Daniel Harding on being a Filmmaker

danile harding 

So what attracts you to film?
I’ve always been slightly obsessed with film, and even from a young age I would beg my mum to take me to the video store so we could rent something and I’d then watch it two or three times before we returned it the next morning. But it’s hard to pin point what exactly attracts me to film. For me, I think ‘film’ encompasses a range of different art forms I am interested in – writing and photography for example, but I also love the collaboration with the actors and compiling the footage into a coherent story. Film has everything.

What filmmakers inspire you?
Recently it’s been the more independent filmmakers who have inspired me most – perhaps because as I get older I am looking at ways to get my work seen, and they are closer to my level. So filmmakers like Jeff Nichols, Jeremy Saulnier and Ben Wheatley are ones to take an interest in.

When did you decide to start making your own short films?
When I was 23.5 years old. I had just left uni and I didn’t fancy joining a production company and ‘working my way up.’ I had saved up enough money whilst I was uni to buy all my own equipment.

What is the toughest part of the filmmaking process ?
It’s a fifty-fifty between funding and casting. It is hard to juggle two jobs in order for one to pay for the other, and then casting is just a stressful and anxious process as you want to get the right people, and it often requires a lot of staring at a screen watching showreels – it does help me to realise ‘who’ the characters are though.

What advise do you give to new filmmaker?
The more you do the better and learn to let go – you will get hung up on ‘mistakes’, but learn from them and move on to the next project.

Tell us your best and worst time filmmaking?
Best time was shooting The Missing Hand, as I was giggling the whole way through, and the worst is either shooting Loop (when it was a very cold) or Killer Bird (a production too big for me to handle by myself).

What would you never scrimp on when putting a budget together for a short film?
Paying people! If you pay, it gives your the control and freedom to get the right people. You are a professional production and it will get treated as such. And also, leave budget for music.

Tell us about your current project?
So I’ve got numerous projects in various stages of production. The next one I am shooting at the end of June is called Man In A Suit and it’s short drama about a new government initiative set up to reduce unemployment. I’ve just released Toast online, which is a ‘one minute, one shot, existential comedy about bread’, and I am just about to start editing a new one called Two Pound Forty Pence which is a nightmarish-thriller about a guy who is pursued by a beggar.

What is your next plans
Figuring out a way to produce a feature film.

At Actors Awareness we encourage diversity in film, how do you apply this when casting your shorts?
I think we should all be more aware about diversity and it’s importance. I have to admit that I don’t consciously choose to be ‘diverse’ when casting, but I also don’t restrict my castings either. I don’t look at class, ethnicity or physical characteristics when casting. But for me it all comes down to the character on the page and who is the best choice to bring that to life.

Where do you look to get crew and cast for film projects?
Either through networking or casting sites like Casting Call Pro.

Check out Toast on Vimeo

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