If I could turn back time then I’d either be Doc Brown from Back to the Future or Cher singing in a revealing one piece on a battleship. I’m neither a zany inventor nor am I straddling a giant battleship gun with a dodgy perm (the gun doesn’t have the dodgy perm by the way), you’ll be ever so relieved to hear.
But travelling back in time we will be, of sorts, as I’ve raided the lost archives, dusted down my VHS and discovered some edited delights of home video footage I put together whilst back at university.
It was the summer of 1996, if memory serves, and this short film was about the beginning of a new adventure, in more ways than one.
By 1996 we’d been working or at university at opposite ends of the country so this mini-epic, charting the group of us getting up, getting ready and going out on our next adventure was in many ways our last hurrah, our ride off into the sunset…all be it in Dave’s E reg Vauxhall Nova.
I’d just finished my second year at the University of Luton where I was studying Media Practices and wanted to flex my filmic muscles over that summer, a bit like Super 8, just minus The Goonies meets rampaging monster plot, naturally.
So, here I was finding myself in a range of darkened bedrooms and bathrooms as I filmed my group of friends laying in bed and having a wash. So far, so Norman Bates with a video camera…but wait, this was all merely a staged reconstruction of Dave, Matt, Lee, Jeremy and I getting ready for our next epic(ish) adventure.
This was all filmed over a series of weeks due to folk’s availability and working at the likes of Rufford and The World of Robin Hood. It was then edited together to make it appear as if it was all done in one morning.
Earlier ‘films’ had preceded it, which I’m sure will feature at some point, but this was the most epic in both scope and planning. With a multitude of shots and angles, filming from moving cars, it was all planned in my head and sheets of paper with military-like precision, so that I could get the maximum effect with jumps and cuts, from one person approaching a door to another entering through another, or in one case even a fridge!
Highlights for me include Dave’s never ending descent of the stairs, the car scenes, the match on edit of Jeremy as he walks out of his house, the same with Matt potting his top on and the perfectly timed dripping tap (yes it was intentional) in my mum and dad’s kitchen. All of which shows the sheer detail and dedication spent in producing this many labour of love.
Even at the time of filming I knew we were a unit that wouldn’t stay as it was, especially as we were all studying or working in different places across the land: Nottingham, Luton, Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle, and that is pretty much where we have remained, save for me swapping Luton for Essex via Kent.
As such, I knew it would be something that would be viewed in years to come by its ‘stars’ and that there would be an element of reflection about it, which is why I included so many shots in mirrors as it was about us looking at ourselves from a different perspective.
Looking back at it some 16 years later (gulp!) certainly the past haircuts, cars, pets no longer with us, (or indeed dressing gowns I should imagine) and that moving snapshot of our parent’s homes at that time. It maybe the homes that they still live in but no doubt they have changed, but shall forever remain in that time capsule of circa 1996, which is probably why we still go to that wrong cupboard for the plates when we visit, even though the plates haven’t lived there for over 10 years!
For me, it was pretty much the ‘Michael Bay’ of getting to go out moments with over 115 edits to give it that real kinetic feel.
Its original edit features The Riverboat Song by Ocean Colour Scene, used at the time as the entrance music on TFI Friday, but I felt the Bay connection so much that I produced the same edit with the score from The Rock on it. This made the whole process of putting your trainers on and drinking a cup of coffee rather over melodramatic. The piece in question was from the Hummer car chase through San Francisco and really works well in various scenes, such as Jeremy twirling his toothpaste to the crash of symbols, the twirling which I’d love to think he still does to this day each and every time he brushes his teeth. In my head he does…