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DEATHLAW [Short Film]

With the exception of ‘Love’, Death Law is the easiest film I’ve made, which means there’s not much to talk about except why it went so smoothly.

Its a very simple set up which meant it was easy to film but the simplicity is also its downfall; I sometimes wonder if the film is anything more than a glorified murder scene with a big hammer. I wrote the script in 2010 and then rewrote it in 2013 as I still liked the idea and wanted to make something simple following the traumatic disaster of my previous film. I’m not sure where the idea originally came from but it must’ve been from my thoughts on the death penalty (maybe it popped up in the news or something) and also my love of dystopian futures in films and books; the ‘in the future what if..?’ stories and all the places those ideas could take you. The shooting script differed from the original script in that there was now only one volunteer instead of two, we saw the murder happen instead of remaining entirely back stage with the character ‘Twelve’, and ‘Twelve’ was a little more developed.

We built the stage out of plastic tables (there was only one incident of the table collapsing, it was the 1st AD that fell, luckily not the actors) and covered it with wood stickers from Poundland (where all my props and filmmaking stuff tends to come from, being low budget and all). I recycled my red curtain from ‘Murmaid’ and the leather coat from my unfinished western ‘Devil Burnt Souls’.

We shot in a small studio space in Ealing Studios, with a crew of 12 for two days and actually finished the shoot early despite getting double the amount of shots than what I’d planned on the shot list. In addition to the simplicity, the smooth shoot was also down to careful planning; I’d story boarded most of the film, which is something I don’t like to do unless I have to and we also only had 40 shots to achieve in two 10 hour days. There was also very little pressure as the budget only came to £60, unlike ‘Murmaid’s budget.

I’d auditioned many people for the role of Twelve but knew immediately when I watched Lenn Blasse perform a monologue from ‘Apocalypse Now’ in his audition that he was the one for the part. In my next script I would write a part specifically for him to play as I enjoyed working with him so much.

Though we shot the scenes on the stage in Ealing Studios, I filmed the shots of the audience in Bradford On Avon in front of a small crowd who’d gathered to see a screening of ‘The Young Victoria’. This was the biggest limitation on my film in many ways; the need to have an audience perform or me but realistically only being able to film a normal audience who I could only get to clap. In the climax of the script the audience leap up from their seats and climb onto the stage to murder the girl murderer. This obviously wasn’t possible as the two locations were shot separately and its difficult to get many extras, so the final climax of the film is weaker I’d like.


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