Hi all, we're Sloane U'Ren and Ant Neely and we made the 1930s sci-fi movie 'Dimensions: A Line, A Loop, A Tangle of Threads'.

We've been in the film/TV business for a while – Sloane as an art director/set designer on films such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Batman Begins and Being John Malkovich and Ant wrote music used on TV shows such as Six Feet Under and Boston Legal.

After many reoccurring conversations about making our own film, we decided to take the plunge – but the only way we could fund it was to sell our home in Twickenham, England – insane or inspired (delete as applicable). But, life is short and we figured we could either talk about doing it, or do it.

Ask us anything about working in films, following your dreams and Dimensions – we'd love to share our journey with you.

Thanks! Sloane and Ant

Proof http://i.imgur.com/bFO9T39.jpg https://twitter.com/dimensionsmovie/status/391257985877417984/photo/1

Trailer here: http://youtu.be/93sxrEx-mpg Website here: www.dimensionsthemovie.com

Sloane's IMDB - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0879631/ Ant's IMDB - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1899596/

p.s. One horse-sized duck – I think Ant could get it's attention and I could flank it, then bring it down with some karate (p.p.s. I don't do karate, but I am a quick study).

EDIT: fixed (I hope) links.

EDIT 2: Added link to the new trailer and www.

EDIT 3: We're going to grab some food. We will check in and answer more questions in the next few days (probably not tomorrow though as we fly to New Orleans for a screening).

Comments: 114 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

Katelyn898 karma

What was hardest to sacrifice for your dreams?

Dimensions_movie8 karma

Selling our home was a tough decision - not something we took lightly at all. We had long conversations and finally said to each other:

"If we loose everything, but make the film, would we still feel it was worth doing?". We both said yes. Life is short and it is something we were really passionate about doing.

The house sold really quickly - so we didn't have time to back out. ;)

EojMuttat6 karma

Hey!

There has been a bit of a debate recently on whether going to a film school is really worth it? People seem to say that you can just go straight into the industry and work your way up from there... What is your opinion on this?

Second question & a little bit of a cheeky one, do you ever do guest lecturing or something similar? I know lots of people including myself would love to hear your stories and advice!

And lastly, do you ever or have you ever thought "shit, I've made the wrong career move!"?

Thanks!

Dimensions_movie17 karma

Ok - the film school debate. This is a tricky one, but I will be honest with what we know.

We spoke to a friend a few days ago about this. Now this friend is a very successful EP who works with filmmakers you will all know. His take is that unless you go to one of the big ones (e.g. USC, UCLA, NYU) you are not going to make the contacts you need to progress. Not to say you won't progress, but the bottom line is that your classmates at those bigger schools are way more likely to move into agencies, production, etc. and will be great contacts.

To add to this (from our perspective)...

However - you can learn (if the school is good) some great skills. However (you can see where this is going) pretty much everyone comes out and begins at the bottom as an assistant/runner. We've spoken to students who were led to believe they would graduate and then pick up a job as a director/producer etc. Very unlikely in reality.

So, be careful - research the schools and really make sure that the school you are considering is up to scratch. Looks at what the practical (and business) skills they teach. Find out who their graduates are. Find out what % of grads go into film/tv (and drill it down by narrative, doc, corporate etc.).

TL;DR If you are considering it then quiz the school on every little detail - after all, you are paying for it!

Edit: clarity

EojMuttat2 karma

Thankyou for answering this, but can I be rude and just ask another?

What is your opinion on the state of film schools within the UK? I'm currently attending one but I get the sense that it's too late and I've wasted my money. How did the both of you start out?

Great advice for people thinking about joining a film school! Thankyou once again.

Dimensions_movie6 karma

Sloane got a job as a receptionist at Henson's and made herself as invaluable as possible - willing to help anyone and everyone out, smiling a lot and being easy going. When Henson's were planning Muppet Treasure Island she asked to be an assistant in the art department (ended up in the model shop though). Then she made as many contacts as she could.

I (Ant) did trainee (unpaid) work in an art department and got my foot in the door that way. It really is about meeting people - which is hard, but you just need to reach out and understand that is is an ongoing process!

UK film school is tricky - Rhetorical questions: Does the school have a track record off graduates getting into the industry? Are you learning? Are you enjoying the experience? Are you spending every spare moment making shorts with other students (you should be!). In your holidays are you trying to get runner/assistant/trainee positions for experience?

EojMuttat1 karma

Thanks once again. I have a lot of things to think about... Even though the school itself is highly rated, I just don't feel like they're giving all they could & creating shorts without any equipment myself is next to impossible.

Have a good day!

Dimensions_movie3 karma

Does the school not let you use their gear? They should!

