Author Archives: Berry Productions
We put a shout out on Twitter for independent comic book artists to send us their comic book front covers to feature in Wonderful! The scene takes place outside a comic book shop, with the front covers appearing in the shop window. As independent filmmakers, we always wanted to use indie artists to help showcase new artwork!
The comics were displayed in a comic book shop window, in a scene where Donald realises he must become the much loved Mr Wonderful one last time!
Here are the fantastic comic books we used. Click on the images for the artists websites/social media sites for more info about them and their comic books:
Post Production: The Edit
Your script was the best thing ever written. There’s an absolutely amazing cast and crew involved. The locations are incredible and everything went brilliantly whilst shooting. Some of the shots your cinematographer and camera operators filmed are outstanding. This is it! You’ve just wrapped on the film of the decade!
But wait… it’s not over yet. In fact you’re not even half way through. The next stage in the production of this incredible film is one of the most important. Post-production. The edit!
Editing a film is a bit like decorating a cake. You’ve made the mixture, baked the cake, but now you’ve got the mammoth task of making it look really, really good! Fail and you could end up with… well… a complete mess! All that hard work by everyone could be destroyed in an instant. And a bad edit, or an editor who does not get the directors feel of the film, could change the entire tone of the production.
We edit on Adobe Premiere Pro and, to try and speed up our post-production, we began the edit as soon as we’d finished our first days shoot. The first task is like sorting your sock drawer. Going through everything you’ve filmed and finding all that works, all that you want in the final film, and everything that you don’t. We also have to do tedious tasks like syncing audio to the visuals etc.
Finally beginning the actual edit is a very creative process. You have to be able to visualise the final film, from a large number of clips that were shot by the filmmakers on set. As independent filmmakers working on a zero budget, inevitably we end up doing everything ourselves. This can be both a blessing and a curse.
The blessing: Myself (Joe) and my co-director Callum plan every shot meticulously. We shoot for the edit, meaning that when we film a scene, we already have in mind exactly what we want the edit to be and therefore know exactly what shots we need to capture. It makes our job as editors that much easier, rather than trawling through hours of footage.
The curse: Because we shoot for the edit, we sometimes find that things don’t always work exactly the way we envisioned them to. If this happens, we have to try and ‘fix’ the scene in the edit suite. Not a great idea as more than often you’re just trying to cover up mistakes. Editing your own footage is also very hard because, inevitably, there will be some shots that are absolutely amazing and you have great memories connected to it, that you have to throw away and not use. Giving up one of your favourite things can be very hard.
Luckily, whilst editing Wonderful, we haven’t stumbled upon too many problems. Because we planned so well in the initial stages, our shoot for the edit technique really worked. Our major setback (that always seems to happen) is that we have overrun on the length of the film. What was intended to be a 20 minutes short, is now just under 30. We’re hoping that our film won’t suffer because of this when it comes to entering it into festivals.
Overall, editing Wonderful has been fun as it’s great seeing the film slowly coming together. We’re really proud of everything that everyone has put into it. As perfectionists of our own work, there will always be little bits to tidy up and tweak. But that could go on forever. At some point you’ve got to step back and say, “Right, that’s the edit locked down. Time to move on to the next step of post-production.
Sound effects, music, colour correcting… colour grading… visual effects… What? You thought that once the edit was done the film was completed?
Promotional posters and artwork for Wonderful.
Mr Wonderful, Donald Wilfull, and Dr Deranged feature in these three official posters!
These Mr Wonderful comic book covers are actually used within the film itself, but also make brilliant posters for the film!
Stills from the film made for great teaser posters…
The original poster we used to sell the idea for the film and get the cast and crew on board!
24th November 2015
Wow… a month has gone by since our last shoot! Where does the time go? Before we know it we’ll all be playing with hoverboards and driving flying cars. Oh… wait…
Today we had a few different small scenes to film, in a couple of different locations. We started off at Wyke College in Hull. Our man, Ben Wade, works at the college and got us access to one of the theatres there. David was back in his Mr Wonderful costume, and Richie Donaldson, who plays our villain, came back to Hull from London for the day to get the scene done.
Using the black curtains as a backdrop and the stage lighting to illuminate the scene, gave the confrontation between our hero and his nemesis a moody, other-worldly feel that worked really well!
Then it was back to mine for some greenscreen scenes. Jase Mayo joined us for a small scene, brilliantly playing a newsreader. Then we had Connor Purdue in our superhero costume playing a young Mr Wonderful. He’d never done anything like this before but did a great job as our young hero, battling against the villainous Dr Deranged!
We finished the night off with Richie recording his ADR for some of his scenes. This was about 11 o’clock at night. Richie screaming at the top of his voice. My neighbours probably thought we were killing someone. Oops!
There’s that old saying: ‘Never work with children’. In some ways it’s completely true. Working with children and animals adds an extra set of rules, pressures and restraints. It adds extra stress, extra responsibility and extra worry but can also be rewarding in many ways.
