Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Porcelain Presence, Interview with Directors/Writers Chris Jay and Emily E. Bibb

Psychological Thriller - Starring Anna Tarsh, Carol Bunting, Renee Molloy, Stuart Horobin, Keanu Jones, Andy Tate. Written by Emily Bibb, Chris Jay, Nicholas Mills. Directed by Emily Bibb, Chris Jay.

Porcelain Presence Synopsis
A terrified wife who is brutally beaten and tormented at the hands of her psychotic husband is forced to accept his haunted past by bearing his infatuation for porcelain dolls. Things start to take a turn for the worst when some meddlesome neighbours discover that hidden beyond the doors of their seemingly perfect home lie some unsettling secrets that they wish had never been unearthed. The repercussions that await them after a gruesome crime, leave all parties reeling in ways you could never imagine.

When I founded The Evil Eye back in late July this year, an independent film project really took my notice. For starters it was being filmed and produced here in the West Midlands and secondly who can deny a psychological thriller featuring porcelain dolls wouldn't appeal to any fan of the horror genre!

We recently caught up with Directors/Writers and founders of Breaking Bones Productions Chris Jay and Emily Bibb to ask them some questions about the project and to find out more about how they came together as a team, check out the interview below:-

Firstly we would just like to say from what we have seen from the trailer, we are really looking forward to seeing the finished piece.   
Chris: Thanks. I’m glad you like it. It’s not the official trailer; it’s more of a teaser. I can’t wait for you to see the official trailer; it’s changed so much.

What was the inspiration for Porcelain Presence? 
Chris: The inspiration came from a short story that Emily penned down whilst away for a few days in the isle of white. We took the idea and majorly developed it. We’ve developed it so much its now nothing like the original penned story.
Emily: We’ve twisted it into something so completely different from what it originally was – If you looked at the 1st draft and the final draft, you would barely know that they were the same story, it’s crazy!
Stuart Horobin as Brian
We love the use of the creepy porcelain dolls, how did you arrive at this idea? 
Chris: The idea for using the dolls (believe it or not) came about when myself and Emily were looking for props in my garage (it’s full of junk) and we came across a battered Porcelain Doll. I think we just ran away with the idea from there, did a lot of brainstorming and Porcelain Presence was born!

Emily: It was like fate, searching for tea cups and saucers for our short ‘Oh Tea Tea’ – a battered porcelain doll was the last thing we expected to find, but our first thoughts were, oh my god that’s creepy! It started out with just that one porcelain doll, and escalated into the countless dolls we have now!

How have you found the process moving from shooting shorts into your first feature film? 
Chris: It’s no different really, well I think anyway. I always put my heart and soul into a project. Usually with shorts it takes less time, so basically shooting a feature is the same – it just takes a lot more time, more time than I originally expected lol! Porcelain Presence was originally meant to be a short film, but we felt there wasn’t enough time to explain what we wanted to the audience and it would just get confusing all around.

Emily: I agree with Chris – it’s not really too different, apart from taking much longer to make – Also as we’ve self funded Porcelain Presence, it’s taken us much longer as we’ve been having to raise all the funds to get locations and equipment, and getting cast and crew together free on the same dates has proved tricky. So during the production of this film sometimes we have had to go a few weeks between shoots, which has led to it taking much longer than we originally thought it would. If it had stayed as a short, we would have had it completed months ago, but it also would have been very confusing.

You have written, produced and directed Porcelain, what has been your favourite part of the process?
Emily:- For me, being on set is probably my favourite – when a scene is in full swing it’s so easy to get absorbed into the world of the characters, they’re all doing such a fantastic job. Framing shots is another thing I particularly enjoy – Nic Mills is the Breaking Bones DoP, but we tend to have 2 camera shoots as much as possible, so either me or Chris will be on the other camera.

Chris: I have enjoyed all of it in different ways, but I particularly enjoy the filming process…although it can be stressful it’s always fun. I love seeing the production coming together and the actors getting into their characters. It’s pretty rewarding seeing how much everyone cares about getting this film right. I do also enjoy writing some of the characters too – getting into their thoughts and feelings you can get lost sometimes and really play around with them.

How and why did you choose the locations you did?

Chris: As we are British Independent Filmmakers we are trying to stay British. I think that’s why we are choosing most of the locations we are choosing - not only to reflect the style of the film but to reflect those of a middle class background in Britain today, which is where the story is set.
What has been the most challenging part of the shoot? 
Chris: I would say either filming over a long period because of continuity issues, or filming with such a small crew, because it can limit what you can do.

Emily: Agreed with Chris there, plus adding in raising the funds for the film
Which brings us onto our next question.

Has funding the project been a difficult process? 
Chris: Yes definitely. We haven’t long finished University and are still relatively young filmmakers (well Emily more so than me lol!) so it has been hard for us both. We have funded everything we can ourselves when we can – and we have had a lot of help from other cast and crew members (who have been fantastic) with props and so on.

Emily: Very hard indeed! I keep forgetting I am a few years younger than Chris haha, - When we started out, as Chris said before, Porcelain Presence was supposed to be a short, so we were preparing our budget for a short film really, and then when it escalated into a feature, our budget being the same, with the extra locations, props, etc – it has proved extremely tricky raising these funds!
 Renee Molloy (Left) as Sharon & Carol Bunting (Right) as Penny
Your trailer for Porcelain has had a great reception so far from the public, has it surprised you how anticipated the film is? 
Chris: I didn’t expect it to be received so well, considering the trailer was just thrown together in the edit. I am overwhelmed with the response. I can’t thank everyone who is supporting this feature film enough! On behalf of the cast & crew: we are so grateful for all the support we have received so far, thank you.

