Cinematic History…Entirely On Smartphones

We have accepted the challenge to make a 90 minute cinematic movie using only smartphone cameras. Join us and see if we can do it.

About

Most of us now carry a video camera in our pocket. However, not many have tried to make a full 90 minute movie with one and get it into cinemas.

But that’s what we have challenged ourselves to achieve.

And it won’t be easy.

We’re being ambitious and not setting our story in one location. We’re going to shoot in many locations across one of the biggest cities in the world – London.

This is a tough challenge. We’ll have to employ every guerrilla filmmaking tactic we can come up with to get our story in “the can” (or portable hard drive, most likely).

Before we can start this challenge, we need some funds. We’ll have to keep our actors and small crew alive with food and travel costs. There’ll be some small bits of equipment needed. Some locations will need hiring.

When I shot my first film, I had only a camcorder, 1 professional light, 1 mic and recorder. I could fit everything I needed to shoot the film in 2 sports holdalls. This meant the whole production could arrive at the location by bus or train.

But that time I had a year to shoot, filming as and when I could arrange everyone and the location. This time, I’ll only have 3 weeks.

If you join us, you’ll get to follow along on this crazy against-the-odds adventure. Can we get locations? Will the actors show up? Can I handle the pressure of shooting with limited funds and a tiny crew?

A down-on-his-luck band manager tries to save a young singer from the man encouraging her seemingly fatal addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Synopsis  

Joe is a once-successful rock guitarist whose famous rock star dad died too young. He’s now managing a girl post-punk band in London, but is almost out of funds. To add to his troubles, the lead singer (Nicki) is addicted to drugs, alcohol and a young guy named Coriolano. When she’s too wasted to perform and the record label walks away, her dad (a wealthy golf club owner) demands Joe employ a local thug-for-hire to scare Coriolano away.

Body & Soul is a drama-thriller set in the London music scene. It’s about ordinary people trying to make it against the odds, in a tough and ruthless business. Ordinary folk trying to be extraordinary. People like me and you, reaching for the stars. They serve you coffee in the day, write lyrics in their breaks, play music when they can. And dream.

Inspiration

Some years ago, I was in a band like many others. Writing and recording songs in our living room, playing in grimy small venues around London and sending off demo tapes to managers and labels. Our high point was a Melody Maker “Single of the Week” in January 1993 accompanied by some plays on BBC Radio 1.

I’ve had a dream to make a film about this world. A ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse (but by no means definitive), and without the usual glossy facade presented via film and other media.

As a filmmaker, what excites me about new technology is the opportunities it opens up to us as storytellers. The new wave of experimental filmmakers during the 1950s and 60s came after the development of lightweight cameras to be used for filming in combat situations during WW2. And now, with high definition cameras in everyone’s pockets, we find ourselves with the opportunity to experiment once again.

The smartphone camera is now the camera of the people, for the people. They are “mobile” cameras, designed for spontaneity. So, we’ll use them that way, and aim to create a film with a natural energy and a raw dramatic power.

We will use the smartphone cameras to create a naturalistic feel. We’ll aim to explore new ways to be creative when shooting a narrative movie; to push smartphone film making to its limits.

This film is by its nature a risk. Because if filmmakers can’t take risks, the art-form itself becomes stale. By supporting this campaign, you will play your part in keeping the movie business fresh and innovative.

NEW: Cinema 5D Article about Body&Soul.

All power to this film. This is going to inspire a lot of people who don’t have 50k for an Alexa or RED rig, or even $3,000 to kit a DSLR/DSLRM, to get out there and just create, and not be inhibited by that “IQ Wall”.

We plan to premiere Body&Soul at the Mobile Motion Film Festival – on the big screen in Zurich, Switzerland – in 2019.

Previous Films

My previous films Third Contact and Kosmos were shot on micro budgets. Together they’ve been viewed over 1 million times on YouTube and are now collecting more viewing minutes over on Amazon.

 

After playing Philip Huyt in Kosmos, Jeff is back on board to star in Body & Soul as a down-on-his-luck band manager.

