Behind the Scenes - Filming One Year Later

Posted: Fri, 10 May 2013 by Fraser

Guest blog by Fraser Coull, who successfully crowdfunded his film One Year Later. A behind the scenes look at how he brought the film to life.


Well, there we go, another short film in the can. First of all, a GIGANTIC thank you goes to the fantastic crew who I have worked with since "Bloodline" last year, and our newest recruits, Sean Gill, Sarah Mooney, Ailsa Macaffery and Katy Taylor. Along with Claire Mcguire who, is a fantastic producer, there is no way on earth we would have shot an 18 minute short film in the space of two days. While there were some stressful moments (I'll go into that shortly) the shoot was fun, professional and slick. From our production assistants to our camera team, thank you. It's been a couple of weeks since we wrapped and I've since seen the entire film from start to finish thanks to our brilliant editor, and executive producer, Anne Nicholson, and everything works.

You can watch the behind the scenes movie here - One Year Later

Yes, this is over-indulgence pat on the back nonsense, but it's important. The crew worked their asses off since I wrote the script in January, making sure we had every location, prop, costume, look of each shot, the sound for each scene, the costumes for all the characters and hair and makeup for everybody. So much work went into it and I'm very grateful and all of it comes across on screen. The team were so confident at their jobs it allowed me to relax a little and direct the actors. Not that they needed a lot of directing. The guys nailed it!

Rhys, April and Mark were exceptional on the weekend. They had to sell a year long relationship and a life-long brotherly relationship in just two days and they did it really well. Everybody was spot on with their deliveries, their thoughts on the characters and how to deliver each line. They weren't afraid to suggest ideas and try things in a few different ways to see what worked best, and it was a very gratifying situation. Supporting roles went to Simon Weir as a sympathetic doctor, Tam Toye as a mystical, inappropriate French waiter and Paul Murray as an opportunistic security guard. As they say there are no small parts, just small people, and thankfully these guys were total pros and brought an extra little bit of magic to the film, thank you.

Despite having filmed a web series, several shorts before hand, a full-length feature film and a pilot for a supernatural TV series, "One Year Later" was no doubt my most ambitious project.

Thanks to the wonderful invention of crowdfunding you no longer have to rely on a government body, a film funding scheme or a lottery win to make your project. If you're clever enough and you can offer people something unique and let them be a part of your film, you can raise the money you need to shoot your gig. Now, I'm not going into depths with money and funding on a public post, if you want to ask me about it privately, or at a networking night, I'm more than happy to do that. However this is the first time I've been in a position were I've felt confident to raise the money we needed to pay the cast and crew. I took to Bloom VC, a Scottish run crowdfunding company, and with their help we set up the campaign for One Year Later. 90 days later and we had raised £2060, *just* enough to pay the majority of the cast and crew for a 2 day shoot. With the help of private funding and my own money, we'll be able to get the cast and crew paid. It was a scary, intense, sometimes exhausting process, but we got there and we were able to shoot our film.

Thank you to EVERYBODY who pledged to our project, your perks will be sent out at the end of June once the film is completed. Thank you to everybody who re-tweeted or facebook'd the link to the campaign. It is so very much appreciated.

Location, Location, Location!.... thanks to Claire, our never-stopping, always thinking, crafty producer, and her assistant producer, Sarah Mooney, we managed to get our locations for the film. Now, One Year Later is a present-day, non-science fiction story. It's boy meets girl, boy tries to propose to girl with the help of his may-or-may not be a ghost of an older brother. Even with the simple set up, you still need to find the right locations. Now, I won't lie, I got a tad over ambitious with the script. My college lecturer, Stuart McCorkindale, once said to me, "Fraser, write the film you want to make, not the film you can afford to make." and I think that stuck with me as when I was writing One Year Later, I found myself typing "EXT - The Tall Ship - Night" - the Tall Ship is situated down by the Riverside Museum in the West End of Glasgow and it's gorgeous. I thought it would be brilliant if David tried to propose to Katy on the boat. I never in a million years thought we'd get it. I thought, at a push, we could film OUTSIDE the boat, with David on one knee and the boat in the background.

But we got it! I remember Claire emailing me to say "Good news, we've got the ship!" and I literally jumped up and yelled "Woo hoo!". The challenge of locations, from a cafe where Katy and David first meet, right up to David and Steven's flat, proved a challenge right up to shooting but Claire and Sarah did a fantastic job and thank you so much to the Tall Ship, Roma Mia, Cafe Source, St. Andrews in the Square and of course our assistant director, Scott Forrest, for allowing us to crash his flat yet again.

Katy Taylor, a costume designer who has previously worked on Game of Thrones and The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek, joined our production and, along with her assistant Sophie, did a fantastic job. Her mood boards were spot on and her ideas were mind-blowing. Subtle little touches of colour themes, the reason why certain characters wore certain clothes, it was just so clever. Things that I never even thought of, she just brought it to life. Again you write things into scripts and you don't think about it, such as wedding dresses. I didn't realise just how hard that would be to come by on our budget, but Katy pulled it out of the bag and I am grateful for the work she did for the film. The girl will go far and deserves to do so. You'll see what I mean when you see the film.

Rachael Darroch filmed the making of, interviewing cast and crew, finding out what their job is and how they approached it and I've seen a snippet of it, really insightful stuff and maybe will give you an idea of just how much hard work goes into making a film, whether it's a 5 minute short, a 2 hour blockbuster or an on-going TV series. TV magic is brilliant but my hat goes off to everybody who wants to work in this industry and what they have to do to make it happen. I've got the easy part - I write a story and tell people what to do.

The challenges during filming were keeping everybody together as we went - ensuring that we filmed everything we had to, with the time we had at each location, keeping to schedule - I think we went 25 minutes over on the last day (but I think the wrap party made up for that!) and I had a great AD in the form of Scott Forrest, who dealt with transportation, the call sheets, made sure everybody knew where they were going and who with. Also making sure that Julie, our award winning DOP, got all of the shots that she had planned months before. I trust Julie, she knows what she is doing and again watching the film back the other day shows that she's got it spot on.

You can't control the weather and we felt the brunt of it on the weekend. One minute it was boiling and the sun was shining - not great when you're shooting day for night and trying to convince your audience that you shot the film at night - or then it was freezing cold and the clouds are blocking the light of your actor's face during a pivotal scene that involves needing to see said face to have the emotional payoff you're seeking. But again it's just patience, waiting for the right amount of light, or when we were on the tall ship, the church bell across the river to stop chiming, and then small children running around the boat ringing the bells during an emotional scene. Patience. If you've not got it, develop it quickly.

There's not much else I can say really. It's the most personal script I've ever done, most of me is in there, hopefully people will laugh at the funny bits and get emotional at the sad bits. Most importantly I hope people leave the screenings and feel something positive.

Our first deadline is the 24th of May for the Deep Fried Film Festival and the Loch Ness Film Festival. The edit is pretty much locked down, the visual effects and titles are being worked on, the sound is being tidied and next week our composer Samantha Pake starts her job and by the end of May we'll have a supernatural rom-com, then it's off to festivals throughout the year and we'll see how it goes.

Best job in the world.

(Cast and Crew of One Year Later filming in Roma Mia in Glasgow - photo by Dougie Coull)

You can read more about Fraser Coull and One Year Later in this STV Local article about his crowdfunding campaign

And view the behind the scenes video below.