Weaverfish is the debut feature film of our newly created production company Dollhouse Pictures Ltd – which we managed to shoot in 16 days on a shoestring budget of £10,000.
It began after we – Mark and Harrison – left university in 2010, with a firm knowledge that we wanted to shoot our own films; not just home-movies, but films that could be seen by big audiences. Yet, as ex-students, money was scarce and, as most of you’ll probably know, it requires a lot of upfront cash to shoot a film. So we had to think big and spend small. Producing a 95-minute film for £1 million was never going to be an option. Producing one for £10,000 was more realistic but obviously a huge challenge. We were both lucky enough to get work in post-production, in the heart of the UK TV industry, and so we began to work like crazy to raise our budget.
In the autumn of 2010 we looked at several ideas with some filmmaking friends; eventually choosing to develop a concept suggested by Tom Shawcroft. Throughout the winter and on into the spring of 2011 we spent the cold evenings in a bedroom writing and planning every aspect of the story and script. Then, with the help of Tom, we moved on to organising locations, which were mainly in his home town of Hamble, and – most importantly – securing cast and crew. Without the money to pay people, we looked for like-minded individuals that wanted to gain experience and exposure for their skills. The crew was mainly made up of other filmmakers we had met at University. The cast all applied online and were invited to audition for us over a couple of weekends in Easter. That was where we first met many of the wonderful faces that you will see on-screen, including one young Scottish lad who was later to go on and achieve big things!
As spring became summer, with planning and funding almost complete, we were rehearsing almost every weekend in order to have the performances nailed for the intense 16-day shoot. By June 2011 we had saved just enough money to get the kit we needed hired and get ourselves a minibus. We crammed the minibus full to the roof with actors, food and kit, and headed down to Hamble.
For the next 16 days, we ate, slept and breathed Weaverfish (we say slept, if you can call 4 hours a night sleeping…) At the end, everyone was beyond exhausted, but we had a fantastic time and came back with a 95-minute movie waiting to be edited.
How did we do? We’ll let you – our audience – be the judge. Please take a look around the website, check out our production blog (which documents the entire 16-day shoot) and most importantly of all… watch our film!
Shooting Weaverfish was a fantastic experience and we will never be able to thank enough all the kind people that made it possible. It’s been a rollercoaster ride and, after almost 2-and-a-half years, we have finally got the complete story to tell.
Thanks for taking the time to come here and support us. We really hope you enjoy Weaverfish.
Mark and Harrison