Young, High and Dead Film Blog


Posts tagged with "younghighanddead"

Totally getting involved in this! #35mm #realphotography #films #younghighanddead #highridgemassacre #cinestill

Totally getting involved in this! #35mm #realphotography #films #younghighanddead #highridgemassacre #cinestill

Dark writing ! #horrorfilm #horror #script #highridgemassacre #younghighanddead #slasherfilm #slasher #slashergirl

Dark writing ! #horrorfilm #horror #script #highridgemassacre #younghighanddead #slasherfilm #slasher #slashergirl

Taking your film to a Comic Con - How to get on and get by

Hello fellow filmmakers,

It’s been a while since my last blog and usually I would do this as a podcast but I felt it was important to include this information as online text because when I was recently trying to find information on this subject I couldn’t find anything specific to film, only for comic artists or cosplays.

I recently attended London’s MCM Comic Con (MCMExpo) at the Excel center in East London, I hadn’t been to a comic con before but I had a rough idea of what to expect.  The plan for me was to promote my debut feature film and hopefully recoup the costs of the convention, so I set about making a plan however when I looked online I found little info that catered for filmmakers doing this.  It suddenly dawned on me that there could be a reason for this, maybe filmmakers don’t go to these places to promote or sell their film.

I am going to dive right in and give you my experience of Comic Con (CC) and how it worked out for me. So here goes.

The hire of a table at London MCM (basic package) with no backing, no extra tables or chairs, no power was £200 incl VAT.  I left my booking very late in the day and there were only a few tables left so I snapped up a  space.  By this point the only thing I possessed was a finished film on Vimeo. I had no promotional material and no idea how or what I was really going to do at the CC, With the film only selling on Vimeo at the time I wanted to do more than just hand out leaflets, I knew to have any chance of recouping the table expense I would have to sell a few hard copies of the film. I did stumble across an article online that although it was geared towards comic book artists it did make a key point of saying that as a seller you should aim for profit not just to break even.

It’s important to note before I get any further, the 3 day event involved a lot of hard work both during the event and on the run up to it. I did have to give up my weekend too and a day off work.

So with all research towards comics I adapted the info for film and hopefully the tips below will help others have a good and successful experience like I did.

Luke’s Top Comic Con Tips for filmmakers

1. Make sure you get your DVD’s and Blu Rays professionally printed and copied. - I was going to burn copies myself and print my own covers/labels etc but I am so glad I didn’t do this! It’s very tempting to make the numbers work in your head for maximum profit, but ultimately one of the biggest selling points for Young, High and Dead at the CC was the fact that every copy looked as good as it would in any high street shop. This includes the disc face and any inlays or inserts. Don’t cut corners by attempting to print things yourself for the actual products you plan to sell. This is even more important with the actual duplication of the discs - I used the following company for all the DVD & Blu Ray duplication, including the inserts and full colour disc printing.

They were by far the most helpful and the cheapest I found, I will definitely be using them again in the future.

2. Seal the DVD’s and Blu Ray’s for cheap yourself - I wanted to number each copy of the Blu Rays so that they were a bit more exclusive and individual, comic artists do this on their products so I figured it might help with the film. But obvioulsy this would need to all be done by hand and I would then have to seal each copy myself. This sound far more complicated than it is, for about £14 you can by an 8” sealing machine from ebay, don’t bother with the one that has a cutter built in, scissors are more effective and easier anyway. Then buy 6”x11” plastic shrink wrap bags. I picked up 500 for just under £10. All you do it pop the DVD or Blu Ray in a bag, plug in the sealer wait a few secs then press it once until the light comes on. Release trim with scissors and repeat. Once you have a few sealed and trimmed grab a hairdryer make sure it’s on hot and then bunch 4 DVD’s together run the hairdryer along the sides first so the plastic shrinks tight, then so each front and back. I was doing about 4 every 40 seconds you can get pretty quick at it. The overall finish makes the world of difference.

3. Print plenty of Flyers - At a CC like MCMExpo 1000 flyers is not enough!  I ran out by the Saturday and ended up having to give out business cards, which was okay but I could have reached out to more people had I had more flyers, I should have had more near 2,500.  Make sure your flyers explain everything in simple terms, mine were not very well thought out. They just had the image of Jenny and the axe etc and a quote from an online blogger, this didn’t really explain A that it’s a horror film, B it’s for sale, C why they should check out more about it.  My flyer was too vague and often I could see puzzled looks as people walked off looking at it. SO make sure your flyers are simple and double sided, I went single sided to save money but flyers are worth every penny when done right.  Make sure you get a good glossy thick card pref over 200 gsm (min) so many people might not have time to stop and chat and often the card goes straight into a bag, thin flyers will always get folded up and probably forgotten.

4. Be creative with your table - Every day I changed the layout of my table, often the same people will walk by and if they see a different layout there is more chance that they will stop, unconsciously they think something new might be there.  This also helps create the illusion that you might be selling more than you are, as it looks like stock levels are changing. I also tried to make YHAD stand out so it was different to other stands. Not just in content but in the way I had the table. I had a giant jar of FREE sweets that attracted a lot of people, props from the film, I wore a YHAD T shirt, waved a wooden axe about. Had an iPad on display, make your table look and feel interactive and friendly.

5. Create the killer pitch - At first I felt very uncomfortable talking about my film let alone selling it, I was very quiet and only spoke to people who seemed to take an obvious interest in my table, this resulted in many potential sales walking straight past, next to my table was a a group of girls who were selling homemade video game themed cupcakes, instantly they had good banter and interacted well with the public, so I simply joined them and joined in.  Don’t wait for people to stop, simply say hello or ask them a question my pitch was a s simple as this.

Do you like horror films?

If they said yes I would then gesture them to come over and say

"Great then you must watch a trailer to a horror film I spent the last 5 years making"

I would then hand them the headphones to the iPad, this worked nearly every single time. Once they finished watching I would ask them what they thought, thankfully most people really liked it, then I would tell them a few facts about the film, like how many days I shot it in, how recently I finished it and how we only have hard copies for the comic con.  It’s important to note that after the trailer they are already making up their mind whether they will buy it or not, there isn’t an elephant in the room, so don’t be embarrassed. My partner Natalie was brilliant at this point, she the second they admitted to liking the trailer she would say

"great so which copy should I bag up for you to buy a DVD or Blu Ray"

This nearly always worked. She would follow up with

"If you like the trailer you are gonna love the film" & "Help support independent film".

