AK is now complete!

Posted: August 2, 2012 in Michael's Films, Up-and-coming productions, Wilderness Films

Back in September 2011, several months since my last short film, I decided it was time to start planning the next one. Limited by having no budget, few resources and even less time due to a new, challenging full-time job, I intended to make it a simple short, utilising talent and locations I had access to.

Photo by Iain Weir

What transpired was an ambitious (possibly over-ambitious?) short film production. I re-visited and developed an old story and script I had written following my second visit to Sierra Leone. Having recently met Julian, I thought he could be the perfect person for the role, and re-visited the script and planned the shoot with him clearly in mind.  However, as I broke down the story into shoots, developed the storyboard, and reviewed the filming requirements, I soon realised this may not be as simple as originally hoped.

By the end, the production included over 20 separate locations in two countries, in two separate continents. Over 10 days and nights shooting, including several night shoots (with no lighting rigs whatsoever). A shoot during which the DOP/Sound Recordist soldiered on through pneumonia, the lead actor also had health concerns, and the rest of the cast and crew had their own substantial commitments, from work to school, to filming commitments around the world – a bit of a scheduling nightmare, only made possible by the passion and commitment of those involved. And without the budget to pay anyone or any location fees, it was an exercise in extreme guerrilla film-making – grabbing shots where and when we could – in shopping centres, buses, tunnels, rooftops.

The edit its self was complicated – including special effects, after effects, dance sequences and numerous sound effects and soundtracks. My original edit surpassed 40 minutes, and it took some time to get it down to a more reasonable 20-odd. But with numerous file types and sources, the edit became a traumatic experience. Several months of technical issues, lost files, a corrupt timeline which wouldn’t render three quarters of the edit. Several moments of absolute despair.

But…we got there. And thanks purely to the people who were involved, in major and minor ways, all the cast and crew (see here for full credits). Without them all, ‘AK’ would not have happened. Particular thanks of course though, to Julian Sandi, the star, and Hazel Chandler, Producer and DOP – who have been along for the ‘AK’ journey every step of the way. We made it.

Now, onto the really difficult bit. Getting it out there!


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