Interview: Trash Arts Portsmouth release ‘The Making of’ mockumentary

Trash Arts, an independent creative and cultural collective in Portsmouth, have produced The Making of, a mockumentary about filmmakers with ambition but no money, ideas, or hope.

We spoke to project leads Jackson Batchelor and Sam Mason Bell about the series, which is now available on the Trash Arts Portsmouth YouTube channel.


Where did the idea and inspiration for making this mockumentary come from, and how did you make it a reality?

JACKSON: Well we entered the Colchester 60 Hour Film Challenge in 2014 so we decided to do a mockumentary about a team trying to complete the challenge. The film turned out great and we actually had a 20-minute film, The Making of ‘Footsteps’, that we had to cut down to five for the challenge.

We got into the top ten and, although we didn’t win, it was amazing to be amongst such a great selection of films. What made The Making of ‘Footsteps’ so good was the chemistry between the characters. We joked that we could turn it into a series, but I think it was [cast member] Rishi who first said it seriously. A year slipped by as we worked on other projects, until finally we said: let’s just do it.

SAM: At first I was reluctant to do it because it was such a big challenge, and the fact that I act in it, and I’m no actor! But last year we sat down and started to write up episodes and we quickly fell back in love with it.

Most of the original cast were happy to be on board, and because The Making of is really based on our own experiences, we knew who to cast in certain roles, and it all came together fairly quickly.

Have you ever released work as a webseries before, and how many instalments are there of The Making of?

SAM: We have never done anything like this before in this way. Our previous and ongoing web series Rethinking takes a lot more time. But we knew we could do this to a tight schedule because the idea was designed for the 60 Hour Challenge.

We started in January and wrapped in April. We had to fit the schedule around all of the cast and crew, which wasn’t easy at times. We decided to direct the opening episode together and Jackson directed the last one whilst local filmmakers Mike Peter Reed and Thomas J. Davenport directed the rest.

There are six episodes, which we all released at once, so people can binge if they wish. We want our YouTube channel to be like a studio, with a number of web series, short films, features, and music videos — something for everyone.

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What unique challenges did you face in creating The Making Of, and how did you overcome them?

JACKSON: The biggest challenge was actually finding the time to work on it. None of us could put our lives on hold and other projects were continuing throughout, and the cast and crew had jobs. So it was really all done in our free time.

But shooting The Making of wasn’t a chore — it was a lot of fun and we found most things fit into place thanks to the dedication of the cast and crew who made this with us.

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What are some of the locations around Portsmouth you used for shooting, and which one(s) proved quite difficult to film in?

SAM: We were very lucky to have permission to film in some great locations such as The Fat Fox, Drift Bar, The Phoenix pub, Anglian, Trinity Church, The Hot Walls, and a lot of friends’ and actors’ homes.

JACKSON: Where we only had one camera and two crew at most, it was easy to shoot in different streets in the local area. The hardest locations to work in were the bars, where for the most part we couldn’t control the sound and where we only ever wanted to have one camera and no other crew we had to use an external camera mic which did surprisingly well in the end.

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Who makes up the cast and crew, and what were their roles and responsibilities in the project?

SAM: The crew was just the two of us and the director for the episode but we all had multiple jobs.

JACKSON: It was easier than it sounds because of the simplicity of the style.

SAM: We used music from some great acts that we have booked for our events — we wanted to keep it independent, and hopefully that can help to promote us and them.

The full cast is as follows:

  • Sam Mason Bell as Sam
  • Rishi Ghosh as Rishi
  • Ryan Carter as Ryan
  • Ross Alan Doney as Ross
  • Suzy Weatherall as Amy
  • Ashleigh Motley as Jane
  • Phil Lyndon as Ben
  • Suki Jones as Suki
  • Chris Mills as Paul Renoir

Watch all six episodes of The Making of below, visit the Trash Arts YouTube channel to see more of their work, and Like the mockumentary’s Facebook page.