Blog

The Wideo Post

The T2 Experience

Before April 2016 the biggest crew I’d worked with was 17 people. As I set foot on the set of T2: Trainspotting as Second Unit Director later that month, this instantly changed. Walking into the purpose built film studio at Bathgate, I was struck with an unshakable metaphor; the production crew were an army of ants, each assigned their specific role, each efficient and hellbent on achieving their goal. 

From day one I made a conscious decision not to IMDB anyone, allowing me to take each and every character at face value. That said, it was hard not to feel at least a little taken aback as I took a fly draw of my fag and turned around to be met by Ewan McGregor, asking how I was getting on. 

The first step of my T2 journey involved many pre-recce’s, where a coach load of production personnel- followed by a Range Rover for the big cheeses- moved from location to location. My role was to go over the script, assessing different approaches and thinking about how to co-ordinate various crew combinations. From here, the visual effects maestros stepped up; a true sight to behold. Watching them enter a completely new environment, take stock and then replicate that same environment, down to a tee, in a purpose built studio was a masterclass in how big budget productions are pulled off. 

On set, I was constantly watching Danny and noting who he was speaking to- consistently learning from his in depth knowledge and visceral language. He’s forever searching for the subtext in each and every scene, testing alternate editorial wipes and reimagining new ways to film the reveal. Throughout the full filming process he kept up an ongoing conversation with Anthony Dod Mantle, who in turn was always speaking to the lighting technician, Peter. Working with the second unit, the thing that I learned the most was the huge change varied lenses, gradients and filters can affect; experimenting with these on a daily basis was a delight. 

Co-directing a four camera shoot on Princes Street, surrounded by what felt like 8,000 members of the public, was one of the most adrenaline filled moments of my time on set. Co-ordinating such huge numbers of people with budgets easily enough to cover a full film at stake was beyond a baptism of fire; but one I will never forget. I learnt the importance of teamwork on-set; how to work with full cast, crew and production teams; and the necessity of injecting a scene with energy. Never was this better illustrated than when directing the younger Renton, Begbie and Spud; a particular highlight of the project was filming the night time chase scene through the city centre, during which my direction proved instrumental in securing the final take- as for how that was achieved, you’ll have to ask me face to face to get that one! But believe me when I say some simple tricks can instantly inject a scene with the dynamism and vitality to take it to the next level and ensure it stays well clear of the cutting room floor. 

It’s always hard to put your all into a scene which doesn’t make the final cut, but my time spent on set helped educate me in what it takes to create mind blowing takes. As Danny always says, every good film is made up of small sequences which are built into a larger narrative; each must be strong enough to stand on its own to make it into a multi-million pound production such as T2. From the first take to the rough cut to the final production, every film’s process is a journey and one which I’m now delighted to be able to say I can undertake with foresight and understanding. The film industry in Scotland may be small but I truly believe we can create great work together; come along to my “Introduction to Directing” workshop and I hope to instil in you the same sense of inspiration and enlightenment I was lucky enough to experience whilst filming T2. 

Source your own knowledge

I sometimes think in life you have to go through all the trails & tribulations in order to build enough character & self growth to develop in to a passionate human who feel’s empathy before fear & ambition before self pity. Since I came of awe the coly dugs 18 month ago I’ve either been homeless or suffering from the side effects of sticking drugs in my system for 20 years, but to be honest with you I had to go through all that in order to be the person I am today. Not long ago I shook hands with Sir Tom farmer with a view to ask him to invest in wideo media as start up social enterprise. He never said yes but he never said no so with that being said I also had to describe in detail my life story & what it took for me to get in to an office were people have been know to camp out in the hope of such a meeting, But I told him straight this is who I have been this is who i am and this is what I intend to do with my future. I think he was either impressed or blown away by the story, Everybody who knows me knows creativity is my survival mechanism Creativity speech

I told Sir Tom that the documentary i made on my life was a part of my life caught on film but not enough of my life to be defined by it, And if anything the purpose of the meeting was for me to see if guys like him really can help me in my journey to create art that not only gives a voice to those who have none but the work I do also removes so much stigma around the stereotype & decrease’s some barriers, Its hard to put that in to a funding application or in to an evaluation, And that the reason I want to set up a company appoint a board of directors & encourage my youth led steering group to think outside the box. Because I am only empowered if those around me are empowered & as long as I meet first ministers Justice secretary’s & politicians’ of all race color’s  & creeds it will always be a distraction of just letting me get on with the simple job of directing films. So kind of looking forward to sitting down tomorrow & getting a career development session with Danny Boyle & hopefully I will pick up enough knowledge to make this web series the grey area one of the best productions thats ever came out of Scotland, And let me add if it does come out like that it will have been against the most drastic of odds,

The grey area facbook page

12874254_966039483493004_108219507_o

What’s the definition of success

Danny Boyle

 

 

 

 

 

Its one of they questions that for me is paradoxical

“what is it like being a successful film director Garry?”

