Thursday, 16 September 2010

Sparks have flown - and toasters too!

So, we're about half way through our shoot and it's gone so incredibly fast I can't quite believe it. The last few days in particular have just flown by, perhaps because we have moved through so many different locations and brought in lots of new faces. We started the week in Deadhead Comics, then spent some time on the Grassmarket, before moving to the lovely Monboddo (thank you to all the people at Point Hotel, Edinburgh who were so helpful), Johnstone Terrace, Lady Lawson St and an amazingly huge flat down at Haymarket. Thanks to Ryan and David Hepburn everyone managed to get from A to B via X, Y and Z without too much trouble, but as you'll see from the picture, we really had to tie our actors down to get the best from them!
One of my many worries on the shoot was health and safety and yesterday I had a whole heap of things to get stressed about, including actors riding a stunt bike you can't sit down on, actor pretending to climb out of a 2nd floor window, actor thumping a plate glass window, director riding a stunt bike you can't sit down on, crew loading and unloading heavy equipment in a confined space, the usual issues with cables for people to trip over etc etc. What I wasn't expecting was that our designer Marianne would do an impromptu audition for the part of Electric Man himself by almost electrocuting herself with a dodgy lamp. White sparks leapt across the room and Marianne leapt several feet in the air. Thankfully all was well: Marianne was unharmed and remarkably composed; the lamp was consigned to the bin and the scene looked even better than we hoped, thanks to some excellent set dressing.
Today we were completely on top of our game - not only were the actors doing a fantastic job, but the crew were on a roll too and the shots just kept coming. We started on a buzz with scenes set in a bathroom, involving many bubbles, a corpse and a toy. I can say no more, except that our extra, Doug, really got the most out of his role and the crew could barely hold in the laughter. Then things got serious and Derek Dick (playing Jimmy) did a great number in evil laughter and full on violence with white goods. Production safety was also on a high as we surrounded Rich Steel (DOP) with padding and stationed Elliot to catch the flying toaster. Dave Barras okayed the shot and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Then it was on to the next move and, despite the Papal visit to Edinburgh, we headed up the road to the Hibs Supporters Club, where we couldn't have been made more welcome (special thanks to Colin and Walter for this, and for their help as impromptu extras). We were joined at the HSC by Grant Thomson, Steve Holligan and Julian Leiper who did a marvellous job of creating just the right kind of ambience for Jimmy's drinking haunt - you'd never recognise the place!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Filming (and Posting) at Last!

We're on DAY 2 of our shoot already - time goes so fast! The first day of filming at Deadhead went extremely smoothly and the scene of the day had to be Wolf (Mark McKirdy) drinking his amazingly unrefreshing concoction - a delightful combination of Red Bull and Smash. There was fizzing and expanding and solidifying and all sorts. When Wolf finally managed to persuade the mixture to slip down the glass into his throat, Dave the director almost ruined the shot by laughing so hard - it was that funny! Dave recovered quickly enough to make Mark do a second take - it took Mark a little longer, and a large bucket to recover at all.
We ended DAY 1 a whole scene ahead of schedule (ok, so it was a brief exterior shot of the shop, but still) and feeling optimistic, especially when the Dave saw the rushes, which looked amazing thanks to the excellent work of Rich and his camera team, Grant and Elliot. So it was a bit of a disappointment to wake up this morning to a heavy downpour that didn't look like stopping any time soon. DAY 2 includes a key exterior scene - it's the first time that Lauren (Jennifer Ewing) and Jazz (Toby Manley) meet AND it's the first time we get to see a little bit of how wonderful Edinburgh looks. Between writers/ director/ producer/ DOP there are some differences of opinion on how much each scene matters, but this was one we all really wanted to make count. We did some interior scenes in the morning, anxiously checking the number of passing umbrellas between takes to gauge our chances of shooting outside at all. The heavens were firmly against us, as were the prophecies of the BBC weather forecasters. "I'll settle for light drizzle and a covered archway!", said Dave at one point.
Lunchtime came and things were still looking gloomy. But, after a hearty feast at the Castle Arms we emerged blinking into bright sunlight! No rain at all, and the streets almost dry. Hurrah! said everyone apart from the DOP, who scowled through his viewfinder and told us all we'd have to wait for cloud cover. Still, this gave Kayleigh a chance to perfect Lauren's hair so that when she drops her hooded cape she's every bit a stunning superhero - and Jazz would be a fool not to fall for her.
Despite the attentions of several passing tourists, Toby and Jen played the scene like they were the only two people in the world that mattered - the onscreen romance is looking good! Toby does bemused like you wouldn't believe it and Jen strides in and out of shots like she rules the universe. Sparks will fly!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Superheroes show off their acting powers

