A year in the planning, a one day shoot, and months in post-production, with zero budget (apart from for the catering – thank you Neil!), this is truly a Twitter production. The team we assembled through the internationally famous micro-blogging website meant that the project has emerged as far more than the sum of its parts. Director and editor John Panton has a particular skill in gathering around him a mixture of impassioned amateurs and what tend to be called 'consummate' professionals, all willing to give their time, energy and skills for nothing… except the love of making something wonderful together. (Next time we'd like to pay them!)
The film stars comedian Simon Evans in the lead role, supported by pitch-perfect performances from Sanjeev Kohli, Tessa Gaukroger, Joe Hancock (Burn The Curtain) and Marina O'Shea and an impressive debut from my son Spencer. And well done to the extras who managed somehow to look bored for 8 hours solid, despite all the excitement on the day. Ahem.
Actually filming was remarkably good-natured and business-like, largely due to the (he claims, misleading) air of calm exuded by John as he steered us through proceedings. I can only congratulate the behind-the-scenes team on their sterling work, particularly Carl Shanahan as DoP ably assisted by Matt 'Matt Jones' Jones on second camera, Tom Stanier on sound and Oli Bateman keeping everything running smoothly in the set-up for each shot, with Stuart ever ready to help out with whatever little essential things were required at each moment. And a special mention for Shane who kept us running bang on time with his silky clapperboard skillz, despite being extremely under the weather at the time.
The film really started to take shape when Emma found the location: Salem Chapel, a small dissenter's chapel near Budleigh Salterton in Devon. It seemed ideal, especially when we started to hear the stories about the various ghosts that purportedly inhabit the place (mostly techno geeks it seems – apparently they delete pictures from your hard drive and files from your camera!). Emma's set dressing was perfection and worth watching the film again for alone. There are some great behind the scenes shots from the day here.
Post production took some time as there were a fair amount of special effects delivered by master magician Graham Salisbury and his assistant from Exmouth Community College, Dale. We are very lucky to have Jeremy Marshall on our team who provided not only the eery, tone-setting title sequence but also created the terrifying monkey painting. I had to turn it to face the wall when I was looking after the canvas because it was too scary for the boys. Well, for all of us really. And thanks to Dan Winter for finding and 'competently' framing it, as Simon has it in the film.
The icing on the cake was when Nick Harvey agreed to do the music for us. We were genuinely blown away by what he's done.
There are so many people to thank, I think it's easier if I just list them. Making a film is like piecing together an intricate puzzle and if you don't have all the pieces in place, it doesn't look quite right. I've already done a disservice to those I haven't mentioned specifically, as they were all essential. So here is a full list for you:
Bidders: Alan Craig, Penny Froggatt, Emma Richardson, Natalie Stanier, Sally Wright, David Quantick
Production Assistants: Oliver Bateman, Stuart Smith
Catering: Neil Mutter AKA Neil’s On Wheels
Thanks to various people who helped us along the way:
Kim Aldis & Vivienne Clore for location suggestions
Karen Allain for the after shoot get together (and generally keeping me sane)
Kirsty Burge at Snappy Snaps, Exeter, for the monkey picture.
Exmouth Community College: Sean Keywood, Alasdair McCombe
Chris Moore at Lucid Pixel Media
Salem Chapel staff and the Historic Chapel Trust
Title Sequence and Credits: Jeremy Marshall
Costume and Props: Emma Richardson
Framer: Daniel Winter
Makeup: Penny Froggatt
Visual Effects: Dale Pendlebury & Graham Salisbury
Visual Effects Supervisor: Graham Salisbury
Sound: Tom Stanier
Sound Design: Graham Salisbury
Director of Photography: Carl Shanahan
Cameras: Dale Pendlebury, Matthew David Jones
Music: Nick Harvey
Written by: David Quantick
Assistant Producers: Shane Brooks, Matthew David Jones, Jeremy Marshall, Joanna Panton, Graham Salisbury, Tom Stanier
Associate Producer: Michael Knowles
Executive Producer: David Quantick
Producers: Moose Allain, Alan Craig John Panton
Edited and Directed by: John Panton