Top writer of cult TV and film matters Paul Ferry has just compiled a list of his favourite Doctor Who fan films. I’d agree with a lot of the choices – “Resurrection of Evil” and “the Millenium Trap” especially. He also kindly singles out “Future Investment” for praise, a film I appeared in. He is too modest to mention it but the group he belongs to – Timebase – produced some superb fan films too, especaily “Phase IV”.
One constant that has threaded through my creative life for more than ten years now has been Westlake, a group my friends and I formed to make short films, for our entertainment and hopefully for others. Through this group I’ve been able to write scripts and see them turn into actual videos. Not to mention opportunities to act, produce, be a microphone boom operator, a cameraman, a gopher and to get stage punched and kicked far too often!
Now we have a new website, thanks to the diligent efforts of Kevin Hiley and Andrew Crines, and you can find it right here at http://westlakefilms.blogspot.co.uk/ Many of the films have been re-digitised with improved picture and sound quality for this new site. You can stream them on YouTube or download them for free!
Over the years we’ve made original stories and documentaries, comedy skits, fan films (mostly about Doctor Who) and music videos. It’s been a great learning experience, as well as a lot of fun.
Here’s a few of my recommendations if you have not tried Westlake before:
In the Fan Films section
K9 and Bloke – an affection send-up of the awkward Doctor Who spinoff that tried to make the Doctor’s robotic pet a leading star. Charlie Wall plays a shabby PI who solves local crimes with the aid of a long-suffering K9. Written by myself and guest starring Nigel Peever.
In the Films section
Memories of the Mill – John Isles talks to his grandfather Frank Brook about his working life as they tour a preserved steam driven mill in Burnley, in this nostalgic documentary.
Help Wanted – a short ghost story inspired by the tales of the great M R James. A thief’s life becomes a nightmare when he violently robs a church. Written by myself and featuring great music by Peter Wicks.
In the Haberdashery section
The Unoriginal Adventures of Robin Hood – a wickedly funny mash up of a couple of BBC fantasy shows which were on air at the time, written and performed by the cast.
This is just a small selection of what you can find. Hope you enjoy it and we would all would love to hear your thoughts.
For the past few years, my friends and I, under the guise of Westlake Films, have made some kind of comedy video to tie in with Christmas. This year’s production, made despite all kinds of problems and completed against the clock by director/editor Kevin Hiley, is Santa Claus Conquers the Mayans. Written by John Isles, it features a Mancunian Santa and his Chief Elf in a race against time to stop a deadly boardgame from destroying the world. A plan that involves robbery and Mexican wrestling.
As well as helping to make the film in general assistant category, I also make a couple of onscreen contributions, playing a dubious Australian TV historian and providing the opening narration.
You can find out more about Westlake Films and our past work at our website: http://www.westlakefilms.co.uk
Merry Christmas everyone!