Crowds of hopeful actors, young and old, flocked to The Pleasance on 5 March, to show us their best moves as Jazz, Wolf, Lauren, Vicki, Uncle Jimmy and Edison Bolt. We were extremely impressed by the turnout of nearly 100 enthusiastic potential stars - and blown away by the dedication shown by some who travelled hundreds of miles to be at the audition. Particular respect goes to Joseph Brennan, who auditioned for the role of Edison (and did a very creditable American accent), who travelled up on the overnight bus from London and was planning to travel back the same way that very night. There were people from lots of different backgrounds, with varying levels of experience, from total novices to thoroughbred actors, but there were certainly a few whose readings got us really excited. I've been slowly working my way through the audition tapes and our notes from the day and will have contacted everyone with our thoughts by the end of the week. Hopefully we'll be putting some clips of the highlights of the day up on the website very shortly.

The photo above of Arron Usher is courtesy of the Edinburgh Evening News, who showed up to find out what all the fuss was about and to interview the production team and some of those waiting to audition. They took some embarassing photos of Ellen, Dave, Scott and Rich standing in formation like Bucks Fizz or something, but thankfully went with this fab photo of Arron flying over the Pleasance in a Superman T-shirt instead.

Following the success of the open audition, and the phenomenal response from around the world (we've had interest from actors based in the US, China, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and even Australia), we've also decided to launch a virtual audition process:

Just contact us through the website or on and let us know what part you want to audition for. We'll send you back a short piece of script and the rest is up to you. Enlist your friends to help, get your mum to hold the camera, use props or just the power of your imagination and give it your best shot. Then post the result on youtube and send us the link (or alternatively send us the file). We'll be creating playlists of the best auditions on our youtube channel, where you can also check out the opposition!

It's so exciting to start seeing the film come to life.

In other news, Electric Man will be at the Hi-Ex Comic Convention in Inverness. Come and say hello to Dave and Scott who'll be at the stall with all sorts of Electric Man artwork, t-shirts and some limited edition prints. They'll also be collecting pocket change from all you comic fans who want to see this movie made - every little counts!
Also on the horizon is the special investors night, which we'll be holding on April 13 at Blue in Edinburgh. This event is by invitation only, and will feature some exclusive Electric Man footage!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Electric Man at the Glasgow Film Festival

The Electric Man production team headed west on Friday to attend Mark Millar's talk at the Glasgow Film Festival. Mark was there to chat about the new film of his comic Kick-Ass (featuring Nic Cage as Big Daddy, and a wee girl with a big potty mouth as Hit Girl - everyone agreed she stole the show). He also mentioned the dead straight superhero film he was planning to direct in Scotland this summer, so it seems like superheroes are in the air at the moment. Director Dave managed to catch up with Mark after the talk and he seemed very positive about our (slightly) smaller and decidedly un-straight superhero project. Meanwhile, Scott and I hit the comic and film loving crowd with our new business cards, which had arrived that very day. Everyone agrees they are particularly cute (just like Scott's smile...!) The other big news is that applications for our open casting on Friday March 5th have been coming in thick and fast. In particular there seems to be a lot of interest in the role of Jimmy - who'd have thought that so many actors want to play a complete maniac?! The venue for the casting is the Braid Room at the Pleasance, Edinburgh 10am - 4pm and it looks like we'll be busiest in the morning, so there'll be someone on duty in the Pleasance bar to take names and details and to hand out a copy of the scene to be read. It's great to get all this interest and to feel like the film is already beginning to come to life. Anyone who wants more info on the casting can check out our website or contact me or drop a line to

