Featured Friday : Elliot Grove

Welcome back to Featured Friday! I had a very exciting week filming for the Nightriders, some of you may be familiar with from a previous Featured Friday post. I just want to give a special thanks to all that helped out and made that wonderful project happen, I can’t wait to see it progress.

This week I am very excited to introduce Elliot Grove, founder of Raindance Film Festival and BIFA, as this weeks feature. I feel very honoured to have had the pleasure to talk to him and get to share our interview here. As you may know, Raindance Film Festival will be mainly online this year but don’t miss out on streaming some amazing films from 28 Oct. – 7 Nov. and some other events going on worth checking out.

Interview with Elliot Grove

Elliot Grove

What gravitated you towards the film industry, and how did you get your start? 
I am a farm boy from southern Ontario, Canada. I became fascinated by movies when my stick Protestant Amish parents told me that the devil lived in the movie theatre. One day (I was 16) I snuck into the Devil’s house in the small village near where we lived. One only had to pay 99 cent back in those days.I had no idea what a movie was. I was just told never to go to the movie theatre. I paid my money and walked into a large room – a bit like church. Chairs where lined up, facing the front. The curtains opened and the first face of the devil I saw was Lassie Comes Home. I cried like a baby and at the end I rushed up to the screen to see if I could feel the bark or the fur and it was all gone in a twinkling of the eye and I was totally hooked.
I ended up in art school in Toronto where my sculpture teacher got me a short stint with Henry Moore. I am a qualified technician in cine Perdue – list wax bronze casting – the ancient art of the Greeks. After that I got a BBC job s a stage hand and worked on many iconic British TV shows like Monty Python and Dr Who. I then moved back to Toronto in the late 70’s and worked for 9 yers as a scenic artist on many truly horrible movies – ones with words like ’Slime’ Gore” or ‘Massacre’ in the title.
I moved back to London and at a moment of a total low started the festival.

What inspired you to create Raindance Film Festival? 
It was really a thought experiment – can you make a movie with no money? No training? No real film experience? And people I knew like Edgar Wright, like Chris Nolan were all making films for next to nothing, with no training or NY experience. The festival was starts to celebrate their work, and very nearly filed due to the fact that Raindance was considered to be a disruptor by the establishment – and in many way still is.

Besides Covid, what has been your biggest challenges over the years to bring Raindance to what it is today?
I am often asked this question – and the answer is always the same ‘How do you create public awareness and appetite for the independent films we have at Raidance?’ No audience, no box office, no sponsorship and no money. We would have failed years ago hd it not been for the generosity of our patrons, or members, our filmmaker, and most importantly our audience.

What makes a good short film?  Take me to  world I already know and show me something new that makes me a better person, or, take me to a world I do not know and teach me something that makes me a better person.

What do you believe to be the pros and cons of holding the festival this year primarily online? 
Creating a new distribution model in the COVID era is an exciting creative opportunity where artistry, innovation and commerces compete for my attention 24/7

Do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers, especially while trying to navigate the current climate of the industry? 
Its a terrific time to be breaking into the industry because all the big players have been stopped stone cold. And everyone is screaming for content. The opportunity is really quite simple: Make a film/web series/podcast/VR Immersive piece that is so bold fresh and original that no one else has thought of before, and thy will send the limos!

Thank you so much Elliot for joining me on Double-j-creative. To learn more about Raindance visit: https://www.raindance.org/festival/ for more information and the line up for this years festival!

Also, as some of you may know I recently launched a short film project supporting mental health the struggles young dancers face with body image and eating disorders. If you are interested to learn more or would like to support us and the film please visit our funding page :

https://igg.me/at/physiquefilm/x/23090417#/

If you like my blog be sure to like and subscribe. Get in touch if you want a feature!

Featured Friday : The Nightriders Campaign

Welcome back to Featured Friday!

Today may seem a little familiar to last week’s feature, and if not, then be sure to check it out! Or here is a little summary: The Nightrider is a new TV series, created by award-winning director, Jane Sangers. An exciting period drama where a beautiful squire’s daughter is feared and captured by Barbary Pirates.

On Tuesday, 15 September, we launched our campaign and have already had amazing support! 20% towards our goal has been made in just four days. We are all so grateful, but still have a way to go and want you to get involved and join us on this journey!

The Nightriders Indiegogo Campaign Page

Why donate?

You are probably thinking right now is not the best time to donate because of COVID, and we all completely understand, but by donating you are helping the film and tv industry who have been tremendously effected and kickstarting production again. Also, with meeting our goal means being able to provide jobs for many unemployed film crew and actors at the moment. So if you are interested in aiding the film industry to get back on its feet, help get some jobs opportunities going again or simply just wanting to support an exciting television series make it’s way to your screen – then please donate. Plus, there are some exciting opportunities to get involved with production (:

The Perks of Donating

Of course no donation will go without a little giving back, and is why we set up a range of fabulous perks for you to choose from!

