"I'm a Derek...and Derek's don't run."


Feel free to join me............

Monday, 2 January 2017


Bit late but still in the the boundary of being relevant. So here are my favourite flicks from 2016 in no particular order.

Check out my 2014 and 2015 lists if you're that inclined.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Gareth Edwards
Arrival - Denis Vilneueve
Deepwater Horizon - Peter Berg
Cat Sick Blues - Dave Jackson
Blood Father -  Jean-Francois Richet
De Palma - Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow
Anthropoid - Sean Ellis
Hell or High Water - Dave McKenzie
The Neon Demon - Nicolas Winding Refn
The Nice Guys - Shane Black
The Jungle Book - Jon Favreau
The Witch - Robert Eggers
High Rise - Ben Wheatley
Deadpool - Tim Miller
The Revenant - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
The Hateful Eight - Quentin Tarantino
Green Room - Jeremy Saulnier
Don't Breathe - Fade Alvarez
The Shallows - Jaume Collet-Serra

The Purge: Election Year - James DeMonaco

Needs some more variety so will definitely be seeking out more foreign language for 2017.

Thursday, 22 December 2016



July 2016. We started shooting. An intense 2 days where all the planning, ideas, etc collide. To me, the rehearsals and planning to the smallest detail meant everything. We had hours just talking about the characters, rehearsals to give an idea of the feel to the film, the visuals to give the ideas of the design, leading up to the shoot so everyone was on the same page. It helps immensely when you have to think fast, make changes, and answer questions.

Two 14 hour days. Little food (don’t worry, everyone else got fed) but some of the best memories of getting back onto a film set and creating. And it looks fucking good. While I'm sure everyone who worked on it felt like they could do better (you shouldn't be satisfied with anything) I can assure you they knocked it out of the park and I couldn’t ask for any more.

Absorb. Working on production for 6 months I needed to take a step back before diving into the edit. Truthfully, it felt daunting so I kept putting it off. I had to watch every take, listen to every sound take, then piece together the puzzle.

First thing that came to mind is re-writing the movie in the edit. Non-linear structure had to go. Reason? Straight away it needed focus on the main character. Also, the flashback structure felt old to me, clich├ęd. Additionally, the opening just didn’t fit, didn’t breathe. This was a struggle I've had with it - the ability to let the film breathe.

20 minutes. 13 minutes. As usual, the assembly edit is always longer. Everything went in to it but specifically the character breaks - the pauses between responses. When you have good actors delivery good performances, you don't really want to cut things down. So you find the go-between while trying to keep the essence of what makes the scene, the conflicts, work. This was the most important part of the edit as it’s the key to the whole thing. 

Some people may say it’s the action scenes sell it...well, they were, to put it bluntly, a piece of piss to edit.  You learn from everything you do. I think a big strong point of my editing, or even the way I shoot and storyboard, is that I know the components to make an action scene. Sure, the odd points of trying to find that shot you didn't quite get into a sequence is tough, but overall the music videos and shorts I've done in the past feel like they've gave me a good sense for action and cuts.

Music is the key. I always knew who I wanted to do the score for the film and got them involved straight away. It basically fits like hand to glove, but it wasn't plain sailing. The mix wasn't up to the composers standards and also took some unsupervised turns in tone. Basically going from a dark atmospheric mood piece to a Moby knock-off - yes, it sounds eclectic.  But it was all salvageable with a few quick sessions to beef up the gaps to create what I think is a unique score that has heart and theme - something I don’t feel most short films have.

So is it finished?  You'll have to wait. There's a few surprises to go before its ready. Am I happy?  Until I get a response...no. Content is probably a word I’d like to use as I don't think it’s a mess (harsh but fair). Would I do it again?  Of course. But with more help.

Go check out the trailer.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016


Oh hello there. Bet you thought I decided to ditch the whole blog idea?  Not a chance.  Reason being?  It’s been a busy mofo of a year, so what better time to review the whole year and work load at the tail-end of 2016.

What you'll read is the attempt to get a short film made, festival runs, meetings, and I'll throw some films in at the same time. Hope you enjoy.


So first thing first...my short movie.

December 2015. Application thrown in for the Creative England BFI Ishorts funding. Why not, hey? It’s free. Did I learn from the last time i did it? Nope. Did I try?  Yeah. I needed a producer, a bit of clout. But sadly, and not entirely their fault as they actually got the funding, it didn’t work out.

Well, time to basically put up or shut up. No one is going to just give you money to make your little flight of fancy, so why don't you do it yourself?

