Alongside my animation writing, I'm lucky enough to play in the live-action world as writer / director. Tim Clague and I teamed up, Coen brothers style, to write, produce and direct the live-action family film Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? (*cough* available now, starring Bonnie Wright - Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter!). It was such a fun and productive experience, we've continued Nelson Nutmeg Pictures to specialise in live-action family content across film, games and TV.
We've just finished our second live-action family film, an exciting sci-fi for kids 8-12yrs. It's called Future TX about two kids who get their first mobile phones but they get a call from someone who says he's from the future, and he needs the kids' help if the world's going to survive. Starring Griff Rhys Jones (comedy legend!), Catriona Knox (Bandersnatch!), Christos Lawton (The Terror!) and our two fab leads Arran Kemp & Adele Congreve.
As we finalise the post-production on Future TX, we're currently in pre-production on a live-action pre-school show we've created called Dog Years, about a dog's life-lessons that he learns while growing up with his human family. We're very excited about this one, and we're due to start filming next month.
The difference between writing for animation and writing/making live-action is that you're obviously more limited in scale and scope with real-life filmmaking (unless you have a generous budget). We've made our live-action escapades on a micro-budget so far, but we try to put a lot of heart and ambition in each project so that the budget compliments the stories rather than detracts from the entertainment value.
We had a screening of Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg at Cineworld Poole recently for a fresh new audience of kids who were too young to watch when the film first came out, but who are now the ideal age (6-9yrs). They absolutely loved the film! It was a refreshing reminder to us that the film is a big success with the target audience, and something we should continue to shout about (however, the cost & effort of reaching the target audience is what creates the challenge, especially as we get focused on other pressing projects). The film's on Facebook if you want to check out more!
In industry news, there's a new Young Audiences Content Fund from the BFI, which will help stimulate live-action and animation projects in the UK, so that should be interesting, and something perhaps we can tap into as we continue our nutty live-action endeavours.