The Lighthouse Keeper – Short Film

Truth be told when I decided I wanted to make a short film for this kick about regarding the strange landscape of Dungeness and Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage and garden I was feeling rather blue when the idea came to me. I don’t know why I sometimes torture myself when I feel sad, but the melancholy song that brings tears to my eyes entitled Twice by one Swedish group I admire called Little Dragon was playing in my head on a loop. A lot of the scenes from The Lighthouse Keeper are inspired by the gorgeous music video which can be seen here. The original story for The Lighthouse Keeper was a lot more melancholy, coinciding with how shit I felt, but I couldn’t accomplish it with just two hands and would have needed an assistant to help me with puppeteering the characters. While sitting on the idea for a while I decided to change the story to a more uplifting one so that I could accomplish it, and I think it turned out a better one.

I then abandoned this project for some time. The stage has been looming behind me for far too long as focusing in on perfectionism of the sets, lights, and movements of the characters felt relentless, trying to delve into a different medium one that is hands on and one that I can’t delete away mistakes was at times really testing. I really wanted the film to be as analogue as possible and for everything to be shot in camera, but realising it was an impossible approach and that I would have to rely on trickery done right to look like it was all in camera was the right methodology and ended up as a far more enjoyable experience. I leaned on newer technology as well as predeceasing technology that old films did so well.

A lot of behind the scenes footage has been filmed of what went into the making of this short film but I think I would rather let it be and not ruin the magic by showing how it is done… or showing the many instances where the stage toppled off the table, or when the characters arm flew off, or when my fan for the weather scene took everything along with it. Dismantling the stage, folding the grease paper, popping the many tools and props into jars and putting the little characters to rest in neat folders feels nice but in an odd way as there is something so unique and cherishing about finishing a film that you made with your hands, my bedroom certainly feels a lot roomier now that the stage is no longer.

4 thoughts on “The Lighthouse Keeper – Short Film

  1. What a nice surprise, Graeme, seeing this finished! We all have projects that slip beneath the surface of everything else, like submarines. So, I think your story is telling me, if I am a lonely lighthouse keeper, I need to light the light again and someone will find me… or is the story about why the lighthouse keeper is so sad in the first place? Either way, “light the lamp!” I think the moments when the plantlife regenerates are magical and so charming, and I also really liked that last scene with the rain, with the purplish clouds and vignetting – looked so richly analogue, but also truly atmospheric and ‘big weather’ on the exposed coast. Well done on getting this done; making stuff for no £££ and with no team or sounding board is an upward struggle, so congrats X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the lovely response Phil! It can mean a plethora of things – I know what it means for me, but I would rather you or anyone else have their own meaning to it. It was tough at times but I’m definitely happy I didn’t let this one go X

      Liked by 1 person

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