Faith Behind-the-scenes with DB Morgan and the 'Underdog Crew'.
U.S Rapper M.I.C performs 'Stand Up'. Co-produced in Autumn 2019 by DB Morgan and 'The Underdog Crew' #allequal
Title track for DB Morgan's Faith Movie. 'Lie to me' by Amy Bristow. Produced by Joe Rodwell. Music Video Directed by DB Morgan. D-O-P Joseph Allison. 2nd AC, Jamie Wright. Footage from Faith Movie.
SATURDAY 29TH FEBRUARY 2020 -
DB Morgan and the Underdog crew wrap production of his debut feature film, Faith!
DB Morgan - Screenwriter, author and award winning Director - born and bred in Colchester, Essex, UK. A mental health survivor, vocal advocate for #ownvoices works and proud family ambassador for www.sickchildrenstrust.org.
DB is a Producer and Director of micro budget films who understands how to wring every ounce from the most meagre of budgets. He aims high and just goes for it. He gained a reputation as a serious first-time filmmaker when casting big TV/film names for his debut short film, 'Hard Sell': Craig Fairbrass (Cliffhanger / Rise of the footsoldier/London Heist/The bank job), Karl Howman (The Sweeney/Brush Strokes/Eastenders) and Chrissie Cotterill (Nil by mouth/Doctor Who/Bad girls). Winner of a 2009 MTV short film competition and official selections at several international short film festivals for his 2015 short film, 'Little Man' - budgeted at just £50.
DB Morgan awards & nominations
“You don’t need a spaceship or time machine to access my worlds. Neither do you need to find the golden ticket, be the star quarterback or head cheerleader. You just need to grasp the opportunity of adventure and believe in yourself.” DB Morgan
As a mental health survivor, anxiety sufferer and general all-round underdog, DB Morgan is proud to welcome under-represented and minority groups into all his filmmaking exploits. Having trialled his 'youth involvement project' during the shoot of his 2010, MTV competition winning, short film, 'Subject 3' he quickly learned that everybody has something to offer in a creative environment and crew members on the autism/aspergers spectrum especially came away empowered and motivated from their experiences on set.
STILLS FROM OUR #FAITHMOVIE SECRET BARN LOCATION - ARDLEIGH/ESSEX.
Fast forward to 2020 and DB