In 1994 Jeff starred in the French cult hit Giorgino, directed by Laurent Boutonnat.

As a studio guitarist, Jeff has played on some of the highest-selling albums in French history and as lead guitarist performed on some of the largest grossing tours in Europe. Jeff has produced some twenty albums gaining top 20 in Germany, France and Italy.

Yet to cast…

Other roles are yet to be filled, including the following:

NICKI HARDING: Female. Mid 20s. Lead singer of a girl rock band. A huge talent, currently wasted – in both senses of the word. Fighting addiction to alcohol, drugs and a parasitic boyfriend.

ROB BYALL: Male. Late 20s. Geeky, knowledgeable A&R scout for a medium sized record label. Once had ambitions to be a musician but fell into a comfortable, regular-waged role instead.

PEGGY: Female. 30s. Drummer with enough basic skills to punch a crunching rhythm on a post-punk song. Quietly gets on with her job without complaining.

SOFIA: Female. Late 20s. Flamboyant post-punk rock guitarist and singer with attitude and stage charisma. Not afraid of confrontation.

JOANNA: Female. Mid 20s. Bass guitarist and singer. Sees the band as an escape route out of her mundane existence as a coffee shop barista. Ambitious and determined.

DAVID: Male, 50s, grey-greying hair. Recording studio owner. His days of hedonism are in the past. He just wants a quiet life and to get paid.

CORIOLANO: Male. Mid 20s. Good looking London boy. Nicki’s partner in love and addiction. Always looking for ways to score the next fix. His parents are not of British descent – perhaps Turkish or South European.

MR TONY PITT: Male. Mid 40s. An imposing man from a working class area north of London. Earns occasional extra money scaring people for clients.

CLARK: Male, late 30s. A golf club employee. Can follow simple orders and always sticks to his task.

JOHN HARDING: Male. Mid 60s. Nicki’s dad and golf club owner. Big, imposing, north London or Essex, self-made.

MARK, OLLY, PHIL, LARRY: Male. Middle-aged golf club members. They hang out with their rich friend John Harding, drink his beer and amuse each other.

CAFE WAITRESS: Female. 40s. Waitress and pushy mother with a musically talented son.

DRUNK BANKER: Male, 20s. So drunk he can hardly stand. Makes a fool of himself.

MALCOLM: Male. 50s. A bookish publishing company exec with glasses and greying hair.

TOM: Male. 30s. Does his job, knows the business, works adequately and plays hard.

PATRICK: Male. 30s. Hopes to break a band one day, so he can have his own office. Hangs out with Tom and Jane when he can.

JANE: Female. Late 30s. Ambitious, major label A&R woman. Notched a few successes as part of the big system but wants her own label.

BODY&SOUL official t-shirts, kickstarter backers only.

Signed A RACE OF MINDS Kosmos paperback novel.

Mobile Motion Pictures

Since creating the first Mobile Motion Film Festival in 2015, we have watched nearly 1000 films shot on smartphones or similar devices. Having seen many others inspired to pick up their phone and start filming, we’re going to have a go ourselves.

We’ll get first hand experience of the unique challenges of making a smartphone film. We’ll be able to tell you what we learned – while we’re filming and (hopefully) in a ‘making of’ documentary to be made alongside.

If you help us reach our goal, you’ll be able to follow along and get invaluable insight into the process.

Risks and challenges

Every film production carries a certain element of risk. But here’s the thing: with this movie we’re on Kickstarter because we want the freedom to take bigger creative risks than a producer would allow.

We are actually asking you to fund us to take risks.

We’re not here to make another low budget movie which mimics bigger budget movies. We are here to experiment and push smartphone filmmaking to its limits.

The money we raise here – minus Kickstarter fees and costs of making the rewards – will be our only production funds. As usual, we will send regular update to our backers so you know first hand the progress of the campaign, your rewards and of course the film.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Also visit:

Mobile Motion

Cinema 5D

Kickstarter Third Contact

2017 © Simon Horrocks. All rights reserved.

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About the Author: GWN