ELGATO FILM PRODUCTIONS BLOG


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Pre-Production on Salem’s Forest has begun!

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We are now working on the Pre-Production of our third short film Salem’s Forest. This will be a new challenge for our team as we are also writing the script for this film, but we welcome this challenge whole heartedly! This is a continuation from our sketch The Girl Sitting Next To Me, as we have had many people ask us what happened afterwards. So we have decided to create a short film to explain more about the story. We are very excited to be working on this project.

The process of this film will also be a lengthy one as we have a larger cast than our previous short films. This is an exciting time for our team, we will let you know more this in the very near future!

On Friday January 24th we held our public screening for our 2nd short film Skeletons in The Closet. We have had great feedback from the public who were there on the night. Crumbs and Cocktails kindly gave us the venue in which to hold our screening. As well as our film, we also premiered the Behind The Scenes of Skeletons in The Closet as well as our latest sketch I Confess!

On January 31st we released Skeletons in The Closet live on YouTube to the viewing public. We have been very fortunate to receive a great response in the comments and feedback to our Facebook and Twitter. We really appreciate all the support, if you haven’t already please check out the film here:

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Skeletons in The Closet Trailer

A Short Film by Alberth MG

Synopsis:
Skeletons in The Closet centers around Ben Aitken. He is a lonely quiet man since losing someone close to him. Ben works in an office alongside Sandra Brown and her Daughter Rebecca Brown. Sandra in his eye’s is the perfect woman. But what will happen when this obsession is taken too far?

Directed by – Alberth MG
Written by Margaret MG
Screenplay by Nicola Smith
Starring James Todd, Becky Waugh & Olivia Seaton-Hill
Assistant Producer – M.K Law
Sound by Adam Robertson
Translated by Luis Eduardo Garcia
Storyboard by Nicky Drain
Make Up by Mandi Anderson
Clapperboard by Ryan Maloney
Behind The Scenes Photography by Jenna Laird
Colourist Simon Lyell
Graphics by Angelica McHarrell

Thanks to Zoë Smart, Sandra Cairney & Ayrshire Cancer Support

Thanks to our sponsors:
The Gaiety Theatre
Popplewells
Riverside Community Workshop
The Basement Coffee House
Minuteman Press
Vennal Cameras
Crumbs & Cocktails
Graphomania

On November 8th 2013 at 7pm GMT we released our trailer for Skeletons in The Closet. As you can see from our previous blogs, this is a project that we are very proud of and we have been working on this for 18 months so it is great to finally release our trailer after all this time. Please check out the trailer above and share with all your friends and family!

On January 24th 2014 we are holding our screening of Skeletons in The Closet for the public. We will be holding it in Ayr, Scotland UK where we are based. The event will be hosted at Crumbs & Cocktails, 16 Smith Street, Ayr. Tickets will be priced at only £5 and can be bought in advance from Crumbs & Cocktails! As well as the film, we will also be showing the behind the scenes and we have local band The Hostiles supporting the event with some great music! Please come and join us and support the community of film makers!

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The Making of I Confess

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I Confess is now live on our ELGATOFilmPro channel on YouTube ready for Halloween. Every year we try to create a sketch for Halloween, last year we created The Girl Who is Sitting Next To Me. This year we have been very busy with the production of our second short film Skeletons in The Closet, but we came up with a crazy idea while in post production to try to create a Halloween sketch. We knew we were limited for time but this is something that we really wanted to do and our passionate team were raring to go!

The adaptation for I Confess comes from a story written by our Director Alberth MG many years ago in London when he first came to the UK. He wrote the story in his native language of Spanish which was ‘Lo Confieso’ meaning I Confess. This is something that Alberth wrote in a toilet cubicle while working in London, this was his place to escape from reality and a place to gather his thoughts. This is where the idea for I Confess came from but we obviously adapted it to make it far worse than the original story and to add a twist to it.

We approached our Script Writer Nicola Smith and discussed with her the ideas for I Confess and we asked her to adapt the story with some more ideas that we had. I Confess the way you see it now on screen was born. When we received the script from Nicola we really liked it and we knew we could pull it off. The next step was to decide who we wanted to play in this. We knew that as we were limited to time, we could not hold auditions. But in all honesty we don’t tend to hold auditions for sketches we just go with who we think will fit the roles. As our actor Daniel MG had not appeared in anything since our last sketch A Christmas Wish we wanted him to be part of this. Daniel is a great young actor and was thrilled to be involved.

