Katie Mccullough Talks and Writes

Words will get written here and some videoblogs will appear. You don't have to look but it would be nice if you did.

Let The Voting Commence! November 27, 2009

Hallo everyone, my you look super nice today…

That’s right, I’m after something. As some of you will know I took part in the 48 Hour Film Challenge over in Jersey a few months back. Now the time has come to call in backup and get people voting for the film so we can win jubilation and slap each other on the back (oh, and win some cash as well which is always nice). The setup is teams arrived in the same place on the same day, picked a title and genre from a hat at random… and then had 48hrs in which to write, shoot, edit and finalise a short film. We picked ‘crime’ and ‘Morning Mist’.

ACTION!

ACTION!

So after a little lag of delay all the films created on the Vauxhall 48 Hour Film Challenge have been put up for the mercy of viewers to vote. And this is where you come in, yes you. I’m looking at you, you’re looking at me. We’ve got this eye contact thing nailed.

All the films are over here: (click here and vote for ‘Morning Mist’)

What a bunch of filmmakers...

What a bunch of filmmakers...

And all the films are great but this is where I have to draw the line in this so-called free-loving atmosphere. I want you to vote for my film because I’m proud of it and hey, we made it in 48 hours. This is where you tell me that the others were too, seeing as it’s called the 48 Hour Film Challenge, but ignore that. Eyes on me, go click on the ol’ 5 stars bit on ‘Morning Mist’. And I’m sorry if you’ve already heard this spiel on Facebook or Twitter. It just means I love you a little bit more than the rest, just a little mind you. People talk.

I will love you all that little bit more than is allowed.

Thank you, love you, I’m afraid I can’t do that I’m not allowed anymore.

Much love,

Kx.

p.s. I forgot to mention you do have to join which only takes a few seconds but once you’re on there you can download short films for pittance and what’s more you can download them, burn them and keep them all for yourself. You do not have to pay to join. Good? Great.

p.p.s. Plus all the films will be screened as part of the London Short Film Festival (y’know, the projector with teeth?) at the Roxy in London Bridge area. If you’re around that time and want to see some films and the people behind it… why not come along. I’ll be there, hope that doesn’t dissuade you.

 

Branchage – Sub Section iii October 29, 2009

As promised here is the next section of behind the scenes. This time it’s the turn of the Blaine Brothers who picked WAR and VALLEY OF HOPE. Armed with their actresses Jessica Forteskew (who was there for an extremely brief time) and Rebecca Haigh as well as a turn from Rubin playing a Nazi… they embarked on this:

Brainstorming

Brainstorming

More smiley brainstorming

More smiley brainstorming

Yet MORE brainstorming

Yet MORE brainstorming

brainstorming issues

brainstorming issues

brainstorming has imploded the brain

brainstorming has imploded the brain

They start!

They start!

A nazi and a Lady

A nazi and a Lady

Two Ladies and a German

Two Ladies and a German

A quaint picnic

A quaint picnic

Alex Mayover - The Sound Man

Alex Mayover - The Sound Man

hallo Chris, hallo German

hallo Chris, hallo German

ladies who lunch

ladies who lunch

beachy beach

beachy beach

beachy beach part two

beachy beach part two

Rebecca looking lush

Rebecca looking lush

Their work here is done.

Their work here is done.

 

Branchage – Part Two October 20, 2009

I left you just after I was molested in a tent by a boom. That’s a sentence I’ve always wanted to write.

Chris did not molest me with this.

Chris did not molest me with this.

Soon after that people were beginning to arrive throughout the later day and night and it soon culminated in us all having dinner at a thai restaurant that led straight into the sea. That makes it sound dramatic, I know. Again I’ve pilfered some photos from Ben’s blog but what are photographs for eh? To look at and share the celluloid love. So here be they:

He gone went n'won ten grand last year for 'is film.

He gone went n'won ten grand last year for 'is film.

Lovelies! (Rebecca Haigh and Sean MacKay)

Lovelies! (Rebecca Haigh and Sean McKay)

Gaëlle Denis, a candle and my competition car.

Gaëlle Denis, a candle and my competition car.