If they said NO to my first question about horror films I would then say "okay do you like Independent films?" Often this would sway them or at the very least it would get a smile or a laugh. Either way they have stopped briefly and taken in the imagery and name Young, High and Dead.  I didn’t get properly into this flow until late Saturday but by Sunday I had this technique down.  It’s important to remember that even though you are repeating yourself a lot, the person you are speaking to is a potential new customer. I drank a lot of coffee so was as chatty as hell and beaming like a nutter. It helps to smile a lot.

6. Stand don’t sit - You will see hundred of other sellers kicking bag reading mags and sitting most of the time, only getting up to collect cash etc.  As a filmmaker you cannot do this!  You table is a much harder sell, people know nothing about your product, but for the next bod who is selling hats and T-shirts it’s pretty obvious for the public to make a quick decision from far away if they want to approach the table or not.  A film stall won’t have this luxury. Your feet will absolutely kill so make sure you have really comfy trainers & NOT SHOES as I painfully discovered! Do the odd stretch and move about plus drink plenty of liquids, you are giving yourself a 9 hour workout!

7. Trailer is key - I quickly noticed that my trailer was bagging me a lot of sales, about 70% of the people that watched it ended up buying a copy of the film, so I had to hook them in to watch the trailer. Trailers are FREE to watch so they lose nothing other than 2mins of their time. I had a headphone splitter that I plugged in however I only had my set of headphones, this was a real shame. I wish I had at least 4 pairs as often one person would be watching and listening whilst others simply watched without sound.  This definitely lost me some potential sales, the CC was way too noisy to play audio without headphones, plus the audio really made people quite scared so next time I will have plenty of head sets.  I will also in future invest a bit more in a larger screen and some power, even if I borrowed a 35” screen, I needed something bigger than the iPad, by the Sunday I raised the iPad up higher on boxes as I noticed anyone who was my height or taller had to crouch down. Think about how people are going to view the trailer, can they see it comfortably? Without the trailer I reckon I would have sold less than 5 copies all weekend and it would have involved more talking and more hard sell.  The trailer alone must have sold at least 70 plus copies without me doing much at all other than just saying “watch my trailer”

8. Freebies and whats hot or not - I knew that the FREE sweets would be a good starting point, but I didn’t realise how good it would be! It was especially good for luring in parents, often their kids would come over grab some sweets and at the moment the parent came over I would say to the kid.

"I am afraid you are too young to watch my trailer but Mum or Dad can"

Often the kid would do the rest of the work for me, encouraging their parent to watch. Kids are not stupid, they know if the mum or dad has to watch something that gives them longer time with the giant sweet jar. An accidental piece of genius. I gave away a free A3 poster with every DVD and Blu Ray as well and this surprisingly sometimes tipped an umm and aaahh to a "okay Ill take one". People love to think that they are getting extra, supermarkets do this all the time! I would also give them a  business card and tell them to get in touch and let me know what they thought.  This is a genuine request but it also works well for other people nearby, upon the completion of a sale often others would flock to see what they are missing. So in a subtle kind of way be vocal about the sale. but selling the posters didn’t shift very well at all. I guess people are happy for artwork if it’s something they have seen or are familiar with. By all means hang a few up but don’t expect to sell many unless you already have a wide fan-base.

9. Ask questions and know when to quit - Everyone’s favourite subject is them-self, so often I would ask a simple question about what they are wearing, or how their day is going etc. I would also try and compliment them, it’s the most minute amount of flirting and in the realms of selling it’s a pretty fun thing to do. I genuinely love tattoo’s so If I saw someone with a decent tattoo I would ask them about it or who did it etc. This would always result in someone walking away smiling.  If they come to my table and leave smiling with biz card or leaflet I am doing a good job, if they leave with a copy of my film then that’s a perfect result. Don’t forget to network, I linked and swapped contact details with lot’s of other interesting filmmakers, make up artists & bloggers etc. Ask people for their business card and info.  Also give people an escape route if they need it, some people at the CC might be very shy or nervous speaking to you, if you sense this, don’t make it difficult for them or you. Often you can tell in a few moments if someone is genuinely interested or if they are fine chatting away or not. If they look uncomfortable hand them a leaflet and tell them “you are here all weekend and they are welcome to come back”. Inside they are screaming thank you as they grab the leaflet and flee.

10. Keep it simple, Keep it fun - Comic Cons are really hard work, long hours, long commute, and it’s easy to go overboard, the first day I decorated my table like a Christmas tree but I soon realised that it was too complicated to take in the right info, that night I went home and printed out a few simple signs. One about the iPad, one that included the synopsis of the film and one that mentioned who was in it.

"WATCH THE TRAILER HERE" - You can plug in your headphones so more than 1 person can listen.

This all seems really simple and obvious but I missed this all the first day myself and never underestimate how quick you need to get your point across, imagine every customer is highly important and busy so get the info across quickly and concisely, if they like the idea of the film they will stay and chat.

11. Keep it professional - Finally most days I saw a lot of tired, bleary looking folk. It’s very tempting after a day at CC to have a few drinks and celebrate your hard work and earnings that day.  I stayed in every night and allowed myself a couple of beers to wind down, despite it being the weekend I treated the CC like work, no-one performs well stinking of booze or looking like death warmed up.  Get a good early nights sleep, the CC is tiring for filmmakers we are the minority at these places so we have more work to do. Don’t make it even harder than it already is. every second at CC is potential selling time, so as tempting as it is to get photo with a hot looking Lara Croft I would save all that for another time. I took my camera and had every intention of checking out other stalls, but the reality is this just isn’t possible for filmmakers at CC, especially if you hope to sell well.


I didn’t sell enough films to retire, that was never going to happen but the CC was a great opportunity to reach out to an audience I would never normally have access to.  I did make a fairly decent profit and still came away with some hard copies that I plan to continue to sell online through the films website

But I can easily see how many other filmmakers could really struggle and even lose money at a CC.  This isn’t because I knew what I was doing or got everything right first time, far from it.  I honestly believe the CC worked well for me because I adapted constantly and treated the event like a professional job. If you have the right attitude and follow the steps above there is no reason why you can’t turn a good size profit from an event like this. It’s not even about quantity. I nearly forgot to mention, the hall I was in, was one of the smallest and quietest ones!  For a filmmaker you have the harder sell, you have to attract them to your table, show them the trailer, then secure the sale. This takes you a lot longer per customer than other sellers do with their products, so large quantities of passers by means nothing.

