Hosted by Director Gareth Carr, he shares tips and insights into getting off the ground and making your feature film happen. With 2 feature films due for release this year he will share his journey and the actions that have brought him to this point.
No film school, no connections in the industry, no problem.
This episode is a brief intro into what the podcast is all about.
Transcript for hard of hearing/deaf listeners.
Hello and welcome to Action, Cut, and Everything in Between. This is an introduction episode about what the podcast is all about. I’ve learnt so much over the years about indi film making, and I want to share that knowledge with you.
My name’s Gareth Carr, I am a writer, producer and director, originally from the UK but currently living in Sydney, Australia. I came over here about nine years ago now. I originally I came over as a land surveyor, so I don’t really have a film background, which is why I wanted to start this podcast, because I want to be able to tell people about my experiences and what I’ve gone through in order to get to the stage where I am now. Last year I shot two feature films back to back, which probably wasn’t the best idea, but I learnt a hell of a lot along the way, and I wanted to share those learnings with you.
Now, being a surveyor got me into Australia, and I got sponsored by them, and that’s how I got to stay in this beautiful country. But my passion was never there, and over the years I always just chipped away at filmmaking, from having an old family camera, I would make little videos with my toys, with my pets, and stuff like that. Making small holiday videos. Just over the years chipping away at small little things, while having the safety of a full-time job just kind of delayed that. And it wasn’t until I was 35 when I really just started to change my entire life and my attitude and think okay, this is my life, I’ve only got one life, so I’m going to make the most of it and I’m going to follow my passion and do what I want to do.
So, a lot of research into filmmaking, I did a small film course, short film school in Sydney. That was only a six night thing at night school, so only a small little introduction. And then from there I just went out and I started to network and really put myself out there. I took acting lessons so I could talk to actors better and understand what they were going through in the process. I also went out and networked a lot, so I went to short film meet up groups, went on Facebook groups, and just tried to meet as many people as I could in Sydney, because obviously coming from a surveying background I didn’t know anybody in the industry, this was all completely new for me.
So, it was just the passion that kept driving me to just keep moving forward, meet new people, and then you meet one person and that leads to another meeting, leads to another meeting. And then the next minute you’ve got a little small crew, and everybody just wants to get involved, and they just do it for the love of it. So, after about four years in Australia I decided to pack in the surveying and start my own video production company. It all started from I did a time lapse video and I posted it on Twitter. Somebody saw it on Twitter and messaged me and said, “Hey, loved your time lapse video, would you like to come and do something similar for our company?” And I was like hey, this is pretty cool, you can make a living from this. didn’t realize.
So, that was the kind of start of it, and then it just grew from there. And then I also took on photography, so video and photography and that was called GC Imagery. And I’ve successfully been running that now for about five years, and that has been all the funding for my feature films. So, I’ve managed to fund and shoot two feature films all on my own, that’s write them, produce them, direct them. I know how to edit myself through the video production. I know how to color grade. The sound design, I’ve managed to meet a great sound designer through the networking. And they’re going to be working on the sound design. I also met a great composer, just on Facebook. So, he’s now working on the music for my films.
And yeah, it’s all coming together, and I wanted to just go through the steps in this podcast and just let everybody know what I’ve learnt. I’m no expert, but what I will give is honest advice and opinions of what I’ve been through, and then hopefully people can learn from that and not make the same mistakes that I did.
So, how do you go from shooting short films with your friends to shooting a full on feature film? Well, it isn’t actually as scary as you might think. I probably only made three to four serious little short films, one of them won a couple of awards which was great, gave me a real confidence boost. But it didn’t take me long to just kind of think well okay, what am I doing with these short films? They’re not really making me any money, I’m not driving forward or anything with them. So, I’m learning a lot along the way, but time is also passing me by.
So, I just decided to take the jump and just shoot my first feature film. The opportunity came up with a location, somebody was going on holiday for a couple of weeks and left this amazing house. So, I just got together with a very small group of friends that I knew in the filmmaking circle and just decided to shoot this feature film.
So, my first feature film was called Saving Grace, it’s a supernatural thriller based in one location, but I did make a few mistakes along the way of having some flashbacks, having a lot of night external shots. I also thought it’d be a great idea to have a night external shot in a boat. Turns out that was not a great idea. So, there I was stood waist deep in shark infested waters in the pitch black with stingrays swimming past my feet, so I had to wear trainers so I didn’t stand on one. And yeah, that was very eventful to say the least.
Having quite a few characters in different areas, which meant more locations, more ravel time, logistics and as a result of that, kind of slowed the production right down and also put it over budget. Now, I’ll go into the production side of each feature film that I’ve done in another podcast. All I wanted to do today was just give you a brief over look of what to expect, what I’m all about, and the advice that you’ll get along the way.
So, my second film was called Life After Man, and you can check that out at lifeafterman.com, there’s a little website there that I’ve set up. You can check out the trailer, bits about me, and bits about the rest of the cast and crew. So, you can see just how small we were, but the kind of images that we have created are pretty stunning. That was all down to a great director of photography that I’ve met here called Carl Jenner, and he’s going to be on one of the alter podcasts, and we’ll talk to him about shooting the film and how he captured those beautiful images that he did.
I also attended the American film market in LA for the first time. I had read a lot about it, and I was bit anxious about going, didn’t know much about it, what the deal was. But I just went there anyway with my two film trailers. Had lots of meetings with lots of distributors. And yeah, it was very successful and really opened my eyes to the whole industry. And it’s actually not as daunting as you might think. So, all I’m doing now is working on my screeners for the films, and I’m going to head back to AFM this year with finished screeners, and I’ll present those to the distributors that I’ve met and the contacts that I’ve made. And we’ll have an AFM special on here where I’ll talk to a couple of other filmmakers that I know and I’ve met who have been to AFM. And yeah, we’ll give you the kind of inside tips on what to do.
Also on the podcast I’ll be interviewing a number of different filmmakers, different styles, and different stages of their careers. So, we’ll talk to a female director, we’ll talk to another director who sold his film at AFM a couple of years back. We’ll talk to directors of photography. We’ll talk to sound department. Everything you need really to get going and shoot your own indi feature film.
But the main part for me of this podcast is to just really let you know everything that I’ve learnt, because I’ve learnt so much shooting two feature films back to back. One little tip there, do not shoot two feature films back to back, there’s a good start. So, I just want to tell you the do’s and the don’ts about what to do when writing, producing, shooting, distribution, all that. Every aspect I want to give you as much information that I can, and hopefully it’ll help you to shoot your own indi feature film, because I know I procrastinated for so many years and now that the ball is rolling, the snowball is building, I’m just loving the ride so much and I want to share that journey.
I don’t have signed off distribution yet on my films, but I will share the process with you, and you can learn as I go along, as I learn. And I’ll fill you in on all the details. So, look, thanks for listening, please do subscribe, and write down any comments that you may want to ask me, any questions, things that you think might be useful for me to talk about. And I’d be happy to share with you. So, thanks a lot, and I’ll see you on the next episode.