Tuesday, 5 January 2010

'The Plumber': A Geek's Perspective

(by Daniel Tee of Stickmen Pictures)

A World's first, our interactive film The Plumber is finally online and available to watch. We came up with the idea for an interactive live-action film about a year ago and it's been a long road to making it happen. There's really nothing out there like it, so we've had to think outside the box.

The logistics of filming a project with multiple storylines were initially hard to get our heads around. As the editor for the project, I knew we needed a clear plan to help me visualise how to film the shots so that they could be put together in a logical and coherent way. The most important thing for any film, interactive or not, is that the viewer enjoys what they see and hear.

Rishi and I wanted to create a piece to challenge and enthrall an audience while at the same time sporting the innocence of any good British sex comedy like the Carry On films. We came up with a basic story and then went back to find alternatives for every decision that could be made by the main character. Our basic philosophy was that we'd try to include everything we came up with, however insane, and then go back and get rid of anything we thought wasn't funny or entertaining enough.

Filming with Steve and Lucy was a real pleasure. Their first read through was amazing and their performances were even more entertaining when the camera was rolling. As their acting experience was limited, their work was all the more impressive.

Cash Flagg Jr spent most of his time in his trailer. Some say he trained to be an actor by doing somersaults underwater and shouting at llamas in Peru. I'm inclined to believe them. His portrayal of the jealous husband had me in stiches. As the cameraman, being so close to the action, I had to stop myself laughing a lot of the time. This was even more of an issue when Joe Atom was also on set as the Pervert. The kitchen scene caused the director himself to leave the set due to fit of laughter. The assistant director Asch stepped in to direct the shot, finding it equally hard to keep a straight face. We should have canned all the laughter on set to sell to a sit com!

Laurence recorded the sound with his usual dedication. His confidence has increased over the time I've worked with him and I trust his judgement when it comes to all matters sound related. Many sound recordists would stress out when faced with lawn mowers and plane noise during a shoot, but capturing sound in even the most challenging of locations is something he takes in his stride. He always has a smile on his face and this shoot definitely was no exception.

Putting all the footage together and adding the special effects was fun for the most part. Rishi's judgement on the initial visual edit is something I value highly. He has an amazing eye for detail and can spot things that I miss, which makes the whole process a lot more efficient. Adding special effects takes time because rendering files makes the processor work pretty hard, especially when a computer needs upgrading as much as mine does. Egg timers... Argh!

We ended up with 34 choices, 14 pitfalls and 3 unique endings, which I believe creates a real sense of interactivity for viewers. Testing the film was easy; Rishi and I tried playing it ourselves to see if we enjoyed it, then changed anything we thought was rubbish.

In conclusion, all the hard work and effort was worth it. Creating something new for the cast, crew and audience who have shown us such support is worth every hour of donkey work to make it happen. We have a 100% success rate at completing projects we work on, so may it continue. Rishi's dedication and hard work makes the whole process enjoyable and rewarding. Bring on the next project!

View The Plumber here:

1 comment:

  1. It was a pleasure working with you all. 'The Plumber' is a classic!
    Cash sends his love....