Monday, 21 December 2009

Merry Christmas

As we're going to be taking a short break from the project over the festive season it might be a little while before our next update, so I just wanted to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I'd also like to thank all those who have offered support to the project, from our friends/fans/followers through to our direct collaborators, and I hope that next year will prove to be an exciting time for the project!
- Alex

Please note that although we will be taking a little break, our next networking event is scheduled for January 6th and we will remain open for RSVPs throughout the holiday period.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Hello, to introduce myself, my name is Tom Stuart, and I am working with Alex Barrett and Christine Hartland to produce the feature film of Life Just Is.

On Sunday 13th December 2009 we made our way to the ICA in Central London to read through the script with 7 magnificent actors. To hear the script read aloud brought the characters to life and threw new light on the whole story. We were extremely lucky to have a talented group of performers who brought all their experience and imagination to play in the world of the script. Not only that they were perhaps the first collective audience of Life Just Is, and as such they became critics in the discussion following the read through. Getting actors involved in the creative process is a really superb development tool that is no doubt sorely underused by the UK Film Industry. A read through usually only happens once the film has been cast and production is imminent, often very late in the day, meaning any subsequent changes may be rushed and under pressure. A film script is hugely complicated and the process of making the film is inherently collaborative, so ultimately the earlier and more generous the feedback and co-operation, quite frankly the better.

Alex responded bravely to the honest but constructive thoughts and feelings of the actors. Taking the proverbial bull by the horns we met on Monday 14th at the BFI. We spent 3 hours analysing the drift of the discussion and picking apart what we felt was important, so that Alex might be best prepared for further work on his script in the light of this intelligent audience opinion. The aim is to enable a good script to become a great script. I thoroughly recommend a read through to any and every filmaker interested in writing the best script they possibly can, and as a member of the ICA you get a world class arts venue for free! An experience that is both invaluable and stylish.

I think this read through has been the biggest creative boost to the project since my involvment. I am very excited by the prospect of a new draft of Life Just Is, which Alex is aiming to produce in the New Year. Indeed 2010 promises to be a great year in the evolution of Life Just Is, so watch this space.

- Tom

The cast of the ICA Lab with producer Tom Stuart and writer/director Alex Barrett. Back row (left-right): Tom Stuart, Nicola Raby, Rebecca Eve, Shane Zaza, Nicholas Banks, Matthew Thrift. Front row (left-right): Charlotte Workman, Matt Prendergast, Alex Barrett.

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Saturday, 5 December 2009

Life's Just Networking Photographs, December 2009

Last Wednesday was the December edition of our Life's Just Networking event, and what is there to say except 'What a night'?! Great films, interesting QAs, a friendly atmosphere and of course amazing people. The feedback we're getting on the event continues to be extremely positive, and I'd like to give a big personal thanks to all those who come along and to those who take the time to tell me their thoughts. I look forward to seeing many of you again - hopefully along with some new faces! - at our next event, which will be on Wednesday 6th January. We have another strong line up of films for you, including two award winners. Details will be uploaded to in the coming weeks.

Tom and I having a production meeting before the event.

Jason and I setting up.

Filling up.

Filling up.

Actor Morrison Thomas (centre) and director Simon Bennett-Leyh (right) discussing their film Who Cares.

Director Will Kenning (right) discussing his film Masters of the Universe.

Returning director Nick Reed (right) discussing his film Whoops.

Director Daniel Gill (centre) and writer Philip Gawthorne (right) discussing their film Modern Life Is Rubbish.

Who Cares actor Morrison Thomas (left) watching the QAs.

Masters of the Universe director Will Kenning presenting his next project.

Watching the presentations.

Tom talking to Modern Life Is Rubbish director Daniel Gill (left) at the end of the evening.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

iFeatures and an ICA Lab

Although we've been keeping this blog active with posts about our events and some thoughts from my notebook, I'm aware it's been a while since our last progress update. In all honesty, last month ended up being a quiet month for the project due to other commitments, but work on the film by no means ground completely to a halt. For instance, James McWilliam joined the team as Music Supervisor, and I began to discuss ideas with him for some of the diegetic music which will feature in the film (some of which will need to be finalised before the shoot so we can be sure that we have all the required clearances in place before we roll the cameras on the cast singing along...). I also met with our Casting Director Jane Frisby to begin the short-listing process. We've now decided not to audition people until next year, but it's been exciting to really start looking over CVs of potential candidates. Finally, I also had the chance to attend the Power to the Pixel conference, which provided some good inspiration for potential production and distribution opportunities for the project (I'll be posting more about this soon).

As some of you will already know, producer Tom Stuart joined the project back in September, and I'm pleased to finally announce his involvement officially (those of you who have been paying attention from the start will know we've had a couple of false starts with attached production members, so this time we wanted to hold off a little before blowing the horn, so to speak). Tom's biography has been added to the
site, so be sure to stop by and check it out if you haven't already.

With Tom now firmly onboard, I'm hoping that the project will start to gather a little bit more momentum. For instance, right now we're in the process of putting together a submission for
iFeatures, a scheme which is aiming to fund three features to the tune of £300,000. The scheme is for films set in Bristol and consists of several waves, the first two of which consist of development. Although Life Just Is is a fairly developed project, we feel that the scheme offers a number of great opportunities, not least of which is the funding. Obviously it would mean taking the film down a different road, and if we were to get through it would call for a certain amount of rebuilding from the base up, but that's a challenge which interests me and which could lead the project off in exciting new directions. However, any scheme such as this is always a long shot by virtue of the number of applications alone, so we're certainly not putting all of our eggs into this one basket, and are continuing to work on alternative plans.

While we solidify these plans, we're also continuing to develop the script, and in the middle of December we'll be doing an
ICA Lab on the project (essentially a workshop with actors to read through and discuss the script). It's something I'm very excited by and which will hopefully provide helpful feedback which I can use when working on the next draft of the script – which I'm hoping to get done by early next year, right around the time when we'll hear if we've been given an interview for the iFeatures scheme. That way, whatever happens with iFeatures, we'll be able to start the New Year with a bang.

More soon.
- Alex

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Life's Just Networking Photographs, November 2009

Some photographs from our event last night! As always, many thanks to all the filmmakers who screened and to everyone else who came along. Our next event will be on Wednesday 2nd December, and further details can be found at

Filling up

Life Just Is Executive Producer Christine Hartland

Watching a presentation

Filmmaker Jonathan Harris after the screening of his film Hikikomori

Filmmaker Clayton Fussell during his presentation

Filmmaker David Skynner (right) talks about his upcoming feature Tea Shop Asylum with Life Just Is writer/director and LJN host Alex Barrett (left)

Writer Barry Lewis during his presentation

Life Just Is soundman Jason Creasey

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Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Ultimate Aim

A complete synthesis of form and content must be our goal at all times.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Life's Just Networking Photographs, October 2009

Some photographs from our event earlier this week! Thanks to everyone who came along and made it such a great night! Our next event will be on Wednesday 4th November (running one day early due to Bonfire Night). Please visit for further details.

The view from the balcony at The Duchess.

Life Just Is producer and LJN doorman Tom Stuart (left).










Life Just Is writer/director and LJN host Alex Barrett giving the introduction.

Alex Barrett with Elisabeth Charbonneau during her Q/A session.

Alex Barrett with Barry Lewis during his Q/A session.

Alex Barrett with Jason Creasey during his Q/A session.

Nick Reed and Mathew Bird presenting their next project.

Nick Reed and Mathew Bird presenting their next project.

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Thursday, 24 September 2009


Making little-to-no use of non-diegetic music in the film will help force the focus onto the 'rhythm of life'.

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