The Grey Hinterlands
Each production company or individual will fill in their own parenthesis.

The Grey Hinterlands was conceived as a film where process governed the proceedings, changed the story, affected the acting and exaggerated all the filmmaking elements, until it transformed it’s ‘image’ into something ‘real’.

    I think if I describe where the film came from it may help in understanding my enthusiasm about the techniques and their gravity.

   After finishing my 3rd feature, an art-house film called Spoken By Crowds, I felt that I could do no larger no-budget film and that I had learnt a lot up until now about the craft. What was my next step? I had a couple of scripts that would need a budget of a million plus but I had a couple of outlined scripts that were very experimental (for me anyway, for you the description below may sound tame). My decision was to proceed with both. To search the studios and councils for a budget while setting the ground work for the experimental film that gave me the greatest excitement. I needed to mess up anything I had learnt up until now. I wanted every element of the filmmaking process to be either exaggerated or turned on its head. And so, The Grey Hinterlands was conceived, firstly as a few images or sequences that were set in grey places: a street curb, an elevator, a car park, under a large bypass bridge, wastelands.
   Secondly and in parallel to the grey images were three actors I had worked with on Spoken By Crowds. Three gentlemen with theatrical backgrounds and, grey being the theme and with certain intuitions about the poetics, I saw a film that would in some way turn into a play. At this stage however it wasn’t clear how.

There needed to be some rules (although I don’t like the idea of them being adhered to 100%) that gave such an experimental piece some glue and a filter that made a jigsaw puzzle fit together even though the pieces were not necessarily from the same box.
These rules or poetics have many unknowns entities and outcomes, but for me this was a necessity in its creation. This unknown was however the reason why I had to postpone my own version of The Grey Hinterlands. So my article here is to invite any filmmakers to use these poetics and rules above and below in making their own version of The Grey Hinterlands (…). This in itself is a huge experiment for me. Giving an outline, throwing a pebble, and seeing what kind of splash might occur.



     What to do with it?
The film finished, the dialogue and sound transcribed into a play, an interesting language grafted together, a film unlike any other made. . . . . What to do now? Well I would love to collect all Grey Hinterlands together and I think any person involved who wished to write about the processes might find that a collection of thoughts about a way of filmmaking would be compiled at the conception rather than simply by critics of the future. How wonderful would it be to have a collection of films, a collection of essays poems or articles and a collection of plays under this title The Grey Hinterlands (…).

The manuscripts can be passed around theatre companies and universities, the films can do festival circuits depending on the verve and talent of the company or individual involved but I think all in all a way of making a film that fucks up ones way of making film and plays, will have been conceived by all involved and that is quite a splash.
A Personal NB:
Knowing that the film was going to be a play, transformed it’s ‘image’ into something ‘real’, it did certain things to me as a filmmaker. I began storyboarding with the theatre in mind. The art direction for both disciplines began to intertwine. As mentioned above, I felt that I could draw on a window wherever I liked in post, which would give that breaking of film reality and give a theatrical feel to the picture, the script had potential jokes that could be demonstrated better on stage in front of a live audience. I started to think of using microphone on the stage, building sets that resembled film’s poetics and using film poetics in a more theatrical way, lighting, composition, acting style. Everything became blended and exaggerated spiraling up and up into what should have been an amazing experiment and experience.

This spiraling up, this experiment, was so abstract and hard to delineate, that at this moment in time, I had to put off the production. This project has an inventionary/visionary element to it and needed more energy and time than I knew before embarking on it and so I will prepare for it in the future, when the time is right. The Grey Film is an experiment that other filmmakers, with enough energy and integrity, and with the right cast and crew, could make their own. There is so much scope that I would love to see others spiral up and up and if they or you find the form and poetics drawn out above worthy of taking on, please contact me and tell me what you’re going to do. If I can be of any help please don’t hesitate in contacting me through