The Gig is an upcoming short film currently in post-production that tells the story of the band, Our Untold Story. Written by Rhys Whomsley, the film is directed by Xander Turian and produced in partnership with Johanna von Salmuth.
Together with a team of passionate and creative individuals, our ambition is to finalise this film through dedication and hard work. But to do so, we need your help!
The Gig is a 15-minute fictional dramatisation of events from the real-life rock band, Our Untold Story, that takes place backstage right before the band is about to play the most important show of their career to date.
Backstage before the showcase gig that could change their lives, Xander, Clara and Johnny are each contemplating their individual goals with the band.The Self, The Ego and the Super-Ego
The character of Xander is seeing the events of the evening unfold through his perspective as though watching himself through the lens of his ego, the camera, through which we the audience are observing him as the super-ego. To achieve the feeling of being part of the action we have used hand held camera shots, creating an almost theatrical, real-time feel to the story.
A 15-minute slice of life rehearsed like a play and shot on Steadicam
I want the audience to be a part of the action of the story and to feel the emotional struggle inside of the protagonist as they wrestle with their individual goals and needs. I believe that every person has been in a situation where they have felt as though they have either had to compromise themselves or take the high road and check themselves before they end up destroying every opportunity that could be.
Drawing inspiration from Birdman’s one-shot style and the rhythm and emotion of Whiplash I plan to work with my team on creating a unique film that doesn’t just scratch the service, but that dives deep into the inner lives of three individuals who have differing goals and aspirations, but who must come to terms with their need for each other in order to realise their dreams.
I chose to use music as the centre piece of this film due to my personal connection to music as both a songwriter and performer, the idea of being able to combine my own passion for music and film while creating a mythology around my own band and real life experiences both intrigues and excites me.
As I am also acting in the role of Xander as well as directing, I chose to rehearse the film as if it were a play. I planned to spend three months working on blocking out the movements of the characters and the camera like a dance choreography, so that when it came to shooting it, my team and I had the motion and energy of the story so engrained within us that I could focus fully on my performance on the day. - Xander Turian
We’ve been wanting to explore the sacrifices and emotional hardship that artists experience when striving towards their creative goals for a while now, waiting to find the right story to tell. As a former musician in a band myself, I’d often find myself putting trust into other band members who I thought had similar professional and personal goals to myself, only to find out that there couldn’t be any more distance between our aligned ambitions.
The film is an exploration of having a single-tracked dedication towards success, and how much an artist is willing to sacrifice to get there. How much would you be willing to sacrifice for your art and career, and is there any need for a sacrifice in the first place? Artists are obsessed with giving themselves ultimatums, and that’s always intrigued me. There’s a romantic notion that to be a successful artist, you have to suffer for your art. But very rarely does art itself do the damage. I think it’s the artist within that summons their own suffering, and I want to ask the question of where that impulse comes from. - Rhys Whomsley
Our Untold Story is a real band led by Xander Turian. In addition to Xander playing the lead role in this film project, the other members of Our Untold Story will be making cameo appearances as the Janitor and Roadie
We rehearsed the film like during the autumn of 2021 leading up to our shooting period in January 2022.
At the wrap party on Friday the 21st of January, we held a Q&A with the film team, as well as with the band who also performed a show live on stage at our primary filming location, The Questors Theatre in Ealing, London. A recording of the event and show will be sent to all backers of the project.
We are now in post-production, putting together the material and editing the footage. We plan on hosting a pre-screening of an early edit to gain insight and feedback on the film, tickets to this event will be available as a reward to backers who wish to attend.
We are also creating a comic book version of the story which will contain additional scenes and insight into the lives of the characters. This is being developed with our amazing art department and will be available in limited edition prints as a reward for backers.
Ealing, West London
- The Questors Theatre
- The Grapevine Bar
- Oxfam Audio & Music Ealing
Xander Turian - Producer/Director/Actor
Since then Cuprite Productions has gone on to produce multiple award winning short films, music videos and feature films including the critically acclaimed Swedish Indie Horror SARGAD and his directing debut, Rotten Love, which were Co-Produced with Bloody Fierce Productions.
In 2018 Xander founded The Global Acting Studio together with Johanna von Salmuth. The Global Acting Studio offers personal coaching and workshops for actors and directors. Through a close partnership with Prague Film School, Xander hosts webinars and private consultations, providing information about the programs and application process.
Xander has appeared alongside A-list actors such as Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne in his recurring role on Carnival Row (Amazon Prime) as well as Taylor Kitsch and Michael C. Hall in Shadowplay/The Defeated (Netflix).