I used to work in a school and made lots of films with the children so understand the problems working with kids. We’ve also had child actors in a number of our films such as ‘Yesterday‘, ‘The Field‘ and more recently ‘Wonderful’. We also run filmmaking workshops with primary school children around Hull so I’ve worked with lots of kids and hopefully my experience may help others working on a film project with them!
Of course, all children are different, but more often than not all kids will respond to the following:
FILL ‘EM WITH TREATS
Kids love sweets and chocolate and junk food. Mum and dad may not approve but, if you want to keep a kid happy, fill them full of sugar and junk! It makes them like you, knowing that you want to give them stuff to eat, and is also great as a bribing tool. “Let’s do one more take then you can have some sweets!” Just beware of the sugar rush and the inevitable comedown!
When we filmed ‘The Field’, we shot a scene in an actual sweet shop. This was the best location possible as I basically bribed the kids – I told them I’d buy them all a bunch of sweets at the end of the shoot, if they knuckled down and got the job done!
GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO DO
Working on a film set can be long and somewhat boring if you’re an actor. Lots of waiting around with nothing to do until it’s time for a take. Kids get bored easily and will soon get distracted, wander off or start messing around. The easiest thing to do to relieve them of boredom is take some books/comics for them to read and games for them to play. Ipads and kindles, even games on phones, will keep kids distracted for hours. Again can be used as bribing tools as well! We also take along an extra camera so they can film stuff for themselves. Sometimes the footage they shoot is great for the extra features!
When making ‘The Field’ we had a still photographer with us who took the kids away whilst we were setting up and did some great, fun photoshoots with them!
LONG HOURS = TEARS
Keeping a shoot as short as possible is a must. We all get tired after a long days shoot, but adults (at least most adults) have the ability to plough through their tiredness and move on. Kids can find it hard and, especially with younger children, long hours can get to them. We’ve experienced tears and tantrums towards the end of the day so do try and keep your shoots as short as possible.
KIDS LIKE TO TALK
Lots. When we were making ‘The Field’ it was virtually impossibly to get a moments silence. It makes it extremely stressful for the crew to get on with their job and keep focussed on their task in hand when someone is jibber-jabbering constantly in your ear. The trick is not to lose patience with them. It might be a good idea to have someone on set that’s sole role is to keep the kids entertained. Someone they can talk to and not disturb.
KEEP IT FUN
Kids like to have fun. They like to enjoy themselves. Don’t we all? Making a film is essentially work – and hard work at that. Keeping it fun is vitally important, especially when children are involved. If the kids think of it as working, with bossy adults telling them what to do, they’ll stop wanting to get involved making it harder for everyone. If its fun, everyone’s enjoying themselves and having a good time, then the children will give you a good performance and keep being excited to come back and film the rest of the scenes.
There are many brilliant child actors out there and, if you’re willing to put in the extra effort it takes to work with them, can be a great asset to your film. Children are the main stars of our film ‘The Field’ and it is their innocence, unique take on the world and sense of adventure that make the film work really well!
If you’re working with kids then good luck, keep calm and work with them to make something great! I look forward to seeing what you make!
Our Budding Berries Filmmaking Workshops, run by myself (Joe) and Callum from Berry Productions, created a great film called ‘A Time To Change’, about Climate Change with year 3 children from St. Mary Queen of Martyrs in Hull. It has been screening at various film festivals and competitions around the world, even achieving a best short film award in China, so it has been a great success.
However, the main reason for creating this film was for the Close Up Campaign by the Climate Coalition. ‘A Time To Change’ received high praise as being a “particularly creative and inspiring example of youth voices on climate change.” We were invited to London to take part in the Climate Coalition’s close up on climate change event, led by Oxfam, CAFOD and Into Film, and a trip to Westminster to show our film to members of parliament!
Myself, Mrs Monahan and five of the 8-9 year old children who made the film from St. Mary’s, met at Hull train station at the un-Godly hour of 6am to catch the train to the capital. We were kept entertained by games of chess and cards. What a sophisticated group!
From King’s Cross we headed to the tubes to get to the Waterloo Action Centre, where the event was taking place. It is tricky taking one child around the underground let alone five and in rush hour! Luckily we didn’t lose anyone and the kids love hopping from tube to tube!
At the Close Up Campaign event there were a lot of other children of all age ranges in attendance from all over the country, but we had travelled the furthest! The children took part in a great, fun workshop about climate change and learned some interesting facts about our government and how they are the decision makers when it comes to policies regarding our planet. They then made some brilliant animations with Into Film about global warming and the melting polar icecaps.
After lunch we took in the sights of London as we walked to Westminster Abbey. The children loved the hustle and bustle of the London streets, the graffiti artwork and crossing Westminster Bridge and passing Big Ben.
Westminster is such an amazing building so it didn’t matter that we had to wait to get inside. Everyone was enjoying looking at the gargoyles and statues adorning the building and intrigued by the amount of police, security and x-ray scanners!
Inside the Palace of Westminster we all had a great time exploring the corridors and seeing the amazing architecture, paintings and sculptures. The children felt like they were in Hogwarts!
