this one life we have on this planet and literally make the most of every minute. I don’t want to preach, that is why I want to make film, I have a lot to say but couldn’t think of anything worse than actually standing in front of a crowd preaching my possibly nieve view on the world. I can honestly say that in the week I am efficient and hard working, can everyone else say this? I am up at 6am, many question why but I have an hour and a half before leaving for work, to wash up, clear up the flat, make lunch, prepare dinner, do some work or do a 20 minute weight session before sitting down for 10-15 minutes to watch the news. My evening inst far off of this productivity, usually accepting I should relax by 8 o’clock with a film/TV series (luckily this is all research too ;) Reading has also infested my mind and i would never make a new years resolution because it is doomed to fail but if i did this year then its to read more books and I cant see that ever changing now, im hooked on books. As I said my pet hate is unorganized and unmotivated people.

Back to the film, SBAR is a genre i would not usually choose and probably would not choose again really, comedy is the most overlooked genre of film for “filmic” elements and I am not surprised. Its hard to make a comedy stylistic and funny, so i think i have gone more stylistic and so far i am most proud of this film in an editing perspective, little one was pretty simple in comparison. SBAR the full length version will only be available through buying the DVD, I have had people say they do not want to buy the little one DVD because it is online, I agree for most cases which is why I and Jakob were determined to make the DVD special for each buyer by numbering and signing it. We also strongly believe that if you really like something then nothing compares to having a physical version. The DVD of SBAR wil have both versions of the film and it will have a piece of the set to give it an extra bit of authenticity.

Thank you for reading and apologies for the delay in posts, I definatly have a review coming this weekend of a Hungarian Film which most will not have heard of :) (ill give you a clue its by Bela Tarr)

All the best


PS Check out some images for the Documentary I am making on Jakob Belbin!

Jakob Belbin Doc

Jakob Belbin Doc3

Jakob Belbin Doc2

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Been a bit quiet

Sorry for the lack of posts but i have been very busy!

Not only have we been getting ready for festivities, but more importantly i have been manically editing away to slice the film down to three minutes for the Reed competition.

The second short film we are working on is called “Second Best All Rounder”(had a working title of Ambition), the deadline for the three minute version completion is 31st Jan.

What i am also doing is a longer version of the film, a version which suits our vision a lot more closely. That is already up to six and a half minutes with the potential to be up to 10minutes.

To keep you interested i have put a few more screenshots to hopefully intrigue and excite!

Also in terms of film reviews, i have been slightly overpowered and have been forced against my will to watch the festive films, Elf, Home Alone, Die Hard…nothing worth reviewing at this point though, maybe my favourite Xmas film will get a mention soon… :)

Have a great Xmas and a Happy New Year.


SBAR Ben 2


SBAR Titles

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little one Limited Edition DVDs

Exciting times, we will be making a limited edition 50 DVDs of the little one, it will be a four panel piece of artwork designed by Jakob Belbin and each one will be signed and numbered, to order one just send me a message and i will put one by for when we get them in Janruary, only £6 including postage! Already have put some put by so get in there quick :)

Sorry for the lack of reviews, i haven’t been watching many films with the festivities and production of our film “Second Best All Rounder” (working title was Ambition)



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little one – part 3 and the next

Whilst we were making the film we were getting increasingly excited about the prospect of making a Trilogy, some of my favourite films are triologys, Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson, 2001, 2002, 2003) Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972, 1974, 1990) and the Batmans by Christopher Nolan.

