I've been following Breaking Bones Productions and their film PORCELAIN PRESENCE for quite some time now and I've been amazed by their idea and their film ever since I first saw the trailer.
So, today, I'm subjecting you to this psychological thriller (with a horror element of course) with a Q&A with co-directors Chris Jay and Emily Bibb to get all the hot gossip in regards to this amazing feature film.
REI: What inspired the story line of Porcelain Presence? How did the concept come about?
CHRIS: The basic plot of story was written as a university module by Emily Bibb (co-producer & director) then, when I met Emily, the storyline resurfaced and we talked about what we could do to make it even better and make it more of an interesting narrative. The storyline has since changed, drastically – now you probably wouldn't even recognise it as the same film – we've come on leaps and bounds and really developed the story. The main inspiration, behind the title of the film, and the porcelain dolls – came about when we were searching for props in a garage, and we came across a creepy porcelain doll, from then on, we just came up with a lot of ideas and we knew what we wanted to do, we kept the basis of the story but came up with something that had never been done before!
EMILY: When I wrote the basic plot back in university, for a script writing module, I never thought that eventually it would be made into a short film, let alone a feature – I have always loved horrors and thrillers, and when I met Chris we decided that we wanted to twist the story into something more based on events that could happen to anyone. When you watch Porcelain Presence, you can imagine that these people in the neighbourhood of Wickery Dene, are much like people that could be living near you, and the events that happen behind these neighbours closed doors well, that could also be something as you never really know what goes on behind your neighbours closed doors!
REI: Porcelain Presence has been described as a psychological thriller-style film. Are you surprised by how the horror community has embraced the film, claiming it as their own?
CHRIS: I don't think I am surprised to be honest. The reason I say that is because, Porcelain Dolls are something that surprisingly a lot of people do find terrifying (usually to the point where people will refuse to sleep in the same room as them) As the horror genre seeks to scare I think the dolls certainly add an overall creepiness to the film itself, which most could consider to be an horrifying ordeal. Although I wouldn't class the film as a horror in its entirety I do think that Porcelain Presence has some horror elements to it, that could freak the audience out. We did at one point consider whether the film would fit into the psychological horror genre, but we decided to go with psychological thriller because it's fits perfectly.
REI: What was the hardest part of bringing this story to life?
CHRIS: My personal opinion, ensuring that the story made sense as a whole and that the characters were developed well – this for me has been the most difficult task working on this film. We still to this day end up changing the script at times, we're always trying to make it the best we can and we welcome positive changes to the script – we're not naive to believe that everything written has been perfect and so we always strive to make it better, no matter what the cost.
EMILY: I agree with what Chris said, - we’re constantly thinking of new ways to add to the characters and the storyline, to make sure we get it to be the best we can. Something else we have found particularly hard at times is the fact that we have such a small crew working on the film – it’s both good and bad, because we have learnt so much from working on PP, had experience in pretty much all filmmaking roles, but also it has at times been a struggle as having to multi-task can also slow us down. Despite this though, we are very proud of what we’ve achieved with PP, and we hope you all will be too!
REI: Is it true that the original story for Porcelain Presence was suppose to be a 25 minute short movie? What caused the change from a short movie to a feature film?
CHRIS: Yes! Haha! Believe it or not. Basically, when we came up with the concept and wanted to develop it, we realised that there just wasn't enough time to be able to tell the story properly, and for it to make sense. The story, was too complex to be able to tell it naturally and effectively in such a short time. We tried to cut bits out, and tell the story in a different way, but eventually we decided, why the hell no just go all out and tell the story as it's meant to be told. Let's make a feature film! - and then, Porcelain Presence was born.
REI: What are your hopes for the film?
CHRIS: Honestly, I just really hope that people can see how hard we have worked and hope that people support us. If people can see that we're just a two young film-makers trying to achieve our dreams! That's all I want. We never did this film to gain money or anything like that. Myself and Emily are incredibly proud of how far we've come, what we have already achieved and how much we have learnt working on this film – it's been a fantastic experience that I wouldn't change for the world. I've met some incredibly talented people that I will be friends with for life. The fact that it's a completely self funded/independent feature film with no financial backing as well has proven to the both of us that we can do what we set out to achieve it we put our minds to it, and as our first feature film we wouldn't of had it any other way! Here's to the independent film-makers, where passion means everything!
EMILY: Hear hear! Couldn’t have said it better myself! We have gained some fantastic support for Porcelain Presence, and that means the world to us! As young filmmakers, and having such a niche crew that is helping to bring the storyline to life, support means everything, and that’s what we love to see – you might not think it’s much, but every comment or tweet to us saying that someone wants to see Porcelain Presence – that’s what we do this for – so thank you, you’re helping us to achieve our dreams (corny as it sounds haha)
REI: How do you plan to promote the film world wide?
CHRIS: We have a few things coming up in the pipeline that we are working on at the moment, all of which should hopefully enable us to push the film to a wider audience. At the moment it's important to focus our energy's on the independent British film market. However, we have a large following from USA and other places around the world that we will be focusing on too. We have our brand new, OFFICIAL trailer being released in the next few months, which is really exciting, because it's going to show a lot more of the films storyline and it's incredibly creepy!!! we do also have some various marketing strategies to start, so keep your eyes pealed on the Porcelain Presence website (www.porcelainmovie.com)
REI: Could you tell us about the film making process and what was it like to see the dream of Porcelain Presence slowly come to life?
