Filmed over a twelve month period, Don’t Get Bitten is the latest independent film from Staffordshire based Loosecrew Productions. Trenson, a world weary vampire slayer and his protégé Lilly are hot on the trail of a blood ring, the vampiric equivalent of human trafficking. These vampires prey on the innocent, leave a path of death and heartache behind them and they never, ever glitter.
In this the first of a series of interviews, Twilight’s Requiem talks to the man behind the movie; Writer/Director: Dominic Holmes.
TR: Where did the idea for Don’t Get Bitten originate?
DH: I’d written a feature length vampire script about a young woman who is bitten by a vampire and attempts to find a cure before it’s too late. Part of that story involved a Vampire Hunter named Trenson. While developing that script I came up with the idea for a short film that could centre on Trenson and be something that might also compliment the feature should that take off. Due to one thing and another I couldn’t get the vampire script off the ground but still had this short script which was very doable.
TR: What was it like shooting on the Cannon 7D and did filming in full hi-def make a difference to how you worked?
DH: Shooting with the 7D wasn’t too different from filming with a standard definition camcorder, I was able to adjust the depth of field much more than compared with previous shoots but other than that the actual filming of people in front of a camera stayed the same. I have learned that I shouldn’t be afraid to flood the shots with light as shooting in full hi-def you’re not lighting one whole frame you’re lighting lots of tiny dots that make up the final image. Without enough light you tend to get a fair amount of noise in the darker areas which can either look interesting or just plain rough.
Dominic Holmes sets up a shot during one of the film’s night shoots.
TR: As writer, director and actor what was it like wearing multiple hats on this production?
DH: Directing stuff you’ve written yourself is straightforward enough as the film plays in your head each time you look at the script, you just need to be conscious of not getting bound to one way of doing things. Acting and directing yourself is tricky, you know what the character is as you wrote him but due to time constraints you don’t really see what you’ve done until the edit and I don’t think anyone is ever comfortable watching themselves on screen. You have to be objective but at the same time try to avoid being over critical.
TR: What was the hardest aspect of the production for you?
DH: Anything shot at night is awkward as you’re constantly looking at your watch and being very aware of the time just sprinting away from you. That being said I’m also a huge fan of filming at night because some of the visuals you get can be very striking. It’s also much quieter so the sound comes out clean too!
TR: As an independent film maker do you find working with a minimal budget a restriction or liberating?
DH: Having never had a proper budget I only know the one way of filming. There are times when I’d like to have a bit of cash to make life easier but then if it was easy everyone would be doing it. The challenge of lo/no budget filmmaking is half the fun.
Actor Jennifer Pratt as one of the film’s vampires.
TR: Who inspires you as a film maker and why?
DH: Peter Jackson is a big influence in terms of making films on a shoestring. Finding out about how he shot Bad Taste made filmmaking seem very accessible. Then there are people like David Lynch and Terry Gilliam who seem to maintain their style despite outside interference. Mike Figgis is another strong influence as he’s a big proponent of digital filmmaking and indie film in terms of it being away from the studio system.
Basically anyone who’s not afraid to say there is another way of doing things.
TR: What do you have planned next for Loosecrew Productions?
DH: I think I’m done with vampires for a while. A year of them in getting this short done is enough for now, I’ll be sending ‘Don’t Get Bitten‘ out to the festivals to see if anyone bites and hopefully get started on another project soon. I’ve got one script written and ready to take into pre-production that I really like called Hell’s Belles and I’m in the process of writing a horror film centered around Teddy Bears.
Twilight’s Requiem would like to thank Dominic for taking the time to talk to us. Don’t Get Bitten premiers on Thursday 29th November at Sutton Coldfield College.