The Austin Brothers – One To Watch
Based in the north-west of England, Chris, Dan and Matthew Austin have been making films together since childhood. The trio’s short film Guy’s Guide To Zombies won the 2007 BBC TV Animators New Talent award, and in 2005 the brothers were commissioned by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts to produce a series of short animated films. Cricket, is the Austin brothers’ first feature-length film.
What training have you received?
Theory-wise, we each graduated from University with First Class Honours Degrees in Film Studies; in practical terms, we’re entirely self-taught.
Does budget limit what you can explore in your films?
Yes and no. A big budget lets you hire better actors, better equipment and better locations. But you’re also accountable to your investors. The reason we were able to take so many risks with Cricket, which was shot entirely guerilla-style, was that we weren’t answerable to anyone. It was our own money and our own necks on the line. If you can handle that, you can be as daring as you like.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a low-budget filmmaker?
Just do it, and accept that a low-budget film will never be perfect. We’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve said ‘You can’t film there without permission, or ‘You can’t shoot a feature on Mini-DV’ and so on. Rubbish! Try it and see what happens. The end result might not resemble Lawrence of Arabia—there are things about Cricket we would do differently if we could do it all again—but at least you’ll have a finished film, and we’re immensely proud of ours. We’re not saying be reckless or stupid. In fact, careful planning and plenty of common sense are even more important on a no-budget shoot. But if you stop to listen to all the nay-sayers, your project will never get off the ground. The bottom line is, work with what you’ve got. You’ll be surprised at how resourceful you can be.
Tell us the most significant moment in your careers so far.
Finishing Cricket. It’s undoubtedly our single greatest achievement so far.
You’ll die happy when…