I hope this info is useful.  I might add to it further down the line if I think of anything else but hopefully the info gives you a good base to start with if you plan on taking your feature to a CC.

Hard copies of my horror film can be bought from the films website just visit please feel free to send any feedback to or you can link with me on twitter @rumpunchprods.

Many thanks

Luke Brady (Writer/Director) of Young High and Dead

Want to win your own face bloodied n grindhouse?  Simply visit the fb page for details #nofilter #yhad #indiefilm #horror #movie #lovehorror #supportindiefilm #younghighanddead

Want to win your own face bloodied n grindhouse? Simply visit the fb page for details #nofilter #yhad #indiefilm #horror #movie #lovehorror #supportindiefilm #younghighanddead

Sep 3
The Young, High and Dead UK release one sheet poster

The Young, High and Dead UK release one sheet poster

Jun 5


Episode 03 - Casting and setting off on the right foot

In Episode 3: I chat about how I managed to get a solid Cast together for the film, my unique Casting methods and the importance of this part of pre production.

The blog will precede each episode so if anyone has any questions or wants me to go into more detail on a specific part of the subject they can email me on or message me via twitter @rumpunchprods or FB.


Lets jump right into this weeks blog.

Acting for Auditions - Flipping a coin and gambling.

Who would be an actor? Not me, that’s for sure.  I am happy behind the camera, and because I spent near on 6 years running a Casting Studio in London I have seen and heard a lot when it comes to the casting part of the business.  There are a million idea’s and opinions online about the audition/casting process and for actors this can be information overload.  It’s really important that I mention right now that I personally feel the information and advice found below should be available to talent for FREE!  Setting up or starting off as an actor for many is not cheap and sadly for many out there, the costs involved in pursuing their dream leads to them stretching their purse strings to the point of snapping,  I hope this blog finds those very people and more importantly that they benefit from the advice below.

Know who makes the decision

So many actors simply don’t understand how the casting process works so they often go about the whole process with the wrong attitude and pick up bad habits.  Firstly the Casting Director has huge clout in who gets in the door and their opinion is often considered when the decision process happens but they don’t necessarily get to choose which actor gets the part, even big named Casting Directors don’t have that much power.  These decisions are made by the clients, aka those signing the cheques.  It doesn’t matter if the project is a huge $200 million feature film or a commercial, whoever pays often gets to be the one who has the final say in who gets the job.

The Director, Producer, Writer and Casting Director will always fight to get the best and right people but no contracts get signed until the money heads have approved and had their say.

I really think this is a huge key factor for actors to understand.  So even though the REAL decision makers are impossible to get to how can you increase your chances of winning jobs?

Never turn down an audition just because you don’t think you’re right for the role or because you don’t like the project!  

Actors unfortunately get given the least amount of information and for most actors you are fighting against a numbers game.  You have no idea what other projects people are working on!  It doesn’t matter if you hate the project at least audition yourself and get your face out there.  As an actor whether you like it or not you are a product!  You are your own walking and talking business card and you need to advertise yourself constantly!  If you really hate the project and you DO get the job, then politely turn it down.  At least you have proven yourself and met some new or important faces.

But you must be aware of the following.  Many filmmakers like to work with familiar people and not just crew.  A director who is doing some cheap tacky advert might actually be about to do a huge big budget feature, or the DP might be about to work with a massive studio.  These heads of departments will remember good actors for future stuff and they are KEY people to know, but just like you they too have to get paid and pay bills etc so never look down on a project, unless it goes against religious or moral beliefs.

Actions speak louder than words!

Most Casting Directors have to operate a safety zone around their work, no Casting Director wants to run the risk of sitting in a room full of clients and have a nutter turn up.  Casting Directors have their own brand and company to protect, so they will tend to bring in people they trust and know will do a good job.  If you book a job or get pencilled/short listed you instantly get in the Casting Directors good books.  It’s great if you can build up a friendly relationship with a Casting Director but actions speak louder than words, once you begin to get pencilled or booked on jobs and you meet the brief of their next project, the chances are you will get called in!  Pestering, begging or trying to convince them to give you a chance is time consuming for both parties, something Casting Directors don’t have much of.

Prove how serious you are about a job.  Learn the lines.

If you are lucky enough to get script pages ahead of an audition (also known as sides) then LEARN them, get off the damn page.  If you stand in the room and say “I only got these yesterday”  We know it’s bullshit!  The person reading in with you, might be the very person who physically emailed the script to your agent, so never lie, we will find out!  Even if your agent did only send them at the last minute, you should at least learn as much as you possibly can.  Otherwise you will become 1 of 5 people that day that also happens to have a broken printer or run out of ink!  Clients value their work and they might spend years getting the project of the ground.  Respect that fact!  Most importantly I can count probably less than 20 actors I have met in my entire 6 years casting who have come in, not learnt a sausage and done a decent audition.  You would not believe the amount of excuses that actors give when they turn up latching onto a script.  Watching an actor physically reading words off a page is BORING!  Your entire syntax is lost and any thought process gets lost and no matter how hard you try, the dialogue and structure becomes flat and the audition quickly gets painful to watch.

Turn up on time!  

Oh my goodness I shouldn’t even have to list this one but it has to be one of the most common things that sends a Casting Director insane.  Every minute that passes by when you are running late could be costing someone money!  Hiring a studio is not cheap and sometimes this hire cost will be coming out of the Casting Directors budget for the job, you are literally making them pay for your delay!  Believe me you better act your flipping socks off when you turn up late because you will have already pissed off pretty much everyone in the room.  

Don’t ask for another take!  

If a Casting Director asks you if you would like to have another go at a scene then of course that’s fine, reset and go by all means do the scene again.  But it’s incredibly annoying when actors ask to ‘go again’ assuming we have the time for their mistakes.  Think about it!  You straight away put them in an awkward position by even asking, and by doing the whole thing  again, this will delay the next person.  It only takes 3 people to do this before you are running behind, thus making even more actors wait.  Casting Directors will always give you another shot if they think it’s worth it, if not today, then they will bring you back in when THEY have the time.  This is ALWAYS much better than just banging the same scene out there and then.


