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The making of Reasons

This won an International Medal and BIAFF and a Bronze Medal at UNICA in 2006.

I guess it was after watching Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine that I had the idea for a drama-documentary tracing a perpetrator from an early age to the time of the event. What was his psychological profile? Was he guilty of a heinous crime or a victim of circumstances?

As usual I did nothing for about two years, until last autumn I decided that I should make a film. Writing the script was fairly simple except for deciding who was going to unfold which element of the story.

As the majority of the parts were for 20-year olds, I sent the script to a couple of friends to check if I had used the correct language. It has a fair amount of "adult" language which could concern the very sensitive but I was not willing to use non 20-years old language to accommodate this small group.

Still from 'Reasons' by Alan Colegrave. Still from 'Reasons' by Alan Colegrave. Still from 'Reasons' by Alan Colegrave.
Daniel Gayle

Victoria Johnston

Grainne Gillis

With all the preliminaries done, it was time to think about the shooting it. A couple of weeks before I had shot Speed Date with Mark Jackson. The acting skills of the actors varied but I was very impressed with the performance of Victoria Johnston. Consequently, I asked if she would play my longest female part. The original speech was over 2 minutes long which as any actor will tell you is hard work. She gave a superb rendition, getting into the character with minimal direction. With that in the can, I then I had to find another 14 actors. After a quick advert in "Shooting People" [ http://shootingpeople.org ] I finally had it cast. After several shooting sessions all the dialogue was complete.

Still from 'Reasons' by Alan Colegrave. Still from 'Reasons' by Alan Colegrave. Still from 'Reasons' by Alan Colegrave.
Jonathan Coote

Justin Donaldson

Katia Winter

All I had to do was to find around six people to play the injured and dead bodies i.e. get covered in fake blood and lie on a cold concrete floor. Eventually I found several willing victims but as we were shooting just 5 days before Christmas, the lure of seasonal parties started to take a toll. I turned up at the location with little knowledge of how many would turn up. In the end 8 brave souls arrived. I knew the shot needed to last 35 seconds so as I was not using the sound, Geoff counted down the time. We did four takes before wrapping. Take five may have been a gem but as the risk of hypothermia was becoming an issue, we thought it prudent to stop then.

Still from 'Reasons' by Alan Colegrave. Still from 'Reasons' by Alan Colegrave. Still from 'Reasons' by Alan Colegrave.
Katie Costick

Philippa Sellers

Steve Lorrigan

Apart from the opening sequence, everything was handheld with no additional lighting. I opted for this to give it a more naturalistic documentary feel. The actual movie was shot on a Sony HDV camera. Sound was either via a Sennheiser K6 / ME66 on a boom or various personal microphones. There is very little music but the tracks used were from AKM's "Guitar Heroes."

The team making 'Reasons'.

The team - with Alan Colegrave on the right.

After editing, I have to admit that I did not get my normal buzz. Had it worked or not? The best way to decide was to enter it in BIAFF. The fact that it achieved an International Medal seems to give me the impression that it did.

- Alan Colegrave    March 2006

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