Film has been an integral part of our culture for the last 100 years. The readily available devices that make recording moments ever easier enhance the ability of the visual form to encapsulate an audience. A platform for storytellers from all stretches of the milky way, transporting people to different worlds for a couple hours. We spoke to studio assistant & director Sam Lincoln about his latest short film, working on Bafta and Oscar favourite 1917 and the state of cinema today.
Sam’s role is on set as a studio assistant, working for a company used by film teams to find crew for their projects. Sam is on set to ensure that all the props, locations and cast are catered for. ‘I was (in the case of 1917) in charge of making sure the set was right and running smoothly. Even making sure that the crew has toilets, tea rooms, dry rooms for their clothes.’ Working in the location department is a vital role within a films production, essential in creating a clean and clear image. ‘There are loads of different roles within location, you have the supervising location manager who is the go to person, the boss essentially in the locations department, then they will employ some scouts to physically scout out locations or do it themselves depending on the scale of the film. Always in contact with production team, designers and the director, starting incredibly early in pre-production of the films process. Once the film has begun production you have location managers who look after the scouted locations, after the leases enabling the film to use the space have been signed. Then you have the location assistants and studio assistants who run it on the day of filming.’ This is the role that Sam has been fulfilling for his past few movies, including titles such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Venom.
Each film set is unique, not just in size or appearance but with the amount of people working on the films production and the effort that goes in to each aspect of the set, ‘In one 3 x 3 square of the films set you’ll have had a dozen people who have worked on it insuring it is the best that it can be, props, painters, designers, production teams who ensure it is up to scratch’. His work on 1917 really stood out to him from a production point of view, having built an entire French town from scratch, amongst many other sets. ‘I saw it when it was nothing, only a few markings on the ground of where the set would later be built.’Irrespective of its duration in the shot there are people in place to make things perfect, showing the want to fully immerse audiences within the story.
Having worked on some films that didn’t quite catch the headlines in the same way as 1917, you never really know what is going to do well and what will bomb. A huge set or cast list doesn’t guarantee appraisal. One of the more recent films that Sam worked on, was Dolittle starring Robert Downey Jr, had all the marks for a Hollywood sell out event; a huge actor at the forefront of the project, a healthy budget and a remake of the 1998 family classic. It nonetheless fell short, perhaps for bad timing of release, not enough promotion or just being a bad movie but it is difficult to pin point why. Discussing his time on DoLittle, ‘I was at this location which was made to be the entrance to DoLittle’s estate, which was a beautifully designed buttercup meadow in the middle of nowhere, very grand spectacle to see both in the film and in person, and I was really hopeful that it was going to be this beautiful film that was received really well, but it’s been a bit slated which is a shame, but you can’t predict that at the time.’
Sam has recently moved onto a more directorial role in his free time having put out a short film entitled, For Sale, that depicts a salesman trying, and failing to sell his wares in a beautifully fairy tale-like location a few miles outside of Leeds called malham cove. A recognisable set from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt.1. Sam directs and stars in this silent film that grasps you from the opening wide shot, it is the music that speaks volumes when bringing the piece to life. ‘I filmed it last year when I had two weeks off & was like fuck it lets just make a film. So I found this location and worked out fairly vaguely where I wanted to film where the camera would be etc etc… and we went up the day after and completely winged it. All I knew is that I would have loads of bags full of stuff and would try to sell them. In the other film that I did, similar to this one there was no dialogue as well just a bit of music over the top of the visuals. But for this one I did take quite a lot of inspiration from silent films, the likes of Buster Keaton and how you can convey a story without speaking, which is such an interesting concept, and one that doesn’t happen at all these days really.
With silent films there is a lot more reliance on props and practical effects, something that is often overlooked for CGI in films today, but when you see a practical effect on screen done well it is impossible to ignore. I love doing these short films, it is a really good creative outlet, but I think if I did it for a living, I would resent it. Because it would become so much more political, lot more pressure on it, investing money into it and especially other people’s money and other people getting involved not necessarily in a good way’. At this point it is not something that Sam wishes to pursue but with people coming to Sam asking for him to help out on their little projects it is something that is very much a passion project and not to be currently looked at from a monetary point of view.
