Andy Thompson is the co-director of the forthcoming horror feature, The Scar Crow. IndieFlicks caught up Andy to discuss his journey into filmmaking and the production of The Scar Crow itself.
IndieFlicks: What was the first film you remember watching?
Andy: I recall as a kid watching anything and everything that came on the TV. I loved movies and can remember going to see Saturday morning movie club at the local cinema when they’d have a b-movie before the feature showing. My earliest memory would have been seeing the Disney movies at the time like Escape to Witch Mountain, Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, Mary Poppins as well as the Bond movies. I was a big Bond fan as kid and it’s interesting to see how my 12 year old son is repeating that. But the earliest movies I remember striking a real chord with me where films like 12 Angry Men, It’s A Wonderful Life and To Kill A Mocking Bird. I loved the innocent simple black and white movies that could tell such powerful stories with multi-layered characters and relationships, something that’s forgotten so often in moviemaking today. I was also into the Hammer House movies in the 1970’s as a young kid. I loved them even though they gave me nightmares at the time! We tried to revisit the tone and flavour of Hammer House in The Scar Crow. Half of the film is set in eighteenth century England, so we used that period to create a Hammer House semi-gothic feel. I can’t exactly remember the first movie I ever watched I can just recall the mood of movies I was absorbing during my childhood.
IndieFlicks: How did you get started in filmmaking?
Andy: I started as a kid although I didn’t have a movie camera. I was crazy about acting and being a movie actor was my childhood dream. Through this ambition I found myself working in theatre, media and for a while in graphic design but always dipped back into acting. Over the years I made a number of music videos after being introduced to the genre through the musician Howard Jones who I worked as an art director for. He acquired some video editing facilities and let me loose on some creative ideas. This led to me producing a number of music video’s and television documentaries. It’s only been in the last 5 or 6 years that I’ve been able to take everything I’ve learnt and been able to focus it into my original childhood love for the movies.
IndieFlicks: Where did the idea for The Scar Crow come from?
Andy: The idea for The Scar Crow is a strange one. I had devised a story and concept for a comedy horror which was budgeted at over one million pounds. However, I felt that was going to take a while to raise the funds for it and didn’t want to spend that sort of money on my first feature. I also wanted to test out a few visual ideas as well as some cast and crew. Most people at that point in their careers would go and make a short film, but I wanted to work through the entire process of realising a full length feature film and have a commercially viable product at the end. A friend of mine mentioned he was working from a studio on a farm in West Berkshire and that some space may be available to use for shooting. After a site visit I and my co-writer and director, Pete Benson, sat down to write a treatment utilising the resources we had access to. I know that’s a bizarre way to conceive a movie but to have that as a seed was a positive starting point for us and meant we could road test some ideas within a cost-effective framework.
IndieFlicks: Was there a specific reason why the film was co-directed?
Andy: Originally I was going to direct alone. But having had such a laugh writing both my comedy-horror script and The Scar Crow I thought it would not only be fun to share the experience but also help me to off load some of the work since I was also producing the movie. I had directed some theatre and television with Pete in the past so knew we had a good understanding of how we both worked.
IndieFlicks: How did you go about securing funding for the film?
Andy: I have always raised funds from various sources for previous media projects but this was the first time I decided not to go down that route. I was keen to get going so put my own money into the film as well as begged, stole, borrowed and pulled in loads of favours! Having your own money on the line makes you think about every penny and how to get as much from it as possible in an effort to get it all onto the screen. It also forces you to stretch your imagination and think outside of the box, as well as seek out incredibly talented cast and crew who are into the project for the creativity and passion and definitely not the cash. The result I believe is that we have a film that looks to have cost ten times more than what we actually spent on it.
IndieFlicks: What was the film shot on?
Andy: We shot the movie on a Panasonic HPX500 and some second unit footage with a Panasonic HVX200. They capture the footage directly on to P2 Cards which enabled us to plug into a Mac lap top and start to assemble scenes on location which was a big help as it helped us see if any pick-ups were needed.
IndieFlicks: Where was the film shot?
Andy: We shot most of the film on a farm in the small village of Leckhampstead in West Berkshire with the rest of the footage being shot in Summertown in Oxford.
IndieFlicks: How long did the editing process take?
Andy: We shot the film over three weeks in June 2008 and I began editing in July for about five months.
IndieFlicks: Do you have any projects in the pipeline now that The Scar Crow is complete?
Andy: I’m about to start work on a couple of projects. I’m going to be producing a low-budget horror movie whilst finishing off the comedy-horror script I mentioned earlier. It is a modern day version of Frankenstein but set in a chip shop in Staines. It’s called Frank In Staines Monster!
IndieFlicks: Do you have any advice for the budding filmmakers out there?
Andy: I think the biggest lesson I learnt whilst making The Scar Crow was to follow your gut feeling and instinct. If you’re feeling something is right then it probably is, so go with it. Although the film making process is a large team effort and as the director and producer it’s your job to keep your team motivated, interested and focused on the movie. Ultimately it’s your vision and once the pregnancy is over and the baby is delivered it’s you alone that does the breast feeding!
For more information on The Scar Crow please visit the official website - click