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Meet the Filmmaker: Crayfish Films

‘Wreckers’ from Crayfish Films was one of the standout entries at last year’s festival, coming Runner Up in The Shorties contest presented by National Trust. The two and a half minute short was dynamic and dark and like all good comedies, played on one of our deepest dreads – finding post surf that your car has been stolen, complete with clothes, money, house keys. We caught up with filmmaker Rob Lockyear and the crew at Crayfish Films to talk about movies, the perils of on screen nudity and what to do when a friend finds a crayfish in their sleeping bag.

 

Still from 'Wreckers' filmed in North Devon, March 2011

// Tell us a bit about yourself.

Rich, Jeremy and I are all 30 and schoolmates from the Westcountry. J’s family had a little cottage in St Just so we grew up surfing the craggy beaches of Sennen and Gwenvor. We worked our way up from snot-nosed groms on body boards to very average stand-up surfers but we love it! I think we all feel like it’s our home away from home.

// How did you get started in filmmaking and why? Did you study filmmaking formally or are you self-taught?

We are in the experimental phase of teaching ourselves! It’s a rocky road. We have a really mixed set of skills which definitely helps. I have a photography background, J is an actor and is currently a production assistant and Rich is a banker so brings some much needed organisational skills! At the heart of it we are all film lovers – its great to share a passion.

// How did Crayfish Films come about?

We were camping by a river on a surfing trip in the south of France. Rich skipped the dawn patrol to have one of his infamous two-hour showers. We came back from the beach to find him outside the tent armed with a frying pan. He’d woken up with a very aggressive crayfish crawling up his leg inside his sleeping bag. The guys wanted to eat him but I convinced them to give him a second chance! We weren’t into filmmaking then (we were 16) but it obviously planted a seed.

// Where do you look for inspiration?

We grew up watching all kinds of low budget surf films of the 90’s likeMutant Slabs and Monster Barrels and Lost’s ‘5’5″x19 1/4′ with Kelly Slater, Chris Ward, Cory Lopez and co. If we couldn’t be in the Westcountry surfing we’d be feasting our eyes on all the sliding, powering through pipe and fast, smooth rides these videos offered.

// How do you feel about your work being seen on the big screen versus online in a digital format?

It was a similar feeling to taking a drop on a big wave! I think I held my breath the whole time. The opening shot has some nice shallow depth of field which looked awesome on the big screen. On the other hand the film featured a fair amount of nudity from all three of us which was hideous enough on a laptop. Hope the audience managed to hold down their popcorn.

Wreckers written, produced and directed by Richard Pearn, Rob Lockyear and Jeremy Joyce of Crayfish Films.

// What equipment do you use?

We are getting our kit together slowly. Canon 7d, Canon 50mm f1.8, Tokina 11mm-16mm f2.8, a Zoom H4N digital sound recorder with Sennheiser mic and Manfrotto tripod + monopod. Everything else is begged, borrowed or stolen. We have a long list of generous filmmakers to be eternally indebted to.

// What do you think makes a good story? How do you set about translating that onto the screen? What is your starting point?

We have a pretty playful perspective of things and so far we look to the lighter side of life when building ideas for a story. When we’ve got an idea we try to plan it properly with drafts of scripts, a stab at storyboards, a little bit of research, a few weeks pass, the deadline looms and we’re nowhere near tying it all together! It seems to take that feeling of panic to really get us snapping into action…hopefully we can get out of that habit soon! It’s a lot of laughs though.

// How much of the process do you think is creative and how much do you think is technical?

We are firm believers in “content is king” but without the technical skills it becomes impossible to tell the story as you first saw it. With “Wreckers” there were so many technical issues the footage we came away with ended up dictating how we told the story. There are so many things to know. Youtube…

// What piece of advice do you wish you’d been given when starting out as a filmmaker?

Don’t leave the camera on the roof of the car.

// Where are you doing this interview?

In Soho trying to get serious about our idea for this year’s Shorties. The contest recently opened so that’s got us ramping up our efforts to put things together. The problem right now is that the temptation to have more beer than we should is pretty strong, so despite our good intentions it could go either way this evening.

To see more work from the crew at Crayfish Film, head to www.crayfishfilms.com

Crayfish Films: creative meeting