When did you guys decide filmmaking was the path you wanted to take?
We’ve always been interested in creating our own stories since we were about 8 years old. Growing up with books like Goosebumps and Paul Jennings kind of inspired us to write our own crazy and imaginative stories at a young age. Our parents bought a handycam when we were 14 and we started filming our own mini movies. From there we studied Media at Blackburn College and fell in love with directing when we did a World War Two documentary.
What attracts you to directing?
Putting your ideas on to the big screen, and to make the audience feel connected with the story from start to end. That’s always been a dream of ours. People say to us they can’t be directors because they’d be scared to manage a whole team, but that to us is one of the best parts. Being in control of your film creatively and visually whether it’s in the make-up department or with the sound designer puts a stamp on how the end product will be. Whether it’s successful or not, you have to be willing to say ‘I made that decision’ and stick by it. We’re a huge fan of music/sound design because that’s such a powerful tool to use in a film. We listen to soundtracks constantly whilst writing, on set and in editing process so small things like that make us excited to be a director.
So you’re twins, what is the best and worst of working together?
The best part is always knowing someone will be there to support your ideas and be honest all the time. When we write scripts it’s good to bounce ideas and having the same taste in films is always a plus. We wouldn’t say there’s anything bad about working together, we have the same goal and will work our hardest to achieve that.
As writers, what advice do you give other people putting pen to paper?
If you want to write a screenplay, make sure you’re passionate about it. Because if you are that’s already a huge step to completing the script. Another big thing is to just write, it’s like going to the gym sometimes you have doubts about going but when you’re there you keep going. Once you write you’ll have maybe 20 pages in the day. Some may be good and some not but that’s ok because you can tweak it along the way. And lastly be patient because it takes a long time to get a screenplay ready.
You have been working out of pinewood studios for some years winning prizes for your short films. Then and Now your most recent short starring Julian Glover is doing extremely well. What interested you to make this film ?
We’ve been working with Matt Hookings at Camelot Films for around a year before he told us the idea. We were interested in the challenge to make a film that has just one actor watching the TV and how to engage the audience emotionally with George. We all collaborated on the script and a year later we made the film. It was an amazing experience to work with everyone in the crew, and especially Julian Glover who was a joy to work with.
So Then and Now is in line for possible BAFTA and Oscar glory, as two guys from Blackburn this is amazing! What is your advice to other, writers and directors?
Thanks! We’re extremely happy and grateful for the opportunity to show our work, and hopefully it’ll continue. Our advice would be to never have an ego and always be willing to learn. We’ve seen people who have just started and they have this attitude like they’re better than everyone else. Never be that person and appreciate everyone on set. One thing that we did was learn a small part in each of the production, the lighting, sound, camera, production design and post production. When you see how much work you have to put into each job you’ll appreciate the people doing it and you’ll learn from them too. And aim high! We’ve always had a goal to be the first twins to win an Oscar and BAFTA for Best Director and hopefully one day we’ll achieve that.
In a competitive industry how do you keep motivated?
As we said previously, having that ultimate goal is our motivation every day. But also surround yourself with positive people that you trust. There’s a lot of fake people in the industry and having a close set of friends that are in the industry will help you stay motivated. We’ve worked with Matt for over two years at Camelot films, and another two girls Irene and Liana have worked with us for several months. Always focus on your target and work the hardest.
You have a feature in the pipeline, can you spill any gossip?
It’s called Prizefighter, a true story during the 19th Century. We hope to have some exciting news early in the new year but for now our lips are sealed!
You are part of Camelot Films, as a production company, what struggles do you find getting work made?
It depends on the project. We’ve recently produced music videos and commercials and the hardest part is finding the work. We’ve been lucky enough to have companies or artists come to us as they’ve seen our past work. Sometimes the budgets can be a lot smaller though so it’s a challenge to produce a high quality video without going over budget. But if it’s a short film you’re making, the hardest part is finding the money. We have a lot of connections in the industry that are willing to do the job for much cheaper or even free. But people need to live so you have to fund the film yourself or start a crowd funding campaign. It’s a month of hell but it’ll be worth it when you see the finished film.
How do you think the British film industry stands at the moment?
In terms of the business it’s going amazing with Pinewood Studios expanding, Star Wars are here for a few years and a lot of the blockbuster films are being shot in the UK. But I think being an independent film maker can be quite tough. As in anything you have to know the right people and it’s a small circle. At the moment it seems the American’s are more warming to new English talent and it’s a shame the British funding bodies give very little opportunity at the moment. Hopefully it will change and for the better as there’s a lot of talent in the UK.
What advice do you give to filmmakers on a budget?
Get as many favours as you can! Get as much stuff for free! But most importantly feed your crew. You’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to help if the script is good. But people don’t mind giving their all to a project for nothing, as long as they have some good food. Be realistic as well with the amount of actors, locations and days to shoot. For ‘Then & Now’ we had one location and shot over two days. For another film ‘3 Million Dollar Milkshake’ we also had one location. So you can be as creative as you like but don’t expect to shoot in studios or in outer space for cheap!