He is currently pursuing his Masters in Filmmaking at Raindance and is producing The Gig as his final graduation project.
Rhys Whomsley - Screenwriter
Rhys is a Screenwriter and Actor born in the town of Brecon, Mid Wales on the 31st August 1994. He studied Acting at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, graduating in 2016 and is now working towards his Masters in Screenwriting at the University of the Arts. After spending his childhood growing up amongst the Welsh mountains, he now resides in London and has recently been working as a trainee for BBC Wales as a part of their screenwriter development scheme.
Johanna von Salmuth - Producer/First Assistant Director
Before entering the film world, Johanna worked professionally in the dance industry as a performer and choreographer. She has since brought those skills into her work within films, working on musicals and dance training for actors.
She is a skilled director/producer in her own right with several projects under her belt and has worked as an assistant producer in Germany and the UK since 2018, and is now completing her BA in Filmmaking at MetFilm School in London.
Saul Gittens - Director of Photography
Saul has worked in the film and television industry for over 35 years and is the Head of Training and Development at leading cinematography rental facility, Procam-Take 2. Saul began his career as a Special Effects Runner on feature films and assisting on television dramas, including The Detectives and Red Dwarf. As his career quickly progressed, Saul became a Camera Operator, and worked on many award-winning productions including the BAFTA-winning documentary Feltham Sings, before making his mark as Director of Photography on commercials and some of the UK’s best-loved television shows including Derren Brown: The Push, Derren Brown: Sacrifice, and Dynamo: Magician Impossible. Saul was BAFTA nominated in 2014 as part a four strong team for ‘The Craft Team Award’ for his Camera and Directing work on Dynamo: Magician Impossible Series 3. Saul has also worked on Vidal Sassoon: The Movie and Banksy’s Coming For Dinner starring Joan Collins, Nickolas Grace and Stephan K. Amos. And highly acclaimed shorts ‘Breakthrough’ and ‘Lift’.
When Saul isn’t on-location filming, he is dedicated to supporting the next generation of filmmakers at Procam Take 2, running one- on-one, hands-on training sessions and mentoring trainees on projects outside of work to help them get on-set experience.
John Brennan - Executive Producer
John is CEO of Procam Take 2, a film equipment rental company, with offices across the UK and New York. He has combined industry experience stretching to over twenty-five years. As an experienced cameraman, producer, and business professional, John has a vast knowledge of all aspects of the film and television industry.
Since 2018, he has been an avid supporter of Met Film school, supplying the students with the very latest digital cinema equipment. Through his links with Met, Johanna was able to approach John and present this project to him.
After being introduced to Xander, director and producer of ‘The Gig’, John was able to learn more about the project and desired a deeper involvement. John’s role as Executive Producer involved him being able to understand the creatives vision and translating it into a technical solution.
Procam Take 2 have supported in excess of 2000 short films in the past 15 years.
Ömer Akay - Executive Producer/Music Industry Consultant
Ömer is one of the Co-owner’s of Despotz Records and is Xander’s manager. With over 20 years within the music and entertainment industry, he brings a high level of expertise to the project.
Despotz Records is an independent record label based in Stockholm, Sweden. It’s home to an eclectic mix of artists and genres from metal and hard rock to pop and hip-hop and folk. One of our goals is to give artists the possibility to work close to the company and to provide opportunities in Sweden and globally with an international PR, marketing and distribution network.
Our innovative team works hard to always be at the forefront of the digital and physical market. Despotz Records has released over 100 albums with over 50 artists since the start in 2007.
Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith - Associate Producer/Film Festival Strategist
Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith(aka Rebekah Film Dr) is an award-winning consultant and media personality with over 10 years of film festival strategy consulting experience.
After choosing not to pursue a career in Academia, Rebekah began her film industry career in 2009, working as one of the producers of Wales’ most successful national horror film festival; the ‘Abertoir Horror Festival’, which is part of the prestigious European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation.
Rebekah & the hard-working team behind her company; The Film Festival Doctor, are creators of success and are committed to nurturing filmmakers in order to help them secure an abundance of film festival screenings at high profile festivals including Locarno, Tribeca, Sundance and Busan, win awards and a positive recognition within the film industry.
Currently, her company have won over 1,000 awards for their clients, secured 1 Oscar nomination and several BAFTA longlisted short films. Rebekah and her team have supported over 848 creatives across the world enlightening and inspiring their journey towards achieving their goals and following their filmmaking dreams.
Clara (Issy Stewart)Drummer. Confident, assured and incredibly talented musically. Coming from a successful family, she’s determined to prove to others that her success is rooted in her own ability and not her privilege.