  • Shoutouts
  • A helping hand on reviewing audition tapes or scripts
  • Social media promotions
  • Singing lessons
  • History Podcasts
  • Half day on set
  • Showreel tapings
  • Life coach/counselling
  • Village extra/Pirate extra
  • Production Assistant

Most of these perks are at discounted prices, so don’t miss out!

If none of these perks suit your fancy, but still want to donate, you can do that too!

Check out my short video on how to donate and where to go. If you do donate, DM me on insta @double_j_creative or leave a comment on this post to be featured in a special shoutout addition next week!

LINK ->

https://igg.me/at/nightridertv/x/23090417#/

Thank you again for your support, and we all look forward to welcoming you along this journey with us.

Be sure to check us out on facebook and twitter @nightridertv

For your chance to be featured get in touch!

Featured Friday : Jane Sanger’s NEW TV series The Nightrider

Welcome back to Featured Friday!

Today I am very excited to introduce to you, The Nightrider, a new TV series in the works, and will be launching a crowdfunding campaign next Tuesday, 15 September. With your help, and the money we raise, a teaser and poster will be created for the project to assist further development.

Jane is a Director and Writer at Lumino Films LTD, has won multiple awards for her short films, and is a women of many talents in the industry from casting, producing, writing and directing amongst various media platforms. Jane is the creator of The Nightrider series and has brought on seven associate producers, including me, to make this series come to life.

Associate Producers Leigh Trifari, Simon Edward Willshire, Gabriella Wheeler, Carlee Soeder, Skarlett V Breya, Jennifer James, Jane Hamlet

About The Nightriders Series

The Nightriders

* 8 part television adventure/drama series

“Little is known in contemporary times about The White Slave Trade, but it is a historical fact. This was carried out by the Sultans of Morocco for over 130 years til the Americans sailed to Rabat and freed the remaining slaves and overcame the Sultan.

Our story begins in 1714 as George I comes to the throne and Barbary Pirates were being sent by the Sultan Ismail Moulay to the south European Coast and particularly to Great Britain on the West Country , South Irish and South Welsh coasts to capture strong young men to build his palace and red head girls in particular for his hareem.

The story follows the plight of the Fellowes, a squires family living in the West Country, when one stormy night  their daughter Elizabeth, a red haired beauty and her brother John go missing as the Barbary Pirates attack, there can be only one dreadful conclusion. Lady Mary is forbidden to visit the local white witch, but she disobeys her husband. Esther tells her the children are still alive. Sir Richard goes to the Prime Minister to seek audience with the King to send ships to bring his beloved children and all the other slaves back. He is met with a brick wall.

Determined to do something, he and the other local squires meet and decide to fund the earliest known coastguard: The Nightriders, who will patrol and protect the coast from further attacks. Another stormy night a year later a lone Nightrider rides up to the Manor door and deposits a very wet and feverish young lady there and rides off before he can be questioned. Lady Mary takes her in and is shocked to see it’s her heavily pregnant daughter, her hair dyed brown from walnut juice. Elizabeth is struck dumb and so the story continues.”

Source: http://luminofilms.co.uk/current-projects

More information

To find out more about the project, please visit our Facebook Page and give it a like to keep up with updates and to show your support. You can also find us on twitter @nightridertv.

Our campaign page will go live next Tuesday – 15 September – so be sure to keep your eye out.

I am thrilled to be apart of this project and to help it grow towards development, with Jane and the other associate producers I have been delighted meeting. Let’s get the film industry back on it’s feet!

Stay tuned for updates coming soon!

Life as an Actress : To be or not to be an extra

Are you an aspiring actress and wondering if it’s worth doing extra work? I’m sure you’ve heard many people tell actors not to do it because it is below them or it looks bad, but that is not always the case – especially if you are only getting started. I am here to share with you my experience as an extra (or supporting artist some may say) and what I have gained from the experience.

Getting Started

In 2016, I officially moved to the UK from America. In a way, I felt like I had to start all over again to find a new agent, understand the acting system and build a network again. I started university in the autumn of that year doing film and drama, which opened me up to the idea of supporting artist work. There are many different agencies to sign up to, but I started with Maddog and slowly made a shift to POP casting. It took a while for me to get my first booking because a lot of casting is based on size, look, availability and continuity. So, don’t get disheartened if it takes a while to book your first extra role – it’s really like winning the lottery sometimes.

I’ll never forget my first booking on ITV’s Victoria season 1 back in 2017, partly because I was freezing cold for two days. Don’t let that put you off though, sure it can be long tedious days, but what you get out of it is worth it – new friends, experience on a professional set and getting to time travel to a different world for the day.

