A companion to www.nicholasabrahams.com
- How to make a short film… !
Ok this isnt really a guide on how to make a short film, obviously. The real way to make a short film is to… make your own a short film.
But what I can do is show you how I planned my short film ‘Ekki Mukk’.
The video below is what I call an ‘animatic’. Its an animation of the sketches I first drew, scanned and then cut to music to make a rough plan of how I wanted “Ekki Mukk’ to flow.
In terms of action, very little happens in the film. And yet, a lot of big themes, life/death/love/etc etc are all present in the brief story.
I knew it was not going to be a very ‘verbal’ piece, also the music by Sigur Ros was very strong in any case, and I wanted to work with that, not against it.
So I had written my script as a short story of sorts, from the Man’s point of view, and then I drew a load of sketches of the angles and so on that I imagined filming, as every aspect of where you put the camera, what kind of lens you use, and so on, tells the story with a different emphasis. Then I scanned my drawings and cut them together over the original Sigur Ros music.
note 1 : I cannot draw…!
note 2 : I can draw enough to show the kind of body language, eye lines, camera movements and so on that I was hoping would tell the story the way I wanted to tell it. These drawings are very simple, but that is exactly what I needed – clear,
After this months of ridiculous work occurred which changed everything – and, in retrospect, really changed very little… I think this was because I knew what I wanted at the core of the film, and the details that did change didn’t matter too much really – for instance, the film was going to start with a sequence involving a cow, which I would still love to shoot (!) but which would have been a ‘health and safety’ nightmare, having a cow left unattended above a busy road, and since we were shooting the film on a tiny budget, the sequence got dropped! … but one day, you’ll see, I’ll shoot it!
Compare it with the finished article:
I hope that’s of some interest to some of you out there – and gives hope to people who don’t feel they can draw!! This was a really useful tool to show people (even if they thought I was bonkers).
Also I drew things that were what I hoped would be filmed – the magic happened when, for instance, the actor and fox interacted and … well, that is cinema.
- The Rebels
“Aphrodite at the Watering Hole!”
We were talking at the 2014 Open Cities doc festival :
‘In the Mind of the Artist
Sun 22 June / 12:00 / Studio 1
Making documentary films about artists contains an inherent problem. The imaginative space that some artists inhabit can be so extreme that any film is likely to be eclipsed by the subject matter. So how do you make a documentary that matches the subject, and better still, how can your telling bring something new to the subject and end up being a work of art in its own right? Nick Abrahams, Toby Amies and Barney Snow, three filmmakers who have swum in these waters, will discuss approaches to this endeavour using their own work and bringing other examples to the table.’
- Lions and Tigers and Bears opening
So, I will get this off my chest first, this was my outfit for the opening – a cat wrestler look – although i only wrestle women, in homage to Andy Kaufman, one of my idols. The second and third pics are by the smoke and mirrors of Sarah Lee. The hard looking man in the photo is David Gryn who promoted the show, under his Artprojx guise.
A healthy turnout spilled into the street outside the gallery.
The lovely Roger Burton who helped me install the show, taking a firm hold of Felix the Fox. Roger is a fascinating man, and is now fighting to save his art venue from evil landlords – more on that here.
Anyway, like I say, will write about the show itself another time, but just wanted to give a tiny taste of the opening to those who weren’t there but maybe wished they could have been.
- Lions & Tigers & Bears – the Single!
Ahhh! Some pics of the gatefold 7 inch vinyl of ‘Lions and Tigers and Bears’ – available as seen or as a download via lovely Lo Recordings – by clicking here. Or by contacting me, of course! If you do buy the vinyl you get a free download of all the tracks as well. The vinyl is very limited to only 200 copies.
It’s a follow up to the film Ekki Mukk, but in audio form, adding another layer to the psychic landscape I am trying to investigate here in Britain.
This is some snails being recorded for the single by myself and Jens Rosenlund Petersen, who also designed the sound on ‘Ekki Mukk’ . At first we couldn’t hear anything … turned out that was because the snail wasn’t actually eating! But when it did…
- Brimful of Abrahams on a 45
Its quite exciting in this digital age to still have people who work with this old fashioned equipment. This is the single actually being cut:
Its a very physical, non digital process, and you could see the sounds actually being cut into the master. This is the disc being checked under a microscope:
and this is the proud father-to-be, about to send the cut disc off to be pressed…
Ok so its exactly the same size as a pizza box, but to me its pretty darned glamorous! Back to vinyl!
The single will be out on June 27th, launched at an exhibition at the Horse Hospital.
- Animal Magick
Just a pleasantly excited note that I am working on a new project, provisionally entitled ‘Animal Magick’, that is a 7 inch single, and an exhibition, to happen later this year…
This is just a teaser photo of me and sound designer extraordinaire Jens Rosenlund Petersen recording the sound of a snail…
I haven’t had the courage to listen to this myself as yet, as i am pretty sure it is me rambling with a lovely member of the band Fanfarlo, for about an hour, about film, music, jews..!
Anyway, if you fancy hearing a few fine, if unconventional tunes, and two middle aged gentlemen chatting please listen by clicking HERE and clicking on podcast number 9!
- A Glimps Behind the Curtain…
A teaser of a fox related art project I am doing this year. Animatronic wiz Adam Wright shows how to make a taxidermied fox appear to breath…
- Hobo Kings and Queens of America
Some paintings by Leanne Castillo , documenting the hobo kings and queens of America through the years, are currently on at the Horse Hospital. I popped down and interviewed the artist, who is in her 80s and was on her first ever trip outside of the USA! I will post it as soon as it is edited.
And here she is infront of some of her paintings…
In the meantime go see her show at the Horse Hospital while you can, it’s great. Each year hobos from all across the USA meet in Britt, Ohio and choose their kings and queens for the year. And each year Leanne documents the newly crowned pair.
There’s a little article about the annual hobo convention here.
- ‘We Make the Path by Walking’
Just a few images from a beautiful book by Paul Gafney, called ‘We Make the Path by Walking’. These images really resonate with me, and are in some ways relevant and inspiring for my feature project I am developing.
The world seen off the beaten path is often a beautiful place…