2 Days to go: The Tech Recce.

Yesterday Gav, Claire and I went to St George’s Hall, Bristol to see how the film will look and sound on the night.

Gav is going to play “Gold” the track on the trailer:

before the screening, so he wanted to make sure the sound system worked for what he wanted so we all went down together and walked into the hall with the awesome Ben Spencer.

Him and the team at St George’s have been amazingly supportive (and generous) with putting on the Premiere for us.For those of you who haven’t been to St George’s Hall it isn’t just impressive it’s inspiring.IMG_8011

IMG_8012The building dates back to the 1820’s this Georgian Hall with amazing history and acoustics is the venue of choice when it comes to choirs, orchestras, good good Jazz, and me.1vykkk%lQnWc5VWM4eYyDg

As we pulled down all the blinds and played the film – suddenly my voice booming around the hall, was actually a bit overwhelming. How did I end up here? 

IMG_7999

IMG_8001

IMG_8002

I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that 18 months after sitting on a bench on a park, pouring my heart out as I read Steve’s letter, I would be standing on the stage of an opera hall checking that 200 people can hear 106 minutes film I‘ve made.

The fact that it’s an opera hall is typical of this project. The fact that it’s not typical, the fact that it’s not a cinema, is what it’s all about. This is a celebration of all the hard work all the people who have contributed to the film. To celebrate his life. To celebrate all the great people we’ve meet.

a8XnwkPZS6uL7lhN236d1Q

Advertisements
Standard

Prepping for the Premiere.

I’ll be honest I have been a bit on auto pilot for the past few weeks.
Getting St Georges sorted. Talking to journalists, getting the trailer finished, the posters printed and making sure everyone is invited.
It felt mechanical, it felt operational, it felt unreal.
But when I went to pick up the postcards,  I opened up the box, in some sort of weird excitement, then it was like I got hit by as truck.

6CH5hcQkTSSC8XMlGtrW0w

Seeing his face spun me out. I sat in my car and cried. Only a bit. But enough to feel silly.
As I looked at the 1000 postcards with his face looking up at me. I felt sad. Really sad.  This film was suddenly very very real.  It has been an 18 months of emotional rollercoaster,  but with the 200 people coming – from all over the country,   I can’t hide behind ” it’s only a rough cut” anymore –  This is basically it. This is the best I can do to remember him. To tell his story. To save the next Steve.
There is nothing I can do to bring him back. But this is my best attempt to make his death mean something. His life meant so much to so many people, he just didn’t realise that.

IMG_4415

This is the pull up banner – Currently in my living room.  I miss ya mate.

And those interviews? Well I haven’t seen the articles yet but i have full trust in the fantastic journalists who are willing to help spread the Steve Story.

ImP4nB0US6etipZRuMLpoA

This is Lowie Trevena from Bristol 24/7. Her article will go HERE when done.

wezTZqCyQSioD+44hWfTkg

And this is James. James is a Photographer at Bristol Post, He took the shots while Robin Murray wrote the words. Robin’s article will go HERE

TolRh8BxS+6lKbkKeFqJfw

And the reverse of this shot will go below:

Standard

The Poster (and the Tattoo)

When promoting a film it’s all about the poster. For me it helps crystallise what the film is about. The idea of the documentary was to try to find some good from such a tragic story. That if one man thinks again and stays in this world, to save the next Steve. So for me the Poster was always going to reflect that – so what if we simply recreated a picture of Steve using the photos of the 1000’s of men we hope this film will help?

This was my original sketch.

IMG_7782

And this is what the amazing Ollie Aplin creator of Mind Journals  and  Well and Good Studios here is what he created.

Steve_Poster(S)And if you look  closely you can see what I mean. Screen Shot 2019-03-15 at 14.26.23

While this was being designed – I felt I needed to do something for me and Steve.

Steve called me Mr A. (AKERS) I called him Mr Y. (YATES)  –  So I designed and had this tattoo done.

IMG_7707

Standard

“The George” changing it’s name to “The Steve” for one night only.

Well we have a finished film. (Well almost – the sound is being finished by our friends at Rumble Studios in Sydney) but we will have one by next Thursday. Well we better have – because……..We have a Premiere. Thursday the 21st of March 2019 at St Georges Hall in Clifton, Bristol.

Here is the finished trailer:

Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 21.07.15.png

It’s a fantastic venue.

st-george-s-bristol

Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 22.29.49

With so much history.Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 22.20.58

And now with a week to go……. There is only a handful of tickets left.Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 22.28.56

Standard

It’s been a while. We’ve been busy.

