Last year Candle & Bell produced a short film called James Will Howl. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, we began the task of trying to create a short film that would posses a cinematic quality that betrayed its modest budget. Everyone pulled together, from the actors to the runners, to make the shoot a fantastic experience and to create something that both the crew and the generous backers will be very proud of.
James Will Howl was a project of many firsts for me and the crew. It was a step up with regards to to budget being put into the film, however, James Will Howl being a crowd funded project vastly changed the way in which I approached the project. I wanted this to be something people would genuinely enjoy and treasure, knowing they were a vital part of the process. This then left me with a sense of responsibility as director to create something genuine and honest, yet funny.
The major turning point in the production process was casting. I still treasure the video from the first time Andy and Chris went through the script and it has sat on my desktop since the moment I got home and watched it back. Andy Scholfield and Chris Kirtley are massively talented and I still can't believe my luck when it came to finding them as they really added a human and relatable element to the story that only great actors can do.
Although we had a budget of just over £1,000, in the film world that can get eaten up very fast. We came up with many money saving solutions, but my favourite was pushing the capabilities of the Canon 5D DSLR. Around a month before we started shooting, the DOP and I began experimenting with the RAW capabilities that the Magic Lantern firmware allowed on the 5Ds. We were ecstatic with the results, the colour depth and overall image quality was astounding in comparison to the standard video and ultimately gave James Will Howl a cinematic quality that has impressed all that have seen it so far. I feel the car rig should also get a quick mention at this point. At a build cost of under £30 it really does add the most production value per pound that I have ever witnessed.
The film is days from completion and I cannot wait for the people who funded the film to see how far their money has gone.