What does the world think of the EU post brexit?

It's a fast changing world right now. Technological change is increasing and politics is seemingly unpredictable and different. The British Council, a long standing Sketch client, asked us to produced an animation about recent work they have done on the perception of the UK abroad.

After brainstorming the look and feel of the animation we produced a segment (30 secs or so) for their approval. Here is the animation with some stills from it. 

Kit for hire - the Ronin-M and the A7rii

We're based in Central London but can deliver our kit all over the capital. We have cameras that you can't always find easily at the large kit firms. Recently, we acquired the excellent discreet powerhouse - the Sony A7rii. It's a fantastic camera, extremely versatile and easy to operate. It allows you to film almost anywhere. Great for docs, corporate or commercial shoots. It's not going to break the bank either and uses hi speed SD cards. It comes with 4x batteries.

Also available is the lightweight C100 - a solid camera that produces great results and gain is easy to operate. It's stable and shoots with standard SD cards.

The Ronin-M is a revolutionary bit of kit and works brilliantly in conjunction with the the A7rii. We also have the DJI OSMO, a small and smooth bit of kit that produces very stable images in 4K.

Sketch rents out its kit at super low rates. All that we require is decent hired in insurance. Take a look at what we've got and get in touch....jeremy@sketchfilms.co.uk or call 0778 213 2146

Sony A7rii

Sony A7rii

Ronin-m on location

Ronin-m on location

What to Watch on Netflix!!!

Before Artificial Intelligence takes over completely (and it will be sooner than you think) we are all left scrolling through Netflix, looking for something decent to watch amongst the barrage of shows for 16 year old boys. It's still a bit primitive - the 'what you might like' can often be wide of the mark. I'm going to recommend 3 films that you may have heard of once but just forgotten about. 

Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More

Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More

1. A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS.  DIR. FRED ZINNEMANN

Summary: When Henry VIII seeks approval from the aristocracy to divorce, Sir Thomas More finds himself caught between the king and the Roman Catholic Church.

This is terrific. Feels a tiny bit dated, but if you've been a fan of Wolf Hall and want to see a terrific old school actor like Paul Scofield, check it out. Shows you a severely reduced London where everyone got around on the Thames and a lovely brown faded look.
 

loandbehold.jpg

2. Lo and Behold dir. Werner Herzog

Summary: Filmmaker Werner Herzog examines the past, present and future of the Internet and how it affects human interaction and modern society.

A fascinating documentary about the looming technological changes - from artificial intelligence to self-driving cars and the internet of things. It was originally made for release online, hence some chapters feel a bit incomplete, but it's still a great primer for what you need to know about the future.

 

3. ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICAN DIR. SERGIO LEONE

Summary: While ostensibly an epic gangster story, the film is about friendship, love, betrayal, history, class, memory, and time. The narrative structure is non-linear, starting in the 1930s, moving forward to the 1960s, back to the 1920s and shifting several more times between the three periods. A Classic.

An epic film that requires some commitment but hugely pays off. The story of Noodles (Robert de Niro) and his friends living on the Lower East Side in the 1920s. The film is breathtaking and would be even better in the cinema - but it's worth watching at home on a large telly, even if you might need a few tea breaks.

Comment with any suggestions of your own!

How to get in touch with people you don't know...

 We make films for NGOs internationally that are usually focused very much like documentaries and observational. Every day, I receive an email or two from people wanting to work for Sketch. And every day, the email is left unread or briefly scanned or binned immediately. We are a small company and we do need extra freelancers but not often. But what's shocking is HOW people get in touch and WHAT they say to you. So I've come up with some ideas that I've made into a brief list.

