Wednesday, 30 December 2009


Spent Christmas with the family in the North, the snow was deep, the food was great and the company was the best.

However, there was still work to do, the horses needed more attention than usual, with all the water supplies, bar one, totally frozen, meant moving water by hand and quad bike to all the drinking places on the estate, and in the freezing conditions, I could feel the sting on my face as we moved water around the glen. It gave me rosy cheeks.

I then took the opportunity to shoot a little film, and compile some of the shots into a little 3 Min short.

When we got back to Pitlochery, the snow was still deep, but the roads were black and drivable, at least until the next morning, I woke to see the biggest snow flakes fluttering past the street light outside, and soon my car was completely buried, stuck again.

It is good to see a proper winter again, makes me wonder what all the media hype about global warming is really all about, that's for another day I suppose.

Looking forward to seeing the New Year in, all is good.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Looking forward

Christmas and the new year are here, and spending time with family is paramount this year, more than before. After loosing my father last February, my little family are going to go through there first Christmas without him, this is going to be a trying time for us.

Keeping positive, I reckon, is the only way to deal with this Christmas. We will be looking forward to the New Year.

I am moving to Killin, taking a few months to renovate my new cottage, I am looking forward to designing my new work space and cosy house.

My sister will be very busy with the Highland pony mothers to be on the estate, and Mum will be keeping herself involved with her new friends in Pitlochery.

Once the move is complete, I will then be generating the funds to make my new film, 'The Rape Fields of Findo Gask', check out the teaser tester experimental trailer.
I have been planing it for some time now, and with the success of 'Shooter', I have not been able to shoot any of the new film yet, and as I plan on shooting most of it in the Highlands, Killin should prove to be a good base to start.

Monday, 21 December 2009

The special effects of 'Shooter'

When building the short film, I really had to tap into all my resources.

With one actor, Paul Hunter, who also wrote some of the script from a different perspective. I placed him in a blue screen studio, and shot him doing many different things with a rifle, then I was able to composite him into scenes that I shot with him in, in the highlands.

I also wanted to incorporate jets into my flying sequences, and that involved learning how to model in a 3d environment, and animate the finished pieces in a live action sequence of the film, it took a lot of time, but looks amazing

I tried many different voices for the piece, using American, Canadian and English accents for the narrative, I finally decided to stick with my own voice for the film, as it seemed to be more relevant to the piece and delivered the passion that I wanted

After 7 months I felt I had the pre-viz that I needed to develop the film further, It was at this point that I decided to place it before an audience, to see if the story worked. It went down very well, and there were no criticisms to note, so I decided to put it into a couple of festivals.

'Shooter' was accepted to screen at the short film corner in Cannes back in May 2009, but with my lack of experience, I would say I should have waited till the following year for Cannes, as the film had nothing to help push it.

Then it was The Heart of England International Film Festival, where Paul and I attended. We were blown away when Shooter was called out as the best short film, what a buzz. We met some amazing people there and still enjoy keeping up with there stories of how there films are doing.

That's when I decided to enter a few more festivals, some of which I thought may have been too big for our little film, but what do you know, we were then invited to screen at the prestigious Palm Spring Short Film Festival, where we were screened with some of the best short films on the planet. For me, it was as good as winning, just to be there.

Since then we have won in Ireland and South Africa, with other screenings planned for the new year.

The video diaries can be viewed above or at

Shooter's conception

The making of 'Shooter', began before the Hollywood 'Shooter' was released, and you can imagine my disappointment when it appeared in the cinemas. "I will need to call my short something else now", and for months I considered title after title, then one morning I woke with a great idea, "I shall call it 'Shooter', because I have too..." He he, made me laugh when that happened.
If you have seen the short then you will understand why I had to stick with the name.

Also, I had no intention of doing any festivals to begin with, I just wanted to create something short and sweet, something for me to remember my past with, and something that I could remember my fathers past with.

In the last 8 months, the film has won 3 International Film Festivals, 1 Jury Nomination and a bunch of Official Selections