Well actors seldom make a decent enough improvement after messing up a take or make enough of a change to the performance to make a REAL difference.  You wouldn’t do this on set, so I wouldn’t advise that you do it in an audition.  

This issue is common amongst actors who DON’T learn the script!

Don’t direct yourself or ask too many questions!

You will instantly rub a Director the wrong way by self directing, or by asking for more notes.  It’s important to note that sometimes Directors won’t want an actor to nail a performance in the Casting room,  there are a lot of key people involved with the project at this point and the Dircetor may want to hold back on certain notes or ways he wants the piece to go at this point.  No one wants to peak too soon or too early.  Also another huge factor is that often the main heads of departments like the Casting Director, Writer or producer etc may not have all the answers at this point.  No actor gets better notes than another actor.  In all of my 6 years I have never seen this!  So trust the information you ARE given and go with it, too many times actors who fish for too much info wobble their own performance, worse still with fresh notes in their head so many actors ‘mark’ these specific moments to try and convey that they understood the note.  this puts a blatant ‘prick/spike’ in the performance, we can actually see the note’s and we dabble in an un-natural world.   

Never comment on your own performance.

From my experience actors make the worst judges for what is a good audition, especially when they aren’t even looking at the screen, you don’t know what the camera is doing, so you won’t be aware of all the details getting picked up in a performance. Even if you are convinced that what you just done was absolutely rubbish, by announcing it to everyone in the room, you are quickly convincing everyone that you are no good.

Clients and Casting Directors buy into confidence and charisma, they want people who know how to handle themselves and show professionalism, theatrical outbursts are cringe worthy to watch.  You might be able to do better but the 10 people before you might have been worse!  By doing the above you just ranked yourself bottom of the list. 

I have NEVER seen an actor who comment’s poorly about their own performance end up on a select list or get booked!

Never lie.

This is the BIGGEST one!  You will make an enemy for life if you lie to a Casting Director just to get seen for an audition or to get an acting job.  This instantly shatters any kind of future relationship you might have and you run a huge risk of driving wedges between, Agents, Casting Directors and Producers.  Casting Directors despite being in competition with one another are generally a friendly bunch  who look out for each other, they know each other very well and talk far more often than you can imagine, even by working together on projects.  Lie on your CV or to a Casting Director and very soon others will find out.  This is a serious and critical part of the pre production stage, what might seem like a harmless white lie could have massive ramifications on set and cost money or in some cases cause physical injury.  Fellow actors that tell these anecdotes are talking nonsense or utter bullshit!  

This COULD be the single one thing that has the potential to KILL your career!  NEVER DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!

Don’t ask about the frame size.

This one is simple,  as an actor if you adjust your performance according to the frame of the camera you instantly increase the odds of getting it wrong!  This I can promise you.  The truth is you won’t know what the clients are always after, go off of instinct NOT what you predict the camera is or isn’t picking up.  What an actor perceives to go down on tape is entirely different to what actually DOES go down.  Concentrate on what you are doing not what the camera man is doing.

On set when it matters you have to hit marks, time walking for crane shots blah blah blah.  There are so many other annoying things an actor has to concern him/herself with, and give  a natural performance etc etc.  The casting studio/space allows you to be free from these things.

In an audition we rarely trouble you with these kind of distractions, so don’t start creating them for yourself.  

Don’t apologise or ‘Cut’ yourself.

This is a BIG ONE!  Actors forget we have the power to edit with digital technology, nowadays this is super quick and easy.  If you mess up or stumble a line etc, NEVER cut yourself, apologise or make a big deal, always STAY in character.  All you need to do is pause for few seconds, take a deep breathe and overlap the bad or broken section.  It pains us when an actor doesn’t do this, before that mistake the work you might have been doing could have been exactly what everyone was after!  If you cut yourself, or swear or snap out of it, not only do YOU RUIN that particular take but by making such a big deal out of it you will struggle to replicate it smoothly, by simply pausing and taking a moment you allow yourself to remain in the ‘ZONE’ and keep all the feelings and thought patterns intact.  I cannot stress this enough, if you get into the habit of doing this you become an editor’s dream, you also give yourself more control over your performance.  

Get this right and we simply edit/cut out the few seconds where you take a moment and we send the client the best performance of the day.

Don’t make it harder than it already is.

This I have seen too many times, I am bamboozled at why an actor thinks it’s a good idea to bring along to an audition their ‘Friend’ who also happens to be a ‘Great Actor’.  Firstly.  Congratulations you just gave yourself less chance of getting the job and at the same time you just PISSED of the Casting Director!  You might as well have just said to them,

“Thanks for getting me in but I am not hugely bothered because I bought my mate along and just bypassed your system.  Oh and by the way I think I can do your job better than you!”

Would you do this in a job interview scenario?  Of course not!

Come in with the right attitude.

NEVER be rude to the receptionist or a casting assistants. We communicate all day with each other on skype and we talk, if you are sat in the waiting room laughing loud and generally annoying others, we get told who it is instantly.  Piss off the receptionist and that message comes through too.  This info MIGHT get relayed further up the line or even back to your agent, or the Casting Director.  Staff are simply trying to do their job so there is no reason to be rude or obnoxious.  Casting Directors will not want to put their clients with difficult talent, don’t be that person!  On the plus side, be nice and a stand up person and we will go out of our way for you!  

Here are a few more quick tips.

  • DON’T chew gum

  • DO bring water with you

  • DON’T wear a too much make-up, keep it natural - Never wear Red Lipstick unless asked.

  • DON’T wear bright red tops or stripey outfits - they look terrible on video, or scarves, or big earrings, or anything that could distract the viewer.

  • ALWAYS switch off your phone!

I could ramble on for pages and pages, but these are most obvious things that spring to my mind.  As always with such a subjective & creative business these are just my opinions.  Hopefully this article gives you a different and useful perspective about the auditioning process that goes on to serve you well.

As I mention often, I am love working with and watching actors work, so if anyone has any questions they would like me to answer feel free to hit up the website and get in touch.

Don’t forget to check out the YHAD podcast about the filmmaking process.  This Sunday is all about Casting!

