It’s been a while now since META was completed; a month or two almost. I’m rather surprised I haven’t written about it yet.

META has been one of the most satisfying and whirlwind indie projects to date. It was a collaboration between myself and Desmond Bowles, which consisted of the two of us writing, producing, directing, sound recording, cinematography-ing and editing this entire project as a duo.
Oh, and in order to meet festival submissions, we had to do the project from start to finish in under 5 weeks – on a super minimal budget too.

But, we did it. After a few late nights drawing up world histories and timelines, as well as the overall film structure, we began to write the script itself. I also began sourcing and searching for actors, locations and gear so that once the words manifested, we could begin shooting.
A wonderful array of creative individuals had coincidentally entered our lives at the time, and finding a stellar cast was slightly easier than I anticipated. No auditions were needed, and whilst neither Desmond or I had seen any of our actors act prior to shooting days, we somehow instinctively saw how the individuals we had selected contained intrinsic character traits of the people they were pretending to be.

Some minor technical malfunctions aside, shooting was smooth sailing. We tried to stick to 3 shooting days, 3 locations and 3 actors, but due to an aesthetic requirement we needed to reshoot and ended up with 4 shooting days, 3 locations and 4 actors. The sets mostly consisted of myself on sound, Des on camera, Dan as interviewer and then one of the three character actors. Small skeleton crews, intimate work schemes and serious productivity. All the individuals involved, both in front of and behind camera, really showed their professionalism and love for what they do during this project. It was quite humbling and inspiring, and has been a large component of what has made this film so sentimental to me.

After working tirelessly through many nights on his 4 year old laptop, Desmond pulled off his usual film-creating wizardry and produced a copy of META that we were rather pleased with. I’m sure that in a few years we’ll look back and notice the technical shortcomings and potential soft spots in the story, but for now, I’m proud.  Of our co-creatives (none of whom were paid) for being so true and dedicated to getting what Des and I had envisioned in our minds onto a screen. Of our families and friends for gathering together and offering their homes, cars, technology and time to our crazy little project. And of ourselves for following an idea to the end and writing, shooting and completing the film.

Thanks to all for the encouragement and support! We’re eagerly awaiting to see what comes of this amazing collaboration.

Starring: Charl Oosthuizen (Malcolm Riker) and Puleng Stewart (Lindiwe Sekhu)

Behind the Scenes stills
Photographs by Jamie Dimitra Ashton

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