Accomplished director, Tom Paton was generous enough to offer his time to us this afternoon to talk about his upcoming film, ‘Redwood’ due to start filming in Poland in the coming weeks.
The new film starring Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Mike Beckingham and Tatjana Nardone tells the story of a couple who, on receipt of bad news decide to go camping in the woods to clear their heads. Needless to say visiting woods steeped in mythology and dark histories rarely turns out well. The couple are faced with the worst of the supernatural and can only hope to survive.
Geek Syndicate (GS): You have had a distinguished career over a number of years with a lot of high profile clients, did this add to the pressure of releasing your second film?
Tom Paton (TP): Films are always pressure. The first film ‘Pandorica’ was very low budget, around £70,000, it did really well and got good reviews and a growing fan base. The pressure of the second movie was really that this time we had more money and no excuses! Before, we could always say ‘oh it’s low budget’ but this time we just have to deliver. I have confidence in what I am doing, we have a great script, cast and location so it comes with a good kind of pressure.
GS: You have a well-established team, what keeps you going so cohesively?
TP: My background in the industry is that I am self-taught. I started in my 20s and now I am 31. I say that I went to the YouTube University. I am a good all-rounder and so blessed to be doing what I love for a job. I surround myself with people who feel the same way. You hear bad set stories and they do deliver in the end but a set should be fun, you should remember that you have a dream job. That is what can make a low budget film look great, the passion of the people involved. You can find yourself up at 4:00am having been awake for 18 hours and you just have to think to yourself ‘would I rather be doing this or wearing a suit and doing a boring 9-5’?
GS: You have found your lead actor, Mike Beckingham, what do you think he will bring to the part?
TP: We met Mike at a Q&A session for ‘Pandorica’ and he followed us on FaceBook. He did a great audition tape and an even better live audition and we knew he was right for the part. It was only after he got the role that he announced he was Simon Pegg’s brother and I am glad about that. He got the part out of genuine talent and not a reliance on his connections. We also have Tatjana Nardone playing alongside him who is up and coming, she is due to star in ‘Medici’ a BBC drama with Dustin Hoffman so we have a lot of burgeoning talent in the cast.
GS: You have announced that Nicholas Brendon of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ will be joining you in the film, how did that come about?
TP: I grew up watching ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ and those programs along with ‘South Park’ and others really influenced my sense of humour. Without giving too much away, ‘Redwood’ goes into Vampire territory. There are no sparkly, good looking guys running around! Nicholas loved ‘Pandorica’ and was looking for a follow up project. He is a great bloke and said that this is the first film he has been offered that was a vampire story with a real difference compared to the stereotypical scripts he has received in the past.
GS: Can you give us a synopsis of the story without giving too much away?
TP: The main characters are Josh and Beth a young couple planning life. Josh is a musician, I have made a lot of music videos in my time and so I drew on people I had encountered while I was writing him. They get some bad news so they decide to go camping to clear their heads. The place is full of mythology and history and I wanted to make a bear movie but replace the bear with something supernatural. There are some nasty twists in there.
GS: What attracted you to this area of film making?
TP: My interest grew into it. There are genres that appeal to me like the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ remake. I like to use modern world issues in a different environment that allow the viewer to look at the issues from a new angle. This film asks the viewer to examine what they would do in this situation. I have another movie coming up called ‘Glow’ that will cover other themes. ‘Pandorica’ was all about leadership and what it takes to succeed.
I am a bit of a sadist when it comes to filming. I push myself and the cast and crew to ridiculous limits. We get inventive. On ‘Redwood’ we are going for a much more Hollywood look.
GS: There are rumours that there may be an Oscar winning designer about to be signed to the production but Tom was not able to confirm or deny this.
GS: What has been your most challenging production issue to date?
TP: On ‘Pandorica’, we had a tight budget. We were shooting at night, we only had two lights shooting in ultra-low light which had not been done before. On day 4 I was told that the contingency budget had gone. Of course I could not say anything but had 6 days of hoping that nothing broke and anything that went wrong we had to get really inventive on solving the problem since we didn’t have money to throw at it.
I have one rule, everyone can have ideas and I will listen to them all. Some I take on but those that we don’t use get dropped and we don’t dwell on them. You have to approach problems with a great attitude. You have to be a problem solver and keep your cool.
GS: When is the film due for release?
TP: Spring 2017.
GS: What do you have planned for the release?
TP: We are pretty good at marketing we have relationships with partners and we have had some interest from some big cinema chains.
GS: Tell me a bit more about ‘Glow’?
TP: Well ‘Redwood’ came about in a bizarre way. ‘Pandorica’ had come out and was a success so I was in Cannes and had investors who were interested in ‘Glow’. They offered me an exchange, their director had just dropped out of a film they wanted to make so they were in the position of having a location but no film. They flew me out to Poland and it inspired me to write ‘Redwood’. I agreed to film ‘Redwood’ and then we are going straight into ‘Glow’ and start filming in December this year.
GS: You must feel really proud to see all these films taking off.
TP: Yes it is great making commercials and music videos but in those cases the brands or the musicians get the credit for the videos. With the films I can really put my stamp on it and it will be something that ‘Tom made’ and that feels great.
You can find out more on www.redwoodmovieofficial.com and you can follow the film’s progress on Twitter @redwoodmovieofficial