Writer (Fluent in; Celtx , Final Draft)
Of all my skills, this is the strongest I possess. I have the academic background, practical experience and professionalism to back it all up.
My stories are extremely precious to me and if I spot the opportunity to produce, direct and edit them myself I take it guns blazing. On the other hand if I have been approached to write for someone I need to be convinced that it will be done with great care with people that are committed to making it look as good as it reads.
A producer and/or director approaches me and either has an idea or they do not. Provided their reputation and / or showreel is good, I will ask them to dictate, the number of pages it cannot OR must exceed, the genre, number of characters etc, scale of budget to which it can be translated with, crew and cast likely to be attached as well as the deadline to which they wish to see a first draft.
The most demanding role I can take requires my complete control over the entire project and communication predominately concerned with the writer, director and the casting process.
Every project and their respective team(s) that wants to be taken seriously should know I have an extremely good reputation for getting things done well & within a set timeframe. I have vast experience in my methodology in this process of what and who to avoid, actor availability, absurd deadlines given by inexperienced directors, rookie film-makers who want it all in 24 hours and those who should just not be allowed near a script, let alone a film set.
On the other hand, love working alongside other reliable and ambitious people who will make every effort to make sure nobody screws the project up for everyone else.
I ensure I have a "complete" story & shooting script to go from otherwise I will not go any further, this includes spelling mistakes through to a clear understood message of the writer and the budget I have in which to translate it to the screen.
When I direct projects, whether they are my own or have been assigned to me, they are all met with extreme care.
I make every effort to ensure the quality reflects me well on showreel material as well as with people and future references to both my work ethic and professionalism.
An early meeting with the producer and writer is absolutely essential to make sure that I cover the preconceived vision for the project as well as a chance to express any concerns or suggestions.
Editor (Fluent in: Final Cut Pro & Adobe Premier Pro)
As editor, this is a long process and for the best results, it cannot be rushed, it will also determine any reshooting of scenes, things that have been missed out and likely even govern choice(s) of ADR sessions and so on.
The way I edit is done through watching all rushes (the unedited footage) given to me by the director and file them via poster frame & abbreviated description of each to be found easier later on, whilst finding out which takes are better than others as well as those that are useable from those that are not.
Cinematographer (common models: Z1, DSLR (700D - 5D:Mk3 & GH4), C300, BLACKMAGIC, FS5, ARRI ALEXA)
There will always be projects out there where I will be working with passionate writers and / or directors but it is within disciplines like these (I have discovered) that some people pretend to know what they're doing but sometimes are quickly revealed to have no idea. PLEASE, if you are one of these people there is NO shame whatsoever in admitting you need some help.
I quickly lose interest in a project if I find out my time is being wasted and don't need anymore experiences. Remember, you'll be working with someone who won't try and take control, will make your project look better and extremely approachable for ideas and suggestions if you need them.
I will not take on a project last minute, without seeing the location(s) with the director first and knowing what equipment I will be using (whether this is using my own or having it rented etc) and expect my costs for this to be covered, including if I'm working with or without or as a 1st AC.
Independent Filmmakers - Working With Me? Please Read...
If you are considering me for one of your projects then I ask that you read the part(s) of this page that apply to you, in order to get a broader understanding of how I work.
I hate having to be so blunt with people at times but there have been people I have worked with who totally don't have a clue and completely snatch the life out of a project, this has fallen to be the only measure I can take to ensure the least amount of repeats, so bear with me;
Courtesy & Professionalism:
No shortcuts, no last minute deals and no expecting I'm going to drop projects in my own time in favour of yours. If I'm working on lo / no paid projects they are dealt with in order of scale (people, stunts, budget, reputation, market value and likelihood of success).
If I'm working on paid projects, these determine my commitment I can devote to others, I will tell you whatever I can about my availability based on such occasions as and when.
My Skills Cover (please look above for respective section):
Writing and/or Script Editing
Editing (fluent in Final Cut Pro and Express, Premier Pro, DVD Studio Pro)
Cinematography (rented and / or owned equipment)
What I Expect & What You Should Expect (depending on role you are assigning me):
Each production sent 7 days in advance or earlier if travel is required; a completed shooting script, risk assessments, insurance (where necessary), release forms, shot lists and day schedule(s) and of course upon the day preceding the production; a properly detailed call sheet for each of the days ahead.
More importantly, I expect punctuality, consistent communication, competent leadership, accreditation for my contribution and payment on time.
*For those on a lo / no paid basis expenses, I still expect to be covered.
*A breach of this honest agreement results in my right to leave the production at any time.
All the above rules include me.
Student Filmmakers - Please Read!
My worst experiences are always student films. From messy call sheets being sent at 1am for an 8am start, sitting around in a littered, smoke filled house for 4 hours and a driver that almost killed me 3 times in one trip, relying on out of town actors for directions then telling everyone lunch is cancelled to giving all your time to support a new filmaker as their cinematographer, giving them constant guidance only to find out they already had one, told I'm sharing a hotel room with two strangers and winding up as a mere production assistant. BOTH directors were completely oblivious as to what was so wrong with what they were asking / doing...?! Everyone needs to start somewhere but this level of unprofessionalism is unacceptable and ridiculous, especially given these are usually unpaid. I am a teacher that likes to help you guys but if I agree to work with you, the last thing I want is to add to these experiences.
