Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rob Burrows on "Entwinement”

What was your filmmaking background before setting out to make Entwinement?

ROB: I had been interested in photography and filmmaking for a number of years and combined this with an interest in building the hardware to edit them and writing. I made an in-house documentary for the BBC; it featured a shift of a Saturday morning radio presenter at Radio Kent and the team who went out interviewing people and presented it with him. I also made a film for the Army and carried out various other projects.

During my professional career I combined roles of working at Bethlem Royal & Maudsley Hospital in London with being Editor of Mental Health Nursing (a supplement in Nursing Times Supplement) and Focus, the magazine of the Psychiatric Nurses Association. It was an interesting and fast-paced time; I travelled quite a lot and had to regularly go to Fleet Street for meetings. I did that for about two years and was relieved when I no longer had to meet the deadlines for writing editorials.

It was funny meeting people who expressed opinions that I had written and quoted where from, but did not realise I was the editor who wrote them -- I never said as it would have been a bit embarrassing!

I did a fair bit academic writing and was published in various journals over the years. I decided that, on completing a Specialist Clinical Practice degree, I would change track and start writing fiction for a change.

I wrote Dead Frequency and tried to get it made into a film -- I soon found out that there was no way this could be done, as the system does not allow it. I found it to be a closed shop. I decided to form Solarus films and film it myself. I had not intended to direct it but the search for a director was fruitless, so I did it.

One of the lead actors (Faye Ormston) said her sister Amy wanted to act, so I wrote a small part for her. Seeing them together triggered an idea that resulted in me writing Entwinement. I cast them both in the lead roles and the effect was really good.

On making Entwinement I saw how Jason Savan acted with Amy Ormston. It was a striking partnership and I decided that I could not waste it! That led to Black Orchid being written within a couple of weeks.

I had discussed the story Amy and Jason -- I offered to moderate it to a domestic conflict drama but Amy wanted the raw idea made into a screenplay, so that is what we did. I would not have attempted such a storyline without a close and trusting team, as I feared that it would blow a weaker team apart. I had feared some would walk away as it was, but they all embraced it and were ecstatic.

What was the genesis for the script for Entwinement and what was the writing process like?

ROB: As said above, I got the inspiration from real life people and developed the characters and story round them.

When I start writing I have no clue as to how it will turn out. On each occasion the ending has been one I did not anticipate when starting. I have to write quickly -- the scripts were mainly done in two weeks flat.

Can you talk about how you raised your budget and your financial plan for recouping your costs?

ROB: I just paid the costs of making it from my earnings. I looked into obtaining sponsorship, there are various organisations that are supposed to help, but I found them useless.

For example, I sent the UK Film Council the synopsis of Entwinement and they rejected it immediately without even asking to see the script. Life is too short to play politics and be held back by a system that seems only to be there to serve the people employed it.

In addition I found there is no funding available to the North East region of England. I told the team that the time and effort that would be spent on seeking grants would be wasted and we could have made a film by the time we received the final no. They all agreed so we just got on with it. We are motivated by the prospects of getting our work seen and success for any one in the team is shared as we all hardwired to the project. A number of the actors have gone onto star in properly funded films since. That is great to see.

What camera did you use and what did you love and hate about it?

ROB: The Sony EX3 – I don’t like the 3.5mm headphone connector and the poor depth of field control. Other than that it has been an amazing camera. The Canon 5d MK2. The whole thing is a total hack and when using it has to be me on camera – the best thing is the depth of field control and the creative opportunities it offers.

What is your marketing plan for the movie and how have your results been so far?

ROB: I found the UK broadcasters don’t reply to emails etc.; they are used to their usual programming and programme sources. UK independent film is not one of them. My MP Dave Anderson has been trying them for me; so far they have ignored him as well, so at least the slight is not personal!

There does seem to be something of a regional prejudice involved. The European Viva TV (based in Spain) actually asked for Dead Frequency and has screened it repeatedly. They have now asked for Entwinement. Cineworld also took Dead Frequency and it was a sell out. So much so they may be showing Entwinement.

Dead Frequency is going out as a DVD and download from Amazon / Love Film shortly.

Each film is sent to festival in the first instance. Dead Frequency was selected for the Stepping Stone Festival in India and at the Portobello Festival in London and Entwinement at the Portobello Festival in London, although it’s early days as it was only completed on May 2012.

What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?

ROB: The smartest was to ignore advice not to bother and the dumbest was to actually believe what people say – there are so many who actually believe they are capable but who have been a let down.

On the positive side, we have now evolved a team that is lean and capable.


Anonymous said...

Update: Entwinement was nominated as Best Drama at the London Portobello Film Festival (2012.

Anonymous said...

'Entwinement' was accepted for release in eleven countries in May 2013. The third feature referred to as 'Black Orchid' in the article has reverted back to its earlier production name of 'Flowerman'.

Anonymous said...

Entwinement has now been released in eleven countries by Indie Rights / Nelson Madison Films of Los Angeles. It is available on and the You Tube Movie channel, as well as DVD and other platforms.