This post is by Logan Baker from No Film School

Written by Dan Hasson and Thomas O’Brien

We’re writer/director Dan Hasson and producer/actor Thomas O’Brien, and together we are 31/32 Film. In 2022, our first feature film When Are You Moving Out? was distributed. We quickly got to work on its follow up, which is now titled, Thoughtless in Remarks. We’re nearing the end of post-production and are reflecting on what the making of this film has taught us.

The making of our second feature undoubtedly benefited from the lessons we learned making our debut feature film, but we also learned a lot from the making of Thoughtless in Remarks. This is how we made our second feature film and how it taught us even more lessons—from the importance of compromise with budgets, to trusting your team, deciding who’s on lunch duty, and (last but not least) the value of setting the right tone on set.


THOUGHTLESS IN REMARKS | Official Trailer 4K

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FUNDRAISING

The budget for When Are You Moving Out? was constantly in mind while writing. We had no money to make it. Not this time around. We were keen to up the story and production value with this film and with that in mind we would need funding. With Dan’s finalized draft, and reasonable budget of $7,600 in place, we decided that Kickstarter supported by previously secured private investment would be our approach. Traditional sources (Art grants and production company investments) of UK indie-film funding weren’t the right fit. However, we underestimated how much work had to be done with a Kickstarter campaign.

It is not as simple as launching and waiting for the money to roll in (if only!). Planning and outreach long before launch is necessary to get people interested to pledge money towards your film. You can see our Kickstarter forThoughtless in Remarks here.

We found Reddit the best place to reach specific audiences with its vast array of subs. Specifically we were involved in the filmmaking subs and Brighton (Brighton & Hove, UK) subs. The latter was chosen as this is where we would be shooting the feature film and wanted to be active in the community.

For our Kickstarter we filmed a video of us both detailing the project and creating a visual aid to show the timeline of production (people loved this aspect). By the end of our first day we were a third of the way to our $3,800. At the end o the 30 days we had exceeded our goal by over $800. We couldn’t be happier! Production was in sight, but the work had only just begun.


‘Thoughtless in Remarks’

CASTING

Previously, we relied on each other, as well as friends and family to act in our films. Thomas has the physical qualities of the character of Jack that Dan had in mind when writing the script, and as a professional actor, was a clear choice for the role. We’ve also worked together before, so we have a great actor/director relationship.

Andromeda Godfrey (The Crown, Bridgerton) was cast as Deborah, the eccentric B&B owner. We knew that name recognition is beneficial to the marketability of a film and so incorporating an actor as experienced as Andromeda was important. A lesson learned here was casting through an agent and all that accompanies this. Prior to landing on Andromeda, we were communicating with various agents about their clients. Be direct. Agents are busy people. Always remain polite, but hold your ground on negotiations and be honest at all times about the nature of the deal.

Dan’s partner, Sarah, is a casting director and she worked tirelessly to find an actor to play Alex, the other lead role in Thoughtless in Remarks. This wasn’t just about finding a good actor, but we wanted to find someone who would be perfect opposite Thomas.

Sarah used several casting websites and received around 30 tapes for the Alex character and shortlisted 10 for Dan. Five were selected for in person auditions. Remaining in constant communication with the actors, Sarah organized time slots to come into our hired office space. Following a fantastic audition, Adele Marie (Rise of the Footsoldier: Vengeance) was cast as Alex. Sam Gledhill, who excelled in playing a supporting role in our last film, was cast as Stevie.

Joe Foster, a funny and skilled stand-up comedian was cast as a parking warden. This would be his first screen credit, but his personality and performances on stage were exactly what was needed for the character.

Trygvi Danielsen is a talented actor, director and musician (Aggrasoppar) from the Faroe Islands that we met at a film festival in 2022. He was in the UK during production and we seized this opportunity to cast him in a supporting role. We had to fit part of the schedule around this. It taught us a lot about how actor availability can dictate part of your scheduling.


Adele Marie and Thomas O’Brien

CREW

After posting on forums about our Kickstarter and spreading the word on Reddit, enthusiastic crew members soon reached out, keen to work on and gain experience from the film. As mentioned before, we used the Brighton subreddit to put the word out. This connected us with Tommy Neale, production sound mixer/boom operator, and Abraham Smith, all-around camera assistant, camera operator and gaffer. The two were an excellent mix into the team and elevated the production value of the film. Robert Newman came back as the post sound designer and mixer, having previously worked with us on When Are You Moving Out?

