Monday, November 11, 2013

Nick Hudson of Cat and Weasel Films

Nick began his career at NBC Universal where he was responsible for marketing such hit shows as 30 Rock and True Blood in the company's German-speaking territories. He was also bestowed a number of awards for his work organising the Shocking Shorts Award at the Munich Film Festival. Since then he has produced a number of promos and short films including 'Corvidae', starring Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones). His first feature-length film, 'Everyone’s Going To Die', was premiered at SXSW 2013 to critical acclaim and is currently on the international festival circuit. Nick has been running Cat and Weasel Films since 2011, with two feature films currently scheduled to shoot in 2014.

Why is the company called "Cat and Weasel Films"?

Ha, I knew this was going to come up. When I started the company I was thinking about a bunch of names. Nick Hudson Productions struck me as being a bit mundane so I looked back to the start of my career when I was working at NBC Universal in Germany. To cut a long and slightly convoluted short, my nickname there was Die Katze, which is German for “The Cat”, with my boss at the time picking up the nickname of “The Weasel”. We always joked about calling a production company Cat and Weasel and so choosing the name a few years later was a no brainer. The Weasel was a completely uncharacteristic nickname for my boss. He taught me a lot of things including the importance of being humble. The name is a little nod to my time working for him and what I picked up working at the company.

Why do you think the perception of short vs feature films are so different?

Filmmakers and filmgoers generally take features more seriously. Features usually have more money behind them and producing them is a longer process with more factors to consider, for instance marketability. Saying that, creating a short that works is an art form in itself and it can really act as a springboard for any director or producer’s career.

Which do you prefer working on shorts, features, or music videos?

They each have their pros and cons but I would have to say features. I’ve done one so far and it was one of the best experiences of my life, mainly because of the time involved in making it. One thing I loved was spending so much time with the cast and crew and really developing a rapport with each of them. If you do a short or a music video, you’re probably only going to spend one to five days working with most of them so there isn’t as much time to have fun.

Digital vs Film. Your opinion?

Digital. Cinematographers I work with make it pretty clear that the flexibility we now have in terms of colour space could not be possible using film. From a producer’s perspective, I’ve also found digital cameras cheaper and quicker for the crew to work with. I can understand the other side of the argument though and a post production supervisor friend of mine tells me that a lot of crews using digital cameras are just shooting too much, making the post production process even more time consuming.

How has crowdfunding changed the independent film industry?

It’s just created another platform to raise finance for projects. It’s also a powerful tool in building an audience before the film is even shot. There’s a certain science behind it though and I think some people expect to be able to upload the project and suddenly have their film green-lit. There is a lot of work that has to go into it and it’s also constantly changing, meaning the recently created role of Social Media Producer is going to become more and more important.

What exactly is a producer?

The producer is the spine to any production. We connect all the other components and bring them together for the greater good of the project. Producers support their directors and try to give them what they need to make their vision a reality. There is an old saying that good producers make films and great producers make great films. There is a certain truth to that and it’s often the producer who sources the material or gets a script written. But to answer your question in short, we manage the production of motion pictures from conception to distribution.

What is the current project you are working on?

I have two short films getting ready for the festival circuit. ‘Help Point’ is a quirky comedy-drama about two strangers who meet in an airport car park having both just lost their cars. ‘Corvidae’ has just successfully raised some money on Indiegogo and so we’re cracking on with getting the VFX done for that. It’s a silent pastoral horror film starring Maisie Williams from ‘Game of Thrones’ and I just can’t wait to see the finished product. I’m also developing a number of feature films, with the next one being shot early next year. It’s a crime thriller called ‘The Fixer’ and it’s about a guy who is like Sherlock Holmes, but on the wrong side of the law. He slowly starts lose control when he inadvertently has to protect a young woman from a mysterious power hunting her.

What is the casting process like?

It’s fascinating, particularly when you have a number of actors come in for a role. You suddenly see the words that you’ve read a thousand times come out of someone’s mouth and everyone has their own interpretation. It’s great to see how much talent is out there, but a lot of the time an actor will get the part because their interpretation is in alignment with that of the director.

What advice would give to someone who wants to start their own production company?

Keep your overheads down, build relationships and don’t be afraid to be bold. Remember the key to this business is material so take your time in finding the right script. There isn’t any rush and remember you’ll always only be judged on your last film so treat every project like your first.

Why did "Cat and Weasel Films" collaborate with "Wolfheart Productions" for "Corvidae"?

To be honest we just really enjoy working with each other and have done so since we both collaborated on the short film / mini-pilot ‘The Fields’ a couple of years ago. Our meetings usually take place in some sort of pub or bar and we’re very open with each other, meaning bad ideas usually get shot down fairly quickly. The writer / director Tom de Ville actually approached Wolfheart about ‘Corvidae’ and it was Wolfheart who asked us to be involved. We obviously said yes pretty quickly. It’s a unique project that will definitely stand out amongst its peers.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

Thank you for having me!