Liam Calvert is a Southampton based filmmaker and long-time friend of City Eye. On graduating from Solent University's film and television undergraduate course, and a postgraduate degree in film production, he has worked with City Eye on a number of productions and projects, including Southampton Film Week. We are delighted to share news of Liam's progress as an independent filmmaker and of his current film project '1 in 6'.
This year, I decided to direct my first film as a fully independent filmmaker, without the backing and equipment of Solent university where I studied. I knew it would be a challenge, but I looked forward to it as a chance to test myself as a filmmaker in the real world.
My first step was choosing the right project. I have a small catalogue of short film scripts and ideas that I've written over the years, but I wanted something engaging and dramatic but also small scale and attainable on what would no doubt be a low budget. I decided to pick up again on an idea I'd had at university about two people trapped in a room during a zombie apocalypse after they've both been bitten by zombies. With only two actors and one location over one day I was confident it would be straightforward to make. I developed the script a little further with the help of a co-writer I've worked with a few times, then sent it to a producer friend I met at university, Emma. She loved it, so we agreed to work together and started pre-production on '1 in 6'.
The first, crucial step was to find actors willing to work on a low budget short. Emma and I placed casting calls on Mandy.com and backstage.com, and after asking the applicants to send in self tapes, we narrowed the shortlist down to around five actors for each of the main roles. We held a day of zoom auditions where we met the actors and had a read through of the script, and from there we found our leads; Tom Keely as the logical and cautious Eric, and Callum McGregor as the alpha male Ryan. With the two actors locked in, I then got in touch with the other crew we would need, mostly people I had met through university, such as a production designer to build the post-apocalyptic location, SFX artist to create the zombie bites, and a Director of Photography to capture the story. Finding a location hasn't been easy, but thankfully a local pub is allowing me to use the disused flat above.
Probably the biggest challenge throughout the project, however, was the budget. I've put some money in myself, and Emma and I looked for grants and funding, but sadly there's not a lot of support for grass-roots filmmaking, which is often reserved for projects of a much bigger scale or those with a much more politically or socially minded film. So, we decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign, and have had a very generous response from friends and family. We are confident that we can move into production on this modest budget but are still hoping to attract further funds in order that we can achieve everything we set out to do.
We're shooting the film on the weekend of the 12th and 13th of March, and I can't wait to get started! Keep up with the production on my Instagram @LiamCalvertFilms, and the crowdfunding campaign is online at https://gofund.me/dda6ddf9. Thank you all for reading!