Billy Goffey, accomplished music producer and one half of the duo Cousn, was hired to compose the film’s score. Our crew certainly wasn’t Hollywood size, but it was a step up from When Are You Moving Out?. Each member of our crew was strong and passionate, contributing to results that felt like we had a larger crew.

See on Instagram

EQUIPMENT

We purchased a Canon C300 to shoot the film, accompanied by our personal collection of vintage lenses including: A Nikkor 28mm and 50mm, Helios 58mm, and a Tamron 90mm. Our audio equipment included a Tascam DR-70D recorder (and later Tascam DR-701D), a Sennheiser MKE600 (with a boom pole, blimp extension), and Sennheiser EW100 G3 lav mics.

There is always something that goes wrong on a shoot, and on Thoughtless in Remarks it was the audio kit. The recorder died on day three and we scrambled to hire another one on Fat Llama last minute. Unbeknown to us, the new recorder needed an SD card off the manufacturer’s approved list. Ours was not on the approved list.

The result? Corrupt audio files.

Our sound mixer noted the audio being recorded and heard it through his headphones. The corrupted files were only noticed after principal photography wrapped. This meant two pick up days a month later and a bit of ADR in our homemade studio.


Sam Gledhill, Adele Marie and Thomas O’BrienCREDIT: Andrew Hasson

LOCATIONS

When it comes to locations, favors and external shots are key to lowering costs. Our previous film relied solely on this. For Thoughtless in Remarks, however, the screenplay made certain locations necessary including a pivotal scene set on Brighton’s Palace Pier.

This is private property that required acquisition from the location for the rights to film alongside a fee. However, we were only granted a 90-minute slot to film on the location. It’s an amazing setting and strong visual imagery for the city so we planned each shot timings, rehearsed the scenes in pre-production and a few hours prior to shooting on the Pier. This way not a second was wasted in our time slot to shoot. We’re happy to say the location paid off massively.


Thomas O’Brien, Sam Gledhill and Adele MarieCREDIT: Andrew Hasson

BEHIND-THE-SCENES

After the release of our last film, our distributors asked if we had a behind-the-scenes film. We’d missed a trick. Every film being released now has one and we did not. Audiences love to see behind the production of a film and we wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

This meant documenting everything we could, from pre-production Zoom calls to lens tests and rehearsals. Cut together, this creates valuable content which captures attention and is an essential asset in a film’s marketing and promotion. Never underestimate audiences’ interest in how films are made. This behind the scenes film will be released on our YouTube eventually, stay tuned.


Writer/director Dan Hasson and sound mixer Tommy NealeCREDIT: Ben Gottschalk – 1st AC, Abraham Smith

INSTAGRAM REELS

Reels work better at reaching audiences. We’ve seen great results (to us this is reaching non-followers, views and average watch time) with snappy reels cropped into 9×16. The trailer for Thoughtless in Remarks is just over two minutes long.

We thought it best to have a cut down, vertical version specifically for Instagram. This was thirty seconds and did extremely well by our standards. We’ve kept other reels below ten seconds and paid to boost a handful (however this isn’t a necessity). For us it gained our account more followers and in turn has brought more attention to the film.

See on Instagram

WHAT WE LEARNED:

The shoot taught us several valuable lessons. Crowdfunding is demanding and an active process. Don’t be afraid to deal with agents and talent. Use social channels for crew (there are passionate people out there who want to collaborate!) Behind-the-scenes is critical—don’t neglect it and opt for reels. Location management is all in the preparation. And, finally, make sure your SD cards are approved and compatible.

Something we felt caught us off guard is the value of leadership. Not only are you creating, but you are also managing—the cast and crew look to you as a leader. You determine the ethos and environment of the set and everything trickles down, if you are professional, understanding and open – your set will be too. It may sound obvious, but you are in charge of everything, so you need to be a good boss.

We’re certain there will be more lessons to be learned when we eventually work on our third feature film, but what we learned from making When Are You Moving Out? and Thoughtless in Remarks has without a doubt created a solid foundation from which to do so. As a company, we believe that if you want to make a film, nothing should stop you. Yes, mistakes will be made—but from these, lessons will be learned. We hope you’ll be able to learn from ours too!

LINKS:

Trailer to Thoughtless in Remarks

Instagram/Website

31/32 Films Streaming

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