House Shorts

James Fisher

High Road House

James Fisher comes from a fine art background and discovered filmmaking whist studying at Chelsea College of Art. He graduated with a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design majoring in film and then completed a three year BA Film & Television degree at the Skillset Screen Academy London College of Communication, part of the University of Arts London. At university he was lucky to study under Jack Garfein, director and teacher for the original Actors Studio, who taught him how to act and how to interpret a script.

Peter Heinzemann, Senator Entertainment said of James’ House Short treatment:

‘The story builds up some speculation about it and ends quite surprising. And the mood trailer shows some good images so that I would expect good camera’.

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am a film graduate working my way from short films into features. A documentary film I directed at university called “The Village” won the MTV ‘Show Us What You’re Made of’ Award in February 2009. In 2010 I reached the final twelve out of hundreds of applicants in the Film London/Tri Borough film scheme ‘New Pathways’. I went on to produce the funded film “Borderland” which I also worked as Director of Photography. This film was premiered at the East End Film festival but missed out narrowly for a Film London ‘Best of Boroughs’ film nomination.

I have worked as a Director of Photography on numerous shorts and last year I worked as Director of Photography on the feature length horror anthology ‘Three’s a Shroud’ which will be screened at various film festivals later this year. I was recently funded by Fourcorners and Skillset for 3D film training after working with Fourcorners on a film scheme called East Meets East.

Currently I’m starting to move away from DP work and move towards directing. I feel that understanding cinematography is one of the most vital skills of directing and telling stories.

When and why did you get into film?

I come from a fine art background and discovered filmmaking whist studying at Chelsea College of Art. Having never owned a video camera I only picked up a mini camcorder for the first time seven years ago. I graduated with a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design majoring in film and then completed a three year BA Film & Television degree at the Skillset Screen Academy London College of Communication, part of the University of Arts London. At university I was lucky to study under Jack Garfein, director and teacher for the original Actors Studio, who taught me how to act and how to interpret a script. As part of my degree I also trained on the Guild of British Camera Technicians 35mm and HD course, which helped me learn my craft.

What’s your short film about and where did you get the inspiration from?

“Moment of Clarity” is a story that most men can shamefully relate to, until a certain point. It’s about a man who wakes up in bed after a night out drinking, not knowing where he is, who’s laying next to him in bed and what possible dangers await him. I got the idea for the script a long while ago, although the script has changed various times over the last couple of years. The script was always of the thriller genre but the new ending is a lot darker than the original. When writing the script I also had an idea for a painting to accompany the film. This painting is part of the set and adds a crucial element to the mise-en-scène of the film.

Which scene are you most looking forward to filming/which scene will be the hardest to film?

The bar scene in the opening credit sequence was the most fun to shoot. For this scene I experimented with various lighting effects in conjunction with smoke effects and in-camera lens effects. It gave the footage a really unique look as everything was captured in-camera with no visual effects applied after. The lens I used is not commonly used in motion picture effects. This scene also doubled up as a mini wrap party for the cast and crew of the film as we shot it last, making it the most enjoyable shoot I’ve ever had.

The hardest scene to shoot was the second twist in the thriller as it required a very high angle shot within the hotel room meaning that the camera was near the ceiling whilst we were working out the angles for the effects and action to happen below (all will be revealed when you watch the film).

What would it mean to you to win House Shorts 2012?

This is a money can’t buy prize and I have never seen a judging panel as esteemed as this one. Their mentoring and advice will help me decide what choices to make next in my filmmaking career as I have numerous unmade short film scripts and feature film ideas that I can’t wait to develop further. If I were to win this prize, it wouldn’t just be an award, it would be a massive kickstart to a career.

Photos by: Marlon Rouse Tavares

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