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Apr. 26th, 2010


(no subject)

Recently I’ve been working on a new project which I’m now ready to announce as “The Beanstalkers” It will be about 10 – 15 minutes long and follows the adventures of two flat mates who loose their jobs and end up selling their car for a can of green beans.

We’re looking to be shooting in the next month or so as the script is nearly locked and the lead roles now cast.

Last week I produced a couple of proof of concept shots to give an impression of how the final effects will look and show the style that we are going for. These can be seen along with a brief introduction in the video below.

If your interested in the project then feel free to help out on wreckamovie and/or join the facebook page

Many Thanks to Angela and Kris for their support as this started to take shape and over course the ever willing to listen Mr Hudson.

Mar. 27th, 2010


New VFX Reel


Mar. 21st, 2010



I moved into a flat in Feb and was offline for a while, to keep myself amused between work and and a hyperactive social life I gave myself a side project, to do my own version of the 'Doctor Who' Regeneration after seeing David Tennants at new year.

my main aim was to learn more about particle systems which I can successfully say I did.

Regeneration from Martin Lejeune on Vimeo.

Dec. 30th, 2009


My Top Ten Films Of 2009 (That I have watched)

10) Avatar

Controversial I know, It's nicely made but it lacked plot and the nine other films I've listed, Didn't. It would have helped if it was a Sci-fi and not another fantasy film but with sci-fi trappings

09) Gran Torino

I don't know why this film works, I don't. but luckily it does, A really nice character piece.

08) Moon

The worst thing I can say about this film is "...It's a bit slow in places" It's a British Indie that plays with clever ideas and looks fantastic mixing old school and new school tricks. and had Matt Berry in.

07) In The Loop

For the first time in ages I've discovered a comedy and just laughed my bottom off. Hilariously biting satire

06) Up

An outstanding Pixar feature, a kids film that is still good if your over 12, I wish other studios would consider making movies about characters who wouldn't make for good happy meal toys! 

05) Inglorious Basterds

Tarantino does a fantastic job at a mock period piece that manages to be more cerebral when your expecting violence and silly when your expecting cerebral. The first 20 minutes of two people talking in a room is quite a ballsy move and theres some clever ideas here, but also some retreading of his previous films.

04) District 9

a new take on sci-fi, thats not something we've seen in quite a while and District 9 was a good take on it, and the fact its run circles around films with much bigger budgets says a lot, and seeing a film without name actors is always a bonus in my book. I'd rather see someone who can act then someone that i reconise as a character from something else.

03) Let The Right One In

This fantastic Swedish indie about a young boy who is befriended by a child vampire and has to consider the benefits of having a friend against the moral dilemma of being friends with a murderer, with a delightfully ambigious ending.

02) Watchmen

We didn't think anyone would ever make this movie, littleown make it work. The antidote to the floods of bollocks superhero movies of recent years

01) Star Trek

Oh balls. I wanted something cool here, but then Trek is cool... now. Mr Abrams really made a film that works, as a movie, as a Trek movie and is just fun, I grin watching this film in the same way that I did when watching Indiana Jones or Bond, I love these characters and I love their world. This is the kind of thing that is lacking in a lot of short films I see, I like watching films about people who enjoy doing what they do.

The Decade In which Film Dies…?

Right, that got your attention. I don’t know if the next ten years will see the death of celluloid and I’m confident that even if the major studios move to digital formats there will be certain parties who are only interested in film as a medium.

What I think more likely however is that the next 10 years will see the death of tape based media.

Film, for lack of a better name is a slow moving beast. When I first picked up a camera in 2001, home editing wasn’t quite here. Online hosting of film and video involved a hundred megabyte quicktime file with roughly the resolution of a postage stamp and back then took a day to download. It wasn’t until 2005 that YouTube and streaming video as we know it came to be.

At the dawn of the… do we have a name for the next decade? Did we have one for the last? Anyway, as the century heads into its teenage years, stops wanting to play with its parents and just wants to hang out with its friends in shopping centres, the question in the film industry seems to be 3d. Sky television are launching a 3d service in the new year and monitors that won’t require you to wear the specs are on horizon but the fact remains, we’ve yet to see anything that makes use of 3d integral to the plot.

CGI is going to come a long way in the next decade, as render times decrease, the people who didn’t have the patience to wait 48 hours for a 5 second shot to render will start to experiment as we see more photorealism in the computer generated domain.

One thing is for sure, the competition is going to get much tougher. Shooting a video with your mates used to impress the papers but I think the people who are going to make the loudest splashes in the low / no budget end of the indie spectrum are those that push what they do with sound and lighting, areas often over looked by internet productions.

We’re already starting to see the merging of Television and the Internet with Games Consoles that can pull up YouTube and BBC iPlayer on both TV and the web. People will become more accustomed to watching web content and not only will we hear less people moaning about not wanting to watch shows whilst sitting at their computer desk, but we’ll see more people willing to watch web content longer than ten minutes.

