Empire Done in 60 seconds

In association with Jameson's Whiskey

After our DV Mission success, we decided it was time to enter another competition. With a good few months until the Sci-fi London 48 hour competition, we turned our heads towards Empire magazine’s ‘Done in 60 seconds’ competition. Run by the legendary Empire magazine, it is open to teams from the UK, as well as a select few other nations such as Brazil, Russia and Armenia. I’m not too sure why there is a such a random bunch of countries allowed to compete, let’s hope Empire isn’t caught up in a FIFA-esque bribery scandal!
  Now I’ve gotten this week’s topical joke out of my system, a bit more about the competition.

Rather than the traditional 48 hours you get to create your film, you get roughly two months, depending on how early you start. You may find yourself saying “Two months? That’s ages!” but there’s a catch. Your finished film can be no longer than 60 seconds (That’s one minute to you YOLO’ers out there). It also has to be a re-make of a classic or your favourite film and resemble the original in some way – something Jaden Smith’s ‘Karate Kid’ couldn’t do in 140 painful minutes.
So we had our gauntlet, now just to get through it. We spent a couple of weeks at least trying to agree on a film to re-make, and considering horrors, comedies, action movies, everything. (Unfortunately my Giant-Dick vs. MegaVag idea I’d been sitting on since DV Mission was shot down immediately). How do you re-make a film in one minute whilst maintaining all of the story arcs, character development and key beats it needs without it looking like trailer? In the end, we settled for an iconic piece of cinema history –


It seemed to tick all of our boxes (as well as numerous other entrants, who also opted for the Scorcese classic) and, more importantly, it allowed us the opportunity to put our own Broken Bricks stamp on it. Imagine if Taxi Driver had been set in England? All of a sudden you have all these new directions you can take Travis Bickle’s character. Obviously we had to cast Nathan as Travis Bickle, who else? As it turns out, he was the only one who was willing to shave an inverted mohawk into his head. But still – no-one was better equipped to create Travis 2.0, quintessentially idiotic and, above all, British.
We were lucky enough to score an empty café to use as Palantine’s election HQ, and filmed the rest either in the classy streets of Saturday-night Portsmouth or Chev’s house – It has a sweet corridor. It’s probably in my top five corridors at the moment.
Filming went pretty smooth without any need for pick-ups, and before long Senõr Effecto (That’s what the Spanish call Scott) had stuck in everything to make it look tip-top. So much so that you probably don’t notice half of it as it looks so natural. For exmple; the car in the movie was a red ford fiesta to begin with. Nothing a bit of digital correction can’t fix.

We submitted the film with about a week to go before the final deadline, and belong the long and arduous wait to see if we had gotten anywhere. Slowly entries started getting uploaded, and we started to get more and more confident that we could do well in this competition. The downside was that the films went through a public voting system – which seems to make it more of a popularity contest. The next month or so we all become insufferably pathetic on Social media, pleading to our friends, in the hope that guy I met at a party in Cardiff once might click on our link.
In the end we got our shortlisting, and everyone was chuffed to bits. Empire posted that the winners would be contacted to attend the Empire Awards, along with all the Celebrities. The awards got closer, and still no phone call Lee was being his optimistic best, but alas it wasn’t to be. The winning team turned out to be 3rd time entrants with a wacky re-make of ‘Ghostbusters’. Looking at it through un-biased specs, they did probably put enough in it to be worthy winners, but we couldn’t help feeling we’d been a bit hard done by. They say if you’re not first, you’re last – and that’s what it felt like. There were no runners-up, special mentions or any indication of how we had done. It left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth, but after a while we all agreed that next time, we’re going to be bigger and better.

If you haven’t seen it. Check it out. Our Entry to Empire done in 60 seconds 2015

Taxi Driver