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The making of Stripped

It's not just actors you should audition, it's also the crew.
Meet ... Mark Jackson
whose film Stripped won a Gold Standard Award and a Sponsors Prize from Focus Music at BIAFF 2007

The idea for the film Stripped came out of blue one day and appealed to me because I thought it would make a lot of people laugh. It also presented a lot of interesting technical challenges, and I like to learn new things when I make a film.

After thoroughly storyboarding the film and getting some good feedback from everyone I showed it to, I felt ready to start the ball rolling.

Portrait of Mark Jackson.

The special effects in the film are quite complex so I tried to get an expert on board to help. Unfortunately I found that there is a lot of snobbery in the field of special effects and well, nothing particularly 'special', or nothing I couldn't do myself for a fraction of the cost, so that's what I did. I made all the prosthetic pieces for the film.

Ashlie Walker in 'Stripped'. And after doing a few 'screen tests' for the main effects I felt I was ready to find my actors.

I had high hopes for the film so I thought the idea was strong enough to approach a celebrity model agency and try and get someone famous to be in it.

Unsurprisingly I got absolutely nowhere with that, since in industry terms 'I'm a nobody'. But this initial set back was the best thing that could have happened otherwise I wouldn't have cast Ashlie.I discovered our lead actor Ashlie Walker after she responded to an advert I put on the UKscreen website.

Ashlie was absolutely perfect for the part. Not only does she have the looks but is a really fine actor with tons of experience in TV and film. She was in the BBC drama Casualty for two years, so is a very natural performer and easy to work with.

I found Brian Holdom our male lead after searching the database on the Shooting People website. I liked Brian because he was easygoing and totally comfortable with humiliating himself for his art.

Still from 'Stripped'.

The film was shoot in one day. I was pretty much the whole crew, partly because I like working with a small crew whenever I can get away with it. But also I thought Ashlie would be more comfortable taking her clothes off if there wasn't a large crew of blokes standing around watching her.

Still from 'Stripped'.
Still from 'Stripped'. Other help on the day came from a female make-up artist and a colleague Alan Colegrave who came down in the evening to help shoot the opening scene in the film.

I shot it on a Sony Z1 HDV camera. I just used a basic red-head kit to light most of it.

Still from 'Stripped'.
Still from 'Stripped'. The only real problem on the shoot was our make-up artist. I was very disappointed with her work and to save time on the shoot I was left with no choice but to fix a lot of the ropey make-up in the edit, frame by frame. All this extra work doubled the time in post-production on the film to over a month. But I learnt a valuable lesson; it's not just actors you should audition, it's also the crew. Still from 'Stripped'.

I also composed the music for the film, which was a happy accident. The intention originally was just to do a rough guide track so I'd have something to edit with but then I got carried away and did something I grew to quite like. I then got a friend Adam Leedale to play some funky keyboard parts on it, which worked really well.

The huge popularity of the film on the Internet really took me by surprise. So far the film has had well over 6 million views online, which I can clock. But there must be a heck of lot more, including all the people who have had the film emailed to them or viewed on websites around the world I haven't discovered.

The film was accepted on the popular film website Atom Films where it was the No.1 comedy film. It was the third most popular video on Google Video. It's also currently the top viewed film on the MySpace Movie website.

The only disappointment I've had was when the film was rejected for inclusion on the BBC Film network website. But then you can't please everyone.

- Mark Jackson

[Visit Mark's own website for more about the man and his films - many of which can be viewed online. A quick look round the web reveals many other sites with this film on them and several bizarre "tributes" - including one which plays the movie backwards. - Editor]

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Page updated on 09 October 2011
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