Luke B


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YHAD Podcast Blog - Episode 02 Writing a script then writing it properly

Alongside my weekly podcasts I will do a blog specific to each episode.  These will contain useful links and info that relate to the podcast topic.

The blog will precede each Episode so if anyone has any questions or wants me to go into more detail on a specific part of the subject they can email me on or message me via twitter @rumpunchprods or FB.


Episode 02 - Writing a script then writing it properly

In Episode 2 I chat about the style of writing Young, High And Dead, the podcast talks about how I shape and refine my work but I didn’t write YHAD entirely unaided.

Read Professional work:

For about 5 years I ran a Casting Studio in London, here I worked on thousands of different projects from high end tv commercials, to television shows and feature films.  The biggest advantage was having access to scripts, I would study and carefully observe how the script served Actors and Directors when working scenes.  You quickly see patterns amongst good pages of work and understand why some dialogue is clunky, and with the basic tools (details below) I was able to scratch beneath the surface of a writers piece and uncover detailed subtext and layers.

Unlocking this information as an actor is extremely valuable to playing the character right, this information often is delivered to them as ‘NOTES’ from the Writer or Director (even Producer).  Scripts that fail to have such layers lack adventure and mystery within a scene. They don’t ‘LEAP’ off the page and often become the reason why elements to a story/film are predictable or lackluster.

Writing is subjective, like all art forms but there are rules and levels that define a scribble from a master piece.  For me the hidden messages and story behind an image are what makes it special or something that holds the viewers attention.  Writing is the same, if you can create messages and layers that delve deep between the lines of your narrative, your audience engage with it on an unconscious level. This is the key goal in what I try and achieve when writing.  I am still very much learning my craft and hope to improve on it with every project, so I don’t have all the answers and this blog & podcast is purely my opinions that make sense to me surrounding this complex subject. Hopefully this gives you an insight into the current methods of my writing process.

Write like a professional:

DO NOT start writing in Microsoft WORD! You might as well draw a giant penis across your first page.  You could have the best story in the world but no-one will deal with you or the project.  There is absolutely no excuse to not formatting your project properly, the amazing people at CeltX give away FREE screen writing software (avail here).  As a writer when handing someone a script you must respect and value their time, especially if you plan on having professional Industry figures read your work, If it doesn’t look like a script it won’t read like one.  It’s that simple.  You won’t believe the amount of word docs out there getting slung in bins and being instantly deleted. 

You can even download an app to write on the go (sadly not FREE anymore).

Building with Bones and making a Skeleton:

The following book was the simplest and most effective resource for a beginner wishing to write a movie, for anyone uncertain about narrative structure I highly recommend this.  I read it just before I wrote YHAD so it inspired me to knuckle down and bang through 87 pages in 30 days.


available through amazon here

For most writers getting the junk out is easy the first draft for most of us will be a pile of junk, to you it’s a master piece and genius.  But it’s not give it to someone who will be honest, they don’t need to be an expert about script developing as you are not looking for notes just general feedback.  They will ask questions about the story which will be key things you need to address. Majority of the pages will contain pure rambling junk but hopefully beneath this is a skeleton or spine to your story, it’s time to replace the rubbish.

The Writers Journey:

Now the hard work begins, in order to layer this spine and pack on the muscle and flesh to your skeleton, this is the hard part of writing.  It involves a huge amount of day dreaming over long periods of time, the re-drafting period is the only way to bury the bones of your story.  By constantly tweaking and changing different parts of your story, dialogue and characters you go further along the writers journey…….


This book is simply brilliant! That’s all I will say about it.  YHAD would not exist without it. available here

The longer you are on your journey (re-drafting) the more stories you have to tell, the more options you have as a writer. This process appeals top the perfectionists out there. Like the perfect holiday you will know when it’s time to come home and tell everyone about your trip. 

Too many writers are so heavily protective about their work they dare not mess with it, anyone who has written a long format piece like a script will know that small changes don’t exist, even the most minor alterations can have a profound affect on your story, many do not want to add to their work load so they settle on things too early.

And here is the difference!  By rushing or wanting to get through the writing process you run massive risks of your project failing.  By not ensuring it has enough flesh and meat on it to survive cold critique you become in danger of losing it. 

So timing your writing journey is a huge factor!

Language Structure:

For me this is the biggest of all and something that may or may not make sense here or in my podcast:  Unfortunately the industry and many people hold more value to how something is written rather than what is written.  For example, a page of script that is grammatically correct and structured in a way that meets the standard of our educational system doesn’t automatically make it interesting or a ‘Good read’.  Intelligence does not afford someone creativity.  Good communication doesn’t have rules and regulations.

A great public speaker or communicator or even entertainer will adjust themselves according to the response of their audience.  A writer doesn’t have the luxury of such instant feedback. So it’s imperative that their work speaks to the reader in a natural and open manner, you want the reader to have access to all the elements of your story straight away.  You don’t want to alienate them with words they do not understand or structure that is not natural on the inner ear.  Most people when reading read ‘aloud’ with inner monologue. They even assign different tones to characters, so if the words on the page are stark and rigid then you can bet your reader feels the same.  Scripts are not essays. They are stories.

The most interesting people with the best stories don’t come from Oxford or Cambridge with a masters in Political History. Those people are boring as fuck!  It’s the drunk down the pub or the crazy lady in the supermarket.  They are the ones with something interesting to say and they seldom speak RP or Queens English. 

But….. for a writer you should take an interest in the structure of language.  By understanding how people respond to language structure you are able to manipulate the words on paper to have a profound effect on the reader.  This is not taught at school and you don’t need to go into to much depth with this area, but some interesting reading for this is as follows:



You can have a simple concept for your film, but the story and characters  should be complex enough to engage an audience.  I hope with my future writing I explore this area more and get better at this.  Young, High and Dead is a cliche horror film set in a forest but there are lots of interesting things happening throughout the film that deal with the unconscious part of your brain.  I believe this is the reason why YHAD feels and looks different to so many other films, I also believe this is the reason why despite me having no money the film ‘looks and feels’ like a REAL movie and not a cheap student film.

Finally at present I really have no idea what the hell will happen with YHAD and my future career as a film maker.  I am aware of the path I tread and despite having made my debut film no guarantee’s exist for any future projects.  I love the writing process and whether I work in or outside the Industry I will continue to write scripts and stories. 