EojMuttat0 karma

They're very reluctant to do so mainly because a lot of students don't look after the equipment properly. Often we will go to see what is available & all they will have is some gel's and a C-stand.

Dimensions_movie6 karma

Ouch. Not great. Don't forget though - it's all about learning how to tell a story, so if you only have a borrowed iPhone, then at least you can experiment. It might not help you much to learn about being a technical DP, but you will learn about coverage etc.

Frajer3 karma

In doing art design or soundtracking other people's work how much leeway were you given?

Dimensions_movie7 karma

In doing art department work and designing, it really depends on who you are working for (how the head of the art department - the production designer - works). Some PDs know exactly what they want and will sketch up an idea, do a loose draughting up (a loose technical drawing of plans and/or elevations, like in real world architecture), and/or give you references of images, like photo reference out of magazines, books, the internet, or other designs/art work - as inspiration. Then your job is to work out how to make their design work in terms of size and materials used to build it. Other PDs will just give a photo reference of a set and basic sizes of how big/tall it should be and, as a set designer/draughtsman or art director, you get to run with it. Even if the latter sounds like you get to be more creative (and frequently you do!) the former isn’t bad either - when you are working for a designer, I do also appreciate that they have a clear idea of what they want. So both works for me! The first feature film that I production designed was also the first feature film that I directed - Dimensions. Though it was great to design (and I did specifically think that if I didn’t like directing, at least I have now designed a feature and I can continue getting into designing films! - though I love directing), I would not do that on the next one - as you can image, it’s too much work. Still, it worked for me on Dimensions...and the conversations between the director and the designer were very short and the director always agreed with the designer!!

LilacFeather3 karma

Sloane U'Ren - what set design in Harry Potter were you most proud of/impressed by?

Dimensions_movie8 karma

I was impressed by so many things!, both sets drawn up by other members of the art department and my own. Having worked on the 6th Potter, the Quidditch Pitch came up again and our amazingly talented Production Designer Stuart Craig wanted to change the design slightly from what it was in the first few films. I got to draught the new version that had 20 towers now instead of 16 - and the towers were now about 25 feet taller (in theory!), so over 110 feet tall. There were other smaller changes and tweeks as well. Though a part of the tower had been built at full size for previous films, on the Half-Blood Prince, this was the first time that the Quidditch Pitch (that is the field itself) was built full size. So we had half an entire pitch laid with grass at full size!, plus the grass bank that curves around the far end behind the three hoops. It was quite exciting to actually have the big field. I (and a couple of junior draughtsman) drew/redrew the entire Quidditch Pitch, both on the computer - so that it could go to the VFX houses to be built in 3D and the characters could be composited, flying around on their brooms! - and by hand. Other impressive sets definitely include the Observatory, the Room of Requirement - such amazing detail in every set!

LilacFeather4 karma

That would have been amazing to see! Thanks for replying!

Dimensions_movie5 karma

Thanks very much! Sloane

Dolphman3 karma

some advise for people who want to get into your trade?

Dimensions_movie8 karma

It's all about meeting people. It is hard to cold call/email and introduce yourself to people - but it's part of the business. Sometimes people will have time to chat, sometimes not - but persevere.

When you do get someone on the phone/email, ask if you can send a CV (resumé). It always pays to know a bit about who you are talking to - be familiar with their work and reference it. Write a polite email and follow up every couple of months (email is best). We get lots of emails, and when it is time to find people for a project, we naturally will be more likely to remember someone who has kept in contact.

Of course, study everything you can about the field you are interested in. Find out what skills are required and learn them.

One thing that is really important - film/TV hours are long! Having a positive personality, an can-do attitude and a smile really helps. Everyone likes to be around nice people.

Hope that helps? Good luck! :)

chw33 karma

With more and more production design and set design being extended (or created entirely digitally), how does this affect your job as an art director?

Do you enjoy the creative possibilities that CG allows for, or do you prefer physically working with the art? How much of the job now involves directing animators or effects teams instead of dressers and building crews?

Dimensions_movie3 karma

It really depends on the film - often it is a combination of green screen and sets so we work closely with vfx.

There is nothing like the atmosphere a good set creates though - it feels magic! Also, it really gives the cast something to react to.

CG does open up a huge amount of doors - and I love it when it is done well. For me, a combination of physical and CG can give the best of both worlds. For Dimensions we had SFX (smoke, explosions) and VFX (sparks, glow etc.) for the time machine. The actors react to the set and SFX, while the VFX heightens the illusion.

k0hler3 karma

What's the most difficult thing about being in the industry, and are you willing to part with some trade secrets for a 3rd year film student? Thank you!

Dimensions_movie8 karma

Lack of sleep. Finding work. Getting people to say 'yes'. Getting people to read scripts. But it can be soooo much fun.

