Sunday, 15 April 2012

Tea in the Tardis (S2) - Lights, Camera, Doctor!

When I did my first blog interview/chat with Matt Elliott back at the beginning of March it was only meant to be a one off post and something a bit different.

Following that original post the idea of doing some more chat’s was pitched to me, why not I thought, so the initial post became a series of 3, the second being with Craig Hurle of Doctor Who and the Tardis and the third being with Michael David Key of Mike’s Star Trek and Doctor Who Art.

As the first ‘series’ of Tea in the Tardis posts was well received a second ‘series’ just had to be done, the plan is to being you a selection of chat/interviews with various parts of the Doctor Who fan universe. 

Ryan receiving the award for his short film CHOICES
This series will include the team behind Doctor Stew and the highly talented Comic Who, but first off I’m joined by actor/director/filmmaker Ryan Hendrick who you may know from the Fan Film Doctor Who – Beseiged, so without further ado, here we go...

MH: Welcome Ryan, can’t believe the last time I saw you was back at Dimensions 2010! Seems like a lifetime ago, easy first question for you, how long have you been acting and film making?

RH: I always wanted to be an actor from an early age and imagination got the better of me, I decided that I'd have to shoot some stuff when I was 14 to allow myself to experiment with acting, and then I caught the film making bug and drifted down the route of behind the camera for a number of years until I took a gamble and decided to train as an actor.

MH: Great stuff, it’s always good when someone is able to follow their ambition from a young age, I know one of the early projects you were involved in was Minds of Glass, tell me a bit about it.

RH: Minds of Glass was my 4th production, I shot that in late 2007 - early 2008, but took a long time to come together in post production. I was interested in tense psychological thrillers, and the theme of isolation has always been a kind of trademark for me, usually reflected in the setting of my films.

MH: I know you’ve picked up a few awards for your work but what was it like to be nominated for a BAFTA?

RH: I was nominated in 2010 for my short film Choices, I didn’t win but I was overjoyed to just be nominated, means you’re getting a big nod from the powers that be and that you're getting something right.

Screen grab from DW - Besieged
MH: You’re definitely getting it right! Moving on to Doctor Who where did the inspiration for Doctor Who - Besieged come from?

RH: My inspiration for Doctor Who: Besieged came from a number of things. My interest in acting, writing and film making came from my introduction to Doctor Who when I was 7 years old, and for years I toyed with the idea of doing a fan film, but was always either talked out of it or wasn't capable to do it the way I wanted to do it at the time. 

MH: So it was a case of waiting for the right time?

RH: I'm glad I waited... In terms of the story line and theme of Besieged, I wanted to do a short film that captured the terror and claustrophobic feel of the first Alien film, I'd just been to the Alien Wars in the arches in Glasgow and I was scared shitless to put it mildly, I thought it was fascinating and drew from that and as we set about getting the film off the ground it grew from a sci-fi short, to a Doctor Who fan film in the style of Alien to finally a Doctor Who / Alien cross over film.

MH: Talking of the Doctor, what sets your version of him apart from the other incarnations?

RH: I think what's important about my version of the Doctor is unlike a lot of fan film Doctor's they are either impersonations or alternate reality versions. My Doctor is the same man we've been following on BBC 1 since 1963, he is a future incarnation with all the history and back story that is familiar to all. That was very important for me to lay that on the table with my Doctor and we tip the hat to past events and ideals that we know The Doctor has lived through in the past. 

Directing Minds of Glass
But I wanted the audience to connect with my Doctor and feel that he is the same man they all know and love, but we haven't caught up with him as yet. There are little traits that hopefully fans will pick up on, very subtle hints of previous Doctor's. Without being bias I'm not realised certain hints that I've done when we were filming, but when watching even the short film back I caught little glimpses of various Doctor's, not impersonations, just a feel that they're all behind this face.

MH: From following the filming progression on the Besieged Facebook Page I saw that you’d got Hamish Wilson involved with the project, how did that come about?

