‘After I raised the money, I set up my own production company, Small Long Productions, and started looking for cast and crew. I’d seen some of Pippa Bennett-Warner’s work and reached out to her via Instagram, asking if she’d read for the film. She contacted me the next day, we met up and she just got it. The whole of the casting process was the same – reaching out and hassling people. I think I convinced them with the passionate way I talked about the project. I made it seem simple; yes, it’s a small budget but it’s just two weeks and something great might come out of it. Sometimes, when you don’t have the best tools, it pushes you to be more focused, more creative and there’s a hunger to it. That’s how I went about it. I only wanted to work with people who were hungry.
‘Normally, films get sales agents who go to distributors to get the film released. I didn’t have the money, so I sent countless emails myself. With the company that eventually distributed the film, Verve, I knew this would be their type of thing, so I really bugged them. I emailed from November 2018 until April 2019. I’d say, “Look, you need to watch this film.” I know people don’t have a lot of time, so I made a three-minute promo with my editor to entice them. After sending that, they asked for a link to the film, then I got an email one Saturday morning saying that they wanted to take it on.
‘Making Real hasn’t been easy. It involved determination and resilience, because it takes so much out of you physically, mentally and emotionally. You have this vision, which a lot of people will doubt, but you have to rise above the noise, trust your gut and be willing to listen. I believe learning is in the doing and that’s how you improve. I hope people are inspired by the whole project, from the writing and directing to the making of the film. Real taught me that if you have the passion, you really can do it yourself.’
Images by Tom Andrew