Smile. Always be on time (or early). Be willing to pitch in and help anyone. Respect boundaries. Watch how others behave on set and emulate (the good bits). Everyone is sleep deprived so a positive attitude really helps!

kaidumo3 karma

Thanks for doing this! What are some things that no-budget independent filmmakers can do to up the quality of their production?

Also, what's a question you wish we would ask you?

Dimensions_movie5 karma

Oh - I forgot... 'audio'. An audience will tend to forgive bad picture but bad audio really pulls people out of the story! Find good production and post-production audio people.

kaidumo2 karma

Definitely. I've been saving up to upgrade my mic. Right now I just have a Rode Videomic with a boom pole. Still better than DSLR on-board mic though.

Dimensions_movie3 karma

I know - onboard DSLR is pretty horrible (or was on the 5D)!

Dimensions_movie4 karma

Tips: Shoot with what you have. Write around what you have access to. Collaborate. Scripts are free (assuming you or a collaborator writes them) - so nail it! Use actors and not friends (lots of good actors will do shorts if they like the script). Don't be afraid to ask. Put together a team of passionate people that are good. If your DP (etc) isn't up to scratch, then have that difficult conversation - an audience won't give you a 'free-pass' because it is no-budget.

The bottom line is - with digital tech the price of making films is dropping. However, without a compelling story and good performances you are sunk. If in doubt, shoot a teaser and see what works.

As for a question... "Would you like me to sell my house to fund your next film?" :)

kaidumo1 karma

Awesome, thanks for the reply! I'm guilty of using friends as actors.. But now I will start looking at the local university drama and film departments for people looking to build up their reel!

If I owned a house, I would sell it to you. Maybe.

Dimensions_movie3 karma

Hehe.

Good luck!

Obscerno2 karma

What do you wish you'd known when you were just starting out?

Dimensions_movie2 karma

I used to find the knock-backs hard to deal with - I wish I had developed thicker skin earlier. It's part of the process - everybody gets knocked back and you just need to bounce up and keep going.

It's an industry where 'no' is the safe answer. Anytime someone says 'yes' they are putting their job on the line.

Ant

gouch2232 karma

What is it like working with Christopher Nolan?

Dimensions_movie6 karma

When working on set, directors tend to have to be so focused on the job at hand that there frequently isn’t a lot of time to be social. I was introduced to him on set once, on Batman Begins, but I didn’t really have a lot of interaction with him so I’m afraid I don’t have anytime fun and/or fascinating insights or stories!
That said, as a film-lover, he makes films that I love to watch and are really well made - The Prestige, Memento, Inception. Thanks, Sloane

tvthroway2 karma

This movie looks like it's right up my alley.

Dimensions_movie1 karma

Thanks. I hope you get chance to watch it. :)

Jinxy_Minx2 karma

Did you get support when/if you revealed your dreams to people of your family?

Sorry if that's really too personal.

Dimensions_movie6 karma

Not at all - ask away! - cue: outrageous questions in 3...2...1 :)

When we told people we were selling our home to make a film, the initial response was a little wtf? When we explained that it wasn't a financial decision, it was a 'life' decision, then the reaction changed completely. People understood that this is important to us and the support has been amazing!

mpa10e2 karma

What are the chief responsibilities between production designer and art director? How collaborative is it?

What's next after your first feature? I've always heard making the first is hard, making the second is even harder!

Congratulations with everything!

Dimensions_movie3 karma

Here is a great link to the breakdown of what the production designer, art director (sometimes the supervising art director on big films, with larger art departments) and assistant art director. (On some bigger films, the head of the art dept is the PD, then their right hand person is the supervising art director, then there might be a couple/few art directors, then assistant art director(s), set designers (called draughtman or draughtsperson in the UK), and so on.) It is written by Greg Papalia, who is a fantastic and talented Supervising/Art Director who I had the opportunity to work with a while back when I was still in the U.S. on the film The Patriot... http://www.adg.org/sites/art/pdf/art_department.pdf

It depends on the personalities of the PD and the AD but, hopefully, they almost always work well together(!) and that they usually get the best results when their is a lot of collaboration. I worked with a PD and AD who did many films together and the AD could frequently answer questions of the other departments that the art dept work with, such as construction and location, without consulting with the PD constantly because he know what the PD would want, or he knew that the PD would like the ADs choices. That way, as well, the PD had more time to devote to other things (meetings, issues, etc.). You are correct about getting the second one up and running. I guess , with the first film, as Ant and I took the plunge and sold our house to make our feature, once we decided that...that was it, we just went ahead and started pre-production and went on to make the film. With the second, we are beginning to attach actors and it’s a different process. Dimensions has helped open doors for us and we’re getting meetings that we would not have gotten had we not made the first film. Thanks very much for your congratulations! Sloane

page_mathews2 karma

[removed]

Dimensions_movie3 karma

Hi Paige!

