Gain inspiration from everywhere – just collect it.
Review by: MiamiMovieCritic
Added: 8 years ago
Tim Clague is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and independent film advocate who's been active in film and television productions for more than a decade. The Brit got his start in 1998 with Eight, a short about an 8-year-old boy's love of soccer. It was directed by Stephen Daldry (The Hours). In the decade since, Clague has written and directed several films, many of which can be seen on FilmNet. His philosophy is to collect styles from a variety of sources, and to create films that are both though-provoking and funny – and conversation-starters. He spoke with FilmNet about writing, the Film 2.0 movement and the recent film adaptation of Watchmen.
Describe the writing process. Do you write quickly? Do you come up with bios for your characters?
I am not particularly fast but I do have several scripts on the go at once. I don't do character bios or backgrounds or histories or any other spinoff materials. I use a process I call storydust. I call it storydust as it mirrors how stars form from interstellar dust. Dust and fragments of rock are drawn together by gravity over time, getting larger and larger. Eventually the mass becomes so great it gets hot to the point of igniting and a glowing star is formed. But what about stories? Well, instead you collect ideas about a story, images, thoughts, dialogue, locations – anything. After a while, they start to collect and clump together and slowly a story forms. Eventually it collects enough weight that it hangs together and eventually a genius bright glowing narrative is in front of you. But both stars and stories take time to form with this method! But both are beautiful.
What was it like working with Stephen Daldry, the Oscar-nominated director of Billy Elliot and The Reader?
I worked with Stephen as he was selected as director for a script competition I won. The film was called Eight and it is a 12-minute short about a young boy and his love of football. It was his first film but he was already a highly regarded and respected theatre director who brought a lot of cinematic techniques to the stage. He is very focused and very collaborative. He uses a method where he keeps asking questions to really understand what a writer is trying to get at - a good technique.
How is Film 2.0 changing independent filmmaking?
In every aspect. Writing with the audience. Shooting for them. Sharing with them. Funded by them. Spread by them. All of it.
Describe how you collect styles from different media.
I think most filmmakers in the past have done this, but not always talked about it. I mean – don't copy shots and techniques from other films. Gain inspiration from everywhere else – comics, paintings, music, lyrics, poems, things you find on the street, blogs, overheard conversations, the web, sculpture – just collect it.
Consecration is a visually striking film. How did you shoot it?
We used, what was then, a very small camera. You can go even smaller now. In fact, it was so small we had to make a casing for it so the cameraman could operate it. Now you can get cameras where you can beam the signal with no leads required at all. And one filmmaker (who lost an eye) is having one fitted as a false eye.
Watermelon is great (both the fruit and the film). How did you shoot that one?
This is, for me, an interesting film in how we created it. Everyone was involved in pre-production. So the music was composed beforehand and we played that on set. The sound designer read the script and talked about the sounds he would like - so we shot images to match those sounds. And so on. The most collaborative way to make a film ever! However, if I could do it again, I would do the same technique with the script and tighten it up.
You produced a film called God Vs. The Advertising Standards Authority. Tell us about that.
This was a film I made on Boxing Day in five hours. I do it every year – instead of sending out Christmas cards, I make a Christmas film. But I didn't have a camera this year, so I screen-captured the performance instead. It is about a vicar who has a complaint made against him via the ASA and has to rework his Christmas poster in Photoshop so that it only tells provable facts. Ten days later it happened in real life when the Atheist bus poster campaign was referred to the ASA by a Christian group. They complained that the poster that said "There probably is no God so stop worrying and enjoy life" was untrue. So I rode the wave of the zeitgeist for a week.
You're working on a pro-atheist dramatic film. What's it about, and what effect do you hope it will have on the viewer?
It is a 30-minute script about an ad exec who realizes that all his techniques are also used by the church. His brother, a chaplain, is unhappy with this. So it is a drama about two brothers at the heart of it. I hope it just keeps people questioning things.
Circumference is supposed to be "the world's first free motion picture"...
Well, it was going to be – funded by adverts. But the recession has put paid to that, we feel. But we still hope to make it anyway in a low-budget style.
As an Alan Moore fan, what did you think of the Watchmen movie?
Excellent – even though I feel I shouldn't like it!
What are you working on now these days?
Delete Friend? A children's TV series. After deliberately spreading a Facebook virus, Jade must visit every one of her online friends to apologize. But is everyone who they seem? My Name is Earl – for tweens.