‘Selkie’ Will Showcase Up And Coming UK Talent. Are You Interested In A Career In Film?

January 8, 2014

Many of you are at that stage where you’re making University/College choices and may be considering a career in the media; specifically, Film and TV. With this in mind we’re spotlighting an up-and-coming Film and TV Producer to find out what it takes.

In the past we’ve talked about how much hard work and dedication goes into Directing when we’ve covered Ryan Butler’s films. Now we’re taking a look at what it takes to Produce a short film with UK Film Producer Joanna Handley and her colleagues.

Joanna (@JoannaHandley) is a third year Film and TV Production student at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, who after many years of acting experience, decided to switch to the other side of the camera. Having experience as a runner and continuity with the ‘Rural Media Company’ and several successful production projects already under her belt, it’s fair to say Joanna has a formidable work ethic coupled with years of inspired enthusiasm for her chosen passion.

Joanna Handley

Of course, anyone involved in the media will advise you on how competitive the industry can be, how you must be extremely focused, but Joanna is well aware that there’s no avoiding the hard graft. Her enthusiasm for this project (entitled ‘Selkie’) shows her absolute determination.

A ‘Selkie’  by the way, is a mythical creature found in Scottish, Irish and Faroese folklore and the word itself derives from the Scots selich (from Old English seolh meaning seal). Selkies are seals who shed their skin to become human on land. So there you go then. Naturally, with mythology and mystery comes the opportunity for great story-telling  so what better subject matter for Film students to choose?


 ‘Selkie’ poster courtesy of Matt Dixon

We asked Joanna to explain the concept and the processes involved in producing this short film:

“It’s a third year university project; we are required to make a final film with a maximum length of ten minutes. At the start of the year (well, October) each student pitched their individual film ideas to the rest of the course and tutors, from there nine were selected to be made. My director, Paul Collins-Reddin was the one who pitched ‘Selkie’ and it was obviously chosen. From then on, and for the rest of the course, we were required to ‘pitch’ ourselves to the projects’ originators in order for them to select who they wanted to be in the crew. Paul actually asked me to be producer straight away then selected the rest of the team. (Very stressful day!). So from then on we have been working together in our individual roles in pre-production in order to prepare for filming in February.

The reason we all went for this production? I think we all fell in love with the material. It’s a beautiful story in a textual sense but visually it allows us to use some stunning locations and hopefully bring the best of Norfolk’s coastal landscape to the screen.

It isn’t a particular twist on the original folktale but we have tweaked some parts to make it ‘ours’ in a sense. But all in all we want to display the morals in the same way; so ‘is it wrong to keep someone from where they truly belong because of love’? ‘Is it true love to let her go home’? And the character development we have kept the same as well in that the fisherman (Neil, in ours) has to learn to let the woman he loves go in order for her to be truly happy. (It’s all very soppy but we are avoiding ‘cheesy’!)”

Joanna is one part of the creative jigsaw putting this film together, she is joined by Director Paul Collins-Reddin who just like Joanna, has a strong acting background having been on film and TV sets from the age of 12. Through this experience he developed a love for film making and has since gained experience as a runner/researcher at ‘Tiger Aspects’ and worked freelance for a number of different companies as a Director, Camera Operator and Editor.

The rest of the crew comprises: 1st Assistant Director: Anuja Chalke, Director of Photography: Jack Moulton, Sound Operator and Lighting Director: Alex Freeman, Production Designer: Nicholas Tag-Harvey, Concept Art: Special thanks to Matt Dixon.

For further information, check out Joanna’s ‘Kickstarter’ page here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1222475597/selkie-short-film

Joanna goes on to say: “We carry the film ourselves over to post-production where we all have different roles (except for me as I remain the Producer throughout). So as opposed to a normal film production where various companies will take bits of the production at its various stages and put it all together, it’s all done by us”.

Production of the short film ‘Selkie’ will be completed May 2014 and will be subsequently submitted to film festivals.  We at WeKnowTheDJ.com can’t wait to to see the final result.

Having seen how much work goes into making a short film, would you consider Film and TV Production as a career? Tweet us your thoughts at @weknowthedj .

-Lucy Jenkins.



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