Enjoy the silence? A slight return…

We decided on giving you a quiet August. We were working away on honouring the crowd funding perks (we’re sorry that some are outstanding -we’re waiting on suppliers) and honouring invoices (we’re sorry some are outstanding – we’re waiting on our sponsors). We felt that we’d clogged your newsfeed so comprehensively through crowd funding and production that we’d make way for Ice Buckets and ALS.

The film hasn’t been touched since July as we took a break from that also, putting some space between the emotions of the 72 and the cold light of day. It hasn’t been helped by James leaving Staffs and relocating to Bournemouth. Lots has been going on behind the scenes, and this Friday, in the Birmingham Film Studios at 630pm, we’ll have a bit of reflection on the process.

There’ll be free drinks, a chance to network, and possibly a pint in Dog for old times sake.



James leaves Staffs Uni

james on the 72

Earlier this week I handed in my resignation at Staffordshire University after 7.5 years in the Film Technology team. I will be joining Bournemouth University in September as a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Production. I have had a wonderful time at Staffordshire and will miss all the staff and students that make it such a wonderful place to work, but the time is right to move on. I’m not sure what my role will be upon the 72 Project as it moves forward, but I will be working with Peter and the rest of the team to tidy up ‘The Confusion of Tongues’ ready for festivals and try to secure a further project in St. Lucia for the near future.

I want to thank everyone that has managed to make the last six years of 72 hour filmmaking possible!



What exactly happened at the screening?


It wasn’t what we expected right? There was weird sound and no sound at all in places. So we get the sound guys against the wall, right? Erm, no, because the sound was mostly fine along the timeline when we revisited it the next day. So was it the Blu-Ray encode? Possibly, although Andy Paton has since re-watched that and it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was in the screening. The guess-timation at the moment is that it was the calibration of the speaker set-up in the cinema being different from what we’d prepared, which is no-one’s fault and would have been discovered in testing, had the production not over-run and left no time for testing. There’s no point in recriminations, as we could point towards 50 different factors and variables that meant that we had run out of time, and therefore lost our window of opportunity for testing. Besides, most people enjoyed it regardless.

So why all the crying? I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was gutted on Sunday. Having done this twice before, I can honestly say that none of the other screenings mattered as much to me as the one on home ground. I believed that we had the biggest and best crew available to us and I went into it more positive than any of the others, which made the fall seem greater. Personally, I struggled on the Saturday morning with two factors. The first was that I knew we had lost the opportunity to test, as I knew we’d have to now film on Sunday morning. The second was that I was struggling to motivate myself. Having done the project twice before, my mind was ready to throw in the towel and say ‘forgeddaboutit’. I was driven on by the fact that it would be a shocking example in front of my own students. When the screening wasn’t perfect on Sunday, I was inconsolable because I felt I had potentially demotivated students instead of empowering them, which I subsequently realise is nonsense, but at the time (when exhausted) seemed so real. Similarly, I felt as if I had let down the cast, family and friends who had travelled to see this project on the promise that it would be something special.

As far as I am aware, there are sporting psychologists that focus on the points in games where all can be won or lost. Getting onto that stage for the Q&A, my mind was replaying the weekend wondering were we could’ve done better, been faster, got it finished. There is no sense of perspective at that point, you are just faced with the fact that the outcome wasn’t what you expected, and you’re frantically trying to make sense of it. Although the audience we’re really awesome at putting a positive spin on the project, which I subsequently appreciate, at that moment in time I wasn’t willing to ignore the weaknesses. People are often complimenting me on my focus and drive to get the the job done and still remain calm on set. The flip side is that the pressure is all repressed and unfolds at the screening. I’m upset because it matters to me and I’m determined to do it right.

We’re going to start the process of tidying it up soon, but for now it is still about recovery and fulfilling the Kickstarter pledges. I see all sorts of positive images and quotes online about the experience and I am proud of what we achieved. I dare say that in the fullness of time, we’ll all come together for another screening with a polished film and talk about the experience with great pride.

I look forward to that day,





The Spotted Dog is the place to be


The Spotted Dog pud needs one hell of a thank you and most likely received that with the after party being held there.

But what else has the pub done for us? Well it was the center for most of our fundraising, allowing us to hold pub quizzes and meetings onsite. It was also the main location for the set, featuring in the majority of our feature film. They were kind enough to have the location later when filming ran over and adjust our times. As well as add to the decor to block out some light.

