Pro Moviemaker November 2022 - Web


A LOW-FIDELITY AESTHETIC SUITS GRITTY DRAMA The film Lottery was shot in eight days in Lancashire, with director Ryan J Smith doing the camerawork on a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, a Canon 50mm prime stills lens and Sigma 28mm wide. Since there was no budget for lights, none were used. Although the 4K Blackmagic isn’t the best at controlling noise, its gritty look suited the subject – old-school lenses helped, too. “I shoot a lot of 35mm film on my ever- faithful Minolta XG-M stills camera. For this movie, I decided to fix stills lenses to the cinema camera,” says Smith. “It’s a rough movie emotionally and deals with toxic relationships, so there’s a lot of ‘finding’ the frame through uncomfortable close-ups, juxtaposed with massive wide shots – all very unpredictable. “Being a self-shooting director also has its advantages when dealing with actors; if anyone ever has a question or if I need to give a note, I’m not in another room, I’m right there beside them. Actors love this – it makes communication immediate, which allows for more takes as we often have time on our side.” “Being a self-shooting director has advantages when dealing with actors – as I’m right there beside them”

WINNING COMBO Smith was praised by lead actress Niamh Branigan for allowing her the freedom to do her finest work (top). Off the back of Lottery, Skint Film Company already has more theatrical feature projects in pre-production

That’s a great accolade for a young director/producer. “It’s interesting bringing new faces into the circus, as there’s always a certain anxiety regarding the stereotype of stripped-back productions being unprofessional – an image I’m proud that we’ve continually shattered,” beams Smith. “If cutting down set-up times without reducing production value can create a setting where actors aren’t sitting around for hours and instead feel actively involved, I’ve done my job well as a producer.” The team included sound recordist and camera assistant Lewis William Robinson, with visual effects supervised and created by Adam Bentley – both of whom Smith met at film school. “My production designer Katy Gittins also realised the world of the film fantastically. I don’t like the idea of having 20 people standing around waiting to do the work of three or four focused individuals. It all comes

down to this: if you enjoy it, you’ll do it – and you’ll never stop trying to do better. I’m very lucky to have friends who both share the same ethos and are technical and creative masters,” says Smith. Post-production happened over three months at Smith’s home studio, with the final edit completed at Ealing Studios, where cast and crew screenings were held. “And it has an original score composed and recorded by artists Alisdair Pickering and Zayence, who continually surprise and inspire me,” says Smith. With Lottery about to hit screens big and small, it’s no surprise there are already multiple theatrical feature projects in pre-production at Skint Film Company. A place where money – or lack of it – seems to be no object.

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