The making of ‘Smasheroo’ by Anne Misselbrook

I read all 50 scripts with my ‘Producer’ hat on knowing that due to my very limited budget, I could achieve a film at fairly short notice, with one location and with a minimal number of actors. In other words it was the accessible location, low number of actors and low financial cost which determined my choice of script. For me the only script I felt I could produce was ‘Smasheroo’.

I did like the story and I could visualise the script which is important. This writer knew his story and this came across, so thank you James Howard, the writer of ‘Smasheroo’. It was a bonus that my actress had recently got married, so a wedding photo was easy to mock up, and she also had a cat. I knew the actors I wanted in the film, from previous films I have made, and fortunately they were both available at short notice.

There were only two crew, Tim Lewis and I, and we performed all the roles! I borrowed the lighting kit, and Tim filmed using the Canon XL1 camera. We initially used two microphones, a boom and a radio mic. The radio mic failed, so we abandoned using it and relied on the boom mic. The cat was initially a bit stage struck and at one point walked into the bathroom and behind the toilet, and we couldn’t get him out. Eventually Hoodle the cat walked in a straight line as directed to do so.

We filmed in one day and we were pleased with the rushes. The editing went smoothly and it was uncompromised as there were plenty of shots to choose from. I felt there was no need to make revisions to the script as it works. I visualised the script how the writer had written it.

It was exciting to see the film on the 50kisses website. To be provided with feedback from other film makers and the producers of 50kisses is so beneficial and I have learnt a lot. It’s not often a film maker can get feedback like this, usually we submit our films and they are either screened at an event or not screened. So to have productive comments about the film has given me knowledge for future films I produce.

What a challenge the re-edit has been. My Mac Book Pro went in for repair, and we had to completely recapture the footage on Tim’s old Mac Book Pro and edit using an old version of Final Cut Pro. We considered capturing the original edited version from our backup DV tape, but after research on the internet we concluded that because Tim has a much older version of Final Cut Pro (version 5) there may be a backward compatibility issue, and we didn’t have time to research further. So we decided to start again and re-capture. We have obviously done a complete re-edit. This has in fact been the best thing we could have done, as the film duration is now a shorter 3 minutes 26 seconds, so we’ve cut a lot of the fat, in fact 32 seconds and it is tighter.

The complete re-edited version of ‘Smasheroo’ is now online on Vimeo. The changes made are as per the comments made by the Producers and feedback from other film makers on the 50kisses website. The film now has music, it has a de-saturated look and it is shorter. A friend of mine Marc Abraham, 3DM, composed the music for this film and I have included a quote from Marc about the process. “This track is built around melodies and chords from a genuine vintage electric piano, which is called a Crumar Jazzman. Three tracks in total, the melody, the chords and the bassline, all played by Marc on the Jazzman, were then played back separately into Audacity on the PC (through a Xenyx 1202 mixer) and exported as several 16 bit *.wavs”.

A lot of time and effort has gone in to making this short film ‘Smasheroo’ for the 50kisses film competition, particularly from myself and Tim Lewis. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it is selected for the big screen. It would make our day.

The advice I give to script writers is to make sure that when they write for budget film makers, that they think about accessible locations, number of actors, and cost implications. Low budget film makers have restricted budgets or no budget at all! Write a simple story which is achievable for the film maker and is engaging for the audience.

It’s been a great experience and thank you 50kisses team for giving us this opportunity.


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