January 2016. Plan was in motion. Saving, planning, schedules, different avenues to go down. Crowdfund or not? Mindfield. So what you have to do is just listen to people. Lay out the plan, your problems, and where you want to go then listen to what people have to say. It’s then your informed decision. Whether it falls on its arse or not at least you listened and you made your decision. As this was happening I was still writing and refining the script. I was watching shorts, figuring what worked, what didn’t, and above all what I really like.

Tracks in place but I'm still building the train. I get writer friends to look at the script - genre fans and non-genre fans - just to get the feeling that the core ideas and themes worked. Script was non-linear too, a problem I felt that was down to the amount of information and character work within a short 10 minute time frame. But while doing this I was thinking two steps ahead. I needed visuals, pre-production material just to give people that idea of the project I'm was trying to do.

This then tumbled into a juggling act of re-writes, visuals, and locking down a location. My thinking was to lock a location then everything will fall around it as that is your safety net. It gives you an end game for your production, something people can free themselves to work on as you have that concrete date. 

Which leads down to casting. There’s only a general net you can cast with independent films, so unless you've got the money to get the talent you have to put the graft in. Luckily enough I happened to find people that were a cut-above what I thought I could even draw to the film, but the graft was still needed. I met every actor and talked to them about the project, what I wanted from it, and where I think it could go just so they could be heavily invested as much as I was. This is where your script, your vision, and your planning comes in as they're tangible aspects people can invest in.

The same applies to the crew. As this was a low budget affair, you have to get picky with who you want to get what you need. You also have to try and get the best people. As with the cast side of the production, I was lucky to get some amazingly talented people.  This was not without a few panic moments (3 make-up artists), but these things can be fixed with a bit of time, perseverance, and knowing what you want (the end game).

July 2016. We started shooting. 


Sunday, 6 March 2016


Yo! Just a quick update on a couple of things over the last few weeks.

Big releases for the bands I've made music videos for showcasing their new albums.


The band dropped with first album 'RISE UP' on the 19th February. And yes, while I could be very biased about it, I still like to think I know bad music from good.  As for this album?  Its a belter full of riffs and energy.  It's a must listen if you're a fan of Pearl Jam, Black Sabbath, and Alice in Chains.  The band are tight, the songs well written, and chock full of great riffs.

I'm genuinely happy with the work I did for the band.  I tried to give them something new and original than the usual rock music videos, to try and show the energy the songs have while being visually arresting to the viewer.

I honestly feel the band can take that next step and hopefully get signed up.  So if you like any of the videos and more importantly the music, show some love and buy the album from the links below to help em out and keep them going.

Buy on iTunes
Buy the CD

Follow the guys below -

And here's my contribution below.  You can check out behind the scenes photo's and promotional guff over on our FACEBOOK page.

Next up - MERRIN

I've known the band since my University days and see them go from strength to strength.  Their second EP is called 'MIDNIGHT MOVIES' that was released 1st March.

Again, could not be more impressed.  In the genre of bands that emerge from movie soundtracks of the 80's heavily influenced by Tangerine Dream, John Carpenter, Goblin, MERRIN have moved up a gear with this album.

The album is more focused and balanced than their previous release 'DOOM CINEMA'.  With the added percussion and synth arrangements widening the scope, the album has a lot of prog-rock influences behind it with the likes of Mogwai being a major influence for me.

As for my input you can read about the history HERE.  It's a video that is dirty, grimy, and not for everyone as it's very uncomfortable. This is something that fits the band and the new album, especially with the redux version of the song Henry Kane.

Again, show the band some love and pick up a copy of the album.  And for you budding filmmakers, if you love the sound and want them to work on your films, give them a shout!

Follow them here -

Here's some publicity from SLAUGHTERED BIRD too

Enjoy the video!

Stay tuned for more new updates for a few projects we've got lined up!

See ya on the flip side...Danny

Saturday, 6 February 2016


Howdy folks!

Nice surprise this week in regards to a little favourite of mine.

The music video for Henry Kane by MERRIN has been re-released! Revamped!

Check out a little background and festival runs in previous blogs (HEREHEREHERE, and HERE)

Overall, I'm such a massive fan of the music that I just had to post about where it started to where it is now.  Also, I've been meaning to update the Facebook page with behind the scenes info about my work, so what better time to start?


I originally approached the band (Chris Purdie) as he was gigging in London around 2012. He was recording a few songs for an EP and I asked if he had a song I could play around with.  He threw 'Henry Kane' at me and said "have fun"

So off I went and shot the thing solo over a few months, generally playing around and thinking of creepy/strange imagery.  Influenced by Michael Mann's 'Manhunter' and  David Fincher's 'Girl with a Dragon Tattoo' opening credit sequence, the tone was set.

