Brandon Fletcher as The Boy with No Name
| Year 10 student Brandon Fletcher stars in the lead role
as The Boy with No Name who has unfinished business with
reigning conker champion One Eyed Jack, played by former
Sixth-form student Max Marsh.
|Max left Wales High last year and is now studying a
degree in drama and performance at London's South Bank
Max Marsh as One eyed Jack
|The film also stars fellow Year 10 students Neal Russell
and Devon Whiteley.
Neal plays William, the underdog conker player who is
enlisted by Brandon's character to strip One Eyed Jack of
his conker title.
Neal Russell as William
Devon Whiteley as Josie Wales
| Devon plays school reporter Josie Wales who, desperate
for a scoop, agrees to help the pair win the coveted
golden conkers trophy.
John Day as Head Teacher
| John Day, the former head teacher of Wales High who
retired in 2012, makes his screen debut as the Head
Teacher - a role he was born to play.
| The plan was to shoot the film during the
summer holidays of 2012; the students agreed to come in
for a couple of weeks during August when the school is
closed. This is an ideal time to film as the school is
However due to the amount of construction and
redevelopment work happening around the school site, we
often had to abandon filming because it was just too noisy
- even with the help of recent Sheffield Hallam graduate
Luke Pietnik who had offered his services to record the
We shot as much as we could but the summer holidays
soon passed and we found ourselves filming the rest of
the scenes after school during the week and on a weekend
when the school was open.
The film was produced entirely with equipment from the
Media Studies department. We used a Canon 550d DLSR,
employing the Canon EF f1.8 50mm lens for every single
shot, shooting wide open to achieve a reduced depth of
field. This helped us achieve the cinematic quality of
the classic films we were attempting to emulate.
| Everything was lit with a basic kit of two Interfit
650w softboxes, a Film Gear 650w tungsten fresnel and a
prehistoric 2k Mole Richardson tungsten fresnel.
| For the most part, we kept camera blocking
fairly simple. Shooting wide open on a 50mm lens meant
that focus was critical. If an actor missed a mark they
would be completely out of focus. However I didn't want
the film to feel static, therefore where possible we used
the Hague tripod tracking dolly and the DSLR Devices
portable crane to inject some dynamic movement in to the
||The film offered many logistical challenges, the first
being that we started to make a film about conkers during
the month of August, two months before conkers generally
fall. I managed to buy a job lot of conkers off eBay for a
£1 but I still needed more. I posted a message on a local
forum and somebody kindly donated a large container of
conkers which they had collected the year before. Through
the course of filming, I worked out that we managed to
obliterate over three hundred conkers.
| The most difficult shot to film was the underwater POV
shot of The Boy with No Name's head being flushed down a
toilet. We achieved this by supporting a fish tank on the
edges of two tables, this allowed us to film under the
fish tank and point a camera upwards through the glass. We
then stood Brandon on a chair and got him to duck his face
fully in to the water. Later, I asked a visual fx artist
to insert a matte porcelain surround in to the shot that
helped create the perspective of being inside the toilet
and looking up.
| The film was edited as the film was shot
and a final cut was soon completed. Luke Pietnik, who
recorded the sound, also produced the film's brilliant
sound design, incorporating Richard D Taylor's fantastic
score. Richard produced over 18 cues that emulated Ennio
Morricone's original music from the Dollars trilogy, but
he also managed to inject his own personal style in to the
film's dense music score.
Overall, the film was a great experience for the
students and myself, we're incredibly proud of the final
film and it was great honour to win Best Affiliated Club
Film and Best British Film at this year's BIAFF.