Mark Jeavons is the writer and director of britflick Whatever Happened To Pete Blaggit? (which we really liked by the way). I managed to spend some time with him. Below is the result.
What prompted you to come up with the idea?
I used to work for a video guy who filmed wedding videos back in the late 80’s. He had loads of funny anecdotes about messing up filming various weddings, and I thought that would make a really good comedy film initially, so that’s where it came from.
How would you describe Pete Blaggit?
He’s a very angry man, in the midst of a mid-life breakdown when we first meet him at the start of the film: he’s lost everything – his ex-wife has chucked him out the house, his wedding video company is going down the pan, everything in his life seems to be falling apart and he takes out his anger on his brother, brides, bridesmaids – anyone who gets in his way basically.
It’s not until he’s abducted by aliens and then meets his doppelganger, that he’s given the chance to turn his life around.
Why wedding videos?!
As I say, the idea came about via working for a video guy who had loads of funny anecdotes about filming weddings, that’s when the seed was planted I guess.
How is it all put together? Talk us through the process.
We started pre-production at the start of 2006, then we shot for four weeks over the summer of 2006. The budget ran out, we lost numerous locations and had numerous over setbacks, and as a result only shot about 60% of the film.
It wasn’t until 2009 that we raised enough money to shoot the rest of the film. Post-production took up most of 2010 as well.
What were the greatest challenges on set?
Shooting on super16mm was a massive challenge, something I was completely new too. Working with a big crew and cast was a new experience as well. We had multiple locations and the scheduling was a complete logistical nightmare!
Where there any scenes you looked forward to shooting?
Definitely the special effects scenes, shooting those scenes was definitely the highlight for me – working with prosthetics and a special effects team was a really cool experience.
How was the experience of working with the cast?
On the whole we had a great cast and a very talented cast in my humble opinion. I knew we were getting really strong performances from the main lead actors, and it was a great experience working with them – they really did the script justice.
Have you received feedback, ideas, etc on your website?
Not so much on the website, though we held a cast & crew screening back in November last year, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive – a number of people were there who weren’t totally associated with the film, and they gave glowing reviews of the film, which was great.
What are you hoping for when it’s out?
The goal is DVD distribution to a mass audience; I want the film to be seen by as many people as possible. And for the film to act as a calling card so we can get to make another film would be nice as well.
Do you feel the film has an underlying message?
If it does have an underlying message, it’s one of karma I guess, and of having second chances in life to put right all your wrongs.
What would you like viewers to take from the film?
I’d just want people to be entertained watching the film, and to come away feeling they’re time was spent worthwhile watching it. That was the goal at the start of making the film – to make the most entertaining film I could with the resources I had.
How hard it is to have an independent film made in the UK today?
Very hard – to make something decent costs money and to get funding to make a film is a very tough task. But if you really want to make a film no matter what, then you can – it just takes an awful lot of persistence.
Any films you have seen that have left a lasting impression with you?
I watched A Serbian Film recently which definitely left a lasting impression with me, though not a great one!
Anything you want to get off your chest right now?!
Just that if people want to keep up to date about the film, then check our: www.peteblaggit.com as well as our facebook page. The film will be released on DVD at some point later in the year.
Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC. Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.