London-based New Zealand actor Issy Stewart started her career at the early age of eight in a Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe production of "Six Characters in Search of an Author" playing The Girl. She then very quickly moved into television, landing roles in some of New Zealand's most popular TV shows, "Sensing Murder" and "Double Lives" while still continuing with theatre in "Macbeth" as Macduff's daughter (a son in the original) and Cecily Cardew in "The Importance of Being Earnest". Throughout this time she was coached by internationally renowned acting coach Miranda Harcourt, who coaches actors as various as Nicole Kidman, Juliet Binoche, AnnaSophia Robb and Dev Patel. Miranda describes Issy as "a sparky, instinctive actress with a good look". Later theatre work included playing Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet", Olivia in "Twelfth Night" and Squealer in a musical adaptation of George Orwell's "Animal Farm", to name a few. At the age of 17 Issy was cast as the lead role of Lizzie in a film adaptation of the Christina Rossetti poem "Goblin Market". After finishing high school, Issy auditioned for three different acting schools, getting callbacks for all of them, but deciding to attend Prague Film School in Prague, Czech Republic, where in her two years there she signed with an agent and landed small roles in "Genius" on National Geographic; "Ophelia", opposite Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts and Clive Owen; "The Romanoffs", on Amazon Prime Video by "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner; "Lore", also on Amazon Prime; and Taika Waititi's "Jojo Rabbit"; as Lavinia in the Prague Shakespeare Company stage production of "Titus Andronicus"; a key role as Louisa Pembroke in Amazon Prime's Autumn 2019 release "Carnival Row", opposite Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom; and lead in indie film Playdurizm due for release in 2020. After signing with agent Dan Ireson at The Narrow Road Company, Issy moved from Prague to London to continue her acting career.
Johnny (Samuel Burton-Harris)Bassist. Affable and earnest. He uses music as a glorified hobby and a form of escapism from his faltering relationship. People pleaser.
Alex (Amber Lilly Payne)Stage Manager at the venue. Strict, stressed and focused.
Special Supporting Cameos (Our Untold Story)
The Janitor - Our Untold Story bassist, Kim Liljedahl will reprise his infamous cameo character as The Janitor
Roadie/Stage Hand - As a drummer, Dan is used to lugging heavy equipment around, so this role was a perfect fit. He is also a filmmaker and will be assisting behind the camera, so he doesn’t get too bored on set.
Being able to attach a talented and experienced cast and crew has been vital to the ultimate quality and success of our project. Being able to pay and feed everyone is paramount when creating a supportive and creative environment for our team to work in.
Our biggest expense so far has been our locations. In order to get the proper feel of a large venue requires an actual large venue. We are incredibly lucky and grateful to have partnered up with The Questors Theatre in Ealing, London who have given us so much support with our project and gave us a great price in order for us to film the majority of The Gig there, as well as allowing us to host our wrap party concert with them on the final day of principal photography. Their sister bar, The Grapevine, which is attached to the theatre will also serve as a location in the film and provided beverages during our wrap party event.
Another location we will be using is the Oxfam Music and Audio store in Ealing. Because of their generosity in helping us bring this project to life, we will be donating 1% of our raised budget to the Oxfam charity, so when you support our film, you are also helping Oxfam in their cause to eradicate poverty around the world.
We are very lucky to be getting some support from both Raindance and MetFilm School in the form of rehearsal and meeting spaces as well as contacts and helpful tips that have been vital in our production. And have had our equipment provided by Procam Take2 thanks to John Brennan who believes in the project and has now come onboard as an executive producer and mentor.
We believe that it is important to be open and clear in regards to how the money in our proposed budget will be allocated. The £15,000 target that we have set will cover all of our costs in getting the film "in-the-can" as they say. Below is a diagram outlining the distribution of the contributed funds.
Stretch Goal 1
If we are able to reach the first stretch goal of £20,000 we will be able to cover the cost for Post-Production, which includes editing, sound mixing and colour grading.
Stretch Goal 2
Our ultimate aim is to submit The Gig to film festivals and to play a show with the band in every city that the film screens in. Our second stretch goal of £25,000 will allow us to increase our Publicity and Festival Budget so that we can make "The Gig: The Tour" a reality and to help give the film and all who have brought it to life, the recognition they deserve.
Thank You For Your Support
If you feel as though you wish to join us in bringing The Gig to life then please check out our rewards on the right-hand side of the page - all contributions are welcome and 1% of the money raised will be going to Oxfam UK.
If you would like to keep up to date with our journey and the projects process, you can follow us @TheGigFilm on: