Wayne Dudley, filmmaker and founder of production company Dudley Dangerous Productions.
How did you get started with filmmaking?
Whilst studying for my degree in Business Studies with Marketing at the University of Abertay in Dundee, I saw a poster looking for new members to join the film making society. Having always been a film enthusiast I decided there was no harm in attending the meeting to see what the group was all about.
Did you undertake any formal training or just decide give it a go?
I’ve never undertaken any formal training I just decided to give it a go after seeing the poster. After attending the first meeting I immediately undertook the task of writing my first script, World Gone Wild (An 11 min short surrounding a lead singer’s psychological breakdown whilst trying to cope with fame).
After the success of this short and the realisation that I had a degree of creative flair for filmmaking I decided to continue to make short films and music video’s before embarking on my debut feature.
Who or what inspires your work?
As random and ridiculous as it may sound my biggest inspiration in life is the shower. I don’t know why but this is where my creative juices begin to flow and many of my best script ideas or developments have come about here.
Films in general inspire my work. A particular scene, plot line or character arc that triggers something in my brain which starts a spiral effect and before I know it I have the foundation for a scene or script. This can develop to the point where an hour can pass in the cinema and I will have been so engrossed in formulating my own story that I will have missed the point of the film I have paid to see.
With regards to filmmakers who inspire my work the top three would be Robert Rodriquez, Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino. Rodriquez was first brought to my attention when I read about how he sold his body to science to fund his $7000 debut feature film “El Mariachi” which he made with pretty much a crew of one.
One of the most interesting things about Rodriquez is the 10 minute film schools he includes on most of his DVD’s which basically show you how to do certain things with little or no money.
I fell in love with Tarantino after watching his debut “Reservoir Dogs”, which is one of my favourite films and inspired a scene in my own movie.
Hitchcock is one of, if not the, greatest filmmakers in film history, after “The 39 Steps” I was instantly hooked. A more recent filmmaker who continues to inspire and intrigue me with his body of work is the Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn.
What sort of projects have you been involved in so far?
I have written, produced, directed and acted in the four short films I have made as well as my debut feature film The Hidden Persuaders. I have also completed six music videos for bands such as The Law, Calm As The Colour and The Daze. In October of 2010 I spent a short time working on Captain America: The First Avenger whilst they were filming in Culross in Fife, which doubled for Norway at the beginning of the film.
Any particular high points?
The high point of my career so far came on Friday 7th January 2010 in Dundee where I premiered my debut feature film in front of over 100 cast members and family just over a year after I was told I would never be able to embark upon writing, producing, directing and editing a feature film, containing over 30 locations and 60 actors, on my own with little or no budget.
To see the months and months of hard work I had put in being shown to an audience on the big screen is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.
What sort of challenges do you face when getting a film from the initial ideas stage to the end result?
One of the joys of filmmaking is that the challenges come thick and fast. It begins in the development stage where you have to come up with a structured and interesting plot that will last at least 90 minutes.
Pre-production is a logistical nightmare as you have to source the actors, locations, equipment and props and also piece together which scenes will be shot on which days, to suit the actor’s schedules and fit in with the dates that the locations are available.
It is best described as a jigsaw puzzle, no matter how much you force a piece to go in, unless all the edges fit the process will never be complete. These challenges continue on into production, with the unpredictable Scottish weather, noise, equipment failure and issues with actors.
Then with postproduction you are faced with footage, sound and technical problems with transferring footage, editing and formatting. You then have to negotiate contracts in order to secure rights to any music played within the film and finally deal with rolling credits which can be a long and tedious process.
The challenges continue even once the film has been completed as you are faced with the mammoth task of trying to secure a distribution deal, which took me to London, Los Angeles and Vancouver.
What skills are most important when making films?
Obviously you have to have the creative flair and mindset required to make films. Outside of this you must be strong willed, passionate and determined to succeed regardless of the challenges you might face.
Perhaps one of the most important skills required is organisation. If you are not able to organise and structure every aspect that is required to complete a film then it is highly unlikely that your film will be made. Yes you can outsource these jobs to other people but you must know in your head the process from start to finish so you can achieve your final goal
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ideally in 5 years time I would like to see myself still involved within the film industry with the goal of directing my own feature films but as Joe Strummer of The Clash famously said “The Future is Unwritten”. Regardless of where my life takes me in the next 5, 10 or 50 years as long as I am happy and healthy in life then that is all I can ask for.
Top tips for budding filmmakers?
What I have learned from the whole process of trying to break into the film industry, and I am still a long way away, is that in this industry it is a lot about whom you know as opposed to what you know. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though and I‘m proof of that. I was just one man with a dream then a year later I was premiering my first feature film.
At the end of the day it is better to have tried and failed than to have not tried at all. To quote Teddy Roosevelt “if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”.
Follow the link to listen to an interview with Wayne and his experiences as writer, producer and director of The Hidden Persuaders.