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Wonderful – Day 9

Berry Productions, Wonderful

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!

Berry Productions, Wonderful, Hull, Age UK, Independent film, filmmaking, indie film

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?)

Berry Productions, Wonderful, Hull, David Aston, Acting, Independent Film

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!

Berry Productions, Wonderful, Callum Smith, Hull, Age UK, indie film

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!

Wonderful, Berry Productions, Hull, Ben Wade

Another great shoot and a brilliant opening to our film! Now everyone… pull a  silly face..

Berry Productions, Wonderful, Filmmaking, Hull, Age UK

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Wonderful – Day 2 & 3

Day 2 strip

31st May and 7th June 2015

With only one day to rest from the epic fight scene we filmed at The Deep in Hull, we were back on set for a second day of shooting. A very different feel to today’s filming. We were filming in a nice, comfy house, with hot drinks on tap!

As we were looking for the house of an elderly man, the parents of our actress, Jo Gallagher, offered up their humble abode and it was perfect for what we were looking for.

Wonderful, Berry Productions, David Aston, Joseph Monahan

Our lead actor, David Aston, who plays Donald, was made to look older and run down, and even came with his own granddad slippers! Looking the part, he now had to play the part, and play it he did perfectly. A great balance between a sad man, suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, and a grumpy old bugger who just wants to be left alone!

Joanne Gallagher, Berry Productions, Wonderful, Callum Smith, Joseph Monahan

Jo Gallagher played the part of his long suffering daughter, Elizabeth, brilliantly. Showing a warming, caring affection for her father, but also the struggle of looking after an old man and feeling under appreciated. Obviously not when she’s sticking two fingers up at the camera. There’s always one. And it’s always Jo!

Chance Monahan, Berry Productions, Wonderful, Joseph Monahan, Callum Smith, David Aston

We also had Chance Monahan, our amazing little seven year old actor, in the scene, playing Donald’s grandson Charlie. As always with children, things take a little longer and you have to have a little more patience on set. Luckily Chance is my (Joe Monahan, the writer and co-director) son so it did make things easier! Plus he loves superheroes so is thrilled to be appearing in a film all about his new favourite superhero, Mr Wonderful!

Wonderful, Berry Productions, Joseph Monahan, Callum Smith, Joanne Gallagher, Neil Watling

This was the opening scene to the film so we had to make sure we had everything right. People judge a film from it’s first scene, a short film is judged even sooner – the first shot, possibly even the first frame! Luckily for us, filming went smoothly (except for one particular shot that took about seventeen takes!) and everything looked amazing, but time seemed to fly away from us. Before we knew it, it was time to finish up after an eight hour shoot. We’d only got the living room scene filmed and therefore would have to return for the other scenes set in the house.

Wonderful, Berry Productions, Joseph Monahan, Neil Watling, Ben Wade, David Aston, Joanne Gallagher, Callum Smith

It was another great scene ticked off our list and we were all really impressed with the outcome of the day! And that we got to drink tea and coffee and eat lots of biscuits! Perfection!

Wonderful, Berry Productions

Wonderful – Day 4

Wonderful, Berry Productions

29th June 2015

The day had arrived for our second trip to one of the highlights of Hull – The Deep – one of the UK’s best aquariums, home to over 3500 fish! Of course we weren’t going there for fun and to go ‘Ooooh’ and ‘Ahhhhh’ at all the spectacular marine life. We were there to complete our scenes for ‘Wonderful’.

The Deep, Hull, Wonderful

Luckily we only had one room to shoot in. It was the area we were unable to complete last time. The Cool Seas area, where our epic battle at the end of the film takes place! The great thing about this room were the lights. Little neon strips of light that change colour, scatter the walls of the room, making it feel like you’re on some kind of spaceship. Perfect for a villains lair!

Our two actors, David Aston and Richie Donaldson, pulled out all of the stops. You can tell that they both relished their roles and loved every second of it – as did we just watching them!

David Aston, Richie Donaldson, Wonderful, Berry Productions, Mr Wonderful, Dr Deranged

The tricky thing when making a film, is keeping track of everything going on. You have to concentrate on the shot you’re trying to get, make sure all of the lighting is in the correct place and consistent between shots, make sure the actors are aware of their markers and know exactly which part they are filming, and much, much more! The great thing is that we have an amazing crew working with us and we all work really well together in order to make the best film possible!

Berry Productions, Wonderful, The Deep, Hull, UK

Even though we only had the one scene to complete, and had everyone working at the top of their game, we were still there until 10pm! Once again, all shattered and hungry, we pushed on to get the shots completed! And bless the staff at The Deep who opened it especially for us that night, and happily waited around for us to finish, helping out as much as they could! Many thanks to all of them, you guys rock!

Another great shoot, another great scene completed. Next!

Berry Productions, Wonderful, Richie Donaldson, Ben Wade, The Deep, UK, Indie Film

Wonderful – Day 1

Wonderful, Berry Productions

29th May 2015

After months of planning; script writing, casting, shot listing, storyboarding, location scouting and costume design and creation to name but a few, we were on set of our first scene for our new short film ‘Wonderful’. And what a scene it was.

We were filming what was possibly the hardest scene in the film to shoot! Typical!