I actually really like my feet tickled - find it relaxing. When I was a kid my mum used to get me to tickle her feet and she would fall asleep, so I guess I got it from her. Under my arms though - now that is ticklish.

I laugh at a lot of things - I try to especially laugh at myself (try not to take things too seriously!). Recently just been wetting myself laughing at Tim Minchin's work - he is brilliant!

Ant

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

Dimensions_movie5 karma

Neither of us went to film school. See above for first jobs.

Making contacts is a long, hard road. Every time you see a tv show or movie you like then jot down the names of the people who are in the department you are interested in. Find them on IMDB, research their work. Google them and try to get a contact email. Write a nice (short), personal note (and understand if they don't respond it is probably just because they are crazy busy).

Don't just try to contact heads of departments - be realistic look for peers that are a few years ahead of you. Ask if they might be able to spare a few minutes to meet or chat on the phone. Often 'no', but sometimes 'yes'. Ask advice. Listen. Be nice (and if it's coffee, then buy it for them - after all they are doing you a favour). Stay in touch - the occasional, short email. You never know when a job might come up. It will probably be a slow process - so be patient.

Meanwhile - make shorts, get experience and learn everything you can.

im_friENTly2 karma

Hello!

My question is, what are some really simple things I can do as far as set design goes to make my short films just a tiny bit nicer?

Dimensions_movie3 karma

As the designer, it is great to offer up to the director options that s/he might not have thought. You of course want to provide the set and the props that are mentioned by name in the script but just as important is to provide the rest of the world in which the characters and the story itself lives. Since your job is create a world, be it contemporary, or perhaps and unusual take on the world we live in, the more you can layer (though that doesn’t necessarily mean clutter) a set, the more interesting it usually is, and also the more the actors have to work with, or many absorb, even if they don’t know it at the time.

Things to think about are the colour palette, and foreground/mid-ground and background (giving a shot depth, etc.) If you give the director/cinematographer something to pull focus on, say between something/someone mid-ground and something/someone in the foreground, if it aids the story or the character’s journey, you will have added something to the film that is that much more interesting, by perhaps linking two things together that might not have been apparent before. So offer ideas up to them that might help enhance the whole world of the film.

Also, if there are any particular items (furniture, hero props, etc.) that you would like but don’t think you can afford, go to charity shops/thrift stores and have a good look around for inexpensive items that would work perfectly for a character/in a scene.

Hope that helps. Thanks, Sloane

rafbo2 karma

The kind of camera you used has a very distinct look. What kind of camera did you guys use? ...or maybe it's the color correction, I don't know.

Dimensions_movie3 karma

The camera body we used was a Canon 5D Mk II. And our director of photography - the extremely talented Simon Dennis - arranged for us to hire Zeiss prime lens (basically, fantastic “movie” lenses). So, yes, it was a combination - between Simon’s cinematography that did look fabulous coming straight out of the camera, and Adam Garstone’s colour grading (Adam was the editor AND did colour grading), we got the glorious look we were going for - I like to think it looks beautiful and timeless! Thanks, Sloane

http://www.antneely.com/ant/Dimensions_tech_talk.pdf

Dimensions_movie2 karma

I meant to mention that the above link to Dimensions tech talk is...well, Simon Dennis discussing the tech aspects from his point of view. Thanks again!

Dark_smile2 karma

Hi Sloane and Ant! Sloane... What/who inspired you for the half blood prince? I loved the colour pallette you used. It's definitely the most aesthetically pleasing film out all of them. And I think it's inspired that you moved. Less rugby traffic. (I live in that area)

And another question. I'm a student in animation and would love to get my foot in some kind of ..well any kind of art department to one day become some sort of part of a design team. What do you think is the most important aspect to show in your portfolio/showreel? And more importantly do you guys enjoy your jobs? What's the best bits and the worse bits?

Thank-you!

Dimensions_movie2 karma

Hi! When it came to the Half-Blood Prince, as that was 6/7 years into the 10 year span of shooting the films, the colour palette was fairly much already determined by the production designer by then. So I didn’t actually have any influence when it came to the colours - that credit has to go to Stuart Craig and his Set Decorator Stephenie McMillan. Glad you like the look of Half-Blood Prince though - I am proud of my work on it.

And thank you...yes, I don’t miss the rugby traffic...!

I think a portfolio should of course show your talents and creativity to the best of your ability as well as showing off any technical elements that is important to your specific creative talent. As I’m sure you know, although we all like to flex our creative muscles, when it comes to film/television/animation, etc., as it is not a fine art, we generally can’t just do whatever we want(!) - their is a script to follow, a director and/or producer to work for/with, etc. So we have to look at these requirements in a creative and yet logistical and practical way (to problem-solve and invent ways to tell an overall story and to add to this, without taking over or being to flashy). That’s usually the challenging but fun bit, from a design point of view.