Our young actress Olivia Seaton-Hill from Skeletons in The Closet expressed an interest in I Confess and we really enjoyed working with her so we were excited to work with her once again! For the role of the main character we had to have someone who we felt could pull of the character and they had to be very feisty and a strong character. For this our Colourist Simon Lyell who is also a film maker had used his best friend Ian Kennedy for his own films. Ian is not a professional actor but he is very passionate and enthusiastic, we are always wanting to give people chances that they wouldn’t get elsewhere so we met Ian and realised that with the right direction he would fit the part well.

Next we set up rehearsals, mainly for Ian so that we could explain to him what we wanted from his character. Director Alberth MG showed him by improvising with him and explaining to him the intensity of the character.

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After one quick rehearsal two days later we were filming. We filmed the sketch in two locations over one day. This was a very long day but it all went very smoothly and everyone was in great spirits. We were very lucky on this project to have a sponsor for food for our cast and crew from Jasmine Chinese Takeaway. They went above and beyond the call of duty sending us a huge amount of lovely Chinese food! We always seem to fall lucky with our sponsors.

After filming we went straight into editing and cutting the film. Our music was royalty free and coincidentally the track that we chose was Confession, which we felt was fate as it fitted perfectly. Editing came with its issues but these things always happen and that is how we improve in the future. From I Confess we have learnt that more rehearsal time is very important to achieve the results that we want.

Once editing was complete, we sent the footage to our Sound Engineer Adam Robertson for him to work on the post audio. We received this a few days later and we were completely blown away by how good the audio sounded. This always happens as Adam is great at his job and he adds so many acute sounds but it makes our work look great!

Before we could upload the completed sketch to YouTube we needed our video thumbnail, banner and poster to be created. This is a long process that was completed by our Graphics Designer Angelica McHarrell. She works very hard on our graphics and the end result was fantastic! We released the sketch and poster on Friday 18th October 2013 in time for Halloween. We were incredibly lucky to receive such a positive response on our YouTube channel, Facebook and Twitter!

We hope that you enjoyed this year’s Halloween sketch and we look forward to creating many more sketches and short films in the future! Please feel free to share our sketch with your friends and family, we really appreciate the support!

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The Making of Skeletons in The Closet

For the past 18 months we have been working on our second short film Skeletons in The Closet. As it is a low budget project it took a long time for everything to come together including two rounds of auditions as we wanted to find the perfect actors/actresses for our project. We also wanted to involve the whole community so we took our time to find sponsors who could provide us with the necessities for our film. For this we were lucky to have sponsorship from some fantastic local companies. The Gaiety Theatre which is our local theatre provided us with a space for rehearsals and photo shoots. The Basement Coffee House provided us with food for our four days of filming for all our cast and crew. Minuteman Press produced our name badges, props and posters. Ayrshire Cancer Support which is a local charity shop provided us with an array of props for our film including clothing, crockery, photo frames and more. The Riverside Community Workshop provided us with a space to film our bedroom scenes including the use of an antique wardrobe that would be the main prop for our film. Popplewells is a fantastic fancy dress shop and they have been sponsoring us for the past 2 years, they provided us with make-up, clothes, wigs, glasses etc. Crumbs & Cocktails provided us with soft drinks for our four days of filming. Vennal Cameras is our newest sponsor and they provided us with photo printing and frames for our film. We cannot stress that without our sponsors the making of Skeletons in The Closet would not have been possible, we are very grateful for all our sponsors from the community for all the help they have given to us.

We filmed Skeletons in The Closet over four days from 16th – 19th September 2013. These were four long days filming every day from 10am – 7pm. On day one we were lucky enough to film in a beautiful house that a sponsor had given to us to use for the full day. We felt very blessed that someone had given us the whole run of their house for a full 9 hours, this just goes to show there are still some wonderful people in this world and it isn’t all about money! This was our busiest day as the majority of the scenes were filmed in this house, a full 13 scenes in fact! It was a long day but the atmosphere was great and that is down to the amazing team that we have working with us, our cast were also great. We got all of our scenes filmed and we finished late at around 7:30pm, we can only estimate how long it will take us as so many factors go into how long filming can take. Again we were lucky as even though we finished filming late the owners were very understanding.

On day two we filmed some more scenes in two different locations, the second location we filmed some of the intro scenes that you will see in the film when it is released. This day was a little more relaxed as we knew that we had less scenes to fit into our schedule so we could take the time to get them perfect. This day we were all wrapped up for around 4pm meaning we could all go home and refresh for another long day of filming for day three.

Day three arrived and we knew this would be a more intense day as once again we had a lot of scenes to film with different camera angles, as we only use one camera this proved to be difficult as it took us a long time to get the shots that we wanted and that we were happy with. This was an intense day as we were filming in a very small location but with a fairly large crew, but we managed it and we made it work for our purposes.

