Every so often I pull back the velour curtains on some of the campaigns I’ve been reviewing and today is just one of those days. A project which has particularly caught my attention during recent days has been the Devon, UK-based indie outfit known as Realm Pictures and The Underwater Realm (UWR). David M. Reynolds heads the project off with a coterie of dedicated department heads on what is turning out to be an all-engrossing undertaking.
UWR was, er…floated for crowdfunding back in December ‘11 and by that New Year’s Day had succeeded in amassing a whopping $101,610 at Kickstarter, more than $40,000 oversubscribed. Congrats for having the balls to wage a crowdfunding campaign properly with due attention to detail. I only wish I could have contributed something at the time, but let this stand as the first in what will be my continued support of the series of films.
For the past two evenings I’ve basically been, um…plumbing the depths of their vast behind-the-scenes archive.
One thing which never ceases to arrest me is the insanely unbelievable know-how headman Dave Reynolds possesses about the business and the indie filmmaking craft. If you watch enough of the videos, a creeping sense of “I’m not worthy” begins to overtake you and you shortly realize that whatever David doesn’t know about indie filmmaking is essential not worth knowing. The guy knows everything about lighting, cameras, electricity, travel, Southern England, diving, and as his Scottish forebears would have once said (before he lost his accent): “You name it!” I’m not shocked he’s working with the likes of DoP Eve Hazelton, who clearly scored big in life’s sweepstakes with Dave, and she knows what I mean (so will you if you watch their videos!).
For instance, have a squizz at his totally free 15-minute clip as David launches into a step-by-step – from concept, to hardware store purchase, to his garage – tutorial on building your very own Kino Flo-style lights. I note, he charges nothing for this video, and if you follow the instructions to the letter you’ll have successfully built your own Kino Flo in the comfort of your own home or office after a total time investment of about three hours. As a non-handy sort of film guy (me), Reynolds’ kind of DIY-savvy blows me away. It actually entices you to want to watch even more of these, with the thinking being that there’s I’d miss if I didn’t view UWR’s entire vlog archive (and as of this writing, I’m more than half-way in).
If audience engagement is the name of the indie game — and as PMD, I’d say it certainly is — then the UWR team are indeed doing something very right.
Not only did the posse from Devon clobber the living daylights out of their crowdfunding target on supremely challenging indie shoot – let’s count the immovable obstacles in their path: 1) shooting underwater, 2) shooting guerrilla, 3) shooting on a limited budget, 4) shooting outside a major media market – and they continue to live up to their Kickstarter commitment to keep their fans updated throughout the entire process. For your loyalty, the UWR team grant you the gift of a takeaway each time out, or Dave’s name isn’t Reynolds.
Reynolds is a tremendously convincing speaker: the man’s unassuming, articulate, fast on the ball, not to mention a superb technician, comfortable in front of camera as he seems to be off, conducting things behind-the-scenes.
If you don’t take a single interest in what he’s up to, UWR-specifically, there’s plenty to learn about how to conduct yourself around the camera: check out how at vloggerly ease he is, something which only serves the film’s promotional efforts in good stead.
So far, thanks to the meticulousness with which the UWR squad’s been chronicling their entire journey (save for going into the loo or eating their breakfast cereal), I’ve succeeded in traveling to at least two spots I’ve never set foot in (this coming from an ‘oke who’s extremely well-traveled): Plymouth and Cornwall, UK and Hurghada, Egypt (actually, I’ve been to Sinai countless times, but never from the Western bank of the Gulf of Suez). Then, of course, we go several feet below the water’s surface at the New England quarry in Plympton. Okay, so I lied, that’s at least four places, but notice how I said at least two.
The quality of everything they’ve done until now is – in a word — #BOOM! The dedication which the UWR team broadcasts its online goodies has so far succeeded in sucking in a number of other prominent international talents to their Devon HQ – to wit, Ben Von Wong (image above), Brooklyn’s Clayton Haskell along with his RED Epic camera, Tom Hamilton of Red Sea Pictures complete with his underwater kit down in the Land of the Pharaohs (or the Arab Spring, six-half-a-dozen-or-the-other), Elliot Grove of Raindance Film Festival, and DoP extraordinaire and [ critics ] homme terrible Philip Bloom. The project, as a result, is presently standing on two super stentorian legs, its own Colossus of Otter, if you will. ;-)
The Underwater Ream is set to release September 2012, timed to coincide with Raindance’s twentieth anniversary edition. As if the pressure cooker wasn’t enough, go ahead and add number 5) to my above list. The way Reynolds has structured writer Rosie Claverton’s various narratives is that they’ll post two short films first, as proof of submerged concept, followed by a trio of features which span the expansive timeline from BCE all the way up to a beleaguered British Isles during WWII, complete authentic British Spitfire (not giving anything away – watch the videos!).
So don’t just salute this gang and wish them well, then be on your way.
If you have the gumption to call yourself an “independent filmmaker,” taking interest in all things DIY, zero in on what the gang at Realm Pictures are up to for your very own ringside seat showcasing on the proper way to shoot extra-diagetic videoblogs and be prepared to take tons of notes.
It always stuns me when I cycle through their pledge rewards just how much value they’ve offered for so comparatively little. What dedication…
One thing I know for sure…it’s going to be a busy summer, and I’ll be following this crew every step of the way.
Adam Daniel Mezei, PMD | Producer of Marketing and Distribution
Indie Audience Engagement Services for Independent Feature Films and Documentaries
LIKE PMD-For-Hire at:
TWEET PMD-For-Hire at:
ADD US to your G+ circles:
JOIN PMD-For-Hire on LinkedIn:
EMAIL PMD-For-Hire at:
SUBSCRIBE to PMD-For-Hire’s YouTube channel:
SUBSCRIBE to PMD-For-Hire’s Vimeo channel:
SUBSCRIBE ON FLICKR: