Mystic Lake Productions, Ltd. are a brand new film production company based in Manchester, UK. Their debut short film, crime thriller ‘Out of Focus’ is set to premiere at Vue Cinema, The Printworks, Manchester on Thursday 16th August.
We caught up with lead actor and producer Sean Gonet to delve a little deeper into the Manchester born and based actor.
What inspired you to begin your Out of Focus journey?
I had written the script earlier in the year but it had been put aside while I was working on other projects. It wasn’t until (co-producer) Kyle happened to read it one evening that the idea of actually making it ourselves came about. He loved the plot – particularly the twist and big finale, and was so enthusiastic about its potential. I asked him to come on board and produce it with me and he did! We then decided to make it official and co-found our production company, ‘Mystic Lake Productions’.
We had planned Out of Focus as a small debut project to begin our career within the industry. It wasn’t until things started to develop as they did that we realised we were looking at a much bigger project than we had first anticipated. In the next few weeks we had assembled a full cast, a professional crew, industry leading equipment and locked in 12 different filming locations around the city.
What have you found was the greatest on-set challenge to overcome?
Directing the film as well as playing the lead role was difficult at times. We had a good system though, where I would set the scenes with Kyle and our DOP Colin (Thomson), go and shoot them, then watch the playback footage on the monitors. If there were any issues, we’d go back and shoot again. It was odd at first to try and watch myself as the character and not as me, even though I had just acted the scene out! But you got used to it pretty quickly. When I was on screen Kyle was in charge of calling the shots.
The most difficult day of filming was actually the very last one, at Red House Farm. As you will see in the film, I am wearing just a t-shirt and jeans. This was shot in early December at around midnight. It was absolutely freezing! Our editor Connor (Hamilton) was stood just off camera waiting with my big puffer jacket for me to throw on after each take. All the cold breath you can see is 100% real!
What have you most loved about the project and has anything in particular surprised you?
Seeing the film grow from just a script to what it is now has been incredible. I can remember when we sat and watched the very first cut of the film in Connor’s studio and we were just blown away. That was only the raw footage! To think where it’s at now is so far beyond anything we could have imagined for our first project.
An amazing moment was when our composer Gavin (Manuel) first sent over a piece of score. Kyle and I sat speechless for a while. It was just outstanding. We didn’t appreciate just how important the music was. The difference it made to the on-screen action was unbelievable.
I think though, the highlight has obviously got to be working alongside my best friend every day and seeing our vision turn into reality. We must have done the jobs of about 50 people between the two of us, but it has been worth it. We are both huge film fans and have wanted to make them for a while, so I’m thankful that we just went out and did it.
There are a lot of great Manchester locations within the filming –
how have you found working across the city?
I’ve loved it. There’s nowhere like it. Parts of the city centre are the perfect backdrop to bring out the grittiness of the film. Probably the best location and the most recognisable for film buffs is the famous Mangle Street in Manchester. It’s been used in Captain America, Sherlock Holmes and Peaky Blinders… so we are in good company! In reality, it’s just an alleyway at the back of Piccadilly, but as soon as I saw it while location scouting, it was exactly what I was picturing in my head.
It was also nice to film a few scenes in my hometown of Altrincham too.
Do you have anything exciting on the horizon?
We are well underway with our next project – our first full-length feature. Again, it was a script I’d started a while ago and we made the decision to put it on hold while we worked on Out of Focus. We plan to start pre-production straight after the premiere. It’s a much bigger project than this one and a lot more extravagant, but we are incredibly ambitious and excited to start working on it. A loosely a blend of Trainspotting meets The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s got both gritty, hard-hitting action and the glamorous high life.
Watch this space!
For further information and tickets click HERE