Yep, where have the past 3 months gone. Seriously I don’t know.
We’ve been in heavy post production, getting the final edit right.
The opening titles, the closing credits and everything in between.

We learnt a lot from the pre-screening of the 80% cut – and filming the day.
Watching peoples faces and the things they said afterwards blew me away.

But it’s all about the last 20%. How we begin the film. How we keep it positive. How we end the film.

And when we put the sections together Sam (our Editor) said to me:
“You might want to sit down for this one” – which is rare for him to be so proud of a cut – normally he so understated. But he was right. The Beginning had Claire in tears and hit me like a punch in the face. It’s real. It’s honest. It’s confronting.  It will hopefully set the scene for what is a film that we hope will save lives.

The final film is now 106 minutes long.  It goes even further into the way real men feel about their own mental health and embraces what really happens. It also allowed me to use the footage of The first ever Steve Yates Shield and hopefully helped them.

The only downside of making a 106 minute film is the amount of times you have to watch it, check it, watch it again. And again. And again. And again. To make it right.  Normally this is fine, almost enjoyable. Crafting something. Getting it right. But I’ll be honest this wasn’t. I didn’t enjoy crafting this. I didn’t enjoy looking at hours and hours of old footage of Steve and I. I didn’t enjoy,  seeing his mum cry again and again.  No I didn’t enjoy that.

One thing that was very important was protecting the identity of 3 men who gave me their very honest account of their own mental health experiences.

IMG_7847
This is us Blurring out “Anonymous 1” at the amazing post production house Films @59 who we couldn’t have completed this film without.

IMG_7810

This is Alexis – “Doing the colour”  basically going through every shot in every scene – and masking it brighter, richer, more beautiful. He’s taking footage from different  cameras in different lights and trying to make them all look even and the same.

IMG_7808

As you can imagine it takes a while.

IMG_7814

Next thing to do is the Voice Over. I hate my voice at the best of times.

It’d even worse when I’m watching me fumble through 106 minutes of film – trying to talk and make it make sense.

IMG_7817

Always changing things.

IMG_7818What JT said was far better that what I could come out with. Thank you so much to George, Alexis, Tom and Martin, and all at Films @59  – you’ really lifted the look and feel of the film.  Thank you.

Standard

The Pre-Screening. The 80% done cut.

I was worried. That’s a lie. I don’t think I’ve ever been more worried about showing something I’ve made before, in my entire life.
I’d shown the 80% cut to a few people – and obviously the Made With production team have been all over it. But would they really tell me if it wasn’t very good? Could they? So fo me, this would be it’s first real test.

The family were my major worry. They didn’t ask for this film to be made. They didn’t know what they were letting themselves in for. They couldn’t, I didn’t know how it would grow and grow to what it is now, so how could they.
The hope for the film is that it could be something that could help us all repair the hole left in our lives with the loss of Steve, but I knew it would open a can of worms when we started this –  and it would make things worse before they could get better. But had I miss judged it?

So I wanted them to see this film before the 200 people in the room. I wanted them to know what was coming. To be prepared. As best they could be.
So I sent a link on the Thursday and hoped they would gather the energy to watch it before the screening on Saturday night.
Although the film carries Steve’s name, only the first 15 minutes are about him, what happened – and the carnage that was left behind.

This film is about Everyman, because Steve was the everyman.
And this film is about making people realise that depression and anxiety is everywhere. That people you know, love and respect might be suffering as well.
And we need to remove the stigma about trying to look after your mental health – and take it more seriously. Don’t just take good mental health for granted.

As I drove from Bristol on the Friday night, I thought about what they might think. I hadn’t heard from them  – I’d got a text from Lee who said h’es seen the first half hour and “thought it was really powerful” – so I slept in my Holiday Inn box  – a happy man.

I woke up, checked my phone and I still hadn’t heard from Les and Lol. Maybe they hadn’t seen it. Or they had but didn’t know how to they hated it.

IMG_7486Breakfast of a champion.

I thought about this as I drove to the station to pick up Producer Neil. After a laugh at his new retro look.

IMG_7489We talked about it as we drove. Neil put a lot of my worries at ease, but he still didn’t know what they might think. Then when we pulled up at the ground and we saw Lol. 

I put my window down and she came straight over.  “It’s fabulous Ben. It really is” …… “we watched it last night… and it’s going to change lives” – I just felt like a weight had been lifter off my shoulders. Today was going to be a good day.

You know what happened in the match – that was in the previous post. But is was a good day. My team won, I got my goal. We won the shield and everyone had a good time.