On the final day of filming we were all exhausted, but we could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our fourth day we had the privilege of filming in The Riverside Community Workshop as they gave us a huge space to film our final scenes in. This day was tiring but everyone just kept each other going including our actresses teaching the cast and crew songs from Camp America which was great fun. When you work on a project like this it is important to feed off each other’s energy.

This was definitely our most successful project yet, it was a calm but intense four days and we filmed and got all the shots that we were looking for. Now we are in post-production and we are working really hard day after day in editing the film, currently we are working on the colour grading which for us is the hardest part to get the right colours for the film. But this is what it is all about!

Every project we learn something new. For this project we have learnt that continuity is extremely important and sometimes on set it is over looked as we are so busy with other tasks. As we are a basic crew we don’t have one person in particular to oversee the continuity of the film. Also on this project we have learnt how we can work with other new members of the crew and the skills that they can bring to us. For example, this project was the first time that we worked with Simon Lyell who is also a local Director and Film maker. Simon has a lot of knowledge when it comes to the technical side of filming. This was very beneficial to us as it was a second pair of eyes and a second opinion which is never a bad thing. We definitely learnt a lot from working with Simon.

We will update you once again very soon in the journey of post-production of Skeletons in The Closet, in the mean time here is our poster for the film we hope you like it!   

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Rehearsals for Skeletons in The Closet

On the 6th and 7th August we held rehearsals for our new short film Skeletons in The Closet. The space was kindly provided to us by Ayr Gaiety who are one of our sponsors for this project.

On the first day, we were joined by two of our cast members, unfortunately one of our cast members was on holiday and wasn’t able to make it for the first day of rehearsals. We were also joined by members from our team including Simon Lyell, Jenna Laird, and Mandi Anderson.

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Firstly, we had a table talk to introduce the cast and crew to each other. We also discussed two more rehearsal days before we begin to film in September. Afterwards, we did a first full read through of the script  while telling the rest of our cast and crew scenes that we had deleted or changed. This has been a long process of myself and our Director Alberth MG constantly reading over the script and figuring out what we can and cannot film, due to our budget. One of the main points is that we wanted this script and film to look and feel natural and realistic. Therefore, anything in the script that was fake and unnatural was immediately taken out.Before rehearsals we had also sat down and gone through the list of shots for each scene so that we can compile the storyboard.

After a table reading, we also went through the script with the actors beginning to act out the parts , with Alberth explaining to them what he wanted to see. While all of this was going on we also played some settled violin music in the background this was to get the actors into character.

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Today our new make up artist Mandi Anderson also trialled some make up on our younger actress for the dramatic scenes.

On day two of rehearsals, all our cast were present along with the majority of our crew apart from our sound engineer. Once again we had a table talk and updated everyone on the new changes, we also did a full read through of the script again. We also handed out the call sheets for day 1 of filming.

We also did some exercises similar to the work from Stanislavski. Alberth asked us all to lie on the floor and he put the violin music up to a high volume while he walked around us telling us to imagine a scenario that he was explaining to us. This was to help us to relax and to take our minds to another place to use our imagination in a different way.

Afterwards we did rehearsals with the cast of all the dialogue from the script so that we can see how it is going to look when we come to film in September. From here Alberth directed the actors to show them exactly what his vision was. The actors also brought some of their own ideas to the table which we fully support.

After two exhausting days of rehearsals, we were all exhausted but a lot more clear about the script and filming etc. We will be meeting again in a few weeks for some more rehearsals. We will be updating more about our journey of making our second short film in the very near future!

Written by M.K Law

Producer of ELGATO Film Productions

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Our Newest Members of ELGATO Film Productions

This week has been an exciting week working on the pre-production of our next short film ‘Skeletons in The Closet’. At the beginning of the week myself and Director Alberth MG sat down over Skype for another full reading of the script. The purpose of this was to colour code our script to ensure that we do not miss out on any scenes. This is due to time constraints when we are filming in certain locations, as if we miss a certain scene it may prove very difficult to go back to the location and film it without any issues. We also took a note of all the extra props that we would need for the film such as a watering can, vintage objects from the 1950’s and 1960’s, an old briefcase, old mirrors etc.

The next day after going through the script we went to visit our newest sponsor Nae-Sae-New which is a collectibles and second hand emporium shop. The owner Gary Donis was very enthusiastic about our new short film and he is supporting us by providing us with props and transporting them from location to location. This is very beneficial for us as the items that he sells are similar to the set and the feel that we are looking for. In return we are going to help him to promote his business.

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This week we were very fortunate to be able to add two new people to our team. Firstly, we had a meeting with photographer Jenna Laird, she will be joining our team as our Behind The Scenes Photographer. Her role is to capture the great moments of our film making process.She is also going to come to our Ayrshire Filmakers Showcase next week to take some photos for our event. We are really looking forward to working with Jenna!