Our plan was to make a second film which was almost entirely based on Bens character, this was going to be set in the same house and it was going to be a semi autobiographical film (a bit like little one) This was going to be a bit more crazy since Bens character is constantly doing voiceovers and monologues into the mirror and staring directly down the camera, the fourth wall was going to to be broken alot. There would have been a few shots with Jake but there would also have been a few shots of me filming Ben (quite deliberate), which would lead onto the third one, and that was going to be based on me filming the first two but also trying to make a career out of a different art form form the other two housemates. This was going to the most mental and ambiguous, having all three of us in the film and featuring footage of the “making of”. They were going to cross the boundary of fiction and documentary but all in a artistic way. This is why we did a little reshoot and got a couple of shots of ben later in the post production stage. the involvement of the little one in the second part was going to be a different doll and a more peculiar interaction with the Doll Collector. The third was going to have the return of Maria, but she was going to be more angry and have more of an invisible hold over the the character (me). More questions were also going to be asked in the sense of artistic freedom, but i shall not go into it too much just incase one day we decide to make them!

Onto the next anyway, working title of Ambition is in production. Heres a still below which has taken a long time to create, you should be able to work out and see why. Last weekends filming was great fun, a very productive saturday was hit with a less productive Sunday, voiceovers are hard at the best time when the actor is not acting in front of the camera and doing movement and gestures which would help create the character and emotion. But we really struggled. I have most shots and will need to redo a bit of the voiceovers but the film is taking shape and i have a almost sub 3minute version (and  6-7minute version coming along) Next weekend will be dedicated to shooting the few extra shots we need and then it is onto the sound and music (looks like we should be able to get this film submitted by Jan 31st deadline)

If you haven’t seen it a few times yet:

More on the new film later


Ambition Briony

Ambition Screenshot

Ambition Markus

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little one – Short Film – Part 2

little one was filmed in a record mode called iFrame, this was a lower quality but ment that it was easy to put into iMovie and edit, supposedly.  I started editing the film after the initial days filming, iMovie was ok until i got to a very simple editing techniques like cross fades, many problems arose and since I am relatively experienced in Final Cut I found iMovie clunky. I had to wait with the film as I saved up to buy Final Cut to be able to complete the film.

In making the film there were a few shots that proved harder work than others. We did a re-shoot and got a shot of Jake walking into the living room picking up an orange and leaving but we added in Ben sitting watching himself on TV, this was tricky to set up because I was standing on top of a work surface with the camera, Jake would press play on the laptop and run out of shot, he would then walk into shot and at that moment I had to have zoomed out and panned down to the orange bowl, we also had to tie this in with the perfect time that Ben turned around to have a look at what Jake was doing, I then had to zoom back in at the TV all in a set time. A few have said this is their favourite shot, so the hard work paid off. We also found that all the shots which had Jake throwing paint at the painting was hit or miss, no matter what we had to use those shots, luckily they turned out pretty well. Necessary first takes add production value and keep it exciting.

There are alot of meanings that people can get from this film, and we really hope it entices people to watch it again. There is nothing worse than a film that only needs to be watched once, it is entirely useless to me. The basics of the film is a struggling Artist is trying to create a perfect painting, the demands from Maria the Doll (aka little one) pushes him to breaking point. He lashes out and throws the doll around, releasing him from her restraints. The little ones boss is the Doll Collector, he warns Jakob in his dreams that he needs to hurry up due to the little one having another job coming up. The little one effectively jumps form Artist to Artist restricting their true original vision. It is therefore up to the artist to be released. Obviously we were implying this was all psychological and the painting of this piece is driving him insane. When he lashes out and throws paint at the painting his real expression is coming out and he effectively is released. Doesn’t every artist have a visit from the little one at some stage in their artistry career? David Lynchs Dune (1984) or Radioheads King of Limbs (yes yes the live versions have given much more to the album, why not do it like that in the first place?!) or even, dare i say, Hanekes Amour (2012)…(more on that later)

Working with Joe Gilder was a treat although we never met face to face to create the music the use of dropbox was vital. With the sound we wanted to basically make the room feel more uncomfortable and daunting. We used the sounds of paint pots and the scratch of paintbrushes to give extra depth. Since Gilder was so professional we hope to work with him on the next project. Please do check out his website at Boneyard Audio, he makes music for apps and games as his day job.

In part three a brief explanation on our plans to create a Trilogy within the very house and little one was going to have a little two and a little three.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment or ask a question if the film still confuses,



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