I’d hope to see more people doing films and web series’ aimed at a niche audience. We’ve seen a lot of success with this in terms of political and environmental documentaries. If people tell a story aimed at a certain audience, like the fantastic ‘Firefly’, it’s something that won’t appeal to everyone but the people it does appeal to will love it. The Guild managed to get a lot of recognition from appealing to gamers who relate more to its characters than they do to the traditional Hollywood nerd cliché.

Unfortunately, most film makers seem to be of the opinion that they should appeal to everyone because that’s what main stream successes do, without realising that they’d be competing which the same market, one that spends tens of millions on advertising and promotion.

In 2010, specialise, don’t generalise.

Martin Lejeune
is an Exeter based filmmaker and Effects Artist, he also reads palms and drinks tea leaves.

Dec. 4th, 2009


"Bunny and The Bull" Review

Bunny and The Bull was a pretty fun film, it follows Stephen Turnbull, a man who hasn't left his house in over a year, but has a problem when he finds his exceptionally large supply of vacuum stored food has been nibbled at by mice.

His mind sends him on a series of flashbacks to the trip he took across Europe twelve months before with his friend Bunny after being rejected by a girl he told he loved. Bunny wants his friend to have a good time and meet new girls. To this effect Bunny wins a car in a bet whilst in Poland so Stephen can offer a Spanish waitress a lift home in time for fiesta.

The usual love triangles ensue, but its the way the film is put together that makes it stand out, there is fantastic use of stop motion animation and green screen compositing to convey that we are looking at Stephens memories.

The film may not be a laugh a minute and at times its down right poignant but it is enjoyable and there are certainly chuckles to be had. Unfortunately I feel the lack of a 'wacky adventure' tone will mean it won't appeal to the teenagers who gobbled down even the third series of Mighty Boosh (Writer, Director Paul Kings previous project) and the arty crowd who would love the visuals if they give it a chance may well over look it for... looking like it's the Mighty Boosh.

Films I have seen in 2009:

Bunny and the Bull
District 9
FAQ About Time Travel
In The Loop
Time Travellers Wife
Inglorious Basterds
Harry Potter and the Half Caste Prince
Ice Age 3
Public Enemies
Terminator Salvation
Let The Right One In
Star Trek
X-men Origins: Wolverine
Crank 2
Lesbian Vampire Killers
Gran Torino
Benjamin Button
Frost / Nixon
Seven Pounds

Nov. 19th, 2009


How to get music for your film?

(Lee Morgan of DandC film asked me to write an article on how one acquires film music)

Music can seem a big obstacle for the not necessarily financially burdened filmmaker but I've never had a problem finding composers for my stuff, I guess I've been lucky.

There are a number of composers out there who will work for less than their usual fee if they find a project different or exciting, as with actors, VFX artists or anyone else giving their time. They enjoy what they do and want to see their names on good films.

I asked David Beukes, the South African musician who I worked with on “Untitled Dystopia” what he looks for when he sees a micro-budget script.

“On micro-budget projects, there's really very little to attract a score writer other than the ability to add the film to their showreel. On that basis, the production value needs to be high enough that the musician can actually use the footage to promote themselves.

If you do have a budget, offer some to the muso. If you can't afford what the job would be worth professionally, even a token goes a long way towards showing that you take their role seriously in the process. And if you're paying other people, you can't not pay your score writer without making the statement that you don't value their work.

Typically my workflow involves reading the script and watching the rough cut, if it's available. I'll be making notes as I go about what I think it needs. Then I'll chat with the producer, over the phone or via skype, to compare notes and get their feelings about what needs to be there. A lot hinges on this interaction, because music is such a subjective thing that you need to work at establishing a common dialogue so that you all wind up on the same page.

Then I'll write up a cue sheet, which is a kind of spreadsheet that describes every piece of music that I'm going to write, including the SMPTE timecode of where the music comes in and how long it is. Once the producer has signed off on it (i.e agreed), work begins.

This enables me to deliver, via email attachments (if we're working with mp3) or server download (if we're staying with WAV), each piece of music on its own. The mix engineer can just drop them in at the required timecode. It saves having to export huge long chunks of the entire soundtrack, and it means that little cues can be changed around without it affecting everything else.”

Often filmmakers have certain music in mind which they use for a temp mix for rough edits for pacing reasons, which they can grow attached too.

“Temp tracks are tricky things because people tend to edit their films to them, and then you as composer wind up having to produce something that's exactly like it so that the picture sits, only completely different so that no one gets sued.

Having said that, it's great to work with someone who already has some ideas about what they want musically, because music is an integral part of the film. It's a highly emotive tool that can make or break scenes, so as much as it's fun to be given free reign, you kind of want to be reassured that the producer/director has actually thought about this a bit.

The danger of working with someone who hasn't really thought about it, particularly where budget isn't unlimited, is that they don't specify what they want, and then wind up asking for a lot of changes because it isn't what they wanted. This falls under the category of Pissing People About, and is totally fine, even desirable, when you're being paid per hour, but never otherwise. Great friendships have ended over things like this.”

So when should a filmmaker start looking for someone to score their films?

