Peter Groom is an actor, dancer and choreographer working mainly with dance and theatre. He directed the short film Herd as part of Year 2 of Random Acts North and in the blog below he talks about the experience of being commissioned and creating his film.
“I was very excited to be commissioned for Random Acts and for the opportunity of making something on film. What I didn’t know was quite how to do this.
I am used to creating for a live audience and for me as a choreographer it is the immediacy of the moving body in front of you that makes dance exhilarating. How could this audience be removed and the dance still be compelling to watch? What I didn’t want to create was a recording of dance but to use the camera in a way that the film becomes choreography and a form of movement in itself.
What was exciting were the possibilities that film presented – the ability to use different locations and shots to convey an idea. The Random Acts mentors really encouraged us to be adventurous and take creative risks. I wanted to create a short film that explored the feeling of being lost, whether in life, love or just not knowing where you are.
During the residential in Manchester, I began with photos, music and pieces of text that felt relevant to this idea; I had many, many pin boards with pictures and notes all over them. Once I had gathered these I then had to refine this material and ask which images would most simply communicate our idea. This was a theme that became very important to myself and art director Amelia Prett throughout the making of the film. We kept trying to make it simpler and ask ‘is this essential?’ This became a really valuable part of the process and allowed us to let go of a lot of material until we settled on three scenes that would create the basis of our film.
Creating Herd made me look at my own process and what choreography could be within a film context. It challenged me to ask how dance on film can work and I hope it provides this opportunity for the audience as well.
My advice to applicants would be to be brave and bold in what your idea is; risk something you think may not work but that excites you, and most importantly to follow your instinct and trust that the Random Acts team will be there to help you.
Thanks to everyone involved, all the cast and crew and everyone at Random Acts North including True North!”
Aged 16-24 with a bold idea for a short film? Apply now to Random Acts North – the deadline is 12 noon on Monday 3 April.
Browse Peter Groom’s work on his website.