With the release of the new Avengers film imminent there is one independent film company that you must take notice of this year as they are set to do some huge things. They are based in the North East of England and when they are not focussed on producing short films, they are working with the North East Avengers to produce films that intertwine Cosplay actors. I spoke to Amy of Team Beard Films to find out More.
Hello Amy! Tell us a little bit about yourself and sort of give our readers and introduction to your company Team Beard films!
Well I’m Amy and I part of a group of amateur filmmakers based in the North East. We are Team Beard Films and we aim to make exciting, fresh and innovative films (all on a budget of course).
Why the name Team Beard?
That’s all Paul! He set up the company as a small hobby group to begin with and the name was already established before I joined – thankfully I don’t have to grow and actual beard! That would be hard! Though I bet I’d suit a bit of stubble 😉
How did you get into film making?
For me it started in high school. I studied Media Studies and was part of an after school film club. I enjoyed the process and seeing our hard work on a small screen. At the time it was all tapes and dodgy angles. Now its all lighting, atmosphere and a good soundtrack I’m looking for! I regained my love for it when I met Team Beard and we have been making film magic every since.
Tell us all about some of your latest projects?
Our latest project is Otherworld. A year long ballache of a project, but nonetheless a fantastic endeavour. We had an idea for a web series pilot that mixed together our love of the fantastical, scifi/supernatural etc. Lee developed the story and we followed his lead from there. It was an ambitious affair as it required sfx makeup and a level of vfx that we hadn’t tried before. We don’t like to do things by half and it has taken us a long time to get it right and out there. We learned a lot from making it and look forward to doing something of that scale again. It begins with a murder that baffles the UK detectives investigating it, enter FBI Agent Ethan Knight who, along with his eccentricity, drops himself into the case showcasing a penchant for finding new clues. He takes DS Alice Clarke long for the ride and the two soon discover there is more to this murder than meets the eye. Think Constantine meets Dr Who.
Tell us about your partnership with the cosplay group North East Avengers – how did this come about?
I met the NEA when I debuted my Gamora outfit at Newcastle Comic Con – the group were still in their early days (around a year or so) and liked my outfit. I wasn’t initiated into the fold until I released Holtzmann on the world and I got to know the group members a little better. Once they’d decided I was the right level of crazy, they invited me inot the fold. I am now the official Captain Marvel within the group and more recently, Hela, Goddess of Death. It’s been a lot of fun and I have made friends for life – they’re like a little costuming family.
Your next film for them is The First Avenger UK is there anything you can tell us about this?
Yes, we have recently unleashed this short as a means of promoting our cosplay group. We aim to release a small video advertising each character in the NEA based on the universe their character originates. It made sense to do Captain America as we had the resources at our disposal and we have a great wealth of reenactors in the area. Was a lot of fun! We were like kids at Christmas!
You come from a background of teaching – what made you decide to go behind the camera?
Its another aspect of teacher. Directing is like organising a class and taking them through steps like a mathematical level of progression. Behaviour management skills help me organise the cast and crew, shooting schedules and shot lists act as lesson plans – they’re very applicable skills that work back and forth. All involve a level of collaboration and communication.
What makes your films unique?
I think it is the level of ambition despite our low budget threshold. Our whole team are fans of the epic and scifi/fantasy which is often a difficult genre to undertake given the lack of funds. It can be that some films of this genre can come off as quite cheesy and we aim to overcome this and make gritty, high quality fantasy shorts that entertain as well as impress. We hope people watch them and appreciate the level of effort that has gone into making it – we don’t have the six thousand crew members or the million pound budgets, but we have a high level of enthusiasm and drive that I’d like to think put us up there with the best in the area. We try to do things different. A lot of folk at this level aim to make dramatic, realistic films that are dramatic and whilst we’d like to do that too, there’s nothing wrong with throwing a vampire in there or a monster controlled by a being from another universe, right?
What’s your favourite thing about making films and why?
Being able to immerse yourself in a world outside our own. I watch so many films and often think “I wanna do that” – its amazing that with my team, I can! You can step outside the real world and its problems and enter a world of fiction where your imagination can take you literally anywhere. It’s magical.
What’s the most challenging aspect?
