23rd May2018

Interview: Writer/Director Mark A.C. Brown talks ‘Guardians’

by Philip Rogers

Guardians is a new horror-comedy from writer-director Mark A.C. Brown, which has been selected to play at the Southend Film Festival on Saturday 26th May. I got a chance to ask Mark A.C. Brown a few questions about the original concept for the film, the biggest challenges they faced and his favourite scenes to shoot.

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What can we expect from the haunted comedy Guardians?

A lot of laughs and silliness, the odd scare, a bit of dancing, a couple of rashers of bacon all on a bed of hot satire and historical inaccuracy.

Where did the concept for the film come from?

I was trying to think of something I could set in one house and I remembered that a lot of actor friends I had known had been live-in Guardians in these big old houses around London. I thought that, whilst they actors got a lot out of it, like cheap or no rent and lots of space, the organisers were taking a huge chance having these hugely under-qualified people acting as security for valuable properties. So, I decided to write a story centred around two particularly ill-suited people guarding one of these houses and then placing them in peril.

What were your influences for the look and the style of the film?

The house itself is the biggest influence. I live in the place, so I was all too aware of its cinematic potential. All the spooky windows and strange sounds, the slightly skewed architecture, décor and the lack of space.  All these went into shaping the look of the film and how we would shoot it.

As an independent filmmaker working on a budget, what were your biggest challenges whilst filming Guardians?

Lack of time. We shot in 10 days and around peoples working lives and so were blasting through 10-13 pages a day. It was a constant battle to get the coverage required. We had to make a few sacrifices along the way, but we managed to do it. Actors knowing their stuff, Joe Starrs our 1st AD being incredibly organised and Suzanne Smith our DOP’s efficiency were what got us through.

What was one of your favourite scenes to film?

The shower scene was hilarious to shoot. Mainly because of everyone’s surprise at Matt Prendergast’s comfort being naked and David Whitney’s discomfort at being that close to it. And the final scene of the film which was the final scene we shot. It was great to get out of the house and have a bit of scope. And because of various inconveniences I had to re-write on the fly and so to get it in the bag was very satisfying and a relief.

Do you have any new projects which you are working on?

The Guardians team are currently working on my new script Limpet, which I am going to direct. It’s a Horror/Comedy set in Whitby in North Yorkshire. I grew up around there so I kind of feel like it’s shooting in the Guardians house but on a larger scale. And I have three scripts in development with various people including Coldfell with producer and Southend native James Rumsey (My Feral Heart 2016)).

If someone is looking to direct their first film, what advice would you give them?

Surround yourself with as many good people as you can afford. Particularly a great cast, 1st AD and DOP. As I said, time is always an issue on low-budget filmmaking so if someone (1st AD) can organise your schedule so you have enough time for the talent to make it look good and well-acted it’s more than half the battle. And prepare as much as you can. Know what you want but be ready to change it at the drop of a hat because it’ll happen at least once a day. So, if you flounder you waste time and damage the film.


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Guardians will be playing at the Southend Film Festival on Saturday 26th May at 6pm. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets for the Southend Film Festival please see the website for details: https://www.southendfilmfestival.com/

Guardians-poster-quad

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