I was born in 1974. Movies were always my love and passion, ever since seeing Star Wars on the big screen on opening night at the Southend Odeon. It was December 1977, and I was three years old. In that same year, my amazing mum also took me to see the rerelease of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which I talked about in this blog entry over here. We also went to see Bambi, because, hey, she was a dutiful mum and that’s the drill. It was the sci-fi stuff and the rubber monsters that stuck with me, though.
From that point, I knew I wanted to make movies. I think I was muddled about the process for a few years; early on, I thought I wanted to act but this was because I believed films were made in real time. I knew it was all fake, but I think I thought that Sam J Jones would receive the Flash Gordon script, memorise it and then turn up at the studio. He’d spend 90 minutes running away from explosions, snogging Melody Anderson and wearing a t-shirt with his own name on it, and then he’d just bask in the glory when the flick got released.
As soon as I realised this wasn’t the case, I knew I wanted to be a film director.
Life gets in the way, of course. After university I ended up in a variety of jobs, from cinema usher through to video shop assistant and then through to being a customer services trainer in an internet company. I punched the clock, but I knew these weren’t the things I wanted to do. I never stopped thinking about directing movies.
Somewhere along the way, I started doing stand-up comedy. Because this was the late nineties to early noughties we’re talking about, no clips of this phenomenon exist online. If the Kickstarter project hits its total, I’ll post one. Anyway, the stand-up part of my life collided with the internet company part of my life, and I set up Jinx Media in 2003 as a company dedicated to delivering short stand-up clips to mobile phones.
The window during which this was a viable idea was incredibly short. One day, it seemed like delivering video to phones was just too hard from a technical point of view. The blink of an eye later, phones could get onto the web and a custom delivery system (let alone one that charged) looked utterly pointless. The idea missed its window, and I was left with a company with no purpose.
And we had a few grand in the bank.
Suddenly, it looked like the time had come to make the movie I’d dreamed of for so long.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I’m telling you by way of context because of the video that awaits you at the end of this blog entry.
The short version: in 2004, (as you probably know if you’re reading this), I made a movie.
We had a small budget, very little practical experience and no connections. I advertised for cast and crew on the internet. I hired a warehouse, we built sets out of wood and I filmed a ludicrously ambitious script on a mini DV camcorder.
The movie was called Trashhouse.
It ended up getting a wide DVD release in the UK. I had the joy of walking into the branch of Blockbuster that I had once worked in, and seeing multiple copies on the shelf.
Kim Newman in Empire magazine said it had ‘Clever ideas but dodgy tech credits’.
While we went about our insane quest, we let filmmaker Mike Borland film everything we did. A cut-down version of Mike’s documentary ended up on the DVD.
What follows, for the first time, is the full uncensored version of that behind-the-scenes documentary.
It’s filmmaking 2004 style; no DSLRs, no video blogs because such things just didn’t exist. No YouTube, no Facebook. Editing footage at home was only just becoming possible. I cut the whole goddamn film on a PC with a 20 Gig hard drive.
There’s a lot of love going on here. For better or worse, this was where it started.