Make sure when you talk through your pieces in your portfolio that you point out how you made something ‘work‘, how and/or why you chose to design something a certain way so that it worked for the project.

We love our work! Best bits...I love working as a director now, though I do also really love working in art depts (and do still do that here and there). Worse bits...lack of sleep when you’re working very hard on your own project! Thanks very much, Sloane

ANormalSpudBoy1 karma

You're coming to NOLA? I hope you have fun here! You just missed the film festival. What's screening here? Is it your movie?

Dimensions_movie3 karma

Thanks! We screen 'Dimensions' at the Zeitgeist tomorrow (Sunday) night. Come along if you can! Tickets are via http://filmfestivalflix.com (or maybe you can get them on the zeitgeist).

ANormalSpudBoy2 karma

I poked around your website for awhile last night until I found the event at Zeitgeist. I'm definitely coming, your trailer looks fantastic!

Dimensions_movie2 karma

Great - we've never been there before, but are looking forward to it! Come and chat to us - Ant will be the guy in the kilt, Sloane will be the girl not in a kilt.

CDASUN1 karma

Selling your home was a huge step! I hope it works out! Favorite alcoholic beverage? How beautiful is Emma Watson?

Dimensions_movie2 karma

Thanks!

We’ve just landed in New Orleans for a Dimensions showing so I think we might just go for a cocktail!

As far as Emma Watson, with my dealings with her, she was always lovely!

DurtyKurty1 karma

I've been lurking and following your Dimensions blog for a long time! I'm very pleased to see all the recognition and awards your movie has received. I had been waiting to watch it in theaters here in the states. I got busy and missed the showing in LA. Will it be playing again in the future?

Dimensions_movie1 karma

Thanks! Yes, we might well be screening in L.A. again. The film is rolling across the U.S. on VoD at the moment, but the company we signed with do sometimes re-release films that have done well. This would mean we would come out for another tour - and would want to play L.A. again for sure (we had great crowds - thanks LA!).

It's been fantastic, we've met so many cool people on the road...we'd love to take it to other cities as well. :)

talikfy1 karma

I am an aspiring writer. What's the best way to begin marketing a story if you've never had any previous exposure?

Dimensions_movie3 karma

The 'traditional' route for a screenwriter is to approach agents or managers - but it is really tough. Also, if you get representation you still need to network - works (probably) won't just land on your lap!

Some people raise their profile in different ways - there is one guy who wrote a blog about a possessed house (anyone remember the name - or link, please?). The blog took off and he ended being approached to write a screenplay.

I think working with local filmmakers to do shorts etc, is a good way to meet others while honing your craft. If you are not into writing scripts, you could always see if anyone on the r/screenwriting sub wants to adapt a short/novel - you might end up forging a working relationship that way.

TL;DR It's different for everyone - try any angle you can think of.

Ant

indeeds1 karma

Your new movie.....does the hero die at the end?

Dimensions_movie4 karma

Our hero believes in an infinite number of parallel universes, so yes. And no. Depends on the universe you're in. :)

Tabtykins1 karma

Having a lot of experience in many different areas of film making which element of Writing/designing/filming a movie would you say is your favourite?

Dimensions_movie4 karma

I would have to say that directing is my favourite. I’ve only directed one feature so far, but I love both the creative and the technical/logistical elements of directing a film - working with the actors and my HoDs about how we want to make the story come to life, and working out my shots/shot lists, lens sizes/how capture a scene with my DoP...I just the love the team work and working off of one another to create a flushed-out film from the script.

I do still love working in art departments, too, though - in fact, I have still gotten work in them after completing Dimensions. Every script and film is, of course, different and I feel fortunate to have worked on so many various projects over the years - drawing up parts of space ships (Lost in Space), Edwardian England (The Wind in the Willows), New York City shopfronts of the 1960s (Ali), part of an opera-theatre set (for a Six Feet Under episode) to name a few. Each one is a new challenge and almost always fun!
thanks!, Sloane

EricT591 karma

The twitter link is Borked.

So the film is done? Any links to trailers? Web site? Is the look along the lines of Sky Captain?

Dimensions_movie2 karma

Gadzooks - you are right. I will fix the link, then answer!

Dimensions_movie2 karma

Yes the film is done - we're currently in the US doing some cinema screenings.

Trailer here: http://youtu.be/93sxrEx-mpg

Website here: www.dimensionsthemovie.com

It has some Dieselpunk / steampunk elements - but we had such a tiny budget we had to focus the spend on specific bits (so it isn't as grand a Sky Captain). That said, we think it looks stunning (we had an amazing cast and crew).

