Thursday, 7 April 2011

Adonis & Beefcake

And so speaks Southampton-based film-maker and Cannes enthusiast James Eaves.

Yesterday Jake and I caught up with Jim in a boozer in Southampton to plunder his extensive knowledge and experience on making low-budget horror movies. Jim is a veteran of four-and-a-third movies, including the 35 mm vampire spectacular The Witches Hammer (which also serves as an unofficial guide to many of Southampton’s tourist attractions), the darkly brooding and claustrophobic Bane, and two that he co-directed with F’s Johannes Roberts.

And like Johannes, he’s very much of the just-get-on-with-it school of film-making; “do it now – you’re not working. Get a camera and shoot it.”

So, with the back-drop of a pub-full of Man Utd fans enjoying their thoroughly undeserved 1-0 win over Chelsea, Jim started on the tips and pointers. Of everybody that we’ve spoken to about the trials and challenges of getting Resurrection made, Jim is the guy that best understands exactly where we’re at. The man is armed to the teeth with excellent advice, and he very generously took an entire evening out to give us both barrels.

Such as advice on getting as much of the budget up on screen. Money we’ve allotted to catering ain’t gonna be evident in the final movie; and the solution? Product placement. There are apparently companies itching to ship freebie food and snacks out to films as set dressing, including Red Bull who will bus you out a fridge and crates upon crates of product.

That said, Jim did mention that he’d over-ingested the high-caffeine energy drinks on one shoot, and can’t do caffeine at all any more. Given the Charmed fascination with tea (and inappropriately spiced coffee), this doesn’t sound so much fun, but to get a crew and cast through 3 weeks of night shoots it’ll be fabulous.

And Jim on actors? Make sure that you interview your cast as well as audition them. Once you start shooting with a specific actor the power balance shifts, and you need to make sure they’re not going to be a pain in the arse. And this is the man that’s worked with Stephanie Beacham, and Dominique Pignon. And, er… Darren Day.

But the advice that was most enthusiastically delivered was all about Cannes. To say that the man is a Cannes-fan is an understatement, as well as reading a little too like Dr Seuss. And, such was the extent of his zeal that he actually convinced me and Jake to head out there this year.

This is the problem when you meet people in a pub, and no one has to drive home afterwards.

Jim’s recommendation was to fly out just for the first weekend of Cannes, and try not to sleep. Hit the bars where the British Film-makers drink at happy hour, blag a party or two and try and subsist on free alcohol and the spoils of many finger buffets.

Hey – he had me at happy hour. I’m there.

So, to Mr Eaves, an enormous thank you again for your time, wit and wisdom; a very entertaining and enlightening evening. In fact, so entertained and enlightened were we by the end of the night that we let Jim pick his own blog title. Hungover.

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