Blast from the past: Mixtape Q&A

27 June, 2012 3:29pm

Today in our 'Blast from the Past' series, the original Q&A from Luke Snellin in 2009, when he found out his short Mixtape was in the final 12. Aww.


About your film


Where did the inspiration for your film come from?
The film is kind of autobiographical, it stems from a range of memories I have from childhood. I used to make a lot of mix tapes with my dad’s old vinyl when I was a kid, I’d even record a little Tony Blackburn style intro and give them to family and friends as presents! Other things fed into the film like the style, the music and the tone which are were all big stylistic things for me to create both the father and the sons periods intertwined with one another. This is so that the film becomes about the 70’s and the 90’s and how the music transcends the generation gap. But most importantly the inspiration came from wanting to tell a story about the nerve wracking stress of having a crush on a girl at school and remembering that innocence and sweetness we felt as kids. The last thing I wanted to do was make something depressing!

How long did it take to make?
It took me about a day or two to write with some revisions, we shot everything in one day in Balham and the post production took about a week max. We turned it around super quick actually, I think from page to screen it was just under two weeks.

How much did it cost to make – and how did you go about saving money?
It cost around £500 to make initially. This was because I pulled in all manner of favours from the crew, location, friends and kit hire plus Portobello Post did all the post for free which was amazing. So that £500 came out of my savings, luckily I’d just gotten paid for another job so I threw everything I could at the film to make it happen. Luti (Producer) also helped considerably by working on the film and getting cut price deals where we needed to save money. Aside from this however we have paid around £2,500 in licensing the music for the film. This is obviously a huge amount of money to spend on a 2 minute short! That said we all feel it is worth it to help get the film out there. This money came straight from my overdraft with the production company (Luti Media) helping me out when I fell short.

Did you find the 2 minutes, 20 seconds time limit a help or a hindrance?
I guess as always when you’re working with a strict running time limit, I think you have to find a suitable story to tell. I think the duration suits something which is a slice of life, a little taste of a world but also a complete story. I love the idea that something so short can entice a person to want to spend longer in that world with these characters and so I think ultimately it was a help. Especially when thinking about structure, cutting and tightness of the film overall, there  were no excuses for sloppiness and no room for self indulgence.

What was the most challenging part of the project?
The most challenging part for me was the location aspect. We were all scheduled to shoot and everything was good to go, we had Bill, who I’d been wanting to work with for sometime, but all we needed was a location. I had something very specific in mind, I was being really picky about getting two London town houses which looked kind of old and had coloured or interesting front doors. We also had to make sure the interior of one of them was suitable because we couldn’t afford to shoot at separate locations. We couldn’t afford a location manager so I was out scouting for two days, literally walking around London knocking on people’s doors. I think it was a day before we shot that a friend of mine messaged me and said we could use her place.  God that was such a relief!

What was the most rewarding aspect?
I think honestly, receiving messages from Bill and his mum, Charlotte, Kate, my friends and family and the crew to say that they like the film is always really rewarding. There’s a certain level of guilt for me on shorts, I’d hate to think that I was wasting all these people’s time, so It’s nice to know that it turned out ok and that they’re happy with the film. Particularly because a lot of the crew I have worked with before and they did this for me as a favour rather than for money. It means a lot.

Anything you would have liked to have done differently?
Its difficult, with hindsight I think there are always things you think you could have done better or should have done this way or that. At the end of the day, the film is what it is and I’m happy with it, I don’t really like to dwell on it after it’s done.

If your short wins an Oscar, who would you thank?
Ha! Erm, well I think I would thank my family, my brother who did the production design, my producer Luti, my DOP Ollie,  and a whole load of other people including the Academy and of course Virgin Media!


About you


How did you get into film making?
I loved English and Film at school, then I went on to study screenwriting at Bournemouth. I came out and basically begged for a job in the industry. I managed to get a couple of runner jobs whilst simultaneously being a carpenter working in hospitals! Erm, then I got a gig on a feature in New York as a Art Department Assistant. All the while I just kept shooting little films and bits and then when I came back I sent a CV and some stuff to this guy I met at University who turned out to be Luti and he signed me as a Director when no one else would; which was wicked.

Who are your film influences?
Big influences for me are Stanley Kubrick, Wes  Anderson, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Frederic Planchon, and Darren Aronofsky. Also I really love the work of Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Glazer, David Fincher, Michel Gondry, Francois Truffaut  and Spike Jonze. In fact there are too many to name!

If money was no object, who would you like to work with?
Actors? Erm, I think  I’d love to do something with Ben Whishaw, think he’s great. Everything I see Michael Fassbender in I love, I guess the ones that come to mind are Ryan Gosling, Nonso Anozie, Rebecca Hall, Charlotte Gainsbourg. There’s this guy called Bronson Webb too, he’s coming up and I’d like  the chance to work with him at some point. I’ve always wanted to see Keira Knightley with a shaved head playing a kind of gritty skinhead. Other than that I can’t really think of any more at the moment, but I know there are loads!

How will you use the £30K film funding if you win?
Well I’d love to have a bit more money for a change. It seems I’m forever working with nothing! It’s fun to some extent, but it would be nice to try some more technical sequences that I’d love to shoot but have never had the money. Depending on the story of course , which I have no idea about at this moment in time! I have a few scripts floating around but I think I’d want to write something fresh for this.

What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen and why was it so bad?
Ok. So I’ve been asked this before and I always say ‘Lost in Space’. I don’t remember exactly why, to be honest, but I do remember going to see it with my new girlfriend when I was 12 years old. I think I was obsessed with Gary Oldman at the time. I remember getting inside and thinking god this is absolutely awful. I haven’t seen it since actually. In fact my most enduring memory of that experience is that my girlfriend had on pumps she got free from a copy of Bliss magazine, they were like these massive foam bricks.

If there was a film of your life, what would it be called?
The Entertainer.

Who would play your love interest and why?
Kristen Stewart. I like her performance in Catherine Hardwicke’s movie and I think she’d work as my woman!

What’s your guilty film pleasure?
If I was lying I’d say ‘Face Off’. If I was telling the truth I’d say ‘The Notebook’ (Don’t Tell Anyone This!). I also love ‘School of Rock’.

Which famous actor would play you in a film about your life?
Oh dear. Erm, I don’t know. Someone blonde. I guess Daniel Craig but he’s a bit old. Probably Ryan Gosling if his London accent was convincing.

If you were invisible for the day, where would you go?
A Steven Spielberg Set.

What super power would you most like to have?

Which book represents the story of your life?
Crime and Punishment. No, erm, I don’t know, probably ‘Stand by Me’ I guess. Or something by Stephen King anyway. When I was younger it was ‘Napper Strikes Again’ about this kid who was an amazing striker for a Sunday league team. But then I lost interest in football.

What is your most treasured possession?
Either my ‘Rushmore’ poster or my Polaroid Camera. I also have a 1960’s French table lamp which I love. But I’m not really into possessions that much.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Stanley Kubrick and Fruitangs.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To the beginning of time/the world.

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