EricT592 karma

Yeah I found the IMDB link, And sky captain as grand as it was was still mostly green screen. My guess the bane of the art department. Ill check it out. Coming to Seattle with the show?

Dimensions_movie3 karma

Aaaahhh, green screens... I do admit to being biased towards set builds as opposed to shooting entirely against a green screen. I think green screens are helpful and useful when adding to a set build, whether it’s as a backdrop or something within the middle of the scene (i.e., augmenting a hero prop, or creating a particular character like Gollum). But from an art department point of view, it is not only more interesting for the most part for us to create a set build, but the actors usually appreciate it - gives them something to work off of - and allows you to be bit more flexible when it comes to the world that you create.

Having said all of that! - we just saw Gravity in 3D in the cinema and although there were interiors of spaceships/shuttles built and exterior parts of the spaceship, there had to be a fair bit of greenscreen. And I thought the film was fabulous. The performances were spot-on and the director (and his team, of course!) creating an amazing world in space. Very captivating. Unfortunately, we’re not coming to Seattle, though I wish we were. thanks!, Sloane

EricT591 karma

Trailer looks really nice and the story is compelling. "Downton Abby on acid" LOLs

I hope you get your investment back

Dimensions_movie2 karma

Thanks Eric. We hope so too! Our goal is to get another film off the ground - so fingers crossed.

depleteduraniumftw1 karma

What's it like being homeless?

Dimensions_movie3 karma

We are so over packing the car! We spend a lot of time house-sitting and visiting friends and family. We will settle down somewhere again, but we have been on the film festival circuit for 18 months or so as well, so living out of suitcases. Currently touring the US with the film - and this might be the last time we have to go on the road for a while.

jomosexual2 karma

If you are in Chicago I will buy you a drink. I've done some sci fi film theory and excited to see your film.

Beers and shots on me.

Dimensions_movie1 karma

Thanks! Passing through today - but only the airport (on our way to New Orleans). Next time! :)

quietsilence1 karma

Where do you see see distribution going in the future? Or should I say, when can we expect to see a similar model to what you've used for your film implemented on more mainstream films. Staggered release dates etc have always bugged me.

Dimensions_movie2 karma

I think we are going to see a lot more day and date. It makes sense to make films available in whatever format the audience wants - at the same time. Some people can't/don't want to go to the cinema, they want to stream or watch a DVD and we think you should be able to do that on the same day as cinema release. There is a lot of distribution politics though - it's changing very rapidly and different outlets are trying to figure out how to exist with each other.

cannonpenis1 karma

I saw Dimensions last year at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse as part of a local Sixth Form class trip. Just wanted to say that I loved it, great work! Could you talk a little about how you first got into the film industry?

Dimensions_movie1 karma

Thanks! Really glad you enjoyed the movie.

Sloane got in via working as a receptionist at Henson's (who make the Muppets). She knew she wanted to be in the art department, but was willing to take any job with a relevant company, to get her foot in the door. Then she worked hard, kept her ears open, and met as many people as she could. She heard of an opportunity (Muppet Treasure Island) and put herself up for the job.

Ant did graphic design as an unpaid intern for a tv show - working a couple of days a week (with another job to pay the bills). They liked what he did and offered him a full time position. Years later, living in LA and playing/touring with the band subthunk, someone heard a track of his on the radio and wanted it for their tv show. He sold music to a few shows and then got into writing music to picture.

TL;DR you need to do what it takes to meet people

brangdangage1 karma

Why do you suppose the color correction trend in the last decade has leaned toward desaturation? Are there larger politcal/social influences on this?

Dimensions_movie3 karma

It's interesting - my feeling is it is just a trend. We went through the blue/green thing in the early 2000 - maybe a backlash to that? I suppose you could argue it reflects the bleak nature of our times (economic difficulties etc.). However, I am not convinced we see that in the actual story telling, and I would have thought a backlash would encompass all elements.

Sloane and our cinematographer (Simon Dennis http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1171917/) used McCabe and Mrs Miller as a reference palette wise. She then worked closely with costume, set dec and hair/make-up to unify the look. We are both fans of a lot of 70s type films, so it was fun to use elements in that way.

BrotherKaramazov1 karma

Hey! Mad respect for doing what you are doing - I will see and buy your film just because of this amazing AMA. How do you work with directors? Does he start the meeting with his ideas, do you present them first after reading screenplay?

Dimensions_movie1 karma

Thanks! We really appreciate that. :)

With regards to 'Dimensions', as I (Ant) wrote the script and Sloane directed it we had a rather unusual situation. I tend to not discuss anything about a script, write it, then give it to Sloane - so she can evaluate with no pre-conceptions. If she likes it, we move on to rewrites, if she just doesn't think the concept has legs, we drop it and start again.

