Monday, 8 December 2014

The Premiere!


Tim here.

The evening of Saturday 6th December 2014 saw the Selective Listening premiere for cast, crew and invited guests!

The evening took place at Richmond Upon Thames College's Edmund Kean Theatre. A private screening is something they hadn't hosted before, and was a punt on our behalf when we made the enquiry in the first place. 

(Low-budget indie filmmakers note: you have to get creative when organising a screening. The venue has to be of a standard that will show off your work but is also affordable. Many of the official venues in London do not fulfil the latter criterion.)

It's probably not a huge surprise to say that nerves were a part of the occasion. Miriam and I arrived early – Miriam arranged the reception area for guests with the help of actor Philip Gyford whilst I worked with the RUTC staff to get projection and sound to the best standard possible.

It was great to see the cast and crew come together again. In the film world, this only ever seems to happen for shoots and screenings.  It was also touching to see all friends, family and guests who had made the journey, in some cases travelling cross-country, to be there for the night.

Unfortunately some actors and cast members were not able to attend. Thank you to everyone who did come along!

After a brief introduction from Miriam and myself, the film was underway.

As the writer / director, this is what I've been seeking since the film was complete – to know if the laughs or thrills or emotions are shared by an audience who know little or nothing about what they are about to see. 

I'm happy to say that we appeared to get it right. There were even occasional laughs and gasps at points we didn't predict. It was a great experience.

And I will point out that the theatre was not simply full of cast, crew and friends willing to please by reacting with ease. In a sense the room felt a little more difficult to crack than a room full of people we don't know – there was a lot of anticipation – probably as we've had little else going on in our lives to discuss since May 2013! This had better be good...

Thankfully, the story, performances and efforts of everyone involved had the desired effect. The cast all received applause and a plethora of compliments and we were very happy with the positive one-on-one feedback we received afterwards – from the story to the cinematography; to the sound and music; to the overall quality of the production.

It was great to hear discussions of the themes and reasons to pause for thought raised by the film. As the film is primarily about someone's struggle with mental health issues, when you hear a viewer telling you that your film has made them think twice about the challenges faced by others, it is good to know that your intentions have made those contemplations happen.

It is also satisfying that we have labelled Selective Listening a comedy-drama and that, although people are aware that we are portraying a serious subject, it has given them reason to laugh several times during the film.

Whilst I wouldn't be so bold myself, it's alright if I mention the other films with which some said Selective Listening would stand comfortably next to on the DVD shelf, isn't it? Among them were:

Silver Linings Playbook
Napoleon Dynamite
Withnail & I
Forrest Gump

We will happily accept those comparisons!

It was also nice to hear many people say that they wanted to see the film again as soon as possible.

On a similar topic, we were asked many times during the evening, "So, what now?" The answer is, now we are seeking a sage and dutiful film distributor to take Selective Listening to be part of their portfolio and help us to get it seen by as many people as possible.

So, if you know of, or indeed are, a sage and dutiful member of a film distribution company, please do get in touch!

In the meantime, the yuletide season brings little rest for us as we work to find possible distribution avenues and develop other projects.

If you're reading this and want to know what else you can do to help, please do "like" the Selective Listening Facebook page, and, importantly, "share" anything you find of interest.

We will write of any news as it occurs!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

We have a trailer!

Hello all!

Miriam here.

We've been working diligently on creating a trailer for Selective Listening and here it is!

Let us know what you think via Facebook:
or Twitter:

Please also view and comment on YouTube:

We're now in the run-up to the screening for cast, crew and special guests, so will post photos of the night when it happens. In the meantime, we're on the scout for distribution companies who may like to work with us to get Selective Listening out there!

We'll keep you updated!


Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween and other news...

Hi there!

Tim here.  We've been extremely remiss in our delight and forgot to post some very nice news recently – a couple of weeks ago, the star of Selective Listening, Salvatore Stella has been named winner as leading actor at the International Independent Film Awards.

