The life to death story of a compulsive dancer who is born into poverty, sucked up by the fame machine and spat out the other end.
Channel 4 – Wednesday 12th March 2014, midnight
Awards & Achievements
Vimeo Staff Pick (2014)
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March 2014 | 2:50min | Colour | Stereo | Live Action | Comedy
Gregory – Tom Reid,
Director – Louis Hudson
Writer - Ian Ravenscroft & Louis Hudson
Producer – Ian Ravenscroft & Louis Hudson
Music – Rob Connor
Sound Design – Rob Connor
Colour Keying – Steven Spencer
Green Screen Director of Photography – Craig Bush
Gregory Is A Dancer is our second Random Acts film for Channel 4 and was commissioned by Balletboyz. This was our first live action commission but still has an animated sensibility and contains the same surreal approach we use in most of our work.
Part of our pitch was for this to be an ‘anti-dance’ film. However it still needed to be entertaining and work physically to deliver the right emotions and comic timings. That’s where Tom Reid came in. He’s an incredibly talented comic performer with a lot of physical control. Rehearsal sessions helped us find out which parts of the dancing could be pushed and where it needed restraint. To over the top and it would look too staged, losing the humanity in the performance. To small or too loose and there was nothing to hang the scenes on. Although Tom would say that he just based it on how Louis dances. After one of the funniest days ever spent on or off a set, it was obvious that nobody else could have brought what Tom did to the film, especially under the low-budget conditions and filthy tracksuits he had to endure.
Having almost no dialogue we re-united with Rob Connor to help tell the story through music. The general idea was for the film to be perceived as a driving music video that happened to match the emotional beats of the music. It was a nice process of starting with our points of reference, particularly our rehearsal track, and hearing Rob slowly build up different ideas and changing the nuances of the track to capture the tone of the story.
We looked at different ways to show so many scenes with our tiny budget. After first being put off by weekend hire of green screen spaces, we realised that a small kit green screen filmed at one end of our studio offered a garish, shabby feel that suited the main character’s upbringing as well as pulling the sleazy glitz of stardom down to the same level. Using flat lighting rather than matching up the environment light also enhanced the feel of all of the characters not quite fitting in their disjointed world. Keying and compositing was then a tricky balance of retaining green screen artefacts and the cheapness of the production while making sure it was slick enough not to be distracting.
Quirky symmetrical single-point perspective has been very much done but it was a very convenient way to reinforce that this film is all from the main character’s simplistic point of view while being surrounded by the things that have made him. At least we didn’t use Futura for the titles.
Tom Reid – Gregory
Tom is a multi-skilled sketch actor and general funny man. He also dabbles in music, writing and stand up.
Claire Corfield and Craig Deeley – Mum and Dad
Louis Hudson – Director/Writer/Producer
Louis Hudson is an animator/director and co-founder of comedy film duo Dice Productions. He has created work for UK Film Council, Channel 4, BBC Comedy, Warner Entertainment and Oxfam.
Ian Ravenscroft – Writer/Producer
Ian Ravenscroft has written for UK Film Council, Channel 4, BBC Radio 4 Extra and Citroën. He is currently producing short films for Channel 4, developing concepts with independent production companies and was selected for the Cofilmic Comedy Lab to develop a comedy feature film.
Rob Connor – Musician/Composer
Rob Connor is a recent graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire in Piano. He is now Head of Music at Birmingham based film production company Little Bad Wolf. His work can be heard at robconnormusic.com
Craig Bush – Green Screen Director of Photography
Craig is a film maker/cinematographer who is the other half of Little Bad Wolf. You can see his stuff at Craig Does Stuff.