Notice is a short film directed by Joshua Kerr starring Kevin Finnigan, Patricia Jones, James Hunter and Melanie Howd.
It tells the story of a diligent office worker, Duncan, who comes to work one morning only to find his day cut short as he suffers a massive heart attack at his desk. The rest of his colleagues arrive paying no attention to the dead body in their midst. Meanwhile the lady across the office, Anne, is plucking up the courage to ask Duncan out.
Notice is a short film about our tendency to focus on the small problem in front of us while missing out on the bigger more important things in life.
This short film was nearly left on the shelf. The script had been written but it took some years and opportunity before we had the chance to complete it.
Idea To Script
As it happens the script for Notice was the easy part. Let me set the scene, it was 2010, I had finished university the year before and was in the middle of starting up my first film company with a friend from college. In the middle of proposing company names to each other my friend shared this article with me.
It was a small story about a man who had turned up to work and dies at his desk. Everyone had arrived for work, went about their day-to-day and left.
I took this as a rough basis for a short film where the central character passes away right at the beginning. This of course presented some cool opportunities for comedy and also some challenges in making a believable drama tied to our dead central character. After going through quite a few drafts the script was ready and I became acquainted with my Achilles heel. ‘I wont make it if I can’t do it properly.’
From Script To Shoot
The script had been gathering dust. This wasn’t anything to do with the desire to make it but everything to do with having little to no resources. Actors and collaborators have never been a problem but decent equipment and locations have always been scarce unless you have access to funding. And when you live in my head, if it doesn’t look as good as possible then it won’t compete with the best out there. There were other shorts I made in the meantime with some success but every time I revisited the idea of ‘Notice’ it always felt like a film that deserved more that I had, until 6 years later.
It was 2016 and four years into the growth of my second company GetFilm. The success of that business allowed me to make a living making films and the ability to accrue the resources I needed to create this film with the level of investment and detail I felt it deserved. I self financed the film with money I saved over the years of working at my company pushing the money mainly toward paying for the talent and equipment hire. In my opinion nothing gives away a low budget film more than poor performances and image quality. There was still a bit of hustle to make sure we could gather everything we needed and with the help of my wife we managed to bag the location at Newcastle City Library for free over a weekend… all the time we needed to get it in the can.
The Final Cut
Completing the shoot was a major relief and we only just managed to capture everything in the time we had at the location as Ken Loach was going to be filming at the same location for ‘I Daniel Blake’ the following day.
From this point it was plain sailing. Having the footage to play with and see the story come alive was a joy. I asked a couple of people I had worked with before whether they would do the score and sound design and fortunately for me they said yes. We spent months working remotely sending scenes back and forth to get the film sounding just right.
My overall vision for Notice was to make a film about how easy it can be to focus in on the smaller aspects of our lives and miss out on the bigger picture. As well as dealing with the broader themes of life and death, I was keen that the film should be fun and not become ‘heavy’ or ‘tough-to-watch’. I think we have achieved this and the degree of polish is testament to a solid and experienced team.