  1. Please bother to find out whom you are writing to. Don't just put HELLO or HI. Then I know that you're firing off emails like a spammer who's had ten coffees and doesn't even have time  to see who they should be writing to.
  2. Keep it short. Don't tell me your life story. It's not that I'm not interested, I might well be. But I don't know you. I have nothing yet to tell me if we could work well together. What I need to know is what you can do - what your capabilities are -  as quickly as possible. So give me the chance to see what you can do. Like decent script writing, SHOW don't TELL.
  3. TELL ME WHY. In the first sentence, explain why you're writing. Be specific.
  4. PICK UP the telephone. It's well known that people don't know how to make calls or leaves voicemails any more. I'm always impressed when someone calls on spec, even if I don't have any work for them. It shows they've got initiative. They're not going to sit there sending emails all day. 
  5. GIVE EVIDENCE. I can smell a rat a mile off. Avoid the generic 'I love your work'. Be specific in order to show that you have actually bothered to find out what kind of films we make and what you like about them. 
  6. Finally, tell me very briefly what the next step is. Give me an action, a link to check out and tell me how you want things to proceed. And keep it positive and friendly.

Filming with the Ronin-M

#ronin #filming #sketchfilms #onlocation

A photo posted by Sketch Films (@sketchfilms) on

The Ronin-M is a sleek and sturdy contraption that whirs your camera into a very still place. It takes its toll on your arms after a while but you it gives you enough time to grab some dynamic shots. This version takes smaller cameras and you've got to be careful not to overload it with long lenses that make it very tricky to balance. Overall a great bit of kit and with time, I will master it completely.

 

 

Films in Ghana and Liberia in Production

We have started producing the series 'A day in the life of' - the films for The School of Life. The first film will be about Juliana, a dressmaker in Accra, Ghana. And the second film will be about a female biker taxi in Liberia. We are still looking for proposals from all over the world. Please get in touch jeremy@sketchfilms.co.uk with your proposal and check out the guidelines in my previous blog post.

Sahhara - teaser tape

Earlier this week, I filmed a teaser tape with Sahhara, a Nigerian living in London, who used to work at Madame Jojo's. Sahhara has had cope with a lot in her life but seems pretty happy now. She scoots around in an American sports car and has scarily long nails. 

In a vintage shop in Soho

In a vintage shop in Soho

Outside her work place for 11 years, Madame Jojo's on Brewer street.

Outside her work place for 11 years, Madame Jojo's on Brewer street.

Film signed off and delivered for the Cabinet Office

I started working recently on a new short film for the Cabinet Office - the film was used to launch the Arts Impact Fund, a new fund set up for Arts organisations across the UK. The film was well received and we are now working on a second film for this new client. Was wonderful to discover the Company of Elders at Sadler's Wells, a dance troupe for those who are 70 plus, as well as the excellent Circus school in an old power station in Shoreditch.

Exploring the Burmese Delta

I recently returned from an intense trip to the delta in Burma. I was filming for an NGO - Helping the Burmese Delta - and we were based in a remote village about a day's travel (car + boat) from the capital Yangon. It's an unusual place - completely cut off in every way- where the only real way to get around is by boat. The people live mostly day to day fishing, working in paddy fields or doing whatever they can to earn 1-2 USD per day. They live in a swamp land which becomes permanently flooded during the rainy season. The main problem is that access to primary and secondary schools is very limited - it also costs money for the parents to send their children to school. Young people tend to have limited opportunities and soon find themselves doing exactly what their parents do. After Cyclone Nargis, the rivers have changed. Fishing has become more difficult and it's even harder to make a living.

 

Grandmother, Mother and Cafe Owner

Grandmother, Mother and Cafe Owner

The boatman

The boatman

Our base

Our base


A quick trip to Nablus, Palestine

Earlier in September I went to Israel and Palestine, filming for the Christian charity Embrace the Middle East. It was an intense trip, driving around the West Bank at speed and meeting many different people, all facing their own challenges in difficult living conditions. I interviewed farmers who had lost their land and villagers who were hemmed in, unable to go beyond the checkpoint and consequently unable to find work.  In East Jerusalem we met children who were severely visually impaired and relied on an amazing school to help them read and write. We also witnessed the work of a mobile health team from St Luke's hospital in Nablus, who offer essential healthcare to a local village that is cut off from the main town by a road block.