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Director

I've always had an avid interest in short films. And science fiction. It's always been apparent to me that there aren't enough science fiction shorts. This is often due to budget. But budget can be worked around with a big imagination and that's how I wanted to approach this project; with an open mind and thinking my way around problems posed by lack of budget.

The idea for the short came from the classic premise of the protagonist in jeopardy. The stranded traveller is a great way of having a minimal cast yet dialling up all of the dramatic scenes needed to make a 10-minute film captivating. Basing the story very loosely on Robinson Crusoe I decided early on what I wanted the protagonist to experience; abject loneliness. The best way to do this was to make the whole film void of any dialogue. This freed up the production in many ways and also allowed us to really play with sound design and push it as far as we could.

Because the film had no dialogue there wasn't really a need for a written script. Instead I story boarded the film practically frame for frame, leaving out any room for uncertainty and allowing us to button down each scene frame for frame. This was especially needed considering that the location we had managed to secure was a beach whose tide comes in at a rate of 4 foot a minute. Which didn't sound fast at first but when experiencing it was formidable, especially when moving an entire crew.

After lots of searching we found our location; a beach in Norfolk with an expanse of open sand of up to 2 miles at tide out. Which was an incredible find for the production.

Once we had talked the cast and crew through the shoot we were ready. Again this wasn't easy as we had no written script and therefore no actual shot length. But after some tinkering with the storyboards we managed to make a document that everyone got.

The shoot went with military precision. Everyone performed his or her roles expertly and after 2 very full days of shooting we got everything we needed including some disposable scenes. But it didn't end there. The story boarding shot for shot made the actual edit a lot easier. But squeezing the edit as tight as possible was a real challenge. A challenge that spanned several months. Eventually the expendable scenes were cut to make the film as elegant and concise as possible.

When it came to picture postproduction I had to turn to a friend whose quality out shone above everyone else's. Being an independent meant he could concentrate all of his time to this. And it shows. My time in advertising taught me how to polish work to the standard I wanted it to be. This is where the storyboarding again became invaluable; I already had each shot drawn out how the action should play out. This was very important when some of the scenes were entirely computer generated.

Then came the sound. This is where we really could push the boundaries. We hadn't recorded sound and needed to invent a world to match our visuals. After a lot of personal hair pulling we finished on a sound bed that gave us the 'other world' whilst also being believable. This was almost the hardest part. It was meant to root the viewer yet transport them at the same time. A very difficult task.

After this came the stereo mix which was an eye opening experience; having lived with a project so closely for so long and suddenly seeing it on the big screen and with a full stereo mix was amazing. All the hard work seemed to come together at that point.

During the process Maya Vision came in with some much needed completion funding. Without the extra finance at the closing moments of the project it would have clearly ground to a halt.

The film is now being picked up by festivals across the world which is a fantastic endorsement for everyone involved. This really was a group effort and I think I've achieved what I set out to do; make a science fiction short that didn't feel like it was lacking in the production department!

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