Well done Sal!

Other than that, it's Halloween and so Smiling Herbert has released another (slightly dark) video diary...

Our cast and crew screening is on the horizon, so we're really looking forward to it!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Sand Herbert

Even when taking a couple of days away, we can't escape...

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

One year since...


Tim here. One year ago today we had just completed Selective Listening's first day of shooting.

A housing estate. A pig. A bridge. A sunset.'ll make more sense when you see the film.

In the meantime, one of the websites we are using to submit the film to festivals has requested that we make a poster, so we've created a provisional one, which we post here by way of celebrating the one-year-since-principal-photography-began mark.

We hope it intrigues you...

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Smiling Herbert and the Ice Bucket Challenge

Smiling Herbert gets involved in the ice bucket challenge...


Sunday, 24 August 2014

It's here!

Hi! Miriam here...

So, after 15 months, the moment has arrived. The film is finished! As for us, the job continues: press kits, designs, festival submissions, DCP creation... but at least we have the final product and are very happy and proud of it.  

It has been such a roller-coaster and so much work that it feels unbelievable that we are writing a blog post instead of being out there celebrating. I guess that the big celebration will be when we do our cast and crew screening - I can't wait!

For now, thanks to those who follow us and spend time reading our posts. We will be in touch!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Almost there...


Tim here. It's been quite a while, so I thought I'd write to say what we've been up to since we handed in the work-in-progress to Raindance and the BFI film festivals.

Well, it's been a mixed bag. We've been working hard and diligently alongside Ean Currie (for the sound mix and original score) and ONSIGHT (for the grade and visual effects) to ensure that we're producing the best end product possible.

For quite some time the creative process has been over and it's been more of a process of eliminating technical issues and ensuring that we get the highest quality of sound and visuals possible. The call of duty has been exceeded all-round as hours and days of effort have gone into meticulous details and it's been great that no-one was happy to rest until the highest possible standards were met.

My computer broke down in the midst of three more sets of visual effects, which put everything on hold for a couple of weeks. This coincided with a ripped muscle in my back that put me on the floor for over a week and got me used to sleeping on the floor. This may have had something to do with spending days with my eyes glued to a computer screen in a posture 
reminiscent of Gollum (as illustrated by a candid photo taken by the producer).

I cannot count the amount of times Miriam and I have watched the film from beginning to end, with eyes and ears focussed on any tiny anomalies that might have crept in.

Many lessons have been learnt about the sound process, the post-production process and the processes that computer repair shops use to extract money from you when they believe you to be ignorant.

Anyway, the news is that the final tweaks are now happening and the cast & crew screening will be appearing on the horizon soon!

Saturday, 21 June 2014


Good day!

Tim here.

We haven't posted much recently as the past few weeks have been non-stop – working with Ean on the sound mix and music, and with the team at OnSight to get the online, grade and visual effects finalised.

However, with the deadline for the Raindance and BFI film festivals being at 6pm yesterday, with a couple of visual effects shots yet to complete and a little tidy to the sound, we were in a position to submit some almost-final work in progress.

We're very happy with how the film now looks and sounds and very relieved that we hit our target. Just that last little push to bring things to completion and we'll be eager to have the cast an crew screening!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

A little something for you...


Tim here. Now that the sound is with Ean and the visuals are with OnSight, Miriam and I are currently working on other background things such as festival submission preparations until our presences are requested.

So, instead of news we thought we'd provide you with some exclusive Selective Listening iPhone wallpapers featuring Harrison & the toys...

iPhone 5:

iPhone 4:




Apologies if you don't have an iPhone, but hopefully they will also work on your screen too!

Monday, 12 May 2014

"We'll sort it in post..."

...that's a phrase that I heard myself saying a few times on-set during the shoot of Selective Listening.

(Hi, Tim here)

I have heard from certain folks in post-production that people use the fact that things can get sorted in post as too much of a buffer. The fact is, that when the sun is going down or you're otherwise pressed for time, it is comforting to know that things can get sorted in post. However – note (from self Editor/Visual Effects Apprentice) to self (Director) – it can save a lot of time and effort to get it right on the day.

