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Jamie McKeller - Hooped

on Wednesday, 24 April 2013.

hooped

What is your background and how were you inspired into making films? 

I started making messing around with a cheap camcorder in my late teens, shooting stupid little videos in my back garden with friends and editing in the camera. When we started shooting our webseries “I AM TIM” in 2010 it was treated as an education, like a crash course in filmmaking. Three years on and I’ve learned more than I could ever learn at University by getting my hands as dirty as possible, quite literally. 

My background is in theatre as a writer, director and actor. Anything that let me live in that universe really. Whereas I prefer acting in theatre, there’s an insane freedom that filmmaking grants a storyteller. It’s beyond addictive.

What was the starting point for Hooped, did it begin in simple fashion?

I had the image of James (the poor guy stuck in the can holder) running along in distress. That shot was the starting point for the film, and his distress took on several forms throughout the writing process. He had his shoelaces tied together, someone had stolen his hands… it went through several weird places before landing in the romantic comedy zone.

Where and how did you select the featured actor and actress? 

I studied at York St John University with James and Anna, and they were just the perfect actors for the job. Both incredibly physical and capable of delivering characters that are appealing and loveable without a line of dialogue. I had to postpone the shoot three times because they’re so busy with other projects.

Did it take a while for you to find that seemingly ideal location?

I live in York, which is just one massive location. It’s an amazing city for filmmakers. Walk around the corner and you’ll find the perfect location for your film. The park we shot in is about five minutes on foot from my house.

Some people think romance as a theme has been run into the ground by the media. Do you agree and was this at all daunting when you were developing your idea?

I think films with Jennifer Aniston as the struggling copy editor who lives in an inexplicably beautiful apartment, with inexplicably beautiful friends who finds love in an unexpected (normally Mark Ruffalo) place is overcooked. But films like 500 Days of Summer or Dan In Real Life prove that romcoms don’t have to be sickening, by the numbers experiences. Hooped is more of a feel good slapstick comedy than a cheesy romance, I hope!

Is comedy a comfortable genre to work in?

With every project we try something new. I Am Tim is a horror comedy drama, presented in documentary form. It has a lot of characters placed in ridiculous situations. We set out to make “a bloody lovely little film” and I believe we achieved that.

How do you view your film in terms of silent comedy? 

The decision to ditch all the dialogue came very early in the writing process, and as soon as I discovered the band Jen and The Gents I knew that I didn’t need any words to tell the story, they’d just get in the way. When I was young I was addicted to The Keystone Cops, that show left a mark on my brain.

Do you think this piece will act as a starting point to any further projects, ones that are even bigger?

Totally. I shot Hooped in around five hours and edited it over a couple of weeks. It’s my first proper short film, and it’s doing well. I have two other shorts planned for this year, and I’m currently writing my first feature which we’re shooting in November this year. 

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