ITV Victoria Series 1 (2017)

How it works

So once you have signed yourself up with an agency you will enter in all your profile details and upload four main pictures (headshot, front, back, left side, right side). Uploading pictures that represent the natural you are so important for casting because it is essentially the thing that get’s you booked. After all your details and required documents are set up, you are good to go and just have to wait. The agency will submit on your behalf for anything they think you would be suitable for, and when something does arise, you will be given an availability check. Availability checks do not mean you’ve got the role, usually it means you are right for what they are looking for and need to know you are free in order to put you forward to the production company. Once the production company has all the submissions, they go through and pick who they want. Usually, you will get pencilled or heavy pencilled if you’ve been narrowed down before you get the finally booking. It’s important to note that this can be so last minute, and sometimes frustrating, but is why you need to keep that date 100% available just incase that ‘pencilled’ turns into a ‘booked’. Getting booked is very exciting! You will get an email with your call time, base location and any additional information you may need for the day.

Life on set as an Extra

7am call time (before hair and make up) Victoria series 3

Now, life on set as an extra is by no means glam or A-list actor personal trailer glam. Sets can vary depending on production and how they treat their extras. If you are lucky you will have hot tea and coffee waiting for you upon your arrive that can be as early as 6 am, yes I have been there. During my time as a supporting artist I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I will not list names as it is not fair on productions, but one of my worst experiences was only being used for one hour in the day then waiting in a conference room until 8-9 o’clock at night until a security guard came to clear out the buildings and was shocked to see us still there. Lets just say communication was not a strong suit that day. However, there have been more good sets than bad ones I like to keep in mind. Extra’s have their own space during production for dressing, eating and waiting. Be prepared to wait around most of the day, but be ready to be called in at any time to start filming. Extra’s on set can range from a handful to hundreds, it all depends on the type of scene being shot and honestly I have found that depending on how many extras on set can largely impact the way you are treated. The times that there have only been a handful of us are my most memorable time because I got to get to know the crew and talk with the ADs a bit more – only do this if it is appropriate, and if you are an actor do not start trying to sell yourself, it is not what you are there to do. Getting the chance to be a small number of extras on a set is wonderful, but not always the case. If you are on a set with hundreds of extra make sure to stay patient and respectful of the process. It’s a lot of people for hair & make-up to get through and for ADs to monitor, so try not to complain. At the end of the day everyone is there to play a part in creating TV and movie magic, so enjoy the downtime when you have it and be ready to do a scene over and over again until they have the shot.

My experience and views on being an Extra

I have been doing extra work since 2017 and have worked on sets for Victoria, Gentleman Jack, David Copperfield, ABC Murders, Super Woman 2, Peaky Blinders, etc. While I don’t do as much anymore because I have an agent now (yippee), I still reflect back on what I’ve learned on the numerous sets and the relationships I have formed. There have been countless time I have bent over backwards to get to these productions, mostly because I never wanted to turn down an opportunity to engage in what I find so fascinating and hope to one day be working in, and I can say I never regret any of it. My time on set was a constant learning experience, always watching how things operated and learning who was who. As I said, I was at university for most of my time doing extra work so as I was learning film production I got to live it as well. It’s important to always maintain a professional attitude working on production as an extra, and while it’s easy to want to talk to everyone and ask how you can get a job, you have to know when the right time is, and sometimes that opportunity will just find it’s way to you. You hear the stories of actors getting picked up for lead roles by working as an extra, and while not always the case it can happen, it did happen. While it wasn’t a lead role, I did end up getting my featured role on Peaky Blinders by simply just being an extra for three days. Those three days were the most exciting and yet most exhausting days ever. I was coming from York by train and one night I didn’t get home till 11 only to wake up at 2am and jump on a train at 4am to get back to work again. Why? Because that’s how much I love what I do, acting, working on sets and getting experience. I’ll tell you though, I am so glad I did because on my last day of work the 2nd AD offered me a feature role as Finn’s Women saying the director has seen me. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. I remained calm and accepted willingly, but I am not ashamed to say I walked out of the studio feeling like I was on cloud 9. I was sure everyday till I filmed (from October to January) they would have found someone else. But nope. I went in, had my own trailer and got to feel like a part of something bigger than me for the day, only to be requested to come in again for close up shots. My two days only amounted to three seconds on screen, but overall I cannot say how thankful I was for the experience and who it has led me to meet.

So do I recommend being an extra? Yes! Okay, it gets a bad name sometimes if you are actor but, if you want experience on set and get comfortable in the environment, than do it! My confidence has grown just in the short amount of time working as an extra because I have seen first hand the operations, and if I were to ever finally book my leading or supporting role I will now go in having already a glimpse of the set life. My only advice is, don’t go in expecting to get noticed or make conversation with the cast and crew. Be professional, seize opportunities when you can and just enjoy the process of what you are there hired to do. If you just want to do it for a little extra cash, for a hobby or experience the set – great! Whatever your reason is for becoming a supporting artist I can confidently say you are sure to make amazing friends, memories and come home satisfied after a long day of work.

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Have a great weekend!