To be fair to myself I was aware of this, and the things that we are now having to do in terms of VFX were somewhat unavoidable. Still, I'm having a lot of time to sit and deliberate with myself, currently at 3am on a Sunday night / Monday morning, while ploughing through a few VFX shots.

We are very happy to once again be working with top-notch post-production house OnSight for the colour grade and majority of our visual effects. Miriam and I previously worked with them a few years ago on our short film The Special Effect (click here to view)

The three visual effects I am working on are under my purview because it would have significantly increased the amount of days that we would have needed to be with OnSight and so I resolved to do them myself.

Unfortunately, I'm not au fait with moving visual effects packages such as After Effects (nor am I equipped with them) and so I am having to go through the painful process of altering frames one-by-one in Photoshop for re-importing back into the sequence later on.

To give an example, here is a shot that we had limited time with on the last day of principal photography. We were losing the light, had issues with traffic and I did see the problems that we would later encounter, but picturing how I would resolve it, the call was made to move on.

The issue we had was that our long-suffering puppeteers had to crouch and move at speed behind a hedge. Through no fault of their own, their heads occasionally popped into shot...

...I am therefore having to remove heads and puppets...

...and carefully put the puppet back into the frame...

With this shot and a couple of others with similar issues, I'm currently working my way through approximately 700 frames. 

Off to bed now – more to do tomorrow!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

It's been a while...


Tim here.  It's been a while since we last wrote a blog entry, but that's because we've spent every waking moment editing, re-editing, re-re-editing the film, seeking a quality post-production house with whom to work on the grade and the visual effects, recording sound effects, re-recording certain voice moments, tracking down those who are providing our "additional voices", keeping an eye on what the voices are saying on each of their Twitter accounts and recording one more Smiling Herbert video diary for "Star Wars day". 

Here are some illustrations of what's been going on...

Photos from some of the voice records:

Meanwhile on Twitter:

 Smiling Herbert's "Star Wars day" video diary:

Monday, 14 April 2014

1,2.. Testing, testing...

Hello! Miriam here.

With the first phase of the edit almost complete, today we watched the film in order to keep finding ways to improve it. This led to a discussion about the voices and the effect that we hope they'll have on the audience. When researching for the story, I came across different videos that voice hearers had put together in order to show how the voices can be perceived. I found these videos very effective as they not only gave me an idea of how the voices might be heard, in some cases they made me feel anxious. Often it was hard to understand what was being said and, at times, the voices were speaking at the same time.

In Selective Listening, we are able to hear the voices and they are present through the majority of the film, except from the moments in which Harrison manages to control them. Each voice has its own personality and agenda within Harrison's life and they want to be heard. As filmmakers, one of our challenges is to make a feature-length film that portrays the realities of what it is like to be in the position of a person who hears voices and balance that with a sound mix that will remain watchable and enjoyable for audiences. It takes judement without agenda and isn't quick to do so although it remains interesting and enjoyable! Of course, we had the choice of words and timing under control and so now it's a matter of having Ean Currie, our sound recordist, sound mixer and score composer, contributing with his expertise. Can't wait!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Meanwhile, on Twitter...

Celebrities may not be hearing voices, but they are interacting with them on Twitter.

First, Smiling Herbert said something that actress Rosario Dawson thought was worth a "Favourite":

Then Bean started schmoozing and got a reply from Olympic gold medal-winning heptathlete, Denise Lewis OBE:

And then Bean got involved in quite a conversation with supermodel Angie Everhart:

...and it continued...

...then Molly joined in...



Follow Smiling Herbert on Twitter: @SmilingHerbert
Follow Bean on Twitter: @BeanInHarrison 
Follow Molly on Twitter: @Mollys_Voice
Follow Conrad on Twitter: @Conrad_Speaks