These short films allow Sam to experiment with different film concepts and ideas without any pressure from external factors, given the freedom to completely do what you want without having to sacrifice anything. ‘I will definitely be making more in the future and they will only get better, hopefully, with experience, and with more people. People that I know messaging or ringing up saying ‘yeah if you need help with the music’ or ‘I’ve found this amazing location to film on’, you know with more people getting involved with the same mindset that I have towards these then it will gradually get to a bigger scale and more in depth stories.’ After hearing what Sam has lined up and seeing what he has already done it seems mandatory that his career is to be exciting. The energy that he brings to his work is what film industry relies on to create greatness. The one thing to take away is that if you have a vision, you have every reason to try and make it a reality.
Must see movie;
A Pigeon sat on a branch reflecting upon existence
The body of an Octopus with Albatross wings and the mind of a Labrador.
Quote of the conversation;
I used to get stoned as fuck in 6th form but now I'm watching Roger Deakins play around on a film set.
Keep updated with Sam;
Link to watch For Sale - https://vimeo.com/389555991
Insta – @yingangsammy
Imdb – https://tinyurl.com/usx6c2w
When thinking about the soul of any city in the UK, it’s incredibly hard not to look towards the underground music scene. Whether it’s Fabric in London or The Black Swan in Bristol, independent music venues are an integral part to a city’s culture and nightlife, however, they are increasingly seeming to become an almost forgotten foundation of what a city runs on. This is something that certainly rings true with independent Liverpool venue 24 Kitchen Street, which for many people (including myself), is a venue that is a staple in the heart of Liverpool’s underground music scene.
Despite this though, 24 Kitchen Street has been fighting against its closure since late 2016 after a planning application by Songbird to build a set of apartment blocks spanning between Blundell Street, Simpson Street and Kitchen Street was passed. The main reason that this is a problem is because of inadequate soundproofing for these flats and the noise complaints that will eventually come as a result of this. In relation to this, 24 Kitchen Street stated that, “This essentially restricts the scope of music we can do by style and genre, reducing the artistic and creative freedom on offer at Kitchen St through which we have made our name. We are not prepared to accept this, and realistically would rather shut our doors than work under such restrictive conditions.”. This statement in itself shows the devastating effects that the closure of 24 Kitchen Street would have on Liverpool’s music scene as a whole. It’s not just the closure of a venue, it’s a complete restriction of both creativity and expression which are synonymous with Liverpool.
But what makes 24 Kitchen Street so special? Being a fairly small and intimate 400 capacity venue, some of the artists they manage to bring in are seriously impressive, whether that be jungle royalty Serial Killaz or dabke legend Omar Souleyman, there is something for just about everyone and I think that that’s really quite rare. Also, in an age where club speakers seem to be getting ever quieter, 24 Kitchen Street has a refreshingly good sound system which is as loud as it should be.
Furthermore, with Kitchen Street being located in the heart of the Baltic Triangle, which is dubbed as Liverpool’s creative hub, you can begin to see the importance that the venue has on the area as a whole. Not only does it bring flair to an already popular and artistically driven location, it further establishes the artists that this location has bred. It’s no secret that it’s hard to come across exposure as an underground artist, but this is something that Kitchen Street offers in abundance, it puts local talent on a pedestal and gives these artists the platform to perform. This is something that’s invaluable.
Aside from the music, the undeniable sense of community you get from this venue is really what makes it special. You only need to look at the outburst of support for the venue since Kitchen Street announced its potential closure to see how tight-knit its community really is. Whether it’s a ‘Save Kitchen Street’ t shirt or a donation to the venue itself, there is an unquestionable sense of togetherness and community with how the public has reacted to the news and this really in itself shows how much the venue means to Liverpool. This sense of community gives Kitchen Street an atmosphere that not many can compete with. Once again, this is something that’s increasingly hard to find these days as underground music is pushed aside and commercialised. 24 Kitchen Street is a venue which firmly stands against this and continues to push underground music for the love of it. There are no hour-long queues, tickets are usually under a tenner and the music is consistently second to none. This is something that needs to be protected, not only for Liverpool, but for underground culture as a whole.
If you’d like to show some support for both 24 Kitchen Street and Liverpool’s creative roots,-