YHAD was finished many years ago now and I have 2 other very different scripts  at different stages.  I have included in this post an excerpt from a feature film that I am currently writing, I obviously cannot give any details about the synopsis or anything but I want to show an example of layout and form for anyone looking to do their own thing.  The piece is an introduction to one main character called Krystal, it still needs a ton of work and is at draft 1.4.  So in time it could change quite a bit.  Anyway hopefully it gives you a good sense of how some of the above applies to my writing.

Follow this link to read the scene:

Thanks for checking out this blog and feel free to contact me witha ny questions you have about anything relating to this article or Young, High and Dead.

Luke Brady (Writer/Director)

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YHAD - Marks 1 year since shooting

As a whole year very nearly passes since filming YHAD I thought I would blog a recap of where I am now and where I was back then.

I would like to project you back in time to………

September Wednesday 15th 2010 - Luke 30th Birthday !

After spending the past 9 months with pre production it’s only now 5 days to the shoot of ‘Young, High and Dead’! Panic begins to set in a bit as there is still a huge amount top do despite it being my birthday. Yesterday I was supposed to hop on a plane to sunny Ibiza for one of best mates stag do’s everything was paid for including a huge luxury villa for myself and all my mates, I am gutted I’m not there. I had to abandon my flight and holiday because of all the things that need doing for Mondays shoot. I had planned to have everything sorted so I could go away for his stag do and come back rested and ready to jump into the shoot, also it would have been amazing to have had my 30th birthday in Ibiza! Ive never been and now im pretty depressed, the weight of a ten day shoot hangs over me like a huge shitty black cloud, will we shoot all 90 pages in ten days? What if things go wrong? I still haven’t got all the costumes or props. What if one of my cast backs out? All these crazy thoughts whizz round my head as I sit in an empty Burger King at lunch in Sutton. Sat all on my own even more angry at myself for being so stupid that a ‘Murder King’ might cheer me up! I think one more time about how much fun all my mates are having at the same precise moment whilst I’m stuck in Slutton. I throw the rest of the food away and head to next doors pound shop to do more film shopping. Don’t underestimate the great things you can get in these shops when faced with such a small budget. I exit the shop with bags of stuff for the film and head home. Every moment that day I reassured myself that it was the right thing to do by not going to Ibiza. If I had gone there is no way on earth things would be ready for the shoot. I get home and chase up the late delivery of my shackles and chains that are being custom made by a bondage company in Newcastle. Good news they left despatch today! Phew a film about people being chained to trees without chains and shackles would be impossible to convince without these vital props. I head to the shed to make some more props for the film and begin to make fake axes.

Most days on the run up to the shoot seem to blur into one another, all the jobs slowly get ticked off the ever growing schedule and by Friday Ibiza is as far away in my mind as it is in centimetres. I feel bad for the soon to be groom. I feel like I have let him down but I know he understands how important this film is to me. After the 10 day shoot I have one day off then go straight to his wedding! Hopefully I can attend his wedding a happy film maker and not a broken man! I force myself to not think about things so much and just concentrate on making sure I have everything I need for the shoot.

Shooting a low budget film is like moving house when you own nothing. You have to hire a huge van and then fill it with every possible item you can think of and afford. We were self catering on the shoot so we needed washing up liquid, tea towels, a cheese grater, tuppaware, foil, the list is endless not to mention you need to obviously load all your film equipment, costumes, props, tools etc etc. I took everything. from spray cans, to shovels, to saw, an angle grinder, axes, medical kit, fire extinguisher, pegs, bin liners, chairs, gazeebo’s, umbrellas, wellies, ground sheets. I could go on forever. We had a large van and I intended to fill it! Classic hoarding for a mobile film maker.

The Sunday night before the shoot, I went through the check list one last time. It took hours but I feel confident I have everything I could possibly need. Whether we would be able to use it all to make a film was to soon be discovered………

Jumping a whole 364 days forwards………

September Wednesday 14th 2011 - Day before Luke’s 31st Birthday !

Virtually a whole year on so what’s different? Most importantly I won’t be in Sutton’s Burger King tomorrow having lunch on my own! My amazing girlfriend is taking me to lunch in a fancy restuarant up town.

Instead of a van full of shit I now am the proud owner of a garage full of shit. I daren’t get rid of anything just incase we have to pick up a shot, once a hoarder always a hoarder.I still have everything from the shoot minus all the alcohol that we drank during the shoot. That was a key essential ingredient to us surviving the ten days. It’s pretty amazing what people are willing to put themselves through if there are a few drinks at the end of a days filming.

Knowledge has changed. I am a year wiser but ultimately my knowledge of film making has grown in so many ways I never knew possible. Before the shoot I had plenty of ‘on set’ experience but ‘Young, High and Dead’ was a master class, a PHD in film making. There wasn’t much that didn’t get thrown at us in the way of obsticles but we managed to problem solve our way through everything, technical and logistical. To the untrained eye it we must have looked like kids running around with a camera and axes. The untrained eye is not wrong on this occassion. Boy did we do some running!

When doing a project of this scale ‘a feature near on 90 minutes’ unlike short films or commercials you very quickly realise that the word ‘quickly’ will not be of any use to you whatsoever. Especially when it comes to Post Production. It’s a pain stakingly slow process, imagine trying to paint a large room with a cocktail stick.

But a year on and the film is done! It’s cut, graded with a 5.1 surround mix on all the dialogue and effects. The only two elements missing are the music (being worked on right now by Blue Daisy) and the title sequence (being animated by my brother Jonathan right now).

As well as the physical making of the film, we have come a long way with the promotional side of things hopefully leading to them all important sales. Slowly we have been gaining interest in our film, it’s now up on IMDB with various articles in online horror sites. Our website will continue to grow and change and we are gearing up for a full scale attack of how we might actually get people to watch the damn thing.

After this weekend we will begin to orgainse a screening for our wonderful cast and another screening for friends, family, cast and crew and any potential people who can help bring YHAD to the masses. Autumn is always a great month for celebrating, most people are experiencing some form of ’ a sunshiine come down’ so I think a huge knees up celebrating the film is needed too. This important night has also been a year in the making.