Money is the reward rather than the motivation for success so how does one quantify what success is? I know a lot of people in good paid jobs but they are left feeling unsatisfied by the material wealth they amass as part of there never ending quest in chasing money. A guess for me the key word here is longevity, I’ve been making films for close to 10 year’s now and I still love it as much as the first day I tried it out. And I also know that a lot of things I do are a distraction away from making films but the distractions are part of a bigger picture, You see to be a half decent director you must have vision and to be a decent entrepreneur you also need good vision. But rarely does my vision change even in my darkest days sitting in my friends high rise flat on balcony looking out on to the scheme and writing my stories but truly owning the moment and saying to myself one day you will look back and remember how far you have come in order to see how far you still need to go.

 

Tolerance

I suppose even back then I knew I wanted to help my own kind and by that a mean people without a voice. And I think thats why I love working with non actors and also decent professional actors because I let my work be used as a vehicle and every time I make a film I grow more myself.

If you have the time the will and the energy please go and check out our facebook page & like it to stay informed of our web series development #thegreyarea

#thegreyarea facebook link click here

If ken loach had the internet when he first started films this is what he would have done

DSC_9065

 

Again I feel that i should explain this is only my second blog post and I feel that am learning how to write this content maybe one day I shall be articulate like https://twitter.com/lokiscottishrap or possibly comedic like Russel Brand but I suppose until them times you will have to be patient with my colloquialisms and dry sense of humor and for the grammar nazi’s who will find holes in my writing FUCK OFF!!

Lets continue with the point in hand..

Last nights workshops was another great session, I do think its such a privileged position to be in as a writer/director. Watching these guys every week show up and not only are they learning to act by developing there character’s but they are also learning to let there inhibitions go and be free which means they are learning to own the moment when the preform. They are also learning to channel there energy, which for me as a director is exactly what I want, I really don’t want folk to act in my films which probably sounds weird but what I do want is performance & a channeling of energy. I was listening to a podcast last night by  http://jonreiss.com/ and it sunk home to me a lot of the stuff I am preaching about in terms of new types of content I have picked up at film festivals.

For example when I first started making films in 2009 the landscape was clear, You make a short film and you get it in to film festivals get some recognition then you have a shot at making a feature film. But this is 2016 and the formats that broadcasters & cinemas preach are out dated and as they struggle to catch up on the ever changing digital landscape I fully intent to take advantage. For instance without even a days shoot in the can or a screenplay developed our social media engagement reached 200k the other week. I feel that I am in a great position to demonstrate my capacity to engage with an audience & let be honest its a hard game being a working class Scottish director with something to say about the society in which we live, but I am not pigeon holing myself or letting myself be categorize if we are daring to think outside the box on this project the first question I have to ask myself is what am I doing in a box.

 

Prayers with Danny Boyle

Its kind of funny looking back at my last week. Never in a million Sundays did I think I would be getting prayers of forgiveness said for me in a chapel.  With Danny Boyle standing beside me with a look of

“what the fuk”

I didn’t really know what to write for my first ever blog a suppose anything thats not incriminating would be a good start and I also thought a captivating headline might grab some attention so with that being accomplished. I shall continue my introduction by introducing myself I am Garry Anthony Fraser a self proclaimed poet & saviour of Scotland’s underclasses who as an artist intends to take every opportunity to show life in the grey area, which is handy because my new project #Thegreyarea is a web series mixing recovering drug addicts with professional actors and recently we caught the eye of Danny Boyle whom at the time was talking to me as part of his research for Trainspotting2. I know what your thinking you already know this side to Edinburgh. But as one of my recovery actors recently pointed out

“Trainspotting was good but they were the sort of cunts we kept waiting at the door”

A do like what Irvine welsh had to say about our stuff though

“we need a grass roots led resurgence of the arts in Edinburgh and worldwide. If the people don’t get involved – the culture dies, simple as”

