Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Sound Of Burning Letters

The Sound Of Burning Letters from Tim Courtney on Vimeo.
Another Depth Of Field test video to feast your eyes apon. This time I've edited the footage to the piano track "The Sound Of Burning Letters". This does not have vocals recorded yet and is just an MP3 demo Dave sent me to test the backwards reverb sound I wanted for it. I'll go into greater detail about that some other time.

The purpose of this exercise was to get images as close as possible to looking like super8 or super 16mm footage. I want an almost in between look for "An Artificial Light". In this exercise I almost used the concept of light to tie in all the images. I may use some of these ideas in the film later on too.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Around four years ago Shaun & I challenged each other to write a script for one another that we would Direct as solo projects. I wrote a film called "Register", about a man coming to terms with his new life outside of prison after years behind bars, a film for Shaun to direct. In return he wrote "Emily", a story of a family torn apart by the abduction of protagonist couple; Robert & Alice's only daughter, Emily. "Register" proved too ambitious a film to make on our no string budget, and thats when we co-wrote "Remember Me As A Time Of Day". A film with the similar theme to "Emily" around the death of a child.

I am proud with what we achieved with "Remember Me", with the film being screened firstly at The Belmont Cinema as part of a Peacock Visual Arts film showcase of local talent. Shaun got to participate in a question and answer session on our methods of work. We then took it to the Rushes film festival soon after, where it was shown with other films around the globe. Shaun and I sat after the screening answering questions by the audience. Mostly on how we filmed what would be come an infamous sceen involving a child being ran over by a car. The key of course was never to show the impact and to let the mind fill in the grotesque balnks.

After almost a year in development Shaun and I decided to make "Emily" as a co-directed piece. We got Jack from Peacock in after an amazing screen test where he held a knife to my throat rather convincingly while Shaun was safe behing the camera. I got Kate in after impressing me with her underplayed performance in my stage adaptation of Woody Allen's "Melinda and Melinda". Adam, because I liked the look of him. Not that I'm homosexual but I think he is a very attractive man, and I liked the Idea of breaking something beautiful for this film. David Falconer came in as sound man and provided us with all the camera equipment and sound gear. His knowledge and bag of tricks became priceless and I think I'll never make a film without him. Richard who we worked with on "Rememeber Me" devoted hi lighting talent. After securing Sophies house for all locations the shoot went smoothly and without hitches. We started editing whithin days of wrapping up. Then our personal lives imploded.

It started with Shaun going through a messy break up. I won't go into details but it was enough for us to shelf the film for a long time. As soon as there seemed to be a light coming at the end a very long and dark tunnel Laura and I also broke up. A saga that saw me move out and sleep in a friends spare room for nine months. But now after returning to editing and getting all the sound in order here it is. My first true labour of love; "Emily"

There is no word as to any screenings. We've unfortunately missed a heap of this years deadlines. But enquieries have been made and hopefully you'll hear of them here.

I hope you enjoy the film and one day hope it was worth the work, wait and heart ache.

To every one who helped out; to Jack for his commitment, to Kate for her hard work and help with make up effects, to David for all his advice expertise and advice, to Richard for the lighting on minimal resources and heated film disscussions and ideas, to Sophie and her family for their hospitality, to Adam for getting bruised and cut and all the commitment that is key to this films every success. And I would personally like to thank Laura because even though things had not worked out as we had planned you were always there through every film I have made up until "Emily". To all of you, thank you.


Emily from Tim Courtney on Vimeo.

Dof Adapter

Dof Test Kilau from Tim Courtney on Vimeo.

This is some footage I shot just to try out my new DOF adapter for my new JVC GZ HD-7. For some reason FCP wouldn't let me output this in all its 16:9 glory. Instead its a squished 4:3 version. The magic bullit effects are a little heavy handed but it gives you an idea of the depth of field I can achieve with it.

Friday, 20 March 2009

An Artificial Light

It is a beautiful summers day. The sun has dried out the field discolouring the grass from moist green to a dry brown. There is a family picnicking in the middle of the field. Mum and Dad are enjoying a glass of wine while their son runs around playing with a model aeroplane in the field. There is a stoned wall that divides the field into sections and in one corner there is a huge tree. It is the main feature of the field and although it is the height of summer the tree has not yet sprouted new leaves. The boy runs along the wall making flying noises. He stops by the tree as a man with an old white gym bag approaches. He gazes at him with great curiosity. The man slows to a halt looking quizzically at the young boy. A wide-shot shows the two characters staring at each other for a few seconds.

The boy stands silent.

JONATHAN (cont.)
What’s your name?


Hi Benjamin, I’m Jonathan… That’s a nice plane.

I’m not supposed to speak to strangers

I realise that. I was always told the same when I was your age… Believe me in today’s society I’m just as scared of you as you are of me…

Benjamin continues to stare curiously at Jonathan. There is an uncomfortable silence between them. Neither seems to want to move away from the tree.

JONATHAN (cont.)
What kind of plane is that? It looks old.

It’s a spitfire. It’s from the second world war.

Its nice. You interested in the war?

A phone rings from inside Jonathan’s trouser pocket. He doesn’t answer it, he doesn’t even flinch as to not alarm the boy. It stops ringing.

What’s in the bag?

This bag?

He gestures to his Gym bag. Benjamin nods.

Nothing much. A table-cloth, a birthday card, some cinnamon, cutlery, a book and a t-shirt. Oh, and some toothpaste.


You wouldn’t understand

Benjamin’s parents can be heard calling for him in the distance. He runs off, without saying anything, not even acknowledging Jonathan, away to his Mother and Father.

Jonathan pulls out his phone and sits on the root of the tree. He holds the phone to his ear. A voice mail can be heard just enough to be audible.

Its me Isobel… I read your note… I’m really sorry… I know… there I am apologising again… I know how much it doesn’t help… but…

The voice gives off a huge sigh before eventually Jonathan clicks the phone off. He puts it back in his pocket and looks out into the distance. He takes a deep breath to stop his emotions getting the better of him. He sets the Gym bag out in front of him between his legs. He pulls back the zip and starts sifting through the contents, and true to his word he unearths all the items he spoke of to the boy.

This is the opening scene of a new film I have written. I've been busy doing location photography and sourcing actors. Which is hard. As the story unfolds we see through flashbacks what every item in the bag means to Jonathan and what impact it has on his relationship with Isobel.

This film is a relatioship study. Questioning fate and the notion of true love.

I got the Idea after discussing film projects with Shaun, moaning about my lack of original ideas, when Fionn Regan's song "Put A Penny In The Slot came on" the first verse inspired me to write this film.

"I apologise,
seem to have arrived,
On what items in my bag from your house.
There's cutlery,
a tablecloth, some Hennessy,
And a book on Presidents deceased.
I'll have them fed-exed to you,
It was a strange thing to do,
I hope we can still be friends.
Ah, it was not me,
but someone else, you see,
Twisting the steering reins.

Put a penny in the slot and make an
artificial light shine,
Leave go. Mark old and line."

Get in touch and I'll email the script to those interested.