Echo Restless: Our First Glorious Experience Of Independent Film-Making

Five guys, one old post van, and more Asda value beer than I care to mention. This is the story of how we made our first feature film, and how you can help it get released.
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One drunken night last year my friend Francis Newall, a man who knows his way around a camera, and who's uncle has a stand named after him as West Brom, told me that he was writing a part for me in a film he was working on. Upon hearing this, I told Francis that my only acting training to date was a B in GCSE Drama, and since then I'd pretty much jacked it in. Nevertheless, he carried on undeterred. This drunken chat turned into Echo Restless, a British road movie about two young men who, although friends, are polar opposites, and to this date it is the most rewarding and exhilarating creative experience of my life.

The shoot took us from Maidenhead to Marlow, across to my hometown (and that of Kevin Sheedy, don'tchaknow) of Builth Wells and down to the coast, where we camped out and survived on a diet of super noodles, crisps and sandwiches. We gave ourselves a week, and the schedule was tight. We got up with the sun and carried on until we'd filmed all we could. We made bonfires, sat in freezing rivers, got bollock naked in the sea (twice) and nearly got charged by a herd of curious cows, all in the name of good cinema.

Throughout the week we grew into the story, too. The shooting script we had was very bare bones, obviously meticulous in terms of the look and tone of the movie, but very spare in terms of dialogue, with lots of room for improvisation. I was nervous about this, mainly due to the whole "B in Drama" thing I mentioned before. I'm not an actor, I can't improvise. Thankfully, it didn't quite work out like this. The relationship we all had on set was incredibly collaborative. Before each scene myself, Francis, Matt "Producer" Diegan, Ben "Sound" Tinson and Elliot "Actor / Pervert" Chidwick would sit down and really try and establish what this scene was about. Where were we in the film? What had just happened? What's going to happen next? Without trying to sound too pretentious (Though admittedly realising that I might...) we were trying to get to know our characters and our story, once we'd figured that out, dialogue came quite quickly.

We made bonfires, sat in freezing rivers, got bollock naked in the sea (twice) and nearly got charged by a herd of curious cows, all in the name of good cinema.

What Francis and Matt have tried to do with this film is try and set in motion a kind of artistic collective, an active community of musicians, writers, actors and directors all helping each other try and get stuff made and get it out there. Through their video blog Moral Hangover these guys have made contact with a lot of great independent and semi-independent bands, all willing to lend a hand to the final piece. We had one of the members of Australian rock band ME cameo in the film, and contributing to the soundtrack are Toby Hayes from Shoes & Socks Off, Sam Manville from Hymns and Sam Forrest from Nine Black Alps, as well as myself. Fellow saboteur and DJ extraordinaire Freddie Slaughter will be in charge of the sound design, which we're certain will give certain scenes a massive lift.

I'm telling you all this because I want your help. We want your help. The power of crowdfunding is phenomenal. It's helped friends make albums, films, stage plays, all through great generosity and a collective belief in a project, a desire to be part of something long lasting. We firmly believe that we've made something great, and the more donations we get the more likelihood of getting accepted to film festivals and getting it out there, leading to the potential to make more films. It's a long old process, but the ideas are there, we just need to build up some momentum. If you like the look of the screenshots and the promo video then please visit and give what you can, in return for some cools gifts and perks, as well as an invite to the premiere, which will take place at a secret London location in December. Thank you.

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