Our scene takes place in our villains evil lair. For this location, we approached The Deep in Hull, which is one of the UK’s largest aquariums, home to sharks, penguins, jellyfish and more!

The Deep, Hull, Wonderful

They were absolutely brilliant and more than happy to help us out. We had access to three different areas in The Deep after closing hours, and the staff were so helpful, we cannot thank them enough!

Elli Noble, Andy Train, Wonderful, Berry Productions, Hull, Carl Greene, Ben Wade, Neil Watling

With our brilliant costume maker, Elli, on set, along with our great make-up artist, Andy, and our amazing crew (including Carl, Ben and Neil), we were all set to go.

Our first scene took place in front of the giant shark tanks. So not only did our actors (David Aston and Richie Donaldson) have to perform for us, we needed the sharks to do well too!

Shark Tank, The Deep, Wonderful, Hull, Berry Productions

As they seemed to swim in constant circles around the tank we had to time the action to start just as our finned friends passed the front of the tank. With a three camera set up, we made sure we captured the action piece from every angle. Everything went smoothly… success!

We then filmed in the Cool Seas area, which is a dark room that has some great neon lighting and an amazing jelly fish tank! A true villains lair!

Wonderful, The Deep, Berry Productions

Time was against us as we only had a limited time in the room so we didn’t manage to get it all completed. Stress levels rising! It was getting late in the evening too…

Onwards to the final area to film – a really impressive tunnel of colour changing lights! A great moment for our hero, David, to stride through the tunnel, as we slid backwards on our dolly.

Wonderful, The Deep, Hull, Berry Productions, David Aston, Mr Wonderful

We were able to finish everything in this area, much to our relief. By now it was about 9pm and everyone was starting to droop! It was time to call it a night.

We got some brilliant footage and was a great start to our film. Yes, we would have to return (if The Deep would have us!) but it was better to get it all right, rather than rush.

Time for us, and the sharks, to get some rest!

The Deep, Wonderful, Berry Productions, Hull, Mr Wonderful, Dr Deranged, Joseph Monahan, David Aston

Submitting ‘The Field’ to Film Festivals…

£114.12 down and an eternal wait of 6 months. It’s festival submission time again! Hooray!

We have just submitted our latest film ‘The Field’ to three film festivals, one in the UK and two in the States.

Festival1In the UK we have submitted to the British Independent Film Festival which takes place in  Leicester Square in London. The great thing about this festival, and what attracted us to it, is that there are a number of awards presented – not just best film or best director(s) as is usually the case. This festival also has best actor and actress and best young actor and actress. As we have had some pretty amazing performances from both our young and… ahem… ‘older’ actors we thought we’d give it a shot, giving the people who gave us their time for free to work with us a chance for some glory! It also focuses on British, independent talent. There is huge press coverage and, being in the UK, we could easily attend!

In the US we submitted to The San Francisco International Film Festival and the Seattle International Film Festival. The winner of best short film at the San Francisco Festival get’s considered for an Academy Award nomination – far reaching I know, but it would be great to say we were even in this category would be amazing! The Seattle Festival considers our film  a feature and has a number of great awards and even cash prizes. Both publicize the hell out of the films involved and both gain a lot of interest from industry specialists and distributors. Our man Ben Wade is in America too, so potentially could get his arse there to represent us!

Festival2

Of course we are not guaranteed to get into any of these festivals. We could get a big fat rejection and be out of pocket with nothing to show from it. And these are only the first three festivals we’ve gone for – there are a lot more we’ll be submitting to in the next few months so potentially our pockets could be not only empty, but end up sucking us into a black abyss of no return. On the other hand our film could do brilliantly in one or more festivals and pave the way for that feature we’re planning!

Only time will tell. 6 months in fact, as we don’t know if we’ll even get in to the festivals until April next year. So watching this space is a must!

Papa… Papa… Paparazzi!

Last week we were interviewed by our local paper, the Hull Daily Mail, about our work on our new film ‘The Field’. They came to our office (from which we run our video production company Serene Scene) and sat with us for well over an hour, talking about how we started, projects we have made, other things we have been involved in and, of course, all about our newest film!

Now, our local paper isn’t the greatest paper in the world, but it’s a start! One of the main problems with Hull is that people are not interested in film. At least not indie film. Hullians only plant their bums on seats for a popcorn flick with bug explosions and guns, so it will be nice to get information on our little short film to everyone in the hope that it will spark interest in indie film in our city.

During our epic hour long interview, we also had our photo taken at our editing suite! Turns out the photographer did the same media course as us at Hull College, only a few years before us. He was a lovely guy who got chatting with us about cameras and editing software. This is one of the things I really love about doing this – meeting great people who are interested in the things we do and meeting people with common interests! The interviewer was also a great guy. We had a great chat and I think he really liked us, hence the reason he stayed with us so long!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the article is, hopefully, going to be in the paper in Saturday (15/06). So if you’re from Hull and surrounded, grab yourself a copy and check out our smug mugs! If you’re not from Hull (which is probably a good thing!), we’ll upload the article to our blog for you all to gawp at!

Does anyone else have any paparazzi fame? Let us know, leave us a comment and, if it’s online, send us the link to we can check out your smug mugs too!

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