ImageOur second meeting was with Simon Lyell. He is a Director himself that will be appearing in our Ayrshire Filmakers Showcase next week with two of his films. He contacted us in regards to a cameraman position that we advertised for. After speaking to Simon at the meeting, we soon realised that he was very passionate about film making. This is very important to our team so we invited him to be part of ELGATO Film Productions. Simon will be filming our behind the scenes of the making of Skeletons in The Closet. We are honoured to have two new team members for our new production.

At present we are now organising and getting ready for our Ayrshire Filmakers Showcase which is next week on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th July 2013 at 7:30pm at The Gaiety Studio Theatre, we will update you on this in our next blog!

Written ByM.K Law  (Producer of ELGATO Film Productions)

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Here is Our Next Short Film ‘Skeletons in The Closet’!

We have been very busy working on many of our services recently for our clients including transfers, editing, photography etc but the time has come for us now to focus all our efforts on our new short film ‘Skeletons in The Closet’.

We held auditions on the 6th June at The Gaiety Studio Theatre who donated the space to us as they are one of the sponsors for our short film. The auditions went very well and we found our two actresses who we believe are perfect for our production. At this time we unfortunately did not find our chosen actor for our leading role. This is a role which we found very hard to cast as we had a certain image in our head of how we wanted our actor to act the role and how we wanted him to look. But we knew that in time we would find our chosen male actor.

After auditions we contacted our two actresses to let them know they had been successful at auditions. They are two great local actresses from Scotland known as Olivia Seaton-Hill and Becky Waugh. But then the hard search came at trying to find our leading man. We watched many showreels from local actors searched through many outlets before coming across the showreel of James Todd. He is a local actor that we knew of from Ayr where ELGATO Film Productions are based. His showreel was great and we knew that he fitted our image perfectly for our leading role. So we contacted James to arrange a meeting and private audition at our studio.

As soon as we met James and we talked to him on a personal level we knew he would fit in great with our team. When we audition for a role we don’t only look at the acting ability but we also look for how passionate they are about what they do and we observe their character to ensure reliability and how they would work with our team. We knew that James would fit in well and he could pull of the character of Ben Aitken perfectly.

Now that we had our main actors and also the actors for the leading roles, it was time to look at locations. We knew this film would be very different to our first film ‘Reflections’. For our first film we only needed one location which was a house. But for ‘Skeletons in The Closet’ we would need many locations including a garden, the exterior of a very creepy quirky old house, an old bedroom from the 1960’s era, a living room, a bathroom, a cemetery and offices.

Therefore, straight away this was already a challenge for myself and our Director Alberth MG. The first location that we approached was a local charity shop in which we asked them if we could use some of their space to re-create an old bedroom as they had very old closets that we could use.

We were looking for an office location and everywhere we looked at wasn’t suitable or there were insurance issues etc. So we decided to approach our local council of South Ayrshire. We had previously been advised not to ask the council because they would just say no. But we believe that if you don’t ask you don’t get. Firstly, we approached Kirsty Darwent who is the Councillor for Ayr West and she is very passionate about the arts and culture here in Ayr. Kirsty put us in touch with Louise Fyfe at South Ayrshire Council who was very interested in our project. Louise believed it was very much a possibility for us to use some of the council buildings here in Ayr to film. We went for a meeting to discuss with Louise our options. Firstly we looked at the county buildings then in the afternoon we went to view some offices at another local council building. We decided to use the location for the offices in the second location that Louise showed us. The office is a great location, very big with lots of light, a great corridor and it fits our storyline very well. The office workers were very enthusiastic about us filming in there and were more willing to be part of our project. This just goes to show that if you don’t ask you don’t get! We are very happy to have the support and sponsorship of South Ayrshire Council!

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Our next step was to look for our perfect cemetery. We have many creepy cemetery’s here in Ayrshire. First of all we looked at the Auld Kirk of Ayr but we decided that the graves and the cemetery were to dated for us to film here. We then progressed onto our next cemetery which is the largest one here in Ayr. This one is definitely a possibility. We also have our eyes on a couple of cemetery’s in Alloway which again is old but it is a great looking cemetery and will look great on film. For now we are keeping our options open.

Our final location came from a local business man that we know who has offered his house to our project. The house in question is a very old creepy quirky looking house with a large garden at the back. As soon as we saw this location we knew it would be perfect for this project.

Now we have our locations we can move onto rehearsals. We had many options from our sponsors for a location for our rehearsals but we decided to hold them at The Gaiety Studio Theatre. We will be holding them there in August and we are looking at finally starting filming in September. Our job between now and September is to get all our crew on board for the project and to organise all props etc. We will update you on this very soon!

Written By

M.K Law

(Producer of ELGATO Film Productions)

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