Having just won The Loco Award for Best Comedy Short at the London Short Film Festival and being showcased at the BFI during the London Comedy Film Festival for their short film All Consuming Love (A Man In A Cat), we were lucky enough to catch up with Louis Hudson and Ian Ravenscroft, the brains behind Dice Productions to ask them a few questions…
What was it that first drew you both to film, and how did you find yourselves creating films?
“Ian and I were brought up in front of the TV, so we’ve been absorbing films and repeats from every decade for as long as we can remember. At the age of 13, Terry Gilliam’s animation and the Python’s really showed me what I wanted to do with my life. At about the same time Ian and I met and we’ve spent most of our time since trying to make each other chuckle. It was only until I started studying animation at University that we really started to make any real films”.
What directors or writers have inspired you over the years?
“Terry Gilliam obviously, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, John K., Mel Brooks, David Fincher and the usual ones like Kubrick, Spielberg, Hitchcock”.
How did you learn and hone your craft of filmmaking?
“First by absorbing information from films, TV and life as a kid; then slowly developing the skills of rhythm and story telling in writing. Later on in life, being equally inspired and jealous of other people’s work spurred me on to push myself”.
Your most recent short All Consuming Love (Man In A Cat) is probably your most successful to date. How did you get the idea for it and what do you think sets it apart from your other previous work?
“When I was 16 I drew a cut away diagram of a frustrated man inside a cat punching the insides. It was a weird idea with lots of potential story. The trick was making that into something that people actually wanted to watch. Getting funding through the UK Film Council meant that we got teamed up with an incredible script editor, Kate Leys, who helped us flick on switches in our brains that turned us into much better storytellers. Having funding meant that we could work with people who we couldn’t have worked with before, making the film better and better at every stage”.
What advice would you give to young aspiring writers, directors and producers?
“Artistically, get to the point quickly, grab the audience’s attention and don’t waste their time. Career-wise, collaborate with people with different skills. It’s the quickest way to learn and it’ll help you develop your own direction”.
If you weren’t making films, what other jobs do you imagine you’d be doing?
“Maybe a carpenter, I like wood. Astronaut or Ghostbuster are probably still a way off. Ian says Ghostbuster – cocky”.
Are there any future projects on the horizon, if so what are they and how far into development are they?
“We’re set to do another short film with Kevin Eldon that he’s already done the voice work for. We’re also working on breaking into our first proper TV credits as well as grabbing any new opportunity that presents itself at the moment”.
Being part of the future of British film, what do you think the future holds for British film, and how do you feel about it and how do you feel you fit in?
“The British film industry is going to keep building on its recent international successes. Not only does Britain have a growing skill base, it has a unique voice. Unfortunately, the animation industry isn’t as healthy. It lacks a dedicated infrastructure and is pretty misunderstood in the film community, which makes it incredibly reliant on independent financing. UK studios are increasingly feeling the competition from foreign studios that benefit from better tax incentives.
However, Dice are lucky as we’re pretty new to the game and are on the rise. At the moment we need to look at TV for most of our opportunities, but a lot of animated features and shorts from outside the US are finding great success. Tim Burton’s latest stop motion feature, Frankenweenie was made in the UK, Aardman go from strength to strength and as technology continues to get cheaper and faster it’ll get easier for independents to find funding”.