“Film makers should just go ahead and contact composers. We don't bite. If you don't have a significant budget, a copy of a compelling script can go a long way towards getting someone interested in your project. Definitely contact your composer earlier in the process rather than later, because this helps with scheduling, for both of you.”

If you do not want an original music composed and just want something that fits there are of course other options.

Famous music obviously costs a lot of money in rights. Kevin Smith’s 1994 film ‘Clerks’ spent more than it’s shooting budget on the rights to the soundtrack and the more famous the piece the more expensive the rights. Bubba Hotep, an Elvis biography* had to skirt around the music issue and not feature any Elvis music or scenes from his films.

The alternative is to find unsigned or independent bands, which is of course easier said then done, but if a smaller band thinks that having their music used in your film will get them more exposure they will jump at the opportunity.

It can also work out as a cheaper middle ground to commissioning an original score and If you get build a large audience it will certainly help the bands shift some mp3s. “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” went out of its way to feature unsigned bands in it’s episodes for just this reason.

We’ve talked about copyright but more recently a lot of artists and filmmakers have been releasing under ‘Creative Commons’ licenses, this means the music comes with a licence agreement in some cases allows filmmakers (amongst others) to use the music. This music can be found on sites such as the podsafe music network.

*of sorts

Martin Lejeune is an Exeter based filmmaker and Effects Artist, He also enjoys deep conversations and shallow depths of field.

Oct. 16th, 2009


Star Wreck 2pi

So, here I am running on about three hours sleep, holding a microphone below a man who is painted like a chocolate bar in a heavy metal wig as he barks orders at a battle fleet which is presumably somewhere behind the green screen we’re in front of.

Hang on. Let’s back up. After a day of travel, I’ve been sleeping on a sofa at the offices of Energia productions in Tampere, Finland. Not very much - mind you - due to the two hour time difference. Everyone’s been setting up equipment like it’s nine in the morning, but I could swear it was still closer to seven.

Something which is not helped by the fact I’d arrived late the night before and been handed a bottle of rum by someone determined to make a case for Fin’s being the most welcoming culture in the world.

It’s as cold as a fridge outside so to wake myself up I go for a walk and grab some breakfast. So I head out to take my first daylight glimpse of Tampere.

Accidentally, I manage to make brief eye contact with a group of old men sitting on a bench, which I soon find out is a massive taboo here as one stands up and starts getting irate with me in Finnish. I ignore him until he goes away. It is later explained to me that in Finland the most interesting thing to do is stare at is your feet. Always.

Upon my return to the office to discover a pair of scantily clad women throwing themselves from imaginary computer terminals and falling out of chairs.

We are shooting Star Wreck 2pi the Swiss-Norwegian-Finnish spin off to 2005’s “Star Wreck: In The Pirkining” and this is just the kind of thing that is to be expected.

Most of the forty minute film has been shot in the Swiss town of Basel with a new set of characters, but the production team has come here to shoot some important crossover scenes with the original cast to tie both films together.

The Energia team has been a fantastic host. Whilst various extras were being shot to be placed in the background I had a chat with Jarmo Puskala and Antti Hukkanen, two of the guys who make Energia tick. We tried to work out what made British and Finnish comedy so similar; The Fast Show still plays on national TV out here and the self depreciative nature of both cultures provide a lot of the fodder for their respective senses of humour.

In the afternoon Star Wreck’s lead actor Samuli Torssonen arrived to reprise his role as Emperor Pirk. With the help of a crack team of interpreters the script was translated from German to English to Finnish; for the jokes work in all three languages it’s got to be good.

Timo Vuorensola was also on set for an hour to do his scenes as Lt Dwarf. Although he didn’t have his full “Plingon” ridges he quickly got into character and gave a very loud performance in a very short space of time.

The second day of the shoot it was my turn to be made up. I was to be wounded facially. Luckily I’d brought Ena with me to do just that kind of thing. So she started covering me in blood and scars.

I was promptly instructed to throw myself around as if on a ship taking hits from torpedoes. It took a couple of takes for everyone to throw themselves in the right direction. Then to disguise myself I put on a heavy metal wig and shot more sequences of being blown up, injured, running and generally swearing; in German of course.

The production team took advantage of the ‘Wreckamovie’ platform a website for making films collaboratively. This is how they have found people from all over Europe to work on the project. After putting the project online last November forty seven people have joined up to offer advice, help or to work on the film, from concept art through to helping with the post production workflow.

Unfortunately with my time on set at an end, I was shown around the annual fish market where we enjoyed some local fried herring and other delicacies, but as I dig in, I am especially cautious not to make any unexpected eye contact...
Martin Lejeune
is an Exeter based filmmaker and Effects Artist, He also enjoys wandering the world as a digital vagabond.

Sep. 18th, 2009



I've been wanting to do more photography for a while now, so I grabbed Jack of Dystopia fame and went and got some shots.

I'm rather pleased with how these have turned out.



Aug. 31st, 2009



It's my birthday! and the BBC wrote a nice article slagging it off.


for those wandering, I'm well clever me.

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