We Do What We Can...
But at some point you end up sitting on a street, with all your belongings, with your mother, with your wife and with your new child right?
No, not me either. What I can say is that sometimes your parents can tell you stories that will change the way you see them.
That this film came out of reflections on the fact that - once upon a time -two twenty-something-year-old newlywed immigrants had a child when they didn’t have a place to live.
What will it be like?
This is a story told visually. It’s light on dialogue. It doesn't dictate what the audience should think. Rather I hope that having the actors respond honestly to what’s going on will give the audience something to respond to - an exercise I hope will encourage them to feel their way through the story and to see their own experiences or that of people they know within it.
We’re following two people in partnership - people who know what they have to do and are getting on with doing it. As a result much of the communication is non-verbal.
Sure, but who are you?
Hi, I’m Kwaku and I am the writer & director of We Do What We Can.
Having worked in theatre, TV and film for over 10 years after film school and having made such films as ....
I'll stop there. This is the first film I’ve directed and I’ve had no prior experience - save holding a boom on a friend’s short and recording a mock rap video (moving swiftly on).
I’ve wanted to make a film for a long time but talked myself out of it with the usual excuses – it’s for someone else to do, you didn’t go to school for it, you’re not the right type of person etc. My background being in finance and law, the last one was probably most appropriate. I didn’t think this was something I would get to do.
That said there are only so many times you can book a day off work to binge watch movies you’ve been reading about or skip work drinks to read scripts before you have to have a frank discussion with yourself.
So rather than talk about it any longer I started writing. Fast forward a few months and after a few short scripts I’m writing something I think will sell. I thought it would be smarter to focus on predicting what audiences would want rather than to build out a point of view …and naturally, I was wrong.
In the midst of my frustration with this - and some pretty awful drafts later - I sat down to write We Do What We Can. Something short, something from my point of view and something unlikely to get made unless I made it. I wrote it as something I would maybe use to find my way around a camera, it certainly wasn’t something I thought could happen, but then I met the team....
Got Wood?... One Idiot + No Money = One Structure. The Journey:
Producer: Max Ross
Do not be fooled by the name. Max Ross is a female force of nature I met by chance at the BFI. Upon sending her the script, she expressed her love for the project and with that the production started. Max started her career as a runner for Future Film Group, getting an insight into film production, which covered everything from Film Finance and Legal Procedures to Post Production and Marketing. From there she made her way to become a multi–talented producer, producing for various established talent in multimedia productions including Photography, Music Videos, Digital Commercials and Short Films.
Cinematographer: Nathalie Pitters
Nathalie was the right person for the project from the start. Fresh out of the London Film School, training as a DOP, after 9 years of experience in photography. Nathalie had a great eye matched by her love for capturing images. There is nowhere she wouldn’t stand, climb or crawl into to get a shot. Her stamina and sheer hard headedness were a marvel and it was inspiring to watch someone so passionate and so skilled work so hard. We are lucky to have her and she will provide her expertise as we go into the post production stage to maintain the integrity of the look and vision of the project.
Production Designer: Ed Borastero
I asked this man to do something ridiculous and he went far past that. I met him 4 years ago in a hostel in San Francisco with a few ideas of what I wanted to make but nothing material. I don’t know what he was doing at the time, probably looking for work as a Jack Kerouac impersonator.... But we stayed in touch. Fast forward 4 years and I’m being told that there were elements of the set that couldn’t be done without VFX. However, I strongly felt that, for the sake of the actors and the audience, they had to be real. When I came up against the many obstacles to achieving this I remembered that Ed told me he was a carpenter. It turns out he undersold this. Greatly. You can have an idea but seeing someone bring it to life is a whole other experience.
1st Assistant Director: Kwame Lestrade
Our resident film whisperer. A man who has been in the film industry for more years than he’ll tell me. He arrived on set in his 1980’s Land Rover with 100% of the kit we needed. He made all of Franklyn Lane’s equipment available to us, he ferried people back and forth, picked up a camera to find shots and was present with experience and understanding throughout. It just wouldn’t have happened without Kwame. He was both partner and teacher. Someone I could have honest discussion with and who was always motivated to solve problems when they arrived.
Sound: Cassandra Rutledge
At the last minute of production, we got the great news that we had a Sound Recordist on board. We had no idea how lucky we were until she showed up. Cassandra Rutledge arrived on set with a full professional kit, driven only by the love of the project. Her work is superb and her dedication exemplary. She has such a strong understanding of her craft and an unwavering passion that fuelled it. After meeting her at a short film open mic night, I had no idea she would be the person to come through and save us in our midnight hour.
Lead Male: Ben Sarpong
Ben came highly recommended by the Producer, Max, and after various readings I understood why. He works incredibly hard. He was full of ideas and full of questions. I’ve heard and dismissed stories of good actors changing rooms when they start reading. I won’t do that again. In addition to this he was always motivated, always easy going and always upbeat. I had complete trust in him and it would have been very difficult to do this kind of film under these kind of conditions without that. He pulled off a nuanced and honest performance and gave more every time he was called upon. He was an inspiration.