STOP. THINK. PLAN. ASK QUESTIONS. STRATEGISE. COMMUNICATE. USE MANNERS. WORK AS A TEAM. LEARN. ENJOY. BE PROFESSIONAL. GROW CONTACTS. BE ACTIVE. HELP & SUPPORT YOUR CREATIVE COMMUNITY.
p.s, please don't bullshit. If you've never directed before 'THAT. IS. FINE.' If you say you have then I discover you haven't it slows A LOT down and injures your film and our workflow. Keep it real out there guys!
I have been taught by many and have spent thousands of pounds to know what I know for these experiences. My commitment, passion and reliability is NOT a question for concern. You will always get a straight answer, you will have every deadline you assign to me met upon my initial consent.
References available on request.
I will return usually inside of a week or two (whether this is the original idea of the producer / director or not) with probably five or six ideas and an abbreviated synopsis of each and possible title names for them (and their team) to meet up over and choose from.
Upon the choice having been made, I will write up a detailed treatment of how I see the story unfolding so that the characters, motivations, plots, locations are all clearly understood and easy to digest with a meeting to follow up.
I write the rough draft, whilst leaving my lines of communication open so that any possible details can be amended as I go, as sometimes I choose to write fairly organically. Regular meetings are a MUST as the number of rewrites completely depends on an absolute joining of minds until a shared, satisfying vision for the story is found and communicated in a way I, the producer and / or director are happy with.
I deliver to you the final draft, the result of our discussions with a thorough read through. Provided everyone is happy, my responsibility for the project's success now rests in their hands.
Working with the producer and hopefully the cinematographer a concise, understandable shot list, floor plan, equipment list, risk assessment and all relevant call sheets will be finalised with all attached crew and cast ready to go to shooting stage(s).
The shoot is completely under my control and the only person of authority above me is the producer, I also insist that I have a 1st Assistant Director assigned to me at all times to ensure that I run to schedule and all essential shots as well as those which are desired are covered. I make my primary concern; the performance of the cast then the cinematography level and style to which it is shot to bring out the best of it.
Upon completion of the projects shoot, I review the rushes with the cinematographer and make sure we're both satisfied, if not, I will ask the producer to review the footage and negotiate for more time (even if at a later date). At the end of this process the SD card will remain with me until in the hands of the editor.
Taking the producers music files etc with me, having already reviewed the rough cut of the editor, we will work together to finalise the film's script to screen translation and handed to the producer in accordance with their final approval and satisfaction. My responsibility as director stops here.
I construct a rough assembly, working from the script as to how the entire story becomes to be translated on the screen, I call the rough cut OR editor's draft and send it to the director, the timescale on which this is able delivered depends entirely on the scale of the project (i.e; pay, deadline, length)
With the music ready to be layered on via the projects attached music composer(s) and the director sat next to me, the rough assembly, the editor & director work together as one, alterations of EVERY description are done frame by frame until satisfaction is found.
Accreditations are added for all cast & crew, saved onto the hard drive of the director (compression, DVD transfer and export options will be addressed here). This draws the project to a close and my responsibility for anything else after this process ends.
Cast call's and auditions will be arranged using my contacts and my brand name ('DanFam Productions) in order to determine the right people get the right parts, with the shooting dates having been agreed on by the potential cast member before any auditions are granted.
I expect everyone to maintain regular communication, addressing any problems or questions along the way. For example, I should be the first person to know about a lateness or emergency, without question and its only good manners and professionalism, as I'd sooner restart the project than carry on with a cast or crew member with a callous attitude.
Unless the director raises any concerns of priority, I will be outsourcing to potential music composers, visual effects artist(s) as where necessary for the project and researching festivals, competitions etc for the project after having seen the rough edit assembly and taking care of any remaining expenses of the productions shoot, all creditations and music audio files ready to take back to the editor and director.
Assessing the editor & directors final work after and making sure it is up to par with mutual satisfaction, ready to be delegated out to all cast and crew members as well as any reference requests for 'LinkedIn' etc are given.
I must have a rough idea of what is going on for the upcoming shoot, therefore, even if at a rough stage, I need a shot list and schedule ready for me to consider how scenes need to be done and offer my suggestions if desired.
Storage and transport for equipment has to be determined pre-ANYTHING further. If I am made responsible for the shooting of a project, the respect for the equipment is a high priority. I refuse the risk of public transport and will ask for my costs of car hire and petrol to ensure the equipments safety for each day I am involved on the project unless the project itself does not require cause for concern.
If I am working with an inexperienced crew and / or without assistance I ask that no-one touches any of the equipment to avoid damage to it
With all the above honoured and understood, the work can begin, working closely with the director, I will capture everything and more as well as share ideas to help lift the project where I can, all of which will be recorded safely onto my given SD card(s), after which I will review with the director. Naturally, projects usually take up more than one SD card's memory capacity after each shooting day so please ensure there is access to a laptop with enough space to manage this when necessary.
Upon the shoot's completion and my handing the final SD card to the director my responsibility ends and I return the equipment myself.
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