Then it was all parties back to the campsite where we chatted, laughed, introduced, re-introduced and made a french lady very angry. We realised this as soon as she started shouting at us in her nightie about “there are people trying to sleep, but as long as you have a good time it’s fine isn’t it, go to sleep, this is unfair on the other peoples…”.

We went to bed.

And then the day arrived when we received the specific information we needed. We were the last team to arrive (late) because parking in Jersey is very much in demand and finding a space on a Thursday morning was proving troublesome. But we managed it and Phil came to the rescue when we were lost walking around trying to find Société Jersiaise building. We found it and then it was the large matter in hand of picking the titles and the genres… again I pilfer Ben’s photographs for what happened next.

Team Alex

Team Alex

Alex picked the genre FANTASY and the title DASHES OF YELLOW. The next 48hrs were to prove a severe mission from him but he came out with a beautiful nugget of a film and I mean, c’mon, fantasy is not the easiest of genres to whip something up in 48hrs. He is a good man and his team had a wonderful family feel to it. Both he and Sean drove around Jersey and made use of the Amaize-ing Maze (it’s a maze made out of maize) and even got their actresses naked in the sea. Nice one I say boys!

Michael Pearce and Emma Rozanski

Michael Pearce and Emma Rozanski

These two Lovely people had never met before and picked COMEDY and the title OCCUPIED. Armed with only one actor, a digital stills camera and editing via an iPod these two would make a brilliant funny film and hand it in 3 hours before the deadline.

Team Rob Morgan and Marcus Waterloo (only Marcus featured in photo!)

Team Rob Morgan and Marcus Waterloo (only Marcus featured in photo!)

These two picked WESTERN and the title OVER TAKEN. What they came out with was not necessarily a western as such (although I’d say that they make coy reference to the grainy visuals of a western) but it’s a wicked little film that made me laugh from all the wrong places of my belly. I loved it and even though it’s a lot strange it’s weirdly sincere. And they filmed a section with an iPhone in a sandwich bag in the swimming pool on the campsite.

Team Blaine

Team Blaine

Then we had the Blaines who picked WAR and TRUTH IN THE VALLEY. Armed with two actresses, a sound man and themselves (as well as making use of the extra actors who had stepped forward if needs be) they set about making their 6min film. I really like the fluid nature of their film, you’re dropped in the middle of a conversation and it leaves something hanging that makes you ponder on what could possibly happen or be said next… and I adore one of their long shots with superb acting by Jessica Forteskew.

And on to our team… Gaëlle Denis, Steve Hope-Wynne, Lydia Outhwaite, Marina Brackenbury and myself. We picked CRIME and our title was MORNING MIST. So in 48hrs we had to write, shoot, edit and finalise a 6min film with this title and genre (as well as making it a road movie… we kinda forgot about that) and make reference to a Jersey cow at some point. The planning commenced…

We brainstorm, thought-shower, abuse words .etc.

We brainstorm, thought-shower, abuse words .etc.

 

Branchage – Part One October 15, 2009

Filed under: scriptwriter — katiemccullough @ 3:02 pm
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Branchage. 2009. Jersey. Challenge. All things I’d never encountered before (except 2009, I’ve very much been there and still dwelling, it’s quite nice and getting busy.)

Journey started from Hertfordshire surrounded by the debris of my bathroom and many cupboards in my bedroom. Our bathroom is in the process of being ‘done up’ and because I’m technically not there it’s where all the crap goes. Next stop was Gatwick which I’d not been to in about 10 years since I was a younger spritely over-eager child heading to Disneyland. A lot has changed since then. Then it was time to board my Flybe plane and head to Jersey. I was sat next to the emergency door and upon seating myself I looked up to see a very friendly flight attendant explaining to me that because I was sat next to the emergency door I was now in charge of it. I’ll give her credit she did ask me if I minded and I thought it would be rude to say no and be a slacker if our plane came into difficulty, I mean she probably has several things she needs to do in her job description as our plane hurtled towards water. So I said, “of course”. She then proceeded to explain to me what I needed to do and I’ll be honest my mind was wondering. First of all to how tired I felt and then secondly I was trying to think of how many people were on my flight (approx. 12) and if they would do the same for me. It’s safe to say my mind and attention drifted during those vital moments of information but I managed to hone back in when she pointed out that there was a row of pictures telling me how to open the door if it came to it. They were handily stuck to said door. She waltzed off and I spent the next 10 minutes staring at them so I didn’t get stage fright if we were to get into difficulty. After those 10 minutes I promptly feel asleep.

