Ned Warking (Living with Death)
As the title might suggest, Yorkshire-man Ned Warking is coming to terms with living with death -and failing miserably!
Ned Warking -Living With Death - by Gurchetan Singh.
Well Ned was an idea I had back in the dazed and confused days of University, and was inspired by such films as Man Bites Dog. The idea for Ned was to always try and give it a realistic feel, but inter-cut it with moments that were purely fictional; not just in terms of narrative, but also the camera. In so doing, I was hoping to give the viewer a better insight into Ned’s mind.
One of the most rewarding parts of pre-production is when you find actors that really fit the part; it means that 50% of the work is already done - which kind of makes my job easier. This was the case with David. Also, I knew that I could spend a lot of time with David talking about the character and trying to establish Ned’s personality in how he would talk, walk and look.
I have a personal fetish for haircuts, as I am totally into my own hairstyle, which mainly consists of a black turban or a black turban. So, if I can’t really fuck around with my own hair, I might as well try to fuck up other peoples! I told David not to worry, and that it would only heighten his chances of many sexual encounters, but he did not believe me! Funnily enough, a couple of weeks after the shoot, the mullet was in fashion!
If only he had waited…
David was great because he really got into character with the accent and Ned’s whole demeanour. It was a real pleasure to see. One thing I loved, was talking about Ned and giving this person - who had only existed in my mind and then on paper - a personality. This is why pre-production and rehearsals are so vital, for this is where you might start to view the character differently. You’ll invariably find bits that do and don’t work.
Personally, I’m a very visual director. I can see shots and camera movements and character reactions, but not always the real specifics of what a character ought to look like, or walk like or be wearing. This is where I find spending time with the actor, and talking about the character, really helpful in exposing these points.
The actors opinions are crucial, because they have to feel comfortable with who they are playing. They have to understand their own reactions. This is how we found Ned’s walk and posture.
Production went beautifully wrong. A great introduction for me into the fast and furious world of short film making.
The small crew meant that we were doubling on roles and we were all beginners - with passion, but maybe not skill. We had arguments, then some more arguments and I think we might have finished with an argument. This started off between the D.O.P and the slightly abnormal sound man, but then went on to the really normal director.
In retrospect, I totally deserved some of their bullshit. I hadn’t story-boarded and had only done very rough shot lists. Actually, I thank the arguments, because they really taught me a lesson in organisation - which hopefully showed on Man Out Of Time.
As I recall, post-production went well in that it took only 1- 2 months. It was also great to work with a sound designer who did a good job, and to get his input on the project in terms of sound.
Ned went on to win Best Screenplay at the Portobello Film festival.