SCiFI-LONDON 48hr film challenge

The 48 hour film challenge happens a few weeks before the Sci-Fi London film festival and is exactly what it says on the tin: A film made in 48 sleepless hours, on a weekend in April. On Saturday at noon, representatives from your team turn up at Sci-Fi London HQ and randomly select the required elements of the film: the title, a prop/action, a line of dialogue and an optional science theme. You then have until 1pm Monday to write, prep, shoot, edit, VFX, score, render and upload. It's mad good fun. I thoroughly recommend it.

This year our required elements were:
Prop/action: a character rips a page from a book
Line of dialogue: Nothing's impossible, that's what you always taught me

The story and characters were locked about 10:30pm on Saturday, which didn't give me much time to speak to the director and start sorting out costumes before the actors went to bed. The cyborg outfit Alexa is wearing is not just a costume, it's actually V.1 of a wearabletech etextile platform I am designing for rapid prototyping. You can see more about Second Skin and how it is made in the projects section of this site.

Every year a slightly different group of us makes up the team. Linchpins Tom Worth and Al Monty are there every year herding the cats, some people come and go. Tom sends an email around and everyone shows up if they are available. Directors rotate; this year it was the turn of our resident VFX genius Ken Turner. I've now worked on 5 films and Bex has been there for the ones I missed. Occasionally we even manage to be there at the same time! Sometimes I'm just costume, other years I've covered costume, makeup and art department. This year Bex got a credit for exhaustion control as she was being driven completely mad by a Batcape and consequently slept through the shoot, but was there in spirit! Last year I 'consulted' from SF (mainly complaining about my geographical issues and giving permission to raid my archive) and was credited thus.  I just noticed there's a yearly credit for 'Oakiness', which goes to the most rock-like person on set who gets everyone through. This year it went to Baxter the dog, who was very patient with us invading his house for our location.
Why do we do this? Because film people are stress junkies and workoholics and erm.. everyone needs a hobby..? It is one of my favourite yearly creative binges, second only to etextile summercamp. Basically it's an excuse to spend quality time with our brilliant inspiring gang who don't get to hang out often enough, make an art and to try and get our film in the top ten. As far as I'm concerned we win if we get spot in the top ten. This means the film will be shown on the big screen at the Sci-Fi London film festival on the 2nd May. So we get to celebrate by drinking and shouting at our creation.. #goals

Our 2014 entry Back Issue (below) came second place and went on to win the 'Science and The Imagination' prize at Danny Boyle's Shuffle film festival in East London. I love this one.

For more films by our gang, go here:
To see more 2018 entries, check out the hashtag #SFL48HR on twitter. And here is a Vimeo group someone is compiling:

See you next year?

downtime: terminator/potato face

In late october and early november I had two major operations on my face to reposition my jaw. Big thanks to the brilliant teams at Guys and Kings hospitals! This was not cosmetic - I had no idea what I would end up looking like - but to correct a class II malocclusion anterior open bite and cross bite. This basically means my lower jaw was recessed and I couldn't bite my front teeth together. The other potential change is quite daunting: I may become less stressed.. I've spent my whole adult life unconsciously pushing my lower jaw forwards as it won't sit properly in a resting position. Imagine being in a constant state of tension. It may explain my workaholic behaviour. Hmm. The potential outcome is I may be more inclined to relax, switch off and sleep like a normal person. The worry is that my cyborg mojo might be due to this physical anomaly. Dangerous times.

After extensive train track braces shenanigans, the operations set both my upper and lower jaw into their new positions, and I will now spend a few months looking like a dribbling bruised potato while I heal. Between operations 1 and 2 I managed to crack out an outfit for Empress Stah, but have decided I need real downtime for this second round. So things will be quiet for a while..

Below left: terminator face. Right: 7-days post-op portrait by genius artist, friend and muse Manko