Starting in 2014, the Script took 3 months to write, with an additional 2 months to finalise. Written purely by Senior, he had a goal: to demonstrate his ability as writer, as well as to transform a vision he had for a while into physical reality - whilst producing a feature film before the age of eighteen - which he achieved.
We wanted a film made with passion - that both affected the audience, and provided a twist or two. We also wanted to shoot the film with a mixture of both handheld camcorder and DSLR quality footage to create a candid, documentary aesthetic, which also mirrored Senior's personal departure from SD recording methods. Moreover, we refused to be held back by conventional editing practices. Our aim was to gain a cast & crew compiling of the complete NEK team, as well as our new friend D.M. Larson, and locals whom were dedicated to the movie. This added a friendly atmosphere on set, and therefore enhanced the production process. Although many of the cast members were untrained actors, we felt that each character was a reflection of teenage life, which is very important within the film.
Senior, along with Kyle Staff, Dan Lyle and Jack Ide worked on the screenplay, choosing each shot with as much meaning as possible - we wanted each scene to reveal more and more each time you re-watch it. Soon after, Ide dropped out from the screenplay, with Dan Lyle contributing towards additional scenes. Next, Senior planned the lighting, locations, storyboards, costumes and began graphic design respectively.
Following the planning process, Senior assembled a cast of over twenty people, most of whom provide cameo & extra roles. Next, we re-contacted D.M Larson, winner of two Emmy Awards and a Telly Award, who agreed to act as an associate producer.
After that, we had to choose the soundtrack composers - in addition to our in-house musician, Kyle Staff, Senior hand picked two people:
- Mattia Cupelli (Italian Video Game & Media Composer)
- Ross Bugden (Orchestral Film Composer)
They are absolutely incredible composers, both with an exceptional ear for emotive music.
Soon after, Dan Lyle joined the executive production team to add his own personal spin, with James 'Jimmy' Vowden, Jack Ide and Kyle Staff on the co-production team for the same reason. Asides from Staff, Senior didn't tell anybody how the film would end - he wanted everybody to watch the film with as much enjoyment as possible. Likewise, he only exposed actors to their segment of the script.
Following this, Kyle Staff composed the official score, consisting of six original pieces, including the theme song, and a cover. The theme song was recorded in six different variations, so that we could select the best rhythm and sound quality. The theme song, entitled 'One Step Beyond', was ultimately unused - but was still featured on Staff's Demo tape.
Shooting began late June 2015 and continued through to May 2016.
Later during production, Sam Ord-Houghton decided to
re-pursue is ambition to become an actor, and so joined both the cast and production team in late October. Several additional crew members had since joined the team, and several locations and props were made possible due to these additions.
Senior method acted for an entire year in order to make his character more authentic, as well as to experiment with acting styles. This unfortunately affected his school and home life, which he was originally supposed to apologise for at the end of the film - however, this was removed from the final cut.