I think it was Bloodstock 2006 where the seeds of the idea were first sown. Chatting with Martin about The Clan Destined and mentioning Blue Dog Films – we’d just finished a music video for singer/ songwriter Abi Moore. Joking that we should do a video for TCD I offered to send a DVD for Martin to see – especially as we pretty much work on similar ethics – Creativity is everything and anything can be achieved with determination, inventiveness and hard work! You can see the video at www.bluedogfilms.co.uk along with our other recent videos – including the insane video for Black metal band Eibon la Furies’ ‘… And By The Moonlight’.
After seeing this vid Martin phoned up talking about the track ‘The Beautiful Start To The End Of The World’ being a good proposition to take on so myself and fellow Producer/ Director, Matt Owens, started working on a rough storyboard of ideas based on the original idea for the lyrics (It’s really for Martin to explain the ideas behind the lyrics for the song but the story is both bizarre and heartfelt to the backdrop of Germany during WWII) – at this point I really stressed to Martin there’s low budget – then there’s us - no budget! But as I say a lot can be achieved by determination, inventiveness and hard work.
It’s great at this stage of developing a new film. You just let your imagination run wild. A few beer fuelled evenings at the pub and we had most of the ideas down and the video was really taking shape.
Then the sober thought hit us. Where do you get authentic German WWII soldiers, two female leads (prepared to share a lingering kiss with each other!), and bombed out streets of war torn Germany – all around Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire! Of course a big budget will buy it for you but we’re not quite Hollywood!
A number of phone calls from us all started to yield results. One of our friends has a healthy love of theatre, live action role-playing and air-soft – in fact I’m sure he has more props than the Royal Shakespeare Company these days!
Most of our military costumes were borrowed along with various prop rifles – some of which were old props from the recent(ish) blockbuster ‘The Mummy’. These were a real find because as they are professional film prop rifles it was fairly easy for us to get permission from Lincolnshire Police Firearms Licensing Department to use on a rather cold morning video shoot in the Arboretum in Lincoln. I must say both Lincolnshire Police and The City of Lincoln Council were extremely helpful with this. I think we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when the cameras had started to roll – it always feels so much more real when you finally get going on the actual filming!
This was shortly after filming The Clan Destined performing the track at Bloodstock 2007. The video really has two main parts - The live footage, seeing the band playing in front of an enthusiastic crowd, and the story element with a small crew of actors. The Bloodstock crew were great and everyone was extremely helpful for the shoot.
If you were at Bloodstock, what you probably didn’t see was all the work we did with all the various members of the band filming close ups of fingers flying up and down fretboards, Jay pounding away at drums – and of course Grim Rita’s ‘outfit’!!! There’s some first class footage, I tell you! But the real joy was filming the band at full pelt in front of the crowd – it was always important to get that feeling across because something Matt and myself realised early on listening to the song was its power driven adrenaline rush and that really needs to come through. One of our regular Cameramen, David Andrews made a short documentary about the Bloodstock filming which you can see on the BBC Lincolnshire website - http://www.bbc.co.uk/lincolnshire/content/articles/2007/08/30/bluedogfilms_feature.shtml
A long day but one part in the can!
Meanwhile we’d been setting up various locations for the main parts of the story element. This ranged from being a nightmare to people really pulling in just when we thought there was no hope.
You see we’d found a top location in the form of an old asylum/ hospital in Lincoln. Huge sprawling and filmed the right way it had the look of bombed out streets. Just as we approached the company who now owned it they started their development work basically scuppering any plans to use it! We did a load of scouting for locations really quickly after this and as luck would have it started finding places - one being at a farm in Lincolnshire, owned by a friend who we’d worked with before on films. He has a great ‘street’ on his farm with old outhouses falling to ruin. We had a big clearance job, getting rid of all the weeds to make it look authentic, though. You can see the ‘street’ in the picture of the bomb-blast.
Matt was now working on our green screen effect ideas as we need to think about compositing the sprawling mass of a bombed out city behind. All is going well with this although it’ll be a lot of late evening work from us both to build these shots up. I think when you see the finished video you’ll think it’s worth it!
Whilst doing this there were two locations that were still eluding us. A good interrogation room (if such a thing exists!), and a courtyard for a firing squad. Lincoln Castle has an old Victorian prison and I couldn’t get it out of my head that this would be perfect but probably unobtainable so we started looking at other options – the irony is the other (lesser) locations proved unobtainable yet Lincoln Castle were really welcoming to our ideas and their help came at the 11th hour and by my reckoning really add to the feel of the video.
The pictures from the interrogation room and of the soldiers stood outside the cells are from this. The area that we filmed in is closed to the public but there is enough open that if you visit Lincoln Castle you’ll get the feel of what it was like.
An extremely long day of filming with everyone giving their all – especially from Martin and Grim Rita behind the masks as the interrogators! I think our soldiers, Dave, Anthony, Charles, and Robert had the best of it that day in their thick army coats – it was cold in there! Our female leads, Cara and Lea probably had it worst as they just had thin cotton dresses - although fleeces and scarves were quickly donned after each take!
Lincoln Castle also provided us with a great courtyard for our firing squad scene (actually, am I giving too much away here?!), although it has the stiffest door in the entire world to access it – in fact we had a worrying 15 minutes thinking we may be denied access!
The banners fluttering in the breeze really helped set the scene off – big thanks to Camille Fox for all the work on these and the insignia around each soldiers arm.
Something that was discussed early on was the imagery and it was decided that we wanted to use The Clan Destined Nexus logo as a symbol of good whilst using something else rather than the Swastika as the symbol of oppression. Martin’s designer came up with the design that you see on the banners, cannily looking like a dollar sign.
Also I haven’t mentioned yet – but you’ll probably be wondering about the white masks? Martin was talking about a faceless enemy and ran the idea past us – we loved it. Something that really struck us was that with the story of these two women they were up against such an overbearing regime that didn’t want their individualism, it wasn’t welcome. When you have only 5 to 6 minutes to put across a story as powerful as this you really want to have a strong image and when we did the first tests this really worked. There’s something very sinister about filming soldiers bursting through a cellar door, flashlights moving around the room and that same emotionless white face staring at you from all the soldiers.
Hopefully this gives you a bit of a taste for what the video for ‘A Beautiful Start To The End Of The World’ will entail – and I haven’t even mentioned the day’s chroma-key filming on a huge green screen we built in Newark, the filming with the DeVille Dolls Burlesque troop, the cars that Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society (http://www.lvvs.org.uk/) lent us and the interesting 1940’s lingerie Cara and Lea wore for one of the shoots!
Enjoy the pics and I’m sure more will appear over the next couple of months as the video takes shape.