In the first of our series on production companies, we talk to Colton Sears of Blue Ocean Pictures, about filmmaking in Cornwall, working with actors and Poldark
Blue Ocean Pictures is a partnership between myself and Lester Knight the producer. We met at Camborne college and found we had a similar passion for film, so we got some cameras together and shot our first movie called Burial with a few freinds.
Things progressed and now we have 12 movies under our belts, Camburrow being our 13th film.
Our main base is the village of Burras Wendron Nr Helston, but our locations are far ranging.
Since those early days Allen Forster has come in as first assistant director and Richard Langley has come in to help on the scripting side as associate producer
Canopus is a sci-fi movie, now completed and due to be shown at Sci-Fi London Film Festival, in April.
It’s about a huge space saucer and a survey team way out beyond the hundred light year barrier. Here they explore the planetoid Canopus 279 to find if life still exists on this earthlike planet after a planetary catastrophe.
Camburrow follows in the footsteps of the epic TV series Poldark. At first we thought we were treading on hallowed ground, Then we realised 30 years had passed since a historic movie of this type had been made in Cornwall. Obviously, we haven’t the resources that the tv series had. Our story is set roughly in the same period Poldark, but our story is radically different and we have concentrated more on the dangers of mining at a time when it was at its peak. Let’s say we pay homage to Poldark -a great series that touched the hearts of everybody down here in Cornwall.
Our movies are all different, each one requiring a different approach. We’d like to think our movies are great entertainment -Hollywood style.
We have a pool of talented actors and actress we can call on. It’s rather like the mercury theatre group that Orson Wells ran in the ’40 and ’50s. We use many of the same people in our movies and we augment these with new actors and walk-on extras.
Filmaking in Cornwall has declined for many years -many will disagree with me on this score -but there are a few out there who are making films, but they are not the kind of films I personally would want to watch. Maybe it’s because they are starved of funds.
It much easier to get funding if you are making a social statement, for example unemployement, Cornish nationalism, a film about lifeboats, the lives of fishermen -all local themes about local issues.
I guess our most ambitous project was another historical drama called Ebb Tide filmed in 2004. I think there were around 40 people involved on this one, plus soldiers in period unforms. This was set in 1805, during the Napolenic era when Bonaparte sent spies to Britain to scout for landing places for a French invasion.
Drawbacks, the main one is funding. We have to finance our films out of our own pockets, we even have to create props and costumes(especially for period drama).
The advantages are the various country and ocean backdrops for our stories to unfold. We also have a wealth of period houses, and I must mention the goodwill of the Cornish, who have helped us no end.
Before we start on a project we put the idea before the actors we hope to involve. Then, if they like the idea, I start on the screenplay -the most important task. Lately, I have been drawing other talented writers into this area.
First we skeleton a plot line and each writer gets a scene to work on. Then we put it together, figure out what we need, the locations (which we always scout out before shooting). Then we deliver the script to actors, organise a shoot date and time, and shoot the scenes, which are transfered to computer and edited, with the music and sfx, and bluescreen processes, and special effects added and so on.
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