Here at Confetti we openly encourage students to work on and get creative with their own projects in their free time. We caught up with second year Film & TV student Jay Martin who has just finished directing his first short film ‘Catharsis’, to find out how it went.
Jay, can you give us a brief outline of the plot?
J: Catharsis follows the story of Sandra, a thirty something business woman, who, after the loss of her first born child Megan, begins a drug and alcohol fueled decent into her own mind as she desperately tries to relive the lost memories of her daughter.
What motivated you to make this story you came up with into a short film?
J: To be honest, I really wanted to prove to both myself, and my peers, that I as a director could create something that really proved what I’d learned both inside and outside of Confetti, and to also show that if you genuinely believe in your ability, and your source material, you can make something great.
Where did you start & what was the first thing you did to prepare?
J: First and foremost I always set myself what I call a quality bar, and I refuse for any aspect of the film to drop below this threshold. This creates an environment where your film can be taken seriously as a piece of artwork, and not just a college assignment project.
Having said that, after finishing the final draft of the script I approached one of my tutors (Luke Radford), who put me in touch with ex-Confetti student and freelance DOP, Louis Vella, from there we began building a core team of industry professionals to get the film made to the highest quality we could!
This was massively motivating for me; I remember one of the first things Louis said, “With the right amount of attention, it’s not out of our grasp to enter this film into Sundance, or any of the other major festivals.” And he was deadly serious, from there it was a case of working on my craft, ensuring I knew every nook and cranny of my script, every shot was storyboarded and I had fully understood what I was trying to convey in this film.
What do you wish you’d known going into this process?
J: Finding locations was easily the biggest challenge of the entire production, and there were quite a few. From its inception Catharsis had several locations that would be tricky to secure, thankfully early on I managed to secure both a Church, and swimming pool location, and the managers at both these facilities were incredible in facilitating me and the team, and at no cost! The tricky part proved to be other minor locations that at first we didn’t pay any mind too, locations such as high class office space, alley ways, and general streets proved to be the hardest to find and secure, with permissions and scheduling proving hard to keep, it caused a huge issue leading up to production.
How do you think the experience has impacted you as a film maker/director?
J: I’ve learnt an incredible amount, it hasn’t been an easy process at all – lots of late nights and financial issues put a huge amount of stress on myself and the entire team, but what I learnt is to always have complete faith in your vision as the director. At times it’s hard to put your foot down and stand your ground when you’re the least experienced person in the room, but at the end of the day your vision is what counts, and without the director the production is adrift. As long as you have the ability to clearly communicate to your team, the vision in your head, and get everyone on the same page, you’ll do just fine.
What advice would you give to other students wanting to make short films?
J: Don’t be afraid of making the film you want to make. With a budget of only £700, we were able to use industry standard kit and work with some of the most incredible local talent. Make sure you have; a solid story that is worthwhile to tell, a professional and dedicated crew, pinpoint casting, and a clear and concise vision.
Where can we find/watch Catharsis?
J: The film will be available to watch early next year, at www.jaythefilmguy.com, as well as several key screenings taking place at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema, The Ritz Cinema in Belper Derby, and more locations we are awaiting confirmation to announce. These will be open to industry professionals and Confetti Students alike, so come on down and support the film! Just keep an eye on your student notices for more information about these dates.
Any additional information/special thanks
J: I’d like to say a huge thank you to the cast and crew, without you guys none of this would have been possible and I cannot wait to see what the future holds coming off the back of this project! I’d also like to give a special thankyou to the Television and Actors workshops, and lastly to Luke Radford, for being a huge help throughout production and giving me the necessary contacts to make this production possible!
Interviewed by Level 3 TV & Film student Hollie Doherty