We then showed the film to the group and it was received with a huge applause – they absolutely loved it! Some of the MPs made an appearance to talk to everyone about climate change and what they hoped to do about it. Unfortunately, our MP couldn’t make it, but her assistant promised us that she would visit the school very soon!
It was time to go home, at least our three hour journey back home anyway! All very tired after what was a brilliant day! We’re over the moon with the success of ‘A Time To Change’ and will keep submitting it to festivals and competitions all over the world, in a hope that the message the incredible kids that made it are saying will be heard by all!
Please watch their film and share it with your friends.
As they say themselves:
“People from all over the world must come together and work as one. This is our only home. Trust us, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.”
At Berry Productions we have an amazing group of people, both in front and behind the camera. For our new film ‘Wonderful’, that group has expanded even further!
David Aston as Donald Willful
An old man who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, who believes he was once the great superhero – Mr Wonderful!
Taking the lead role in ‘Wonderful’, David plays both the fragile yet frustrated elderly Donald, and the strong and determined Mr Wonderful to perfection!
Joanne Gallagher as Elizabeth
Looking after her elderly father is a constant struggle for Elizabeth, especially when she must constantly remind him that he is not a superhero.
Joanne plays the role brilliantly, showing both the love she feels for her father, and the frustration of being his carer.
Richie Donaldson as Dr Range
An obnoxious doctor who Donald Willful deeply mistrusts. Dr Range has no time for the elderly and treats Donald like a child.
Playing the (possible) villain of a film is always fun and Richie has a lot of fun with this character! He gives a great performance as the untrustworthy doctor!
Chance Monahan as Charlie
Donald’s young grandson is a huge fan of superheroes. Will he believe that his grandfather is Mr Wonderful, his favourite of all the heroes?
This is eight year old Chance’s first serious acting role and he plays the character brilliantly!
Directed by: Joseph Monahan and Callum Smith
Written by: Joseph Monahan
Produced by: Joseph Monahan and Callum Smith
Music Composer and Performer: Callum Smith
Sound Recorders: Ben Wade, Neil Watling and Joseph Monahan
Camera Operators: Callum Smith and Joseph Monahan
Additional Camera Operators: Carl Greene and Neil Watling
Still Photography: Ben Wade
Costume Designer: Joseph Monahan
Costumes: Elli Noble
Hair and Make-Up: Joseph Monahan, Andy Train and Joanne Gallagher
Edited, SFX and Visual Effects: Callum Smith and Joseph Monahan
Production Assistants: Carl Greene, Neil Watling, Joanne Gallagher, Katy D’Arcy, Lewis Antcliff
Mr Wonderful Comic Art: Joseph Monahan
24th October 2015
Our last major scene to shoot involved comic books, shop fronts, and a couple of thugs! And it proved a tricky one to prepare for. Originally it was set down a supermarket aisle, but finding a supermarket to let us film in was proving tricky. So we changed the scene to be set down an alleyway next to a comic book shop.
After much searching we discovered a great shop front in Oresome Jewellery next to Martin’s Alley, down Humber Street in Hull and we were set to go! The ladies at Oresome were brilliant, allowing us to use their workshop as our base whilst we filmed out in the cold! We put comic books in the glass windows and named our shop ‘Old Joe’s Comics’ in homage to Old Joe from our last film ‘The Field‘.
Katy D’Arcy played our shop worker, whilst Lee Williams and Callum Smith played two thugs that confront our lead star, David Aston, down the alley.
It was cold and raining off and on throughout the day, so we had to try to keep warm – a challenge for David who was freezing in his thin, lycra Mr Wonderful costume! We did fit in a great lunch at Thieving Harry’s across the street, which warmed us up for a while!
We battled on through the cold and managed to shoot a great scene! With only a few short sections left to film, the main bulk of filming for Wonderful is now complete!
10th October 2015
This week we were back at Age UK filming another scene from our ‘meant to take a couple of months but have ended up taking half a year to make’ film ‘Wonderful’. This time we were in the reception and we promised Pam from Age UK that it wouldn’t be a twelve hour shoot like last time. Thankfully we held up to our promise!
This is the opening scene to our film so it had to be right. David Aston was back as Donald, and we had Hannah Davies on board as our receptionist/nurse. With Len, Pam and our own Ben Wade as extras, everyone involved did a great job! Even our actress Jo helped out on sound! (shocker! Only joking… or am I?)
For the opening we had an epic shot planned following David across the reception. To deliver this we borrowed a wheelchair from Age UK. With Callum in the chair filming and Joe pushing the chair, we were able to capture a smooth run through the scene! One day we might be able to afford an amazing dolly, but for now we’ll stick to the wheels!
Keeping our promise we had finished in time for dinner. A nice feeling finishing early after most of our previous shoots had been full days or longer. We even managed some Bacon and sausage sandwiches provided by Pam! I think we’ll come again!
Another great shoot and a brilliant opening to our film! Now everyone… pull a silly face..