Shorts on Tap – London’s Hottest Short Film Event

12977228_1106961599367301_6909263524154959564_oShorts on Tap is a monthly short film night in London. But when London hosts so many, what makes this one truly unique to its competitors? Well for starters, the amount of events they do is quite prolific. Shorts on Tap don’t just host a standard one a month deal. Instead, on average, Shorts on Tap hold two short film screening events a month all with unique themes. They couple this with a monthly networking night for filmmakers and actors; one where each can see what each other is working on and perhaps even blossom a sprig of an idea into something beautiful (before kicking out time) that can be put in motion to create a superstar filmmaking team. 

In fact as proof of the good work they do, this May there will be three Shorts on Tap screening events, including one which will be held at the prestigious BFI Southbank – “Voices of Africa”. This particular free event is part of Africa Day 2016, a celebration of African culture in London through a programme of stunning works depicting, exploring, deciphering Africa and African culture through the eye of its filmmaking talent. This will be Shorts on Tap’s fifth event of their ROAD MAP series of screenings focusing on foreign culture.read more

An Interview With Director Bruce Webb

Director Bruce Webb

Bruce Webb with DOP Oona Menges; © Nicolas Laborie / Quarry Island Films 2014

Bruce Webb is an award-winning director and producer for the screen. He has recently completed directing his second feature film, Social Suicide, a teen thriller starring Jackson Bews, India Eisley, and Olivia Hussey. His previous feature film The Be All And End All, starring Josh Bolt and Neve McIntosh, won a host of awards at international film festivals. Bruce has also produced or co-produced on numerous award-winning short and feature films, including Frank Oz’s Death at a Funeral. For TV, Bruce was a regular director on Hollyoaks, as well as directing episodes of the CBBC show Dani’s Castle and the BBC1 comedy Little Howard’s Big Question. Bruce is currently directing Red Rock in Ireland, and has numerous feature films in development.

We spoke with Bruce to find out how he came to be a director, what the right way to cast is, and how actors should get in touch with directors and producers (amongst other tricky questions).

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The Working Actor

Paul_ClaytonSome people think I’m a dreadful actor. And they are right. Mercifully, some people think I’m rather good, and, of course, they are right too. The point here is that acting is never something that can be measured quantitatively; it’s always going to be something that’s subjective. We can sit side by side together in the theatre on the same night, watching the same actor in the same play, and we can have widely differing opinions. And that’s great.

But how does that work at the end of three years training and an investment of around £27,000 when you step out into the world? Your drama school doesn’t grade you. It can’t. Even those drama training establishments which are now part of larger educational bodies and offer degree status, mainly award the level of degree on the written work involved in the course, rather than the level of talent. That’s why drama schools offer up their final year students in showcases, knowing that some of these people are probably never going to work.

And the reason? It won’t be anything to do with acting ability. It’ll be a mixture of luck, opportunity, and hard work. Hard work at being a working actor. And when I say a working actor, I don’t mean an actor who acts a lot. I mean an actor who manages their business, and works at it day in and day out, whether acting or not.

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A Chat with An Agent at Conway van Gelder Grant

conway van gelder grantCasting Networks had the chance to interview Neil McNulty, an agent on the commercial side of Conway van Gelder Grant (CvGG), to find out what it’s like to work at such a prestigious agency, with clients at the company such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Helena Bonham Carter, Tuppence Middleton, and Michael Gambon to name a few. We discussed how actors can approach them and some of the good things actors should consider doing. Neil works alongside a team to get his actors in for some very lovely castings with high profile brands and well known casting directors, a delicate job requiring a lot of skill.


Casting Networks: When you’re working for one of the most well known agencies in the country, you must be inundated with actor letters and emails seeking representation. What makes someone stand out to you?

NM: What a tough one to start with. It’s not always what you would think, sometimes it’s a great headshot, or an interesting look, something that we don’t have on the books already. Also I will always take the time to have a look at showreels, as it is the best way to get an idea of the type of performance the actor/actress is capable of giving, and also gives you a feel for them as a performer.

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Because you Cannes Cannes Cannes

It’s nearly time again, the buzz word is Cannes! Every year thousands of hopefuls descend upon Cannes, ready to meet producers, sales agents, see films, walk the red carpet, and more. The lure of one of the most popular and celebrity-studded festivals of the calendar year is too much to ignore.

Having travelled there five times myself, I’m no stranger to the glamour, long nights, sore feet, and champagne only diet. It’s everything it says on the Kellogg’s packet.

Cannes is like being at a stylish party that goes on for three days.

It’s also not for the faint-hearted, so if you’ve decided you absolutely must go, here’s a list of a few things to pack, and to make sure you’ve considered. This list isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re going to be attending as part of a production or a film that is officially entered in the Cannes Film Festival (not the Short Film Corner). However, if you’re a punter wanting to join the excitement for the first time, or you know something you’ve acted in will be in the Marche being sold, this might be your perfect time to sample the unrivaled glamour of a film festival in the south of France.read more

Movie Review: The Witch

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The Witch is a haunting film that eschews cheap jumps and thrills to create a truly harrowing world. The film looks beyond the familiar trappings of the horror genre and instead focuses on family dynamics and the harsh trials endured in 1630’s colonial New England.

At the centre of the story is a deeply devout family who have recently arrived from England. We first meet them as they are cast out of their New England settlement following a religious disagreement. Thrown out into the wilderness, they settle upon the edge of a forest, alone and away from any other form of civilization. This makes for a claustrophobic setting. A pervasive sense of unease is emphasized by Jarin Blaschke’s cinematography using mostly natural light and making effective use of intense close-ups.  read more

Taking the Plunge – Your First Visit to the Cannes Film Festival

By Benjamin Craig

The arrival of May in the film business means one thing – it’s time for Cannes.  The Cannes Film Festival is, of course, synonymous with red carpets, gala screenings, and glamourous parties.  But while celebs are posing for the paparazzi and the auteurs are presenting their latest opuses, the rest of the industry is getting on with its biggest gathering of the year.

Festival aside, Cannes is the world’s largest film market – effectively a giant trade show for the industry.  Buyers and sellers from all over the world come to meet and do deals, and the rest of the industry arrives to take advantage of the fact that pretty much the entire global film industry is in one place for 12 days.

Regardless of which area of the industry you work (or are hoping to work) in, a first time visit to the festival is one of the best introductions you can get to the way the global business works.  The fact that it takes place in a town on the French Riviera is also a bonus.

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