It was a short flight as you’d imagine.

JERSEY! I’VE LANDED ON YOUR SOIL! Now let’s do something.

Weclomed I am.

Weclomed I am.

I then wandered out of the baggage reclaim room (I say room because it was dark and there was only one conveyor belt to reclaim luggage) and waited for my bag. There was a small clump of people chatting away next to me and it was only in hindsight as we all sat in an orange VW camper van that we were all going to the same place. I was told I was being picked up by one of the organisers of the festival but I didn’t know who. So I collected my bags and then sat down. I knew this was going to be one of the few moments I could steal to do such a thing.

Then my mobile excitedly told me via text that calls and texts to and from my mobile were going to cost a small mortgage and I should do something about it. I was given a choice of three service providers of only one actually gave me signal. JTWave it was. Thieving bastards.

I digress… Unknowingly I was sitting near the gaggle of chattering folk again when my mobile rang. “Hallo Katie, Phil’s at the airport waiting to pick you up, do you know what he looks like?” To which I responded, “Does he wear a hat and have a beard and glasses?” To which they responded, “It’s Phil, he always wears a hat!”

(I have to point out I’d actually seen Phil standing in front of me, nay more than 4 feet, call up said Lady and say I don’t know what Katie looks like. But I didn’t want to jump the gun, it could have been another Katie and plus I’d just given up the responsibility of an emergency door so was feeling emotionally warped.)

“Hi… Are you Phil?”

Yes, it's orange, it's beautiful!

Yes, it's orange, it's beautiful!

Voila! We’re all walking to the van and I end up talking to two Lovely peeps who are there to do some recording for the festival and work in the office. We talked about their pet rat Oz of which is utterly cute and then I proceed to talk aimlessly about how I’ve always wanted a pet rat and tell them about the man in Bournemouth who has a pet rat who sits on his shoulder as he walks around town. His girlfriend has a pet squirrel who did the same and they used to sleep together and play nicely (I meant the pets but then again it also covers the humans). Then there was the Lovely man who I met in Edinburgh in his pub last year who had a pet rat (Martha) who fell asleep in my scarf just in the crook of my neck and his pet hamster (can’t remember, inferior pet to me ) who fell asleep in the crook of my arm.

Once again I digress…

And then I realise through our random chatter that the man they were huddled around chatting to and the man now asking me what I’m here for is that of James Mulligan, Creative Director of Shooting People. How can I explain James? … He’s incredulously witty and has an air of childlike fancy about him; he could talk himself out of any given situation and he’s willing to pick you up and take you along the way. He’s just plain funny and extremely happy to give you the time. I thought it quite rude to start taking photographs of him seeing as I was practically sitting on his lap at the time so here’s a face to put to his name. The photograph is from the launch of the festival so credit goes to someone else who took this. ALSO he’s standing next to Xanthe Hamilton who is the brainchild of the entire festival:

Lovely People Who Do Important Things

Lovely People Who Do Important Things

That was the last time I saw both James and Phil (and indeed the Lovely rat people, I’m bad because I’ve forgotten their names… Fred and _____) until the Sunday at the closing gala. To which both of them exclaimed to me, “God, I’ve not seen you since the airport, you look strangely awake considering”.

Then I kept getting phonecalls about the car from Vauxhall. Let me put this into perspective:

There was the opportunity to win a new shiny nugget of a car for the duration of the festival which I mentioned in one of my previous blogs. That was fine and Lovely because I won said opportunity. Then I had a bit of a kerfuffle of organising the car because I had to supply my details and sign terms and conditions and then fax machines weren’t working and post men on strike… And just when we finally got things sorted I gave them the address of where I needed the car to be dropped off… Only for them to baulk at the idea of it going to Jersey.