Emily: Ditto – it’s very rewarding to see that people are liking the trailer so much. I’m actually gunna take this opportunity to plug it here haha! www.youtube.com In case The Evil Eye readers haven’t seen it yet. In the coming months we will be releasing our official trailer – we’re planning it at the moment, and it’s going to be extremely creepy – keep your Evil eye peeled ;)
Our Evil Eye is always watching!

Did you already have certain people in mind for some of the films characters? Was casting a difficult process? 
Chris: Yes. We had worked with Renée Molloy and Carol Bunting previously on a short film before; so we decided that we needed to have them back as they are such fantastic actresses who bring a lot of joy to the sets we work on. We did write certain characters just for them :)

Has there been any embarrassing / funny moments on set for any of the cast or crew? If so will you share with our followers?! 
Chris: We were doing a particular scene where the character of Penny (played by Carol Bunting) was asked to run as though she had been chased. Carol started running forward extremely fast and I was on the camera following her backwards (trying to get a moving/following shot on the cam rig) mid way whilst she was running I stopped running backwards because I spotted a lamppost in my view whilst Carol continued running. All I can say is her face went straight into the camera and I nearly knocked her teeth out. The best thing is, we have it all on Video too. I’m sure you’ll see a lot more funny and embarrassing moments on the outtakes reel. We have loads, there are too many to name.
We can't wait to see that! Promise not to laugh too much!!

When can we expect to see the finished feature?

Chris: At this current time we don’t have an expected date for the public to view it. It all depends on deadline of the festivals we enter it into and their rules because some festivals require it to be screened at their premieres first before anyone else can view it.

Emily: We will keep you all posted on the film
s progress in regards to festivals and distribution etc – I really can’t wait for you to see this film!
Neither can we ;-)

How did you both get into the film industry?

Chris: I studied Film Production at University and it has just gone from there.

Emily: Before I was in Sixth form I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do and (no word of a lie) – I picked Media Studies on the off chance, because I thought it looked good! One of the modules in year 13 was to make a 5 minute short film – I’d never ever considered making films before that point, it hadn’t even crossed my mind. But whilst I was filming this short, it struck me how much I enjoyed it – so when it came to picking a university course I pretty much chose film production straight away! Which leads onto the next question, how I met Chris!
How did you as a team come together originally? 
Chris: Believe it or not, Twitter. Yes I said Twitter. I did know Emily but never actually spoke to her before. Emily tweeted about wanting to make a feature and enter it into film festivals and I tweeted back ‘me too!’ and that’s how it all started!

Emily: It is odd that we have Twitter to thank, even though we both went to the same uni, and did the same course but Chris was a year above. We had a lot of mutual friends as well, so we got on really well straight away. The first time we properly spoke in person I think was when we had our first production meeting for a 24 hour film challenge in 2011, with me on camera and Chris editing. He had already set up Breaking Bones Productions on his own, and not long afterwards he asked me to join, so that was how we came together. The first time we directed / produced a film together was our Virgin Media Short ‘Oh Tea Tea’ in June 2011.
Renee Molloy (Left) as Sharon & Carol Bunting (Right) as Penny
You have a very unique style from what we have seen of your work, what or who is your inspiration? 
Chris: We have taken inspiration from many different things over the course of our lives, so I think it’s a mix of everything we have liked or loved thrown together. I know that we have both been inspired by Tim Burton’s creativity because he has uniqueness about him and that’s what we want to be – DIFFERENT. We want to stand out from the crowd and hopefully we can achieve that. That’s our main goal.

Emily: We always try to think of things that haven’t been done before, or if they have, to put a unique twist on them. Burton is definitely a massive inspiration!
If you could give just one piece of advice to other young filmmakers out there what would it be?

Chris: Believe in yourself. A lot of young people don’t have the confidence to take their dreams that step further. Anyone can be great; you just have to show off that greatness to others. Not everyone is going to like what you do, but who cares? Wouldn’t you prefer to have a few people that LOVE what you do, than loads of people just LIKE what you do?

Emily: Couldn’t have put it better myself! Another thing I would say to other young film makers is to get networking – I think a lot of people underestimate the power of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook when it comes to meeting other film makers, and promoting either yourself, your company or your film – It does take time (don’t set up an account and leave it, hoping the followers will flood in) Follow people and talk to them about your film, what you’re doing, what they’re doing, and help each other – I’ve noticed on Twitter, people will set up accounts and then be releasing their film, web series etc in a couple of weeks – by which point they will only likely have a few hundred followers. You have to think ahead, if you set up an account for your film or company a year prior to the film’s release, you could have so many more people watching your film, because more people will hear about it. That’s my tip of the day haha

Great advice guys

Thanks again Chris and Emily for your time, we are really looking forward to seeing Porcelain Presence when it’s released. Keep up the great work and keep us in the loop!

Chris: Thanks, and we’ll keep you up to date for sure. Anybody who wants to keep up with the developments of Porcelain Presence don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @porcelainmovie / @bb_filmmaking or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/porcelainpresence and www.facebook.com/breakingbonesproductions
Emily: It’s been a pleasure! Thanks to all at The Evil Eye for doing this Q & A with us, & thanks to all for taking the time to read it!

You can follow Porcelain Presence at the following location:-

Porcelain Presence Facebook page = www.facebook.com/porcelainpresence
Breaking Bones Facebook page = www.facebook.com/breakingbonesproductions
Breaking Bones website = www.breakingbonesproductions.co.uk
Porcelain Presence Twitter = www.twitter.com/porcelainmovie
Breaking Bones Twitter = www.twitter.com/bb_filmmaking 

Interview by Adam 'Evil Eye' Cutler

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