Artist Residency at Hawkwood: ChewBoy Productions
"The time away from everyday life, and the hustle and bustle of London and our general business day to day allowed us the space to properly explore what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how we can do it better. Without Hawkwood, we wouldn’t have had the capacity to think as freely as we did."
We had the most refreshing experience with our time at Hawkwood.
Kicking off the week, we did some preliminary planning around the company, how we can make our film services more accessible at lower costs, as well as beginning to map out a business plan for the coming years. The time away from everyday life, and the hustle and bustle of London and our general business day to day allowed us the space to properly explore what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how we can do it better. Without Hawkwood, we wouldn’t have had the capacity to think as freely as we did.
With our second day, we decided to utilise the beautiful surroundings of Hawkwood to experiment with our camera equipment fully. In our work, we’re used to shooting in black box theatres, studio venues and indoor locations with minimal light. As a result, we wanted to test our shooting capabilities, develop new techniques and explore the outside world further, and how we go about curating visual narrative through our work.
Through this process, we decided to take different areas of the natural landscape, and alternated with differing lenses, researched new techniques to try out and experimented with new ways of shooting with handheld, tripod and gimbal. Ultimately, we were provided with a wonderful habitat to develop our skills and thinking around how we shoot certain scenes and images, and how we tell story with minimal central focusses of people or character. This was invaluable to us, to have the time to be able to explore and consider new ways of looking at certain shots, asking questions about the decisions we make and contemplating the opposite avenues.
For the remainder of the week, we decided to set ourselves a challenge of creating a short film utilising a mixture of the beautiful natural grounds of Hawkwood, plus the interior of the house. All in 72 hours. This would be a monumental feat for us, but one we were incredibly driven to achieve, given the free time and space we had to feel the most creative we have in a very long time.
We didn’t approach the week with an idea in mind, rather a selection of smaller ideas, and one large-scale idea which we also took some time to develop and plan for as our first feature. As a result, we spent the end of our second day on the residency playing around with ideas, generating new ones and discussing stories. We also took the time to curate a series of reference points for camera techniques to experiment with, watched an amalgamation of short films, animations, horrors, thrillers, comedy sketches and other source materials which would feed into our creative process.
After a lot of whiteboard, notebook and laptop work, we finally decided on an idea with a coherent narrative, a beat sheet and visual moments. From here, we took the time to storyboard on day three, which we’ve never had the opportunity to properly do. This provided us with an opportunity to utilise our skills learned from day two of considering new options for shots, and allowed us the space for trial and error, before we decided on the routes to travel down, and entered the third day with a full plan for filming.
Days three and four saw us shoot the film, following the plan and deviating through experimentation if it wasn’t going as expected. Having a stress free environment with no commissioning pressure was a valued experience for us, for the first time in a long time, and showed us that creativity without external pressure is a truly innovative, fun and rewarding experience to be part of.
Despite the lovely crisp weather, we spent the remainder of day four and the most part of our final day inside, developing our editing skills with narrative in mind. Again drawing from reference points and experimenting with colour grading, sound mixing and visual design, we finished the 72 hour challenge with a much better final product than we anticipated.
Now we’re home, we’re finishing off the film with some original score (which we’re also looking to collaborate with a fellow Hawkwood resident on) and are looking at the project’s next steps, potentially with a premiere and a film festival circuit looking likely.
We’re so grateful to the full team at Hawkwood for creating such a friendly, warm, creative, positive, fulfilling and refreshing atmosphere. There really is no creative opportunity like it in England at the moment, and it’s such a breath of fresh air for makers from any speciality to really consider what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Even just down to not having to think about what you’re going to eat, but eating incredibly well really does make a difference in mental and creative clarity.
Ultimately, we miss it already, and we’re so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to consider, experiment and create.
"So wherever you are, wherever you've gone, just stop."
"Harpocrates captures the essence of isolation, sadness and depression. When it all gets a bit too much. While George Bailey and Hal Darling’s excellent direction includes beautiful sound design and thought provoking shots, it’s the simplicity that makes this short film so thought provoking."
5 stars | Simon Turner (Letterboxd)
"Harpocrates is a psychological thriller that is blistering with a deep underscoring of sadness. Whether it is an analogy depicting the inner turmoil of post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, or another calamity, it is certain to provoke a swell of unsettling emotional thought."
8.5/10 Movie Burner Entertainment
"With almost no dialogue, Harpocretes creates an arresting portrait of inner struggle.
The cinematography in this short is nothing less than stunning."
5 stars | KTMiles (Letterboxd)
ChewBoy Productions, an acclaimed multi-arts production company, is dedicated to theatre, film, and digital ventures while nurturing emerging talents. Their hallmark is crafting thought-provoking surrealist creations that linger in the mind long after the experience. Every project is a distinct fusion of diverse artistic backgrounds, resulting in innovative narratives that challenge conventions.