Lead Female: Mary Nyambura
Mary was an instantaneous choice for the part. She added a dimension to the character that I hadn't imagined. She was exciting to watch, I was excited to talk with her, I was excited to explore her character, and she just kept getting better. It was both a physically and emotionally taxing role but she just kept finding more and more to give. She was a perfect collaborator; never holding anything back and repeatedly raising the standard. Mary also writes and directs her own films. She is also an avid sports climber and aims to continue to travel for climbing and incorporate film into this as well.
For the usual reasons and then some. My parents put us up and my wider family, uncles and aunts - both those by blood and by friendship - cousins and friends, supported the entire production. Some helped on set, some helped behind the scenes, most notably by throwing a massive BBQ for the crew and extras. When we got back after a day’s shoot there were 30 odd people in the house with warm expressions and food to fill everyone 3 times over.
And that’s not all folks:
There are also others (too many to mention), that I cannot thank enough who gave up time to support me on my first short film. The shoot was not glamorous at all and was met with great challenges, but I could not have wished for a better team. They worked through it and kept up the momentum right until we wrapped.
Where we are now:
We shot the film! As you’ll see from the videos above, the story of making the film was pretty similar to the story of the film itself. A lot of favours were done, we got by on what we had and people who could help appeared when we needed them to. We made it through with incredible dedication from cast and crew and it wouldn’t have happened without their experience and tenacity. We now have all the footage we need and what I want to do is ensure we deliver a film that reflects the hard work that has gone into it thus far.
I’m interested in atypical stories from people you don’t get to hear from often. Effectively stories you have to make yourself if they’re ever going to get made. Kickstarter gives people the opportunity for people to make those kind of stories and for the people interested in those stories to play a part in bringing them about.
Why does that matter to you?
If I can be real? (be real son!) I think people are informed by the stories they have about themselves and that if you don’t tell your own stories people will tell them for you. When they do you will find that you are represented only in relation to how you fit into their narratives. No shots fired, I promise. Kickstarter is particularly great for finding a community of people interested in seeing an unconventional idea realised. Its therefore perfect for helping people tell stories that don’t often get told. Using the unique collective nature of Kickstarter I want to finish a unique film.
Contributing to this film will mean you want to be part of making this happen. As a result, there is no small amount, just tokens that you’re on board and want to see what we’ve made. All of which would be greatly (greatly!) appreciated. You will have got us there and for that we’ll be eternally grateful. Hopefully you feel rewarded in knowing that without you we would not have made the film.
What the money will be spent on?
We have begged and borrowed, squeezed £2 out of every £1 and emptied all the change from our sofas to fund this production. It was a passion project for all and not one person took their usual fee to make it. Having called in every favour we can, there are now unavoidable costs in front of us in post-production. This is the stage where the film will be prepared for viewing by YOU! Your generous donations will contribute to what is arguably the most important part of the process. In particular the donations will go towards the following:
- Colour Grading - £350
- Music - £300
- Sound Design & Track Lay - £350
- Sound Mix - £450
- Deliverables - £400
- Festival Submissions - £650
- TOTAL = £2,500
The plan and project goals:
If all goes to plan, we aim to have the film completed and ready for the 2017 festival run. We will send to festivals both big and small to make sure we reach as wide an audience as possible.
For every amount that you donate, you also get some fun rewards as a “Thank You.” The bigger the pledge, the bigger the reward. It’s an all-or-nothing method though, meaning that if this campaign doesn’t raise £2,500 from donations by 11th February 2017, the film won’t receive any money and you won’t be charged a penny. Unfortunately, you also won’t get the rewards. The rewards are listed along the right side of this page and every pound we raise that exceeds our goal will only increase the resources and production value of the finished product. Every bit counts!
How else can you help? Share us!
If you're not able to donate, please do spread the word! ‘Like’ us on Facebook, share the link on Twitter, tell your friends and family about it. Make some noise about it! This film absolutely needs your help to get finished and released. Thank you so much for visiting this page and considering us. If you have any questions or just want to say hello, please feel free to contact us. We love to hear from any supporters or prospective supporters alike!
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk is that after all this work, the release date is significantly delayed or that we never get a final film.
I won't soon forget the dedication shown by the team or the complications surmounted, lucky breaks or near misses involved in getting us to this point. As a result, I am committed to making sure everyone’s work is honoured. If this campaign is successful, the post production will produce a film that reflects the level of work they put in and that makes the film they worked so hard for a reality.
There are many stages of post-production - music, score, colour grading and other wonderful things, that will help take the film to the next level and with your help we’ll get there.
£2,500 is the basic minimum to be able to get the film done and submitted. Anything raised above this goal will be used to improve the overall project quality and create a solid marketing plan which will maximize our reach to a national and international audience.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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