1ST DIRECTED SHORT FILM : POLLEN (2015)

‘Everyone asks questions. Few sacrifice everything for the answers.’

Two people trapped in an Orwellian world find a symbol of hope that the authorities will do anything to keep secret.

Based on the book ‘Pollen’ by A.D Lamb, I wanted to introduce and get the audience to ask questions about the tense world, themes and characters in this ‘proof of concept’ short film.

After reading the book, I quickly put together a script that incorporated the themes but would be set in a different city to the book. Originally developed for a much bigger setting near the fictional city’s perimeter wall, I scaled it down to a much tighter claustrophobic setting of an dead end alleyway. As well as working within a smaller budget this allowed more creative control to show the power that the ‘Marshall’ and ‘Central’ characters have over the city and citizens.

As the author, Aaron Lamb, lives in Melbourne, Australia, we collaborated via Skype on a weekly basis so we could discuss ideas.

As this was the first time I have written, directed, worked with actors, funded, produced, designed and produced all the visual effects for a short film I enrolled Camelot Films to help. We organised actors, crew and tightened the script 3 weeks before filming. All of this done while having full time jobs working on different hollywood films.

‘Pollen’ was shot over 2 nights in Soho, London on a busy weekend in April 2014. On either side of the alleyway there are busy streets with clubs, pubs and restaurants. It was a great success to make the place look desolate and isolated.
The irony of hearing George Michael’s ‘Keep the Faith’ blaring out of from the club beside the location was not lost on us. The Sound man, however was not amused.

I spent a couple of days with the DIT/editor to get a script ready copy before spending a week editing the final version.

I currently work in the visual effects industry as a VFX Camera supervisor so had to learn new skills to produce the vfx smoke in Maya and get the look right. I then had to learn how to composite properly in Nuke. I had a little help at the beginning with 4 shots of rotoscoping as this taught me how to rotoscope properly for the rest of the project. It took 12 weeks, including render time to produce 26 shots of vfx.

Sound was always going to be key in this short film and I always wanted to have an organic score rather than a traditional music score. The wind was added to heighten the tension between the characters. The blended orchestral sound was a great addition to break up the monotony of the wind effects and create even more tension within the scene.

The juxtaposition between the organic flower, wind and the harsh urban landscape would blend perfectly.

Colour Grading, again was a very fluid process, and I collaborated with the colour grader, Sam Woodcock, for an afternoon creating the grade for key scenes before letting him fill in the gaps.

This project has taught me so much as a new filmmaker and I am always going to be grateful to Camelot Films and the incredible crew for believing in me as a filmmaker and director.