The most challenging element for me in the post-production. I am involved heavily in pre-pro, but after the shooting is over the hard work begins. Sometimes editing can take months, even years to complete that your enthusiasm can wain. I get bored very easily and if editing is ongoing then I lose interest – its why I leave it to other people! Post-pro is where the hard work begins; it is time consuming, stressful and at times soul destroying! I advise that you have a very strict post-production plan and set of deadlines ready before you undertake a project, lol.
For anyone wanting to get into film production what advice would you give them?
Do it. Just do it. The industry, especially the REAL PAID industry is notoriously difficult to get into. If you want to make films, don’t wait for someone to do it for you, just do it. When I have an idea, I ask social media to give me a crew. People want to help, they want to do it too – so ask them! If you wait for an opportunity to be handed to you, you might be waiting a very long time, so get asking or do it yourself. If you have an idea, get people invested. I advise trying Four Bridges NE Filmmakers group that I set up years ago, or Four Bridges Casting Calls. Originally this was a venture to get people to collaborate across the region – unfortunately I quit Facebook a number of years ago and it deleted my admin privleges! But shy bairns get nowt, so get going!
Tell us about your process of filming A short film?
It involves a lot of pepsi! For me personally it starts with idea inception. I start with a character or costume i know I want to play with. This then stems into a world and then a problem/obstacle in that world. When you have a script, show it to people, not just friends, other people, other filmmakers and garner as much feedback as possible. If you can’t handle feedback, then you don;t make a film. You don’t alwyas have to listen, but getting an outsider perspective can show you if you have any holes.
Next, for me, is gathering cast and crew. You need people you can rely on, so if you want to, don’t be afraid to audition. Enthusiastic people will be out there, give them faith in your project and they will help you. Crew – camera guy and sound for sure, a runner is a great idea, and then a gaffer or whatever, ask for it. For me, I prefer a small crew, means less stress for you as you can keep an eye on what needs doing without spreading yourself too thin.
Locations come next – think outside the box, if you can’t find the location you need then compromise, most of the time your perfect location comes with a fee, so be prepared to make changes to that script.
Shooting schedule. Plan the heck out of it. Prepare for things not to go to plan, plan for people not to show up on time, prepare for rain, prepare for yetis, the lot. It will not be perfect. it will not 100% go to plan, but whatever, have fun with it, make sure you get the shots you definitely want and then if theres time get some coverage.
I tend to use the crew i know and love. You form bonds with crtain people and grow to rely on their knowledge and partnership. It gets less stressful as you can trust them to do what they do without instruction and can just let go and enjoy the experience. I’ve been on sets where everything is SO SERIOUS and it takes the tone down too much. You need to have fun or else its a job.
If you could work with anyone living or dead who would it be and why?
I’d love to work with Patty Jenkins. I watch her BTS videos of her directing and she is just so awesome! She gets involved with every aspect and executes her vision with poetic justice. Her work on Wonder Woman was phenomenal, she was there alongside Gal Gadot weilding the God Killer shwoing her how to work it on screen – magical. I think I could learn a lot from her.
With new technology such as virtual reality, 360 video and 6D cinemas challenging the Norm for films where do you see the industry going and how do you think they are going to embrace these?
I’m not entirely sure to be honest. I think for sure the amateur circuit is going to get a lot more busy – it might become more difficult to showcase your work and make it stand out. By all means, I am thrilled that independent film is expanding at the rate it is and excited to see where it will go next. I’m sure before long the kids in my class will be showing me how to do it rather than the other way round!
What is your favourite genre and why?
Action. I always thought it was fantasy or scifi but I started realising that it was in fact the action sequences within them that I loved. Fifth Element is my all time favourite movie and it is action packed! True Lies is my favourite straight laced “action” movie – I love the humour and the adrenaline that comes along with action. I would love to do more action at amateur level, but that comes with a lot more work – practises, health and safety etc.
In three words why should people take note of TeamBeard Films?
Bearded Budget Brilliance .
If people want to find out more where can they find out more information online?
Check out our facebook page as its where we post a lot of our updates:
or on our website: www.teambeardfilms.com
We are also on that tweet thing: www.twitter.com/teambeardfilms