Shadowing is a thrilling crime film, that keeps you in suspense throughout. It entails the story of two journalists, investigating the death of a friend. They break into a suspects house, and you guessed it, things don’t go to plan.
I sat down with Director Zak Syed to discuss his new film. This project’s journey began with Zak posting an advert on various social media sites for crew members. Things initially didn’t go to plan, as not many people responded.
‘It was disheartening, but understandable. The positions weren’t paid and this is only my second short film.’
Fortunately, Luke Whatley-Bigg, a budding cinematographer got in touch and asked to be a part of the project. ‘It was a good thing that Luke responded, because, he [Luke] is a very gifted and visually literate Cinematographer; he exceeded my expectations.’
The score was to be written by Victor Lloyd and Stephen Morris, who previously worked with Zak on his first short film ‘The Janner’
‘It was great having them back on board to compose the music, we had an existing rapport and I knew they would do an awesome job’
After a couple of weeks, it seemed that this was all the crew Zak could muster together, and it was now time for casting actors. Zak posted a casting call on social media and casting websites, the response was a lot more promising. Dozens of actors applied for each role and after a coffee and a conversation; the six cast members were added to the team. The team was now complete. Zak sent out the script and storyboard, and scheduled rehearsal times with everyone.
‘Rehearsals are always exciting, because, your seeing your words come to life for the first time. All the actors were terrific and are very talented, I couldn’t ask for a more professional and amiable cast; right then, I knew that I had made the right choices.’
Once Zak went through all the blocking and performance, it was time for shooting
‘Shooting for me is without a doubt the most enjoyable part of film-making, and I think its the same for everyone else. It’s also the most difficult part, but, fortunately we planned everything well, and the cast and crew executed everything perfectly.’
Shooting lasted about 36 hours in total, spread over 3 months. Shooting mostly took place over weekends, due to the fact everyone had work or university commitments.
‘As the project progressed, we all gradually became better at our respective roles. That’s why we’re ultimately doing this; to hone our craft as storytellers.’
After all the footage was completed, Zak went into post-production. Post-production lasted about 6 weeks and took about 200 hours to cut, colour grade, and add Foley. During this time the composers were hard at work creating the music. Victor and Stephen are based in Lancaster, so they were unable to sit down with Zak in person and talk; ‘There was a lot of Skype spotting sessions and late night phone calls. But, we persevered, and I think they did a excellent job conveying the right emotions through music; the music defiantly took the film to another level.’
After about 5 months, the film was finally finished, costing £250 to make.
‘Making a film is always a life changing experience; and not just because you meet great people. You learn so much about yourself, and through storytelling, you become a better person. It’s the cheapest form of Therapy.
Shadowing is available on YouTube.
Cast and crew
Sinead Hegarty is currently studying Musical Theatre at The Performance Preparation Academy.
She has only been involved in theatre and this was her first experience in front of the camera; ‘It’s very different to the stage. I have loved working on Shadowing, the team have really made it a blast.’
Sebastian Wolfe is making his acting debut, following a twenty year career in TV and music engineering management at the BBC and Sony.
‘I was excited to learn the craft alongside a very talented cast and crew, and under the inspirational direction of Zak, bringing the dark, shadowy character of Dom to life in this start to finish, edge of the seat thriller.’
Kaine Applegate’s acting journey began at 8 when he was cast for Oliver, since then he’s been involved with short films, adverts and musical theatre.
‘Coming into Shadowing I thought it was going to be just another short film but after the first day I knew everyone involved wanted to make something special.’
Mimi Newby said she has always been fascinated by human nature; why people do the things they do. ‘Acting for me is exploring the light and the dark of humanity and what matters to each one of us.’
The character of Claire is passionate, fun loving and pushes the boundaries of her confined life. At the moment Mimi is working on a short film ‘Guts’ which tackles the issues of domestic violence.
Gavin Brennan’s love affair with performing arts began at the age of 4 when he starred in his school’s nativity play.
He was recently on stage in Dracula. ‘When I saw Zak’s post, I jumped and the chance to be a part of it. I loved every minute of it and hope to do a lot more.’
Sergio Santamaria Nora Is originally from Madrid, where he studied Acting. mHe has previously completed a few short films, so this wasn’t his first rodeo.
‘Working in “The Shadowing” was incredible. I particularly enjoyed the depth and passion that Zak has towards the art. I hope to do more short and feature length films in the future.’
Luke Whatley-Bigg – Cinematographer
Luke’s a 15 year old professional filmmaker, who has a passion for film-making. He started when He was 12. ‘I want to pursue a career in Hollywood as a cinematographer. Short films allow me to continuously improve my film-making skills. I am currently working on a number of promotional videos and film-making projects.’
Victor Lloyd – Music Composer
Vic been making music since he was 9. His instrument of choice is the violin, and his passion is scoring for television and film. ‘I enjoyed collaborating with Zak on Shadowing, its our second project together and hopefully not the last.’
Vic has already been booked for another project, which is currently in production.