The most important things to reflect are that making a film is probably the hardest thing I have ever done, both physically and mentally. I don’t expect anyone to understand the amount of hours put into YHAD but for the past few years now I have had 2 full time jobs. YHAD has led to me missing out on lot’s of social events and for any budding film makers about to do a similar project you should perpare yourself for a few years of solitary confinement within your film. YHAD has eaten lot’s of financial holes in my tattered bank account but hopefully It will pay off. I never risked my mortgage or anything silly but I have had to be extremely frugle with pennies and I do believe I haven’t been clothes shopping once this past 12 months, or bought a cd or dvd or anything deemed a luxury for me. Any spare money after bills have gone into the film. Pretty much the same financial struggle I was in a year ago as a would be low budget film maker.

Now I intend to wrap the project, sell YHAD and go back to leading a normal life but If the film works out where people like it and we get paid well enough, I guess I might be doing all this over again pretty soon! I better start clearing out my garage. :)


Final Cut Pro X - Review/thoughts - don’t be a hater


Ok thought I would do a quickish blog about Apples latest addition to the final cut family.

All over the internet are harsh reviews and some less impressive tutorials with lot’s of editors slamming Apple & the software. I have been using FCP X for a few weeks now and just wanted to highlight how FCP X is working for our film ‘Young, High and Dead’

We cut YHAD in Final Cut Pro 7, which worked really well for the edit. Normally if you have bucket loads of cash (which we don’t) you then export the EDL (edit decision list) and create an online master, which is then used create the Sound and Grade.

At this point final cut pro 7 could only take us so far, it’s ability to do colour correction & grading is pretty clunky and you have no ability to easily create a 5.1 surround mix and monitor the mix on a home system.

Now lot’s of professionals will scream out that home systems are not calibrated etc blah blah blah. I know this I used to work in a VT department in Post Production so my knowledge of legal levels etc in both audio and visual is probably more advanced than most guerilla film makers.

SO just as we tightened up our picture edit Apple release FCP X, everyone bitches about it and complains. But this actually could not have worked out better for us. We already had our edit so I just exported the film as separate chapters for each of the following:

Video Track

Audio Dialogue track

Audio Effects track

Guide Music track

I needed extra drive space but the outcome so far has been totally worth it. I then imported everything into FCP X using it’s transcode method - (more details about this below) and very quickly compiled the whole film together in the timeline. So despite not being able to import the original EDL I have my picture locked edit in FCP X.

One of my favourite features with FCP X is it’s surround sound panning box, It’s extremely easy to use and allows me to quickly create keyframes and pan the audio which ever way I want. Even more important is that somehow Apple have fixed it so you no longer need any additional hardware to monitor 5.1 in real time. I just hooked up my laptop to an optical cable and plugged it into my home cinema system. OK just to note I am lucky enough to have a decent amp with a great KEF surround system at home, allowing me to mix everything at home instead of an extremely expensive sound studio. FCP X can be a little buggy at times and has crashed a few times on me, however Apple have made FCP X so it auto saves with every click, no need to remember to do this or wait for the program whilst it saves everything is done as part of the ‘Background Process’ another key feature.

Of course like all software the system is only as good as the operator and I don’t pretend to be an expert in sound - but for Independent film makers like myself struggling to finish their film for little or zero budget this is by far the fastest and most cost effective way to do it.

In FCP X the colour correction tools are basic but actually allow you more control than any other FCP program that I have used. I used to grade on Avid Media Composer and by comparison previous Versions of FCP have been shit! Of course you have apple Colour but in my opinion FCP X can give you a great style and look quickly and cheaper. If we manage to get any money for YHAD I will probably get someone to do a full grade on something like ‘Davinci’ but right now I FCP X is doing a fair job so far.

By transcoding the raw Pro Res footage FCP X works a lot faster and considering this is Apples new version of ‘Offline’ media the quality is actually really good.

I don’t know how I feel about using FCP X to edit an entire film in, but I think so many short sighted editors have been too quick to dismiss this software. I think many fear that Apple are giving a huge amount of control to ‘Non Professionals’ I think Apple are highlighting that good story telling and cutting doesn’t need to be complicated and that we should all be open to changes to Post Production. Many ‘Offline Editors’ I have worked with over the years have very little or no knowledge about ‘Online Editing, Sound Mixing & Grading. The same goes for Online Editors not knowing about Offline etc.

For me all that matters is the result not what software you used to do it, I have heard shit sound mixes coming out of Pro tools because the editor rushed the job. The same goes for Grading in some well known London Post facilities.

FCP X has giving me the control I needed over my film and solved lot’s of headaches and money that I don’y have.

There are lot’s of decent tutorials on Youtube however it’s such an easy program you will grasp it pretty quickly like I did. I am about to have a play with Motion 5 after the grade on YHAD and see how it fairs, I will also keep you updated with how I get on with Apples newest version of Compressor.



Future projects/Future Scripts

Not sure I should be left alone to think alone for too long! I spent the morning doing more DIY and painting wood, but it got me thinking about new idea for a film. I think I may have reached a new low and am slightly concerned that most of my writing so far has involved quite a lot of sick and twisted plots. But I have an idea for a character and story so fucked up and evil It would be a crime to not to go ahead and write this script.

So as soon as YHAD is done I have to finish my other script which I am halfway through and started writing before I even conceived YHAD, that too involves a horrific ending and complicated characters, it’s a thriller and is completely different to YHAD.

I am itching to start writing again, it’s been too long, but I will just let the characters and plots brew in my head before I put pen to paper. I need to see YHAD through to delivery as that baby is not quite born just yet.


Experimental artwork ‘Cocaine YHAD’

Experimental artwork ‘Cocaine YHAD’

Mission Impossible

An interesting article by Indie Horror on FB, got me inspired to write this next blog…!/IndieHorrorOrg

It notes the difficulty in finding decent horror within mainstream markets is non existent. I could not agree more with this article, the sad truth is that if the commercial doors were a little bit  more ajar instead of being firmly shut, perhaps more opportunities would arise for Independent Writers & Film Makers, the Studios & Distributors and most importantly the fans.

Horror fans prove their loyalty and commitment to the genre by searching high and low for pieces of work which they wish to enjoy. I think there is a huge gap in the ‘horror’ market place and many big corporations and Industries surrounding the Genre would benefit greatly from this.

