Director's Cut: Featuring Michael Beddoes
Welcome to the first in our series of interviews and Q&As with industry experts and filmmakers. Our aim at Exit 6 Film Festival is to take you on a journey into the minds of the creators.
Today we bring you Michael Beddoes, Director of Cold Reader (2015) and founder of Organised Chaos Films. Cold Reader is a short film with a captivating story, nominated for Best Short and Best Screenplay at the International Filmmakers Festival in London and heading to the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
1. Where did the idea for Cold Reader come from and what does it mean to you?
The script for Cold Reader was sent to me by Kristina Heaney, who I had collaborated with on a previous short and also three feature film scripts. I wasn't planning on making a short film last year and wanted to concentrate on getting my debut feature off the ground, but I fell in love with the story, the subtlety of the writing, and how it felt like a proper story without the need to shock deliberately.
I just had to do it.
2. What were the main challenges you faced when putting this short film together?
When making short films, the first concern is always money. But this partially solved itself quite quickly, as I took a meeting with my friend, Melissa Clements, who I had in mind to play Gaia. When we met up for a drink, she said that she was looking to produce a short film and had some money to contribute to the budget, which just seemed the perfect fit as I was there to ask her to take a role in the film anyway. The rest of the funding I decided to put in myself. The budget was also lowered by massively reduced kit hire from S&O Media who have been hugely supportive throughout. Also with post production being done by Unit Media who are always and continue to be incredible.
3. What were the biggest lessons you learned during the making of the film?
The making of this film completely reinforced my belief that you can never have too much planning, especially when the budget is tight. My DoP Catherine Goldschmidt spent a day challenging me on my shot list, why I needed certain shots, and if I could explain it then it stayed, if I couldn't then it went. Really drilling down into using our shoot time constructively rather than killing the schedule with an idealistic but potentially unrealistic shot list.
4. What was your best experience during the shoot?
Every day was the best experience I've had as a director. Fantastic crew all working together and a cast that were responding well to the script and also any direction. I can't single out a moment as from start to finish it all felt brilliant and would happily take another shoot like that again.
5. What's been your best experience screening the film?
Our best experience screening the film was at the Exit 6 Film Festival Launch Party, as I always listen to the audience or take a look around and people were watching intensely during the emotive scenes and laughing in the lighter moments. I did also enjoy our screening at the International Filmmakers Festival in London, as there was a gentleman in the front row who was cracking up with laughter at the funny parts.
6. How have you found the festival circuit?
We are very new on the festival scene with this film, having only been submitting it since January, but so far it's been a lovely response from organisers. We will be at the Short Film Corner in Cannes this year, at which we can push it out to some more people at various film festivals around the world.
7. What plans do you have to distribute your film?
I'm not sure what the strategy will be with distribution yet. I've previously sold shorts only to be disappointed at how little air time they end up getting. However, a comedy I directed, 'Forget Me Not', went on Vimeo and received great feedback and views. So for me, I'd rather have more views and a larger audience than to desperately try and sell it for official distribution.
8. What was the last short film by another filmmaker you enjoyed?
Valentine by Kate Herron, which does an amazing amount in 3 minutes and 40 seconds. I would also highlight Lights Out by David F. Sandberg which scared the hell out of me when I watched it late one night.
9. Is there anything you would like to add as advice/ interest to fellow/budding filmmakers?
Don't just make the film you think people want to see, make the film that means something to you and that you care about. It will make the finished film all the better for it.
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