Actors Stories Latest

Lee Preston : The moment I learnt producers deserve respect

Well, creating “Shadows” has been incredibly interesting from day one! In this, I’ll give a basic summary of the craziest parts on this journey, otherwise we could write a magazines worth of material on the full story.

So originally, Shadows wasn’t even meant to be a film! It was actually just a showreel piece which I had written for myself as I wasn’t satisfied with my showreel at the time. After a couple pages, I really got into the characters and the story that could be involved. I also thought, if someone ever asked “what’s that piece from” then I couldn’t say anything as it isn’t a film… Hence I decided to continue the process and created the full script.

The film was also originally called “PLEASE Don’t Go” which was a reference line in the film by Luke, played by Thomas Land. So once these were in place, I knew I had to get it checked since I didn’t want this to be awful! This quickly became my baby and passion.

I got in touch with some good friends/international celebrity Brandyn Cross in particular who I asked to review the script. Not only did he love it but he gave me so much information and loads of tips, ideas, twists and turns… And a real understanding of the skill behind script writing.

After a few more (12) drafts, I approached successful actor and filmmaker Frank Ryan who very kindly accepted to read my film and give me more tips. This is a man who reads about 60+ scripts a year! We met for a drink and he read my script, and to his admitted surprise, he loved it too! He told me he was surprised with my “level of character depth and skill of writing technique with a solid but unique plot line, especially for my age”. So after a few pointers and notes to change, he told me he was going to direct the film, since the film resonated with him so much due to his recent cancer.

Sounds like a good start right? This is when I learnt, producers DESERVE respect. This, hands down, is THE hardest job in the entertainment industry. With limited funding resources due to being 17 and therefore nobody trusts me (which is fair enough), I had to resort to crowd funding and I can’t say thanks anymore to those who supported me! Major shout outs to Eaglestone Management, Tyler Kerr, Betty Simpson and Tracey Preston. I raised £600! I had to work hard for this though considering the first third of the process, I had £0 and wasn’t til I realised how wrong I had gone about this. Another fantastic lesson learned.

Skip forward to production. We had 4 days planned for filming, 2 days each week. All cast and crew sorted… Well… Technically. Unfortunately the first 2 filming days saw 4 dropouts both on the days before and one the day! So sorting this out literally last minute was a challenge I hadn’t signed up for… But another great learning curve to go over and I’m actually glad it happened now. We also ran over on both the first 2 days by over 2 hours!

So after, a tough week, we looked at the BTS shots (behind the scenes) which hit another disaster. Unfortunately, many of the shots had not come out good at all.

BUT after a couple crew adjustments (role changing, not dropping) we went into week 2 strong and after learning alot from week 1, I don’t think we could of been more prepared! A strange feeling really, but good one.

Both filming days saw interesting challenges again, but were dealt with so well! Day 3 came with heavy showers! And yep, they were exterior shots too! But thankfully, we worked with the weather and not only got everything filmed but we even finished an hour and a half early! This brought alot of joy and positivity back to everyone.

Day 4 and final filming day gave us a couple issues of finding the hidden venue but besides this, we won the day over and finished, once again, an hour and a half early! And I couldn’t of wished for much better cast and crew! The stills and BTS shots look awesome too!

So the film is now in post production with director Frank Ryan and editor James Hinchliffe. The poster is being worked on by Ben Pearson who also did BTS and a bit of sound. And alot of creativity and fun on set was brought by Rob Blackburn and Caitlin Sutton (DOP and camera operator). Of course there was an amazing full set of crew too, which is too long to name now but I just want it to be known that trust and respect is a beautiful thing and I’ve found that through this process, I have a lot of supportive and incredible filmmakers as friends who I couldn’t thank more for helping me and Shadows on our journey. Hopefully the trailer will be out soon too. Please check out the Facebook page

Anthony trained as an Actor at one of the North's most prestigious theatre training Universities Bretton Hall. Having a successful career Performing, Producing and Directing Theatre, Musical Theatre and Theatre In Education, he went on to follow another passion as a Headshot Photographer however his heart truly remains on stage.

Leave a Reply