We Can Hula is a short film which I wrote, directed and produced. The idea came to me just 6 months after my graduation, while I was staying with my parents in Devon. I had grown tired of waiting for what I called ‘the email of opportunity’ and decided to take action. At the time my brother was living in Hawaii and I was constantly inundated with photos of his tropical lifestyle, while I sat in the dreary English countryside. I couldn’t help but find myself daydreaming of this paradise escape. It was here the idea took shape, and the next thing I knew I was adding the finishing touches to my story ‘We Can Hula’. Now all I needed was some backing and that’s when I turned to the crowd funding site Kickstarter.
In April 2013, I put the idea to Kickstarter to raise money for the project. It was an exhausting but hugely rewarding journey. For the next 30 days I wrote countless emails, Tweets, Facebook posts, everything… attending both a Kickstarter meet up and Film Festival. I also visited studios across London, dropping off promotional gifts in the hopes that someone might drop a dollar or two. I put everything out there, pushing my project in anyway I could. Finally, just shy of the deadline my project had reached it’s goal and could now be put into production! However, by this time it was May and I had underestimated the English Summer. I postponed shooting until summer had past so I could get that cold winter feel I was looking for.
Having a solid team you can rely on is invaluable. The first person I brought in was Set and Costume Designer, Daisy Azis. We worked together forming the art direction, sourcing props, as well as taking many trips to Covent Garden Flower Market. Daisy’s attention to detail and ruthless work ethic were a massive asset to the shoot. Next was Danny Morgan, a talented DOP I met while studying my art foundation in Falmouth. With Danny’s endless knowledge and professionalism, I knew he was the man to take on the shooting of the film. As the film had no dialogue, music became a crucial element. I contacted the band Modern Borders (Asher Preston & Jean Kern) to create a one off track for the film, who were more than happy to get onboard.
Shooting both in and out the studio meant catering for different circumstances and environments. The first shoot took place in a field an hour south of London. This meant driving the set and all props down to the location, including 250KG of gravel, which I quickly realised was a bad idea. Myself and Billy Norways begun walking it bit by bit, 400 meters into the middle of the common. All in all, it took us two days to set up, one day to shoot and one day to take down. Everything went to plan apart from crashing the hire van in my state of fatigue. Note to self, don’t drive tall vans in low car parks.
The second shoot took place a week later at Clapham Road Studio in London. This time transportation was slightly easier, apart from late night traffic dodging with green house panels strapped to the roof of my car. The shoot ran smoothly and after a couple long weeks of editing and grading, We Can Hula was finally finished!
Seeing my idea go from a Kickstarter project to fully fledged film has been a massively rewarding and educational experience. This film is just the start of my directing career and I hope it boosts me into the right direction for some more exciting project in the future.