10554953_10152345156723318_1414861871_nSo Thank You! We really appreciate it! Thank you for the after party and we hope there wasn’t too much disruption or mess.


0. Ground Zero

Lets not beat round the bush. On this occasion the 72 project wasn’t able to shoot and edit a film in 72 hours, but we are stupidly close. Now this becomes a race to the cinema.

As I said earlier, this doesn’t represent the skill and enthusiasm of the team, it was mainly logistical problems that were out of the crew’s hands. As always we will keep you posted, and thanks for all your support over the past 72 hours.

We WILL see you all tonight.”

So at 9am this morning the team at the office waited for news of a wrap on set. News came at 9.58am on Sunday morning. We had not made the 72hrs as hoped but the closeness of the achievement is teeth gritting!  The cast and crew have all worked incredibly hard and should all still be incredibly proud of creating a 90 minute feature film in 73hrs! 

This was the biggest project undertaken by the 72hr project and issues had arisen. Without these would we have made it? I think yes.

We will be speaking to cast and crew throughout the day, as the editors race against the clock for the screening. So stay tuned and we’ll see you at the screening.



9. Girl Power! But really we’re just talking about equality.

I want to re-visits James’ recent confusion over, “Why are successful women so commonly defined by their relationship with men?” As a women myself, I have also found this aggravating as it has happened to me. This was followed by annoyance. I’m not successful (yet), nor have I done anything great, so I can only imagine how these women with steady and successful careers must feel. It is clear from James’ blog and speaking to other people that this doesn’t exactly make sense. In the UK you would almost expect these thoughts to be outdated.

One of the key goals of this 72hr project was to have a balance of the genders. Have we succeeded this?

What about our supporters and followers? Is there a gender balance there?

Twitter shows an imbalance of male and female twitter genderfollowers. However, it’s been a mix of genders retweeting, and posting. Facebook shows a balance.

It also gives a clear indication of the age ranges interested in the project. The ages I would expect to be using facebook and involved in the project itself. So what do these stats mean in regards to the project. men v women the stats of facebook


On the crew side I believe we have. There is a clear mix of male and female crew members and at all levels of the film hierarchy. Irune helps maintain the office along with Rowan and Simon.IMG_8154 Both myself and Amy are in the promotional hub with Mitch. On set men and women work together equally to complete the project. If you can do the job, why should your gender matter?

However I feel it’s a different story for the cast. On set everyone everyone works together equally but outside of the production the women are still being defined by there links to men.

BBC Midlands visited the set on Friday to interview James about the project. Kate O’Toole was once again compared with her father. 0.44 – 0.50 even gives her father a higher title by calling him “Legendary” and her just a “classical actress”. I felt shocked by this as it shadowed her own role with her father’s.

And again Gemma Atkinson was affected when the promotional team asked her twitter fans to send questions for her interview. Many fans were only interested in her relationship with Ronaldo. This had nothing to do with project or Gemma’s career. On top of that it was an old relationship, will she always be haunted by it? Or is the media just dropping names?

Is this what I have to look forward to? To not be recognised by my own accomplishments. I don’t honestly believe so in the film making industry although I don’t believe the media will let up anytime soon. It has been clear on set and in the office that the work balance has been in harmony with every job shared out easily.

I think there is equality between the genders for the project, it’s when people are reviewing the project that I believe ‘gender’ will be unequally represented as shown from the media’s representation. I do have to wonder what the media’s representation would have been if James had been female.


12. How We Are Going to Save the 72

11 hours to go. 20 hours till people are sitting in a cinema waiting to see this movie, which still hasn’t been filmed in its entirety, and is no where near a complete edit. Some of the crew are sleep deprived, stressed and exhausted. Things aren’t looking good, and things need to be sacrificed- namely parts of the script and peoples sleep.

Ben Arntz, the co writer of the script, came to visit the set today and James updated him on how the production was going. An emergency meeting was then set up with James, Ben, the editors and the script advisor. The script needs to be cut down dramatically in order for all the scenes by tomorrow. As I type this Ben and Josh, the script supervisor, are culling scenes and dialogue that isn’t essential to the plot. Here’s James briefing the team:


Also, here’s an intro to Ben and what he is doing now:



Here’s Joe breaking the news to the crew that some of them will have to arrive on set at 5am tomorrow (which has now changed to 3am). If you look really closely you may see a cameo by our beloved director.



Squeaky bum time folks, it’s exciting. This is the most energy I’ve seen on set so far.

The aim now is to wrap filming within 72 hours, and get the editing completed ready for the screening.

Take care,