Feature: ID Fest Day #3

Derby's biggest and best film festival returns and the Hatch'd team will be there all weekend to blog about it. Day 3 features a directing masterclass from Paddy Considine, a Q&A with Brian Bless, and a screening of Flash Gordon.

The third day of ID Fest 2012 was a mammoth day of press conferences, masterclasses, screening and DJ sets.

I started the day with a television showcase of the work of the day's main attraction, Brian Blessed. The first piece of work chosen was an episode from the third series of 1970's post-apocalyptic drama, Survivors, in which Blessed played meat-loving, chauvinist gang leader, Brod. The other, an episode of Roald Dahl's darkly-comic series, Tales of the Unexpected, this time featuring Blessed as a well-meaning detective investigating the death of a colleague. The screenings served as great examples of Blessed's ability for character acting, convincingly portraying both an immensely dislikable villain and a old-fashioned good guy.

Meanwhile, Hatch'd Magazine's resident film-buff, Lara, attended a directing masterclass with actor/director, not to mention QUAD patron, Paddy Considine:

I was lucky enough to attend the highly anticipated 'Directing Actors' seminar with Paddy Considine on Saturday, which was full to capacity with an audience eager to gain a better insight into his work. Paddy was joined on stage by friend and News Editor of 'Empire Magazine' Chris Hewitt. It was really nice to have the opportunity to listen to a director who is so honest, down to earth and willing to share his experiences.

Clips were shown from films that have influenced him such as 'Rocky' and 'Nil by Mouth' and Paddy claimed that cinema is "full of moments" and such moments were what inspired him to become involved. He described film making as a 'collaborative' process and believes it is important to have the right team with a good relationship, as well as a lot of time to be able to build the story and develop the characters. Paddy spoke about how useful he found improvisation in the development of his character for 'A Room for Romeo Brass' and considered the ability to 'play' and 'have fun' with it the most important part, however he also mention that he firmly believes that good writing is the most important part of film making and that a strong script that the actors can stick to is the key behind good films.

He was asked if his experience in front of the camera had contributed to his success as a director, to which he replied that having an understanding of the vulnerability actors face has helped him to relate to them better. It was clear that making the actors feel safe and comfortable was hugely important to gaining their trust and bring the best out of them. Paddy described role of the director as "to get an actor to that place and keep them there, or take them somewhere else" it was important that the actors trusted him enough to be able to "jump over the fence" and believe in what they are doing. Paddy went on to discuss the popular notion of 'Method Acting' which he said had been "bastardised" he continued "you shouldn't need to do that". He explained that he likes to be as closely involved in the scene as possible but also stays aware of when to step back and not interfere.

Paddy spoke about casting for Tyrannosaur, in particular Olivia Coleman who is known widely for her work in comedy. He said he was looking for a person with the right attributes for the role, and described Olivia as a selfless person, which is why he chose her. He went on to talk more broadly about attitudes in the film industry and in society as a whole, stating that people find it very difficult to believe in each other and that people always seem to need to prove themselves to others. He spoke passionately about his belief that Olivia could play that role; she just needed to be given the opportunity and platform to do it.

When talking about how he chose to film Tyrannosaur in Leeds because he didn't want to be associated with just one place, he mentioned that he believed that we needed to be always pushing boundaries. He also tried to integrate as much as possible and to get the community involved in the film to make it much more authentic.

Paddy said he has felt more comfortable behind a camera than in front of it. He wouldn't rule out acting in the future and would like to get back to the point where he can 'stop caring so much' and 'have fun with it again' but he will wait until the right script comes along. He added that he likes directing because he finds 'getting the best out of other people' a more rewarding process.


In the evening, Hatch'd were lucky enough to be invited to a press conference with the subject of the morning's television showcase, Brian Blessed, during which we were regaled with tales of mountaineering, yetis, acting and space. Following the conference, Hatch'd writer, Rob attended a Q&A with the actor and a screening of arguably his most famous work, Flash Gordon:

Brian Blessed took to the stage doing what he does best, booming - his voice filled the room (and probably the corridors). It is probably important to forget, like I did, all you know about the conventions of a Q&A, or even a conversation. Blessed does not subscribe to the rules of these basic arts; he needs only a stage, an audience and someone to tell him when his time is up.

He began, as would most, at the beginning of his life, speaking with absolute fondness for his parents and his early years, as well as his obsession with acting, actors and the theatre. Indeed one of the most memorable stories from this section was his arrest on a school trip at the age of eight because he had climbed into the theatre roof to watch the stage.

It became clear that Blessed had met a vast amount of important people over his 50 year career, from Patrick Stewart - with whom he is still close - to the great Katherine Hepburn.

While the stories he told of these great pillars of the acting world were brilliant, my favourite had to be his story from his early days in the audition circuit alongside Patrick Stewart among others. He was giving advice to one of his friends on auditioning - someone whom Blessed described "couldn't act for toffee" - "just stand still" he had told him, "if you move they'll know you can't act".

Later that week Blessed received a phone call from his friend rejoicing the fact he had been given the part. It transpired that Granada Television was also in that audition and had cast him in Coronation Street, the man in question being Bill Roache.

Blessed's love for acting and mountaineering are already well-known, but what may not be so well-known is his passion for space. For some years now he has been working with the British space program and also training in Moscow. At 76, Blessed is now a fully trained cosmonaut awaiting his first visit to the International Space Station in 2013. Blessed is a truly incredible human being.

The time was now 9:30pm and I am pretty certain that Flash Gordon was scheduled for about 8:15pm, but I think I can speak for everyone that was present when I say we would have listened to Blessed for many more hours and I am fairly certain Blessed would have been happy to oblige.

He ended this session with a phrase so poignant, he bellowed it twice; "Follow your dreams, and don't let the buggers grind you down!" Wise words.

The day ended with a video-game-heroes-themed DJ set performed by myself and local musician, .

To find out more about what else has been happening at the festival over the weekend and for a programme of events visit the ID Fest website or the QUAD website.

Words by ,  and .

Tags:  ID Fest QUAD Cinema Film Brian Blessed Paddy Considine Flash Gordon This Song Derby Derbyshire Derbyartists

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