Blood-Shot-90-Minute Feature on Digi for under $30,000. (My Side of the Picture)

By Heath, Simon | Metro Magazine, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

Blood-Shot-90-Minute Feature on Digi for under $30,000. (My Side of the Picture)


Heath, Simon, Metro Magazine


Short films shot on Digi are relatively common these days, with the ease of mini-DV and desktop editing. But a full-length feature shot on mini-DV, edited and completed, for under $30,000 is a different story altogether.

Warwick Moss (you might know his deep and husky voice from The Extraordinary on TV in the 1990s) and the Stage-2-Screen film crew have produced a ninety-minute feature of his award winning play Blood-Shot, for which I had the luck of being associate producer. The play Blood-Shot was written by Moss in the early 1980s and formed the basis for the feature. It was first performed on stage at the Bay Street Theatre in Sydney and later toured America and the UK. Blood-Shot is primarily a timeless, bittersweet tale of the battle of the sexes. Shot entirely on mini-DV with direction by Paul Remati, the feature was blocked and shot in a traditional stage/theatre manner so as to allow the actors--Moss and popular TV actor Anna Hruby--maximum creative space.

Warwick had some hard earned attitudes and advice on taking on such a big project: 'nothing replaces the passion to follow through ideas!'--which encapsulates his belief in seeing the production through. Without any government funding or external backing, Warwick and the team used their own money, time and energy to prove the view that Blood-Shot is a great story that could become a worthwhile visual tale. We saw no other way than the classic ninety-minute feature to capture this vision.

According to Warwick 'the magic of storytelling' was the key and ethos to Blood-Shot, and so the production company, Stage-2-Screen, was a very lean outfit devoid of any overt technical wizardry or excess staff (although a small number of film and TV students from the local Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, assisted in an internship role. (Thank you guys, and especially to Camo for organizing them!). Working on begged and borrowed locations with only a crew of two, the director Paul Remati (also doing camera at times) and a professional sound-recordist (the one necessary luxury of the whole venture, which would guarantee professional level sound), meant-that the production process mirrored the intimate nature of the Blood-Shot story.

Shooting on such a thin, if not invisible, budget was not without its humour. There were mad moments, such as when I (the associate producer) had to drive a borrowed van with a burnt out clutch through Kings Cross with our cameraman hanging out the back, praying the police wouldn't notice, while Warwick and Anna drove behind in a limo that was borrowed through the promise of an IOU (the preferred deal of all good 'guerilla' film-makers), with Paul directing the sequence from the floor of the limo and filming at the same time, with everyone trying to remember the planned route and hoping their mobile phone battery didn't go flat ... but we did it.

Such a quick and dynamic shooting style allowed for the flexibility to improvise when it was called for; this meant that we were also able to catch some moments of pure gold without any great bother, as we didn't have to re-set huge set pieces. …

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