Apparently the persons I was dealing with didn’t know the sponsorship opportunity they had was located in Jersey and it was apparent that it may cause a bit of a problem from the lengthy pause on the phone*. Many more phonecalls later and there was a well-planned discussion about Vauxhall paying for me to get the ferry and have the car even earlier (coincidentally where I live is the village along from where they were situated) but it would involve me getting about £10 back from cancelling my flight and driving to Portsmouth at 4am in the morning and spending 9 hours on a ferry with a car I’d never driven before.

… Instead they kindly said they’d have to send someone over to drop the car off and then do the same when I’d finished with it. In this muddle of miscommunication they’d completely ignored my plea that I’d be able to collect the car at 2pm. The poor Lady they’d sent (Margaret) was calling me at 10am asking when I’d be there. Oh the hilarity! We decided it best for her to leave the car and keys at the campsite where she’d been patiently waiting for 2 hours already and would be waiting for a further 2 hours if she wanted to meet me face to face. She was absolutely fine and not at all narky with me considering, in fact she was super duper chipper and I can only presume that this rubbed off from the Lovely Lady at the campsite who was extremely Lovely herself.

Airport Round Two

Airport Round Two

I ended up back at the airport being driven by Phil which is where I saw, striding out into the gleaming sunshine suited and booted with kit in tow, my brethren the Blaine Brothers. We set off into town which is where we met Alex and Sean and I had my first encounter with the Monopoly money that Jersey trade in and eventually at the campsite. This is a photograph I pilfered from Ben which he took when they were playing with their new toys like good excitable children.

Scratchy, scratchy...

Scratchy, scratchy...

*Vauxhall did know about it being in Jersey, it just so happened that the people I were dealing with did not. I’m sure they have a lot more things to worry about on their plate at the moment.

 

48hr Film Challenge September 26, 2009

I’ve been asked to be involved with the 48hr Film Challenge over in Jersey at the Branchage Film Festival. I’ll run the idea past you just in case you’ve not come across this before…

*In teams you arrive at 11am to the designated meeting place.
*One member from each team will pick from a hat a genre and a title.
*You go off and write, shoot, edit, finalise and bring your film back 48 hours later.

That’s pretty much it to be honest. You hardly sleep, run around like a blue arsed fly, eat shockingly shoddy food stuffs and what’s more we’re doing it in Jersey. A pretty place. The event itself is sponsored by Vauxhall and all the films will be screened after a drive-in showing of The Wizard of Oz. On a big fuck-off screen. I’m getting quite excited now. I love working in a collaborative nature and my Lovely Boss has put me in touch (and vice versa) with a fantastic director called Gaelle Denis who makes extremely pretty things like this:

… and this…

… And who has also requested that I join her team. So along with one male actor of 35, a female actor of 24, an editor and designer, Gaelle herself and moi we are competing in this crazy task. I managed to talk to Gaelle in between her leaving from one job in Berlin at the airport before she flies back here; she’s French and I have a cold, hilarity ensued.

What’s more is that the rather nice people at Vauxhall offered to loan a new shiny car for the entire festival to one team. What’s more is that I secured it! After many phonecalls, faxes, emails and anything else this brilliant opportunity has thrown my way so far it’s done and dusted. I’m not entirely sure what I’m definitely getting but I think it’ll look something like this…

I think this is the car I'm getting...

The festival looks a cracking piece of marvellous things. I entered one of the Blaines’ shorts films into it last year and they both went and had mountains of fun. Whilst out there Chris mentored several filmmakers over in the Branchage Bootcamp and out of that sprung Laura Brocken’s film, “Tell” (posted below) which is what I’ve been pushing into festivals the last couple of months.

The Blaines are no strangers to this filmmaking format. They’ve competed in the Berlin challenge which resulted in them making a comedy musical spy thriller called, “Anything Goes”. Then they flitted to Paris where they made an action horror called, “Pour Un Temps” and their other foray (my personal favourite) was their comedy, “Making Juice” which was here in London. For more info check out Johnnie Oddball’s pages.

We’re all going to be camping on one site and the idea is that because all the teams have been personally asked we can all help each other out if needs be. To be brutally honest I cannot wait to be freezing my gibbly bits off standing in a field at 3am, I mean it. It’s going to be the first time that I’ve actually been involved with a short film and after learning about it all, writing short films as a degree and promoting others I think it’s about time I got my hands dirty in the most intense way ever.