“The Last Goodbye” a film made in Glasgow with a Sony FS100
Photography © Corinna Kidd
I saw a link to this film on Facebook recently and asked my good friend Allen (DoP) what camera he had used to make this internet film “The Sony FS100, it was just out and Sony gave us a demo model to use on the film. We were very impressed with the picture quality and how cinematic the picture looked”.
The film reminds me of one of those early 1980’s feel good films “Gregory’s Girl” by Bill Forsyth. The film runs 51 minutes but stick with it its a good storyline.
Hugh Creaney”It began in October 2010. Whilst working away from home, I found myself stuck in a hotel with not a lot to do. Instead of spending my time in the pub, I decided to turn my hand to writing a script I had been thinking of for a while. This is where “The Angels’s Share” was born, soon to be renamed The Last Goodbye.
Tired of the usual portrayal of my home town of Glasgow in the movies and television, I aimed to throw some new colours and angles at no mean city. For years the city has had an identity of hard men and drug addicts. Of gang fights and drinking yourself stupid. Not everyone in the city is like this and I was determined to show a softer side of the dear green place that is Glasgow.
Over a few nights, I developed a small tale of two people meeting and spending a day together across various locations in Glasgow. Inspired by hip, indie romantic films and music the couples relationship flowered over dialogue which I hoped people found natural and just like how normal people talk to each other.
Taking cues from my own life, I had always had James and Helen in mind to play the central roles. The characters are even named James and Helen. Having worked with James before, I knew how great an actor he was and wanted to give him a chance to shine. Luckily he and his wife Helen both liked the roles and agreed to take part. It was a challenge for them too, having never acted together before.
From here, I needed to hone the script. I asked a director friend to look over the script and give me some feed back to improve it. After reading the script and giving me some pointers, Michael asked if he could help out in any way. I asked if he would help me direct it and teach me along the way.
With most of the cast and crew on board I started scouting locations and found most people really helpful. Explaining what we were doing, why and how seemed to curry favor with most contributors. They liked the idea of not another grim Glasgow story.
We aimed the production for the September weekend 2011 and started rehearsing with James and Helen. The cast and crew agreed to work for free. Most locations accommodated us for nothing, some with a small donation. Equipment was given and borrowed from various places.
Close to filming dates, James and Helen both got paying acting jobs. This meant that production dates had to shift. After a lot of phone calls, explaining and begging, the dates pushed right back to the next year.
February 2012 we find ourselves out on the streets of Glasgow with 4 days to capture a little love story. 2 actors and 6 crew members filming on the hoof on the mean streets and in the great locations in Glasgow.
From Kelvingrove Art Gallery to the Lighthouse, pubs and coffee houses to the legendary Barrowland Ballroom everyone was so welcoming of our wee crew. Especially as we didn’t swamp the locations with loads of crew.
Weather proved our toughest counterpart, with a few exterior scenes hastily relocated to interiors with a few phone calls and unscheduled visit to a record shop.
With the main parts filmed and after a day picking up general views of Glasgow, I decided not to jump straight into post production. Leaving the film on the shelf for a few months would give most helping out a small break and hopefully fresh eyes when we started.
This was when three major stumbling blocks occurred to the film. The first was a problem editing and syncing sound. It seemed that the method we planned to use was very cumbersome and would take a long time to achieve. I enlisted the help of another friend, this time editor. Martin came to the rescue. I done some rough cuts of each scene for Martin to work to and he then plowed on in his own time, chipping the film into shape.
The second thing was that I discovered that Ken Loach was bringing out a new film. It was called “the Angels’ Share”. I was so disappointed and and could only hope that it was just a name. After watching a trailer, I saw the story was different, but it did include a scene explaining to the viewer what the Angels’ Share was. It was very similar to a central scene in my film when James explains it Helen.
I decided to start thinking of a new name, much to my sadness as I loved that name and had sat on it for a while. I kept the scene in the film though. It was an important scene and is crucial to Helen seeing James’ romantic, poetic side. It was too beautiful to lose. For me, the Angels’ Share is an explain action of what happens that day, something that just happens and is then gone forever. I had started to think of it embodying Helen’s character, something fleeting, heavenly, but ultimately unattainable.
The third hurdle was copyright for music in the film. Most of the music in the film wasn’t an afterthought, with most scenes written with the music in mind. It was used mainly as I’m a fan of the bands and musicians. I wanted to use it to bring them to a wider audience, to show them off too. It was never intended to make money from others’ craft and art, it was to score and evoke emotions that I hope the musicians can appreciate. I had a lot of negative emails from copyright holders which meant that some music here isn’t cleared. I have contacted the musicians and/or management and some were very helpful, even happy that I liked their songs and wanted to use them. That’s good enough for me. For now, I have to hope that record companies don’t insist I change and can see what I’ve done for what it is and the good intentions I had doing it as a fan of their music.
Most of 2013 was spent editing in spare time and making small changes here and there. Eventually in October 2013 we had a finished piece and showed it to cast, crew, friends and family.
Why did we make it? Probably because we could. For friendship. for love of the story. to show what we can do with little to no money. To show what we can do without the major crews and upheaval that most productions bring. We worked hard, but we had a great bond that made it come together”.
We can do it again too.
If we put our minds to it.
Maybe it won’t take 3 years this time.