A man must decide whether to intervene and stop a casual commuting rule breaker, or live with a lifetime of regret. A comedy about a passive man with an overactive imagination.
Hi Ben thank you for talking to TNC, how are you handling the lockdown?
Time is standing still a little I suppose. I'm lucky in that I'm with my wife, kids, dog, cat and fat hamster.
As a filmmaker is this experience providing you with some creative motivations?
It's an interesting conversation and one that I have discussed with other creatives. Personally I think we're going to see a whole lot of films about isolation and the impact this is having on people. I also think we're going to see a lot of webcam/chat based films as people get creative with technical limitations. I'm not going to add to that. I'm aiming on writing a first draft of a feature film in this time. My focus is ending this global crisis with something positive.
Your film Quiet Carriage has been selected for the 2020 ÉCU Film Festival in Paris, what has it meant to you to be part of this unique film festival for independent filmmakers?
I've always known about and wanted to be part of ECU. It's a great honour that our film was selected and I count my blessings that Quiet Carriage has been largely well received by most festivals and audiences.
You won the LaCie #PushPlay & the Colchester Film Festival 60hr Film Challenge both in 2017 and in 2019 you became the recipient of at the CHARITY FILM OF THE YEAR AWARDS for ROLE MODELS, what has winning these awards meant to you as a filmmaker?
It's always great when your work is acknowledged in these kind of ways. They all represent milestones in my career trajectory and of course it's exciting. I have always tried to remain focussed and take each film as they come. My goal has always been to improve on each and every project. I'd like to think that if you put all of my films into a bag and jumbled them all up and emptied them out onto a table that anyone that watched them could place them in the order in which they were made.
Does winning add any addition pressure on you or have you been able to not let it bother you to much?
It's amazing. It's good for confidence and maybe helps expand your network for future work. I keep my feet on the ground and just take new projects in isolation.
Can you tell me a little bit about Quiet Carriage, what was the inspiration behind this film?
Honestly I was on the train home from central London and a woman was speaking loudly on her phone repeating the same sentence over, and over, and over again. The commute was 45 minutes. I found the funny side of course. I suppose my brain asked the question, "what if this never ends". From there I developed the idea further.
What was the most challenging aspect of making this film?
We had three days to shoot and eleven locations. The first day was just inside the train carriage so that meant the next two days were pretty intense. We were smart about it and had everything close enough that there weren't any major unit moves. We kept the crew quite small and had a great 1st AD moving things along.
Looking back do you think there is anything you would have done differently?
The short answer is yes, probably. I tend not to do that though. There are always things that could have gone better or could have been done differently. But the only important thing is you have the footage at the end of each day and you know you have a story that will cut together in the edit.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
Yeah I've always loved film and been creative. I went on to study film at University and just kept going really.
What has been the best piece of advice you have been given when you started out?
Just to do something. Anything. You can't wait for people to tell you how to make a film. You have to make stuff and work it out as you go along.
Do you have any tips or advice to offer fellow filmmakers?
Make the films that you would want to watch yourself. Don't make things to be on trend or because you thing it's easier to get funding etc.
What are you currently working on?
I currently have a sitcom pilot called Man Stroke Dog and a producer and production company attached. I'm also writing a creature feature comedy set in a Spanish villa which I'm enjoying. It's all about the comedy.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Quiet Carriage?
I hope that it makes people laugh. That's the biggest takeaway for me. If an audience come out with a smile on their face that Quiet Carriage has done it's job.
What was it about the allure of comedy that interested you so much?
I find with comedy that the whole process becomes fun. It's not heavy and emotionally draining. I'm trying to make an audience laugh. Which means I'm trying to make actors laugh when they read the script and hopefully crew have a smile on their faces when we're on set.