And thats what I am getting at with this web series it reminds me of an african proverb

“Story’s about the hunter will always favour the hunter until the lion learns to write”

I thought that african proverb was the best thing I could say to my group of actors, As it relates to addiction & recovery as well. Stories like the ones we are developing are always told by some one else either in social work reports, university evaluations or court reports. If Ken loach had the internet when he first started making films then I am sure this is what he would have done. Theres something liberating about this process because the platform is still an untrodden path for filmmakers. But my intention is to pull down barriers and remove the categories upon which these stories usually fall and last but no least to entertain & educate using moving image as my preferred means of communication.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dirty Tory Cu*s

Blog Contribution Wideo Media| James Moohan

In 1997 the Labour government took steps to address the inequality that had been allowed to linger during the Conservative party’s 18 years in government. The Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission was established, with the aim of eliminating child poverty by the year 2020. A series of progressive reforms were implemented, and included the reintroduction free school meals, working tax credits as well as other reforms that were designed to narrow inequalities. It is now 18 years later and the progress has been halted.

Last week it was reported by almost every media outlet in the country that child poverty is worsening, that the gap between richest and the poorest in our society is impacting upon our children’s lives. How bloody ironic, that the majority of independent charities such as the Child Action Poverty Group, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Barnardos who have been publishing comprehensive research of this issue since 2010, have suddenly become relevant. It may have been politically inconvenient to discuss this issue, yet the cat has been let out of the bag directly following the outcome of the 2015 general election which resulted in the Conservative Party forming a majority government. The sheer audacity of the media, the politicians and the tax dodging big businesses, who have collectively sought to undermine efforts to narrow the inequalities gap, whilst systematically smearing the poor and working class in an attempt to justify policy makes my blood boil.

We should not be surprised that our children are being failed by the Conservatives, during last year’s Independence referendum former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and his successor Nicola Sturgeon warned the public that child poverty would worsen as a result of the UK governments cuts to public services and welfare reforms, yet, it was politically inconvenient to acknowledge the extent of the issue. In fact, in 2011 the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition’s own Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission reported that the government were wilfully and purposefully disregarding their warnings. It is a shame that the mainstream media conveniently skimmed past this evidence which clearly demonstrates the disregard for the social and economic needs of our young people.

I suppose nothing less could have been expected from a cabinet of privately educated multi-millionaires, a clique of elitist plebs who have never experienced genuine hardship. Ian Duncan Smith who is responsible for the Department for working pensions was spared the misfortune of being raised in an impoverished community by parents who work every hour of the day to then suffer the humiliation of queuing at their local foodbank because their income does not match the cost of living.

The truth is that we are simply repeating a similar pattern that has existed throughout our history. David Cameron’s tory government are following the same path that Margaret Thatcher took between 1979 until 1992, and as before, the working class have become the scapegoat.

It is the same elitist agenda witnessed during the 1980s, and has predictably their rhetoric become the dominant commonly held beliefs within all layers of society. Programmes like the Jeremy Kyle Show and Benefits street have also played a role in normalising and entrenching beliefs about the working class to such an extent that we have adopted the same diversionary language that is contrary to our own interests. A report by the Office for Economic Responsibility reported that the government’s austerity measures do not reduce economic growth, they do nothing to ‘balance the books’ yet we continue to subscribe to the illusion that the Tories are dishing out tough love. If we are to build as a society, collectively uniting against austerity. Our starting point should be our community, rejecting nasty politics that have grave consequences not only for ourselves, but for our neighbours too.

I believe that the government’s policies are killing people, like the many disabled citizens who perished after being sanctioned for missing one appointment due to illness. Think about this, for some, the only place they found fairness and equality was in death, who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace and whose refuge are for all. The spoiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved. (Mark Twain). A country is judged on how it treats its poorest citizens, I wonder what that says about our current leaders in whom we trust.

James Moohan

Art is not matter of life & death its more important than that

I think if scottish folk looked to places like Baltimore to see what grass routes activism through arts led initiatives are happening on a ground level we could learn a lot more about community action & why art & creativity are our birth rights & should be there very nature be inclusive, compared to now were we live in a society thats encourages social exclusion.

Read more

Get in touch

Interested in Social Realism? Want to commission Wideo Media or run an Inner City Arts project? We want to hear from you.