It’s taken us a while here at Papercut to get our teeth into blogging but we have a very blog worthy story to bring you, so we may as well start on a high.
This image kicked off this whole rollercoaster ride.
Back in January 2017 whilst scouting directories for potential clients, we came across a small advertisement for a drone operator to work on a short film in Stoke-on-Trent. The budget was low but we were free and as it had been a while since we worked on a short film or drama we went for it. After all, if we didn’t, another (potentially unlicensed) drone operator may have taken up the opportunity.
We arrived to the set on a day so foggy that normally we’d have had to re-arrange the job and come back another day. However after a chat with the crew it was decided that we would move forward with the shoot as the schedule could not be rearranged even if the fog stuck around.
So we sat around, chatting to various crew members between scenes generally enjoying watching the film making process until the afternoon. Chris Overton (Director) made the decision that we should head out to our first location to capture the opening shot of the film where Joanne (A Social Worker Played by Rachel Shenton) rides a bicycle through the countryside on her way to meet Libby (A profoundly deaf girl played by the incredible Maisie Sly) The shot required us to follow her overhead for a few seconds before speeding up slightly, falling between the overhanging trees to ground level where we would continue tracking her from the front. Although the weather had delivered us fog, the wind was relatively low, meaning we got this in the bag after only 2-3 takes (we wanted it to be perfect!)
Returning to the school, the children weren’t quite ready for the final scene so we headed out once again into the fog to get the ‘bonus’ car driving shot. With Rachel driving the car we tried various follow shots, being careful to keep the drone in sight through the thick fog in order to avoid the trees (again). In the end the final cut features a tracking shot where we fly to the right in between the bush and the tree canopy into a field (also meaning that we were in clear airspace in case visual became difficult).
Returning for the second time with two incredible shots in the bag, we were confident that the final scene would go very smoothly. The idea was that Libby would be stood against the wall of the school gazing at Joanne who was looking through the school gates while the other children were playing together in between them. The shot itself was a ‘downward twisty’ shot, slowly revealing more of the playground and eventually the school gates before slowly moving towards Rachel who then walked off leaving Libby behind at the school. The final cut of the film left the move toward the gate out (as the walk off required a different shot, when you see the film, you’ll see why!) however the ‘downward twisty’ part remained.
We will make sure to post as soon as the film is available online, in the meantime keep your eye out for screenings on the Silent Child Facebook page
Now for the unexpected part.
From talking to Rachel during the shoot, we learned of the significance of the film and it’s importance in raising awareness of the plight of profoundly deaf children when it comes to mainstream education. Seeing the film making process in action, we knew that this was no ordinary short film, but little did we know that a few months down the line this film would be nominated for ‘best live action short’ in the most prestigious film awards in the world. The Oscars. It gives us tingles to say that we provided the aerials for an OSCAR NOMINATED film.
Catching up with Rachel and Chris at a screening in Cannock you could see how genuinely grateful and humbled they were that this film has touched so many people across the globe.
The Silent Child has been nominated for 20 awards, winning 15 of them on the road to the Oscars. All of us here at Peprcut Media send our positive energy to LA and we hope we see Rachel, Chris and Maisie, Oscar in hand tonight.
You can watch the Oscars live on the dedicated Sky Oscars Channel, NOW TV or ABC (USA)