Charlotte Regan is a 22 year old film maker and BorrowFox user who has already received great acclaim for her work. She is a BAFTA nominated writer/director, a Sundance Ignite Fellow, and, according to her twitter bio, her nan’s favourite person.
I’ve seen Standby. I thought it was fantastic. I found it to be equal parts simple, humorous, and poignant. You only get to see these characters for five minutes and yet you immediately feel a connection to them. How did this story come about?
CR: Thanks so much! The story of how it came about is not too inspiring to be honest, I knew I had a really small budget to make a short film, I’d always done music videos and really wanted to step away from that with a short. So I tried to think of a story that was contained and had always wanted to do something set in one location as it was my first film. It was a nice way to focus entirely on characters and dialogue instead of having the other worries of shots, background artists etc. So it was more so grown out of convenience and necessity than it was a particular moment of inspiration… like I said not too inspiring of a story *laughs* sorry!
Once you had the initial idea for the film, how long did the writing process take? How long did the actual filming take?
CR: After I had the initial idea the script was written over about a week but it changes here and there up until the shoot too, and there was a lot of improv as the actors really became their characters and had the freedom to riff off each other between takes as we kept rolling, I’d say the film is about 20% improv as all he actors were awesome.
We shot over two days, the cinematographer Bradley Stearn had prepped so well so we were able to do quick changes for each scene as he was really on top of everything which saved us a lot of time.
What type of kit did you use?
CR: We used Canon kit, as it was a low budget shoot and the camera had to be mounted to the car we knew we had to use something relatively light weight and accessible. We used a car rig to mount it to the windscreen and a black cloth to stop daylight reflecting (the car was towed so the characters didn’t actually have to drive) and making us unable to see the characters. Using the Canon ended up being a big help as I wanted to be quite loose with the improv between takes, the low file sizes allowed us the freedom to film continuously without worrying about gigantic file sizes that you’d get with a Red or Alexa.
I also watched the music video for Netsky that you worked on. What type of challenges did you face as the live action director for a video that relies on equal parts live action and animation?
CR: I’d never really worked with animation or even looked into the process so I went into it very new to it all, the challenges were knowing the characters limitations, for example knowing that the character couldn’t fully turn his head because that wouldn’t be possible with the style of animation. Luckily the animation team from Powster were on set and gave me constant guidance as without them I’m sure it would of been an absolute nightmare in the edit. It was also one of the biggest shoots I’d done in terms of crew and cast size so it was a daunting experience to have the challenge of animation alongside that but luckily all the crew were great and very patient with my lack of knowledge.
Other creative industries don’t require paying members of a crew, buying expensive cameras and equipment, or hiring actors. How have you handled the challenge of budgeting in a creative industry that so often requires a large amount of cash on hand?
CR: I think as I’ve come from no budget music videos I’ve always seen what was doable with no money and I take that attitude to bigger projects, knowing that if a certain type of location wants hundreds of pounds for us to use it we could no doubt re-create that shot in my house and save ourselves a fortune. There are of course limits without budgets but you can always find great crew down to work for free if they like the project and if the story is strong you can make a great film on a phone or DSLR, you have to work with what you have which is why places like BorrowFox are such a big help to new filmmakers.
You have already achieved great success as a young film maker. Do you have any tips for film makers and screenwriters who are just starting out?
CR: I don’t think I’m in a position to give much advice as I’m still struggling myself *laughs* but just work with what you have and find and keep your team so you can all grow and learn together. Story is what matters so if you have to shoot your short on an iPhone then just make sure it’s a great story that perhaps hasn’t been explored in the way you want to explore it.
How do you think BorrowFox fits into the independent film scene?
CR: I think BorrowFox is such a great help to the indie film scene, I can and have used borrow fox to entirely kit up for a short film and saved myself a fortune, it’s also great for self shooters like myself who often do freelance jobs that require a certain bit of kit but don’t have the budgets to go to big hire houses that often require public liability insurance and the hassle of going to the other side of London to pick up kit. It’s also great for last minute jobs where you need to quickly find a bit of kit near to you, talking to another fellow filmmaker direct is also so much easier than dealing with a company. You can shoot your entire short film with BorrowFox found kit which is incredible.