RH: Hamish kind of just fell into it, mainly through accidental timing of other things... 

Hamish auditioned for a play in Glasgow at the Tron Theatre that my uncle was directing, I was there assisting my uncle at the auditions and Hamish came in, I recognised him immediately as my birthday had just passed and a friend had bought me the Mind Robber on DVD mere weeks before (note: for those that don’t know Hamish played the role of Jamie for a couple of episodes of Doctor Who in the Second Doctor adventure Mind Robber). We got on rather well and met a few times through the course of the play... 

MH: Then what happened?

RH: About a year later Besieged the short film had been made I was appearing at Invasion in Barking and Hamish was also there as a guest, so we caught up... Then a few months after that I was hired onto a film that was being shot in Dumfries called Timelock (at the same time as the decoy bride was there aswell) and I ended being heavily responsible for helping the director with casting, and we cast Hamish in one of the roles. 

Screen grab from - Besieged
Then a couple months later we decided to go ahead with the feature length version of Besieged and I called him up and asked if he'd like to get involved, he said 'yes'.

MH: When will Doctor Who – Besieged be available? I want to review it!

RH: Well tricky question, obviously the 12 minute short film has been available for over a year now on youtube, as is various mini episodes of Besieged - Confidential and now our main trailer for the feature version... 

I am working very hard with my incredible post production team to get Episode 1 finished. I am hoping for a summer release for Episode 1... Once I know more specifically about episode 1 being released I'll know better about Episode 2... Bit of a long road.

MH: I look forward to it. Obvious question for any Doctor Who fan, who is your favourite Doctor?

RH: That's a horrible question, so tricky! I love all the Doctors for different reasons... 

But I think I would have to go classic and say Peter Davison and Colin Baker were my top Doctor's, partly as they were the first two stories I ever saw back to back were Caves of Androzani and Revelation of the Daleks, plus having spent time with both of them in person and discovered they are both true gentlemen and genuinely nice guys. 

Hamish & Ryan at Glasgow Comic Con
MH: Excellent choices, it’s often rare for Colin Baker to be someone’s favourite Doctor, personally I really like his stories and all regular readers will instantly know why. What about favourite companion?

RH: Favourite companion is Donna Noble, and that surprises me to no end that she ended being my favourite as I was not happy when they announced Catherine Tate was coming back for series 4, but my god she made me cry in almost every episode, fantastic character and a fantastic performance.

MH: You mentioned earlier that you’d been a guest at Invasion. What’s in been like to be a guest at events?

RH: Being a guest at events is kind weird, as I feel like a complete intruder, my first one was Invasion in Barking and I arrived and introduced myself to the organisers and they threw me into the celebrity green room and left me there until I was needed, and to turn round and find myself in a room with every from Nick Courtney, Frazer Hines, Rob Shearman, Peter Purves to name but a few turning to look at me all thinking "who's the kid" was nerve racking, fortunately Hamish was there also, waving from the back of the room, but everyone was great and very welcoming. 

Dimension 2011
Frazer thought I was Hamish's son at first! *laughs* But after Dimensions 2011 I felt a bit more relaxed, having been asked to make a film there, so no point being shy now after that epic!

MH: Finally then Ryan, what project can we look forward to seeing you in next?

RH: Well at the moment I'm trying to write more and make the next step with my career, though I've been kinda busy with acting work, been asked to do various short films, mainly off the back of Besieged. But who knows what will happen next... I suppose the outcome of both episodes of Besieged could determine where I go next!

MH: Thank you Ryan, it’s been a pleasure! I’m sure I’ll see you at an upcoming event soon and I look forward to the release of Doctor Who - Besieged!

If you’d like to know more about Ryan, Minds of Glass or Doctor Who – Besieged have a look a their facebook pages by clicking the links.

Joining me in the Tardis next time for a cuppa will be Comic Who.