So for our film ‘Young, High and Dead’ the hardest work is building a fan base and getting our project known. By comparison actually making the film was a piece of piss. I have contacted many publishers, web and editorial to try and get some support around the film, the reality is no-one is really that interested or they are restricted because we are NOT a big studio or company that has done something as a unit before with a previous track record. If the film was to get picked up no doubt they would come knocking in their droves.

I fear that many great Independent films get lost or struggle to see the light of day because of the lack of support out there. Mainstream advertising is expensive and a complicated business, I fear an all out guerilla campaign with YHAD, something which I am reluctant to do, I want our film to have the opportunity for fans/audiences to like or dislike the film and for it to compete on the main stage. The reality of this happening is extremely small, I can only hope the support builds and that once people actually see the film it’s true value will shine.

Like all industries that have ‘Independent players’ proving your product/service has the ability to stand up and get the seal of approval it so desperately needs will always prove to be our biggest challenge. This is when the real hard work begins.

In any competitive business you can only hope that true talent shines through, however we are constantly faced with the complete opposite.

We are definitely living in a world where it is WHO you know and not WHAT you know.

Luke B

David vs Goliath is standard for Independent film makers.


Thinking time. The only way to make a film.

OK so it’s been a hectic few weeks as always, but not with the film. I have been on an urgent mission to decorate my hallway ahead of a carpet arriving next Saturday. It’s hard to believe but outside of making a film, the world keeps moving and you have to try and keep up with both.

But whilst I have spent endless hours stipping paint off of wood, sanding, filling and painting I have found a great way to take some time out from the film without spending money I don’t have on a holiday or watching a box/staring at a screen. Bored of that. In one of my earlier blogs I mentioned how 90% of the writing process for me is thinking, well since the shoot I have done so much work, I have not really put this into practice for Post Production. I am always active on the film where possible so it was nice to have downtime and let things sink in over the past few weeks. Holding a 90 minute film in your head and doing a million and one things can kind of fry your brain a bit, especially when it comes to making informative and direct decisions. Something I am not the best at.

Ultimately, whilst I have been doing DIY (something I am very good at) I have geared myself up for some ‘no nonsense’ work and approach to the next few stages of YHAD.

I am going to finish off the grade, tweak the sound and harrass every person I can find who can help me better the film and sell it.

I made this film as a cash cow and now it’s time to milk her dry and make some steaks. Yes this might destroy poor ‘ol Daisy’ but I created her for this very reason. I didn’t write ‘Young, High and Dead’ for a college project or to sit on my shelf in a fake DVD cover I made in photoshop. She’s a product that is hopefully fat enough now to sell. Perhaps that’s the reason I was always reluctant to name her! I’m still not convinced about the name, but hey it’s out there now.

I am sharpening my knife as I write this and Daisy looks fucking terrified. I look at her like a big fat juicy piece of meat, I don’t feel bad as I know there are plenty more where she came from, I need to find myself a decent butcher who knows how to get the most out of this beast.

Dead Cow

It’s tough kid but it’s part of a films natural cycle, who fancies a beef burger?


Quick preview of my YHAD stencil artwork. Might throw this up somewhere…..

Quick preview of my YHAD stencil artwork. Might throw this up somewhere…..



I thought I would throw out a few random tips that are not exclusive to the genre of horror but are essentials for the ‘low budget’ film maker.

Carry a decent tool kit!

On young YHAD I cannot even begin to express how important this was, on a film shoot all manor of problems arise and a decent tool kit will fix most things, It will be the things that you couldn’t possible prepare for that could potentially delay your film. Here are some of YHAD’s problems that occured and without my trusty tool kit, we could have really been screwed on time and our all important schedule.

Some seem laughable now but when you are on set and these things happen, the schedule on a shoot like this makes these things critical issues! Hard to believe I know.

1 x Pair of pliers to remove the lid on a ‘lighter fluid’ prop.

1 x sharp hand axe to chop away branches on set, chop up firewood, chop down trees’, threaten cast (only joking). I used my axe’s more than I held a camera!

Zip ties - These little fella’s come in use for virtually everything, one day the weather was so bad we had to winch up ground sheets high into the trees to act as shelter for the cast & crew, without these we would have got very wet indeed and not shot a single frame.

Padlocks & Chains - Like a shiny bike sometimes you have to leave your possesions in strange places for a while, human magpies might try and fatten their nests so be cautious. That age old saying ‘one man’s junk is another man’s treasure’ is only too true. One night we had to chain up some things overnight in the forest. There was no way around this other than a trusted padlock and fat chain.

Set of Spanners - One day the actual car we used in the film, wouldn’t turn over. The Immobiliser kicked in for an unknown reason, we were due to film the car in the next scene and needed to move it. Without our spanners to reset the car battery etc (size 14 to be precise) we would have been stuffed.

Decent ladder - It’s quite surprising the amount of things you might have to do that involve climbing. Of course RumPunch Productions take health & Safety very seriously and I am a highly skilled/trained climber of ladders.

Decent battery powered drill - I love my drill and I can find any excuse to use it. On set we had to drill small holes for the eyelets and zip ties as explained above for the shelter.

A wheelbarrow - Film making soon becomes dull when you have to carry hundreds of boxes over rough terrain, everyday we had to empty our large van and get everything to the set in the middle of the forest. With a tiny crew, carrying everything by hand was just not practical or time efficient.

Set of G cramps (not G Clamps) & a folding work bench, Safety gloves, goggles - Lots of day’s I had to angle grind something sharp, or saw something. when you are on set you tend to work super fast which is fine if you are not holding something that could slice your hand off in a split second. Despite doing things quickly I made sure everything was fixed down and I was as safe as poss.

To summarize you need to be prepared to fix anything. So glue, duck tape, precision screw drivers etc they all come into play. Don’t rely on your Gaffer or DP to have these things. Save time and money (DIY shops aren’t cheap), if it is needed at home you can guarantee it will be needed on set! I have listed just a few scenarios but there were tons more, I think my helpful point is made.

A large stump that need removing called ‘Thabo’

The ground ‘Sheets of Saviour’

We had to keep our Lollipop Man’…. er I mean ‘Producer’. Fashion was clearly not a priority for Sam Alani.

Our trusty ‘lil red mini metro’ gave use to my set of spanners and we returned the favor by throwing two buckets of blood at it!