It's 2011 and time for me to kick JaSE Films back into gear again and in doing so start a new blog.
The co-production with RML Films for the pilot of the Arts Journal will have a result in the next few weeks, as Monica Tivda finishes the edit and we expect to announce screenings in Dublin and Trim very shortly. Then it's down to the funding Gods.
After the breakdown of the feature film I Wish so close to the shoot in the Summer of 2009, I personally pondered whether pursuing anything in filmmaking terms in Ireland was really worth it at all.
With so very little support available to new filmmakers I have watched as fellow filmmakers struggle to get projects off the ground, decent filmmakers who I believe in any other country that embraces filmmaking on a significant level, would be in gainful employment doing what they love. With this country in a state of f*ck I personally see an opportunity for filmmaking to become a more enterprising endeavour as opposed to the grind of trying to source funding from national bodies with no guarantee of success. I believe many filmmakers over the years have given up in the pursuit or have left for foreign shores to continue what they love doing. That's another of Ireland's shames.
Still though, I look around and see many filmmakers digging their heels in and continuing the pursuit anyway. They are to be applauded and with bodies like the Underground Cinema supporting them, in time I do hope the 'Industry' becomes more of a level playing field and more inclusive.
So in saying that I'm about to embark on something a little crazy and maybe challenge a few issues in an attempt to realize my own goals in the time ahead. Since the breakdown of I Wish I have been doing a lot of writing and have completed a short novella Sonny Strange and a novel, Booker's World. I created Don Booker and Sonny Strange, two men caught up in recessionary Ireland in different ways.
Over the past few weeks I have cast both characters and I am delighted to say that Brian Fortune and Johnny Elliott, two extremely talented and experienced actors will play the roles of Don and Sonny in a the Booker's World web series, which picks up on the characters where both books leave off. I am also pleased to say that Philip Deane who recently starred as 'Fat' Freddie Thompson in TV3's Cocaine Wars will play the role of Mitch Booker.
So today I kick off pre-production. The scripts are at an advanced draft stage now and I am pretty happy with them. I would expect minor changes over the coming weeks as I begin to workshop them with cast members. It is to early at this stage to announce a shoot date, but given other commitments people have, It will more than likely be at the end of February and if that proves impossible, then it will be the middle of March.
I will shoot the 6x6 minute episodes in block over 3 days, a Friday through to the Sunday.
Once completed the episodes will be first placed on a dedicated web site before being released virally across the web in an attempt to build an audience. The second series will be more focused on gaining an international audience. The first episode will go live within 3 weeks of the wrap and the rest at fortnightly intervals thereafter.
At this stage I am still looking for some backing for the first series, but i feel if i have to wait then nothing will be done, so on we go. At the time of writing all that is on offer is your expenses will be met and you won't go hungry. You will be made aware of any changes in funding as we roll.
The one thing I do ask is that anyone wishing to be considered for any part will have to be open to do a second web series as the longer term goal of the project rests on the second series. I would expect to shoot the second series in mid-April.
I will discuss all plans and future direction with all cast and crew pre-shoot. Confidentiality is important and a must at this stage. I would also ask cast and crew to be open to ruffling a few feathers along the way, especially when it comes to elements reflective of the shambles Ireland finds itself in at this time.
Here are the parts that I am currently seeking actors for.
'Mum' Booker - 60-65 Alzheimer's sufferer.
Amanda Strange - 29-32. Amanda is Sonny's wife. Sonny and Amanda are giving their marriage another go. Amanda would be a strong woman with a flirty eye.
Denise Doyle - 35-40. Denise is Don Booker's on-off girlfriend. A very talented painter and sculptress, Denise is a single mum.
'Pops' Strange - 55-60. Sonny's old man. Doesn't hold back on any issues or any of life's pleasures.
Bamber Doyle - 38-40. Gay entrepreneur with the common touch. Bamber rarely gets ruffled, is well connected and a smile and love for life are evident in all his waking hours.He is also Denise's brother.
Dan Donavan - Eccentric, mad, depressive, artistic. You name it, Dan Donavan is it. A filmmaker with an eye on the macabre. Willing to do anything or go anywhere with his direction to get what he wants.
Mattie Johnson - 50. Quite Mayo man. Recovering alcoholic.
One-word Willie Donnelly - 38-40 Marketing guru. Childhood friend of Don's. Part of 'the team' going to take the project forward. This part is small but will be greater in series two.
Frankie Bronson - I need an actor who is small in stature, would like to wear a goatee and is able to play in the 21-25 age range. Frankie's a bit of a devious sort whom Don has taken under his wing.
Screenwriter - The actor doesn't have to be a screenwriter, but the name of the character will be the actors own name. Preferably a confident, ego-driven cocky character who has his eye on one thing and one thing only. Hollywood, USA. Someone who feels they can thrive in a high powered arena.
There are also a few minor non-recurring roles.
If you are interested please send on a CV or links to some of your work that may be able to be viewed online to jasefilms [at] yahoo.com
There will be no audition process for these parts. Casting will be dependent on what I can see online and telephone conversations relating to the characters.
So that 20 months of hard work doesn't go down the drain, all participating actors will have to sign a contract for two series as well as a confidentiality agreement. Some might say this is OTT, but having had some bad experiences in the past, I want to ensure for everyone's sake that they don't happen again.
Anyone wanting to know a little background to Sonny's character can read the novella for free at this link http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/32413
and a background to Booker's World can be read here
All emails will be replied to. I look forward to hearing from you.