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Electric Manley

It's been a week of new arrivals! First onboard was Graham Manley, a comic artist known for his work on Near Myths, Dice Man and his contributions to the Judge Dredd Megazine. Dave Barras and I met up with him at Deadhead before heading up to The Elephant House for a chat and a cuppa. The Elephant House is famous for having been one of the places that JK Rowling hung out while she wrote the first Harry Potter book, which is perhaps why our chat with Graham ranged from the juvenile to the fantastic, but we all had a lot of fun and so persuaded him to join the team and do some sketches for the Electric Man backstory (something which will form the basis of a VERY limited edition comic, and crucially, the opening titles sequence for the film). Graham showed us a few examples of his artwork, including some great fantasy comic book covers he'd drawn for the Dandy Annual and we showed him the draft comic script that tells the story of how Electric Man came to be the superhero you will all soon know and love! This bit of plot is top secret - if I told ya I'd have to zap ya - unless of course you want to sign up for one of our great sponsorship packages and help get this movie made.

The second new arrival was a week early... baby Navena Mackay! Congratulations to Scott (co-writer) and Morgane.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Buzzing the Airwaves

On Monday, Dave Barras (director and co-writer)and me (producer) were invited to hang out on the radio and tell the good people of Leith all about the film of Electric Man. The big gig was Stephen Young's show in the afternoon and we thought we'd just get a 10 minutes slot to plug the film, and try and persuade a few people to sign up for sponsorship packages or contact us to get involved. In the end we monopolised Leith FM with our sparky conversation for a whole hour. We even got to pick some eclectic and electric tracks including: Are Friends Electric?, She's Electric and something that went on and on by ELO (Dave's choice!)Despite Stephen's best efforts to talk a lot about why he loves to lick batteries (don't ask), Dave kept the chat on track, pointing the listeners towards the Electric Man Movie website and explaining why we want to make a film set in Edinburgh that isn't all about misery, drugs and deprivation, but is all about murder, mystery and mayhem. We needed Scott (co-writer) to really get going on the comic zingers, but I was on fire when it came to fantasy casting and put a big shout out to FRANKIE BOYLE, who I think would make a scarily hilarious Jimmy - Glasgow heavy and all round bad guy. C'mon on Frankie - you know you'd love zap some good guys - come join the Electric Man Movie fun!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Happy New Year!

2010 is a big year for Electric Man - the script's ready, key people are all on board, the publicity campaign is underway and as long as we can raise the funds, we're getting set towards shooting in the late spring. It's a tricky time to ask people for money, no one knows how long the credit crunch will last, it's freezing cold outside and backing our film may seem like a shot in the dark. But I'm hoping that we can persuade people to give us just a little to get the snowball rolling. C'mon, spread a little sunshine! Although that might adversely affect the snow...
In the meantime, we're starting some important production planning. Just before Christmas, Dave, Scott, our DOP, Rich and I all went to have a look at our main location - the comic shop, Deadheads. It's a fantastic place and looks just like a comic shop. I mean exactly like the kind of comic shop you'd get in a movie. Gaf (who runs the place) had re-painted the front of the shop, so it's all bright and shiny on the outside. The inside is a different story - it's just the sort of place our loser heroes, Jazz and Wolf, might hang out. But, sometimes reality is just too real, so we'll need to do some set dressing and we're thinking of rigging up a frame so Rick can put the lights exactly where he wants and we can build displays around the vertical struts, conveniently giving our mysterious femme fatale a place to hide when the boys think the shop is empty.

We're also planning to recce a few more of our outdoor locations just as soon as the snow melts and we're looking for places that show a different side of Edinburgh, so feel free to make suggestions!