After shooting a load of footage and jumping into editing, a story began to emerge that brought the whole thing to life. The run-through of following a murderer and getting inside his head as he commits a crime gave me a goal over the runtime.  

The Goblin-inspired song added to the already disturbing sense of fear through the 7 minute piece. There was a deliberate slow pace and pay off - a beginning, middle (a trippy one), and end -  that hopefully made you feel you went through an "experience".

That was then.

Now, in 2016, it's taken to another level.

A few years later and the song has added more from a composition stand point.   It's now a John Murphy/Goblin/John Carpenter/Mogwai fused monster.  Chris said it's took him years to finally nail the song (the drums taking the song to a definitive place) and it really feels that way.

It's given the video a new life.  The visuals still embrace the song but now it has more urgency imposed on to it.  The video as a whole feels unsafe, less trippy, and something that's hard to watch as the tension through the narrative builds.  It now has a thriller-pace to it much like a closing or opening credit sequence that inspired the video in the first place.

I'm very proud of the video as it's pretty effective.  The song as it is now is better, more complete, and has a clear style that the band has perfected.  I'm happy its a part of the new EP 'Midnight Movies' and I hope it helps give it more exposure.

To pre-order the new EP and show some support, head over to the below:


'Midnight Movies' will be released 1st March 2016.  

See ya on the flip side...Danny

Monday, 28 December 2015

The Wind-down Part 2 - FILMS OF 2015


It's also been the month of FESTIVALS and QnA's! Most notably the Widescreen Weekend at the Bradford Film Museum and the big horror fest in Sheffield, Celluloid Screams!

I rocked up to the final day of the Widescreen Weekend to meet a buddy who's a regular to the festival. He was in it for the long haul and went to pretty much every screening and talk there - projectionists, award winning FX artists etc.

The big hitter was a presentation by the legendary Douglas Trumbull. If you don't know who Doug Trumbull is, get educated. '2001', 'Blade Runner', 'Close Encounters', 'Silent Running'...this guy was the FX supervisor. So yeah, he's kinda a big deal. Shit, he even turned Star Wars down (as you do). Along with the 70mm screening of '2001 A Space Odyssey', he presented a talk about his work, film in general, and what he sees the future of film as a medium.

Thoroughly fascinating in a pure nerdist sense, it was an eye opener. The man himself couldn't be a kinder gent. A class act.

Up next was the annual horror jaunt Celluloid Screams. An absolute treat of a weekend it was too. A good mix of great and not-so-great movies, shorts, and general bollocks talking over gallons of ale.

Opening night was a great night with three flicks that ranged from terrible (The Invitation), to sublime (Goodnight Mommy), to the batshit crazy (Yakuza Apocalypse). It also showcased Andy Stewart's new short film 'Remnant'. See last years BLOG on his excellent short film 'INK' just to remind you on how much of a great talent the feller is.

'Remnant' itself is a showcase of the filmmaker trying to stretch himself but still keeping a signature style. The short lingers long after it finishes and has a gritty, bile-tinted visual style that unsettles for the runtime.

Capping it all off, I got to get drunk with some good guys, hang out with the legendary Graham Humphreys, the ladies from Arrow Video. Also, a shout out to Ben Stiener and Michael Wallin (quiet Nordic nutter and FX guy).


As for this years movie intake? Well...compared to last year, it's been poor. Check out last years blog HERE

The list of my faves is shorter, and the quality isn't as high (minus a few choice flicks), and the majority are Documentaries.

QnA for 'The Wolfpack' with director Crystal Moselle and Angulo brothers

Black Mass - Scott Cooper
Steve Jobs - Danny Boyke 
Yakuza Apocalypse - Takeshi Miike
Goodnight Mommy - Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala
Sicario - Denis Villeneuve
Straight Outta Compton - F. Gary Grey
The Man from U.N.C.L.E - Guy Ritchie
Maggie - Henry Hobson
Mission Impossible Rouge Nation - Chris McQuarrie
Electric Boogaloo; Story of Canon Films - Mark Hartley
Jurassic World - Colin Trevorrow
Mad Max Fury Road - George Miller 
Cobain: Montage of Heck - Brett Morgen
The Wolfpack - Crystal Moselle

Oh, no Star Wars: The Force Awakens???? Well, yeah. It wasn't the flick I signed up for if I'm honest.

Also, your Revanant's and Hateful Eight's will rock out in January, so I'll bunch them in with 2016 list.

Here's to next year. Hopefully it'll improve. I'm sure it will as a new Shane Black flick is out.