CHRIS: If you had said to me last year that the dream was slowly coming to life, I would have probably said 'yeah right'! It's been a massive struggle to get this far I'm not going to lie, we've had our fair share of obstacles to over come. Some easy, some hard. We started filming, then had to re-shoot everything. Then we altered the script, we've had little money to get props and locations and had to deal with massive continuity issues. The film making process has been hell on earth at times – but we've made it this far, and we've come out on top. We're about 75/80% through filming now and we're fully prepared for the upcoming shoots. It's fantastic to see it get this far, and I'm genuinely really excited to be able to sit down and see the full film from start to finish. Even though, I feel like my life has been all about Porcelain Presence, to the point at times where I feel like having a breakdown ... It's going to be such a great/rewarding moment to sit and watch the finished film.(and a sad one too, because it'll mean it's all over)
EMILY: It’s truly amazing to see it all coming together. Sometimes I can’t help but sit and watch the rough edits of Porcelain Presence over and over again, I’m so psyched with how it’s looking, and even more psyched to be able to show our film to people this year! We’ve had a lot of stressful times (Although that’s probably an understatement) and for the last 2 years Porcelain Presence has basically been our lives. Despite everything that has gone wrong, we’ve managed to come out on top because we’ve come together as a trio (me, Chris and our DoP / co-writer Nic Mills) and ironed any of the films problems out and made it so much better than it was originally intended to be. Like Chris said, it’ll be sad when it’s all over, but I really can’t wait to sit and watch the film too!
REI: What do you feel is the most important aspect of film making?
CHRIS: There's a lot of important aspects, but for me it's all about telling the story. A side, from doing your designated roles to the best of your ability, it's ultimately the story that is going to capture and inspire the audience. The story is what everyone talks about when they watch a film – it's what takes people on a journey of the unimaginable. So that's all us film-makers want to do, tell a story through visual images. I've met a lot of people who are focused on just the cinematography on the a film – and not the story, but for me the story ALWAYS comes first. A good film, has it all, not just one or the other – otherwise you may have amazing camera shots, but your story lacks any dimension and understanding, so you've failed to set out what you tried to achieve in the first place.
EMILY: I can agree there – when you sit and watch a film it’s the storyline that you get lost in, and whilst having brilliant cinematography is definitely a must, if there was no good storyline to accompany it, people wouldn’t want to watch the film. I also feel that one of the most important aspects of filmmaking is having a team that are equally as passionate about their roles as me and Chris;- you could have brilliant actors, brilliant director/producer, brilliant cinematographers, set design, editing, but if just one aspect of these was not done great, for example sound, then you may jeopardize the whole films success. So for me it’s also about having a crew that loves what they do, and are determined to do their role to the best of their ability.
REI: What can eager fans expect to see next from you?
CHRIS: Well at the moment, we are extremely busy on Porcelain Presence but we certainly do have other projects in the pipeline that we're working on(Virgin Media shorts, other feature films) we'll have more information nearer the time about all our newest projects on our twitter pages @chris_jay or @emilybibbfilms or porcelainmovie.com .
EMILY: Yeah, you’ll not be seeing the last of us yet! Haha
REI: Do you have any advice for anyone wishing to follow in your footsteps?
CHRIS: Of course! You don't have to be rich to make a feature film, you just have to have passion for what your doing, inspiration and believe in yourself! Please remember that as independent film-makers it's important to show your support to other independent film-makers. In this current climate to reach our goals, we all have to help each other out. The independent film world is full of budding, creative, talented people who are waiting for their big break/waiting to be found. All to often, I see a lot of people in this industry out for themselves! It wont get you respect. Support others, you'll get support back, and you'll get respect too!
EMILY: I find that a lot of filmmakers still think that you need a million dollar budget to make a feature film, and will use that as an excuse not to make one – If you have the passion and determination, you can make one for next to no money at all! I’ve recently purchased on DVD a horror film called ‘Colin’ which was released in 2009 – on the DVD cover it says “The £45 zombie movie!” - £45! If that doesn’t fill you with inspiration that you can make a feature film, I don’t know what will haha. Begin networking early, and ask around, you may be surprised how many fellow filmmakers will offer their help. (Also, now I probably say this in every interview haha, however I only hope that people will listen) but make sure you begin social networking early for your film – set up a twitter page months before you start a crowd funding campaign, - I read an article somewhere a while ago that said don’t even think about starting a crowdfunding campaign with less that 10,000 followers on Twitter, and whilst this may work for some people, it’s very true – out of however many followers you have, perhaps only a small percentage may take a genuine real interest in your film, so you’re shooting yourself in the foot by crowdfunding, or even worse – releasing your film whether it’s online, DVD distribution etc – with only 100 followers – because who will see your film then?
I would like to personally thank both Chris and Emily for their time regarding this Q&A. I wish them both the best of luck with PORCELAIN PRESENCE and all their future works.