As for other directors - it really depends. Some of them are keen to work on every detail and have strong ideas, some want you to come up with ideas to present. I would advise always to have ideas - let them lead a meeting and pitch in. Plus, always have back-up ideas and not just one! Some people need to see a few things to help focus the decision making process.

Hope that helps!

TonyaWinter1 karma

I am a clothing designer. How could I get the word out to costume designers and wardrobe people about my availability to provide unique pieces for their productions?

Dimensions_movie2 karma

I would start by looking up on IMDb who you would like to contact. If there are particular films/television shows that you like and/or think your pieces might suit, I would take down their name and try to find their contact details on line. If a costume designer has worked on many different looking films/tv shows, they will have designed what would work for that story/that character, so of course that will be different from project to project. But if you think your pieces are unique (and I’m sure they are(!) and that so-so-designer might be up for using interesting and unusual pieces, they try to contact them.

Some might have their own websites and you can contact them through there. If they do not, if they are on something currently, you can try them through the production office (sometimes at a particular studio) of the project that they are on. Or you can try them through their agent - though sometime through someone’s agent is quick, and sometimes, not so quick.

Don’t be put off if you don’t hear back - as I’m sure you know, people work incredibly long hours in the industry (and sometime barely have enough time, if that, for family and friends!...let alone people they haven’t met yet). If you don’t hear back and really feel that your pieces would be something of interest to the person, email/ring them again (not too soon after the first time, give them a bit of time to get back to you, possibly) and be short/succinct about who you are and - most importantly - what you can do for them (i.e., provide something they haven’t seen before that they could work for them/their project...without sounding like you know more than them!!).

Also, and I’m sure already know this, so please forgive me but...always, always, address the person by name. I can’t tell you how many c.v./resumes I’ve gotten addressed to Dear Designer (or some such), or even Dear Mr U’Ren (I am a women, and I’m sure that could have been googled). It’s not that I’m easily offended but I think it can show a lack of attention to detail if your name is not used/spelled correctly/correct gender, etc.

Okay, enough of my babbling on...! Thanks, Sloane

The_Weird_Ginger_Guy1 karma

How did you get into film specifically?

Dimensions_movie2 karma

Sloane actually was a child actress - was in lots of commercials as a kid. Lots about our first jobs and advice on how to break in, in other comments above. Hope it helps!

freedomfilm1 karma

What are your feelings on product placement as an emerging/increasingly popular form of major funding for films and its potential for helping/harming budgets/production design in films.

Dimensions_movie1 karma

At the moment, funding films is so tricky - so any angle needs to be explored. However, it's all about balance - blatant placement that pulls the viewer out of the story isn't good! If it can be done in a subtle and realistic way, and helps get the film off the ground, then it's a good thing.

freedomfilm1 karma

Do you think realistic placement or clearances for simple things like say coca cola and cereal helps maintain reality in the show as opposed to faked labels and brands.

Dimensions_movie1 karma

Yes, I think it does help maintain reality. Still, subtly placed fake-brand items work as well. The bottom line is, if someone is noticing these elements, you have much bigger issues with the film...!, i.e., they are not engrossed enough in the story.

AnthonyWithNoH1 karma

Ant... as in Antony? That's my name(note my username)! Do you choose to go by Ant because so many people misunderstood your name as Anthony? I face this struggle every day (US) :( Also... I just so happen to be pursuing a career in filmmaking! I'm currently most interested in being a DP, director, colorist, or editor. Figured I'd share this, thanks for the AMA

Dimensions_movie2 karma

It was 'Antony' when I was in trouble, so I go by 'Ant' usually! It further confuses people that I have no 'h' in it.

Good luck with it all, fellow Ant. :)

darlingbowie1 karma

Any advice for a costume designer looking to make contacts in film?

Dimensions_movie2 karma

If you haven’t costume designed a film (even if you have done commercials, music videos, etc.), you might need to meet film people by going in and trying to get costume supervisor work, or some other costume job that isn’t the head of the department.

If you end up doing that and trying to get costume department work, I would look up films you like the look of on IMDb to find out who they are, what else they have worked on, what they might be filming now.

Try to locate their contact details - they might have: a website with contact details; a production they are currently working on (so you can try them via the production office - you can sometimes find the prod. office details in the Hollywood Reporter or Variety, usually in the weekly, hardcopy version).

If you don’t go that route, I would research online the up and coming directors/producers whose films you like the look of and try to contact them. Though I’m sure you would want to try to find ones who have projects about to crew (though as I’m sure you know, the independent film work is not easy so getting projects off the ground usually takes a long time), I would also try to meet these filmmakers even if they do not have a film about to start. It’s great to meet someone for future reference as the meetings tend to be more low-key (i.e., a job is not currently at stake!) and you can keep in touch until one of those films does take off.

