Studying A level Media was a massive transitional period in my life that gave me a frightening amount of desire for Film and Media. It made me realise I wanted to make films, that was the reality and it still lives with me to this day. I am constantly hungry for it, my mind never stops. I look back on this period of my life and it greets me with a smile. Kris Mansfield and Andrew Mackenzie loved the passion and would show our work to other students, as well as at open days long after we left.
At the tender age of 16, Myself, Tony and Phil were very eager to start making our first trailer for our A Level Media coursework. We are all outgoing people who love to try new things, and more than anything we liked working together- we worked very well together actually! Each group was given a handheld JVC tape camera which had seen better days, but it did the trick, along with a cheap tripod which we put money in together to buy! A long-haired Tony back then said to me, “Hey lad, I’ve bought some fake blood off Ebay, we will try it out later.” That night we went onto a field, Tony filled his mouth with fake blood, he laid down on the floor and I dragged him by his legs out of the frame of the camera- over and over until we got it perfect. It was hilarious and we loved doing it. This was the first shot we ever filmed!
I always remember when we did our first cut in the horror trailer for Media A level. We were stood on a hill and myself, Tony and Phil watched the video back with the freezing air blasting around us, red noses on show and cold hands. After watching the very short clip which consisted of Phil walking through a car park the three of us screamed and high-fived each other. We would go out on various nights laughing and joking whilst making the trailer- It was a good time. A time for us to explore and discover our love for this subject.
After we finished our A Level trailer, in particular myself and Tony spoke frequently of how we loved making it. We loved seeing the final product and producing this fictional world, it completely gripped us! He told me that he wanted to make another trailer for his coursework and insisted that I helped him do it, to which I obviously couldn’t wait for! Making Running, a fictional gangster trailer featuring two main protagonists played by the both of us was a lot of fun. I love acting and this was a chance to be able to express myself a little. We had a sort of knack for working together. Throughout making it we discovered an awful lot, we discovered we could work to a very high standard together under pressure. Strange really as we barely knew each other before 6th form. More than anything though we were by this point best friends and used to constantly talk about different things we could make in film. We discovered that we could write scripts and also act together seamlessly. Running has some very exceptional shots in it even looking back now. The opening shot of the boot of the car opening was one which we loved and stole from Pulp Fiction. For weeks we would be out at night shooting this trailer which all just seemed a laugh at the time, it never felt like we were producing coursework- and of course our tutors loved it!
Ambitions of a Realist
After making Running with Tony we decided we needed to make something else as soon as possible, so we did. Almost straight away we started on making another trailer Ambitions of a Realist. This featured one main protagonist in myself and was a fictional biography of a man who was striving to succeed in life, even with the odds against him. In this particular trailer we experimented with different shot types and pulled off some very surprising shots based on limited equipment we had. We would not settle for anything less than the crane shot we so desperately wanted, did we get a crane shot? I wouldn’t say a ‘crane’ shot
but we got the camera 12 foot in the air. After walking into my house with Tony, shuffling around for something to use as a ‘crane’, we asked my mum, “What can we use to get the camera up high in the air.” To which she gave us a washing pole. We strapped enough tape around that washing pole and camera that it would have held an elephant down. Of course the crane shot worked very well, with Kris, our tutor saying, “How on earth did you do that.” We laughed, of course. We also used an overhead projector trolley as a dolly which worked very well- we executed that shot perfectly. I grabbed the camera at one point and ran to where the airplanes take off at Liverpool Airport to get the shot we wanted! After making this trailer I wanted to try to use it for my coursework. I had already wrote an essay on the American Dream and so I found a way to use it in conjunction with that after asking the tutors, which I was absolutely thrilled with.