As I walked back into the club house,  I suddenly thought how pissed off Steve would have been for losing. He hated losing. We always played on the same side – unless it involved United. I then saw this shirt, hanging up. It was one of his favourites. I loved and hated it. It’s the strip Lee Sharpe wore when Arsenal got slapped 6-2. Lee Sharpe was one of Steve’s favourite players.  It made me smile.

IMG_7506I wasn’t the only one smiling.
A year a go when I filmed Les and Lol, I’ll be honest didn’t know if they would ever smile again – Then as I look at them catching up with people and laughing and I think, if we achieve nothing more, seeing them trying to move on was worth it.

Image-260Lol with Felicity and Diane. (Flis’s mum).Image-274Les having a rare laugh (because in the film he talks about losing his sense of humour)Image-273And Claire laughing with some mates.IMG_7512But they weren’t the only ones. I was humbled by the support of my mates new and old. People travelling to Margate from Bristol, (Blue and Tom) Brighton (Ollie) and London Scott and Steve. IMG_7513Love you Wal.

IMG_7517Old old mates, Andy, Rob and Dan who all went to School with Steve and I.IMG_7510Old mates meet new mates.IMG_7508Wiz coming from Hertford.IMG_7509The boys from London.IMG_7515Luv ya Producer Neil.

So then we go on to the screening. I couldn’t really take a photo to do the crowd justice. We sold around 200 tickets. So it was a great test.

Screen Shot 2019-01-02 at 23.18.15.pngFor 90 minutes you could hear a pin drop.  Which was amazing,
After there was as great clap. And lots of people congratulating me. Which made me feel weird. Because I’d never expected comments like that. IMG_7524People liked the positivity and the fact that we looked at solutions. In fact one bloke came up to me and gave me a big hug and said :Thank you. He told me he’d been suffering for a bit but didn’t know how to say it. And talk to his wife about it. As the film finished he told her how he’s been feeling and is now going to get help. So now we have had 24 men that just by the process of making this, knowing it exists, they are going to get help.
So even with an unfinished film it’s already doing it’s job. So thank you all for your support and positivity.

A few people since have sent mew little videos of their feelings after the screening. You can see them on our Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stevedocumentary/

 

Standard

A year in the making. We’re almost there.

A year ago I sat on a bench, in a park and poured my heart out to the world. I talked about  about my grief, my failure and an Idea.  The grief of losing my best friend, the fact that I wasn’t there for him, and the idea of a documentary to help men to, maybe get them to think, to help and protect themselves before it got to this terminal state.

The film could honour Steve’s life, help other men and maybe even help me. To try to find some good from something so bad.

In my head it was 20 maybe 30 minutes long, so I went out to the world with a kick-starter and we began. What we soon realised when we were research and filming is this project is now far bigger than we could ever imagined. 2 men an hour. 12 men a day – (are recorded) to have taken their own life.

So for 9 months I travelled up and down the country. Asked the world again for help as things got bigger and bigger.

https://www.gofundme.com/SteveDocumentary

We collected over 50 hours of footage interviewing 33 people. Animations, video diaries even a music video. After months of editing – we finally had a cut – an 80% cut.  A not  ready to release cut, not one for people who I don’t know cut. A cut for people  who might just say they liked it. Because they like me. 

But how do I do that? How do I get his family and his friends together. Well football is always a good idea. So what started out as a few people around a telly, to a football match and a pub screening turned into a 200 people, programmes, badges,  new kits, and an auction where we raised thousands and thousands for SOB’s and Steves kids.

I’ll do another post about the screening it’s self. But here was the match.

Image-261.jpg

It was the first time all year that I saw Lol smile. Image-1.21

Our team – The Rest of The World.  Made up of many people who have featured in the film. Blue, Tom, Ollie, Paul Payne and the lads in the round table.

Image-1.13

And all of us. The united fans too – made up of Steve’s family and family friends.

Image-1.20

A minutes silence before the game.

Image-1.22

Blue getting ready.

Image-3

Olly Aplin looking relaxed.

Image-4

Action.

Image-244

Eye on the ball.

Image-2

Producer Neil talking control.

Image-188

Tom down the line.

Image-189

The smile of Rug after his goal.

Image-119

And this was mine.

Image-234

We won 8-5.  And I am the first captain to win the Steve Yates Shield. Presented by Lol.

Image-277

Before the screening Chris Tavener  – who drove down from Cheshire – played his comedy song “Bottle it up” That will feature in the final documentary. I don’t think people got him straight away. But as soon as they understood. They obviously loved him.

8xURsKOTRxmhrEF6mUPa9w

As i said I’ll go into the screening and the reaction later. But we made the local paper – Again.

8ef8432e-f9f8-4172-b7b5-23f6f1f9a12a

 

 

 

Standard