Hope this is helpful. Thanks, Sloane

darlingbowie1 karma

What an incredibly well thought-out answer! I'm currently working on a smaller film right now, gaining some experience and making contacts. My plan is to move to LA in a few years. I've done quite a bit of work in theatre as well, and have noticed that these fields overlap quite a bit. This is all fantastic advice, and I will definitely keep in mind what you've mentioned about contacting filmmakers spontaneously to make connections. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it!

Dimensions_movie1 karma

You are welcome! Best of luck.

WhiteTeethless1 karma

What piece of work are you most proud of?

Dimensions_movie1 karma

We're most proud of 'Dimensions' - we had an amazing cast and crew and, we think, did something quite special with very limited resources.

We put out the 'release trailer', and you can see it here http://youtu.be/93sxrEx-mpg

We've had a ton of great experiences though on other projects as well.

Gorgycl1 karma

How come given your outstanding curricula you had to sell your home to make this film? What was the let down that made you sacrifice so much to keep going?

Dimensions_movie1 karma

It's the reality of the business - funding films is incredibly hard for everyone. We'd much rather of kept our house - but there was no other realistic way for us to progress.

venicerocco1 karma

If you had $1000 art budget on a small film, what would your priorities be? Paint? Thrift stores? Wall paper?

Dimensions_movie1 karma

Thrift stores are a very good place to start. On our film Dimensions, the time machine was based on a lovely piano we bought from a charity (thrift) shop in Cambridge. Then we spent some time and effort on changing it and turning it into a time machine! You can find good hero/hand props from thrift stores, and other set dressing as well.

Presuming you’re shooting at a location, unless you really think the existing wall colour/wall coverings are awful(!) and really don’t work with the story, I would try to not paint or wallpaper - it will end up eating up more of the $1000 quicker than you think, and is time consuming. I would use you time and money elsewhere.

If there is a particular style of set dressing or special prop that you want but can’t afford, you can try to find a cheaper version of it and change it/augment it, i.e., get some material you like to cheap-and-cheerfully reupholster a chair you love (but hate the current coverings of) to make the piece you like.

Remember to prioritise though - balancing what is required in the script but making sure that you layer and add to the overall world you are creating.

I have in the past borrowed items from friends on short films in the past...and though that did, thankfully!, work out well for me (no items were lost, damaged or stolen), it is a bit risky as you can’t guarantee that nothing will happen to these items and, ultimately, you are responsible and have the obligation to replace them should anything happen to them.

For a few more similar things that I touched on, please see my response to im_friENTly above.

Hope this is helpful, thanks, Sloane

Beefcake211 karma

Heres my dilemma right now. I transferred from colorado to a school Near hollywood. The school is pretty good at getting its students interns, but staying here will put me 30 grand in debt. There is a school that is ranked a lot higher than the one I am at now, and if I went to it, I wouldn't be in any debt. But that school is in Colorado. I'm afraid getting a small internship wont be enough to get me into the industry and that I will end up in super debt. But I am also scared that if I go to the one in colorado I wont be able to get in on any action. What are your thoughts?

Dimensions_movie1 karma

That’s a tricky one! My own opinion is that I’m not sure that I, personally, would like to come out of school 30k in debt - but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it or that you shouldn’t do that...I’m afraid that you will definitely have to come to your own conclusion about that(!). Still, good (and even not so good schools) are expensive.

I was impressed with the facilities at Colorado Film School. They have an extensive amount of equipment for the students to use, post facilities that the students learn on; they edit their own shorts right after shooting them, etc., so there looks to be very good level of practical learning. There is also theory and film studies, I believe.

I didn’t sit in on any of the classes, tutor sessions, etc., so I cannot comment first hand on them, but I was impressed with the knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm of all of the staff that I met there. As well, they told me that their students make many short films a year - I believe they said 6, if I remember correctly. I think this is great because I believe you need to study (whether it is film school, or studying films themselves, filmmaking books, etc., if you don’t go to film school...and I did not go) AND you need to get out there and just make films. You will do wonderful things and your will also make mistakes along the way, but you have to put yourself out there and create and learn.

The thing that you must remember about film school - as you already seem to know by the way you are realistic about the one internship you might get in L.A. through that school - is that it does not guarantee a job in the industry. However, you might maximum your chances of making the right contacts - and by contacts, I mean fellow students who go onto bigger and/or executive jobs - if you go to one of the big three film schools: NYU, USC or UCLA. I’m sure that there are other great film schools that I am not aware of that are educating film students very well and getting them into the industry, but I don’t know of them myself.

There are definitely pros and cons to either school. Thank you for asking my opinion - and it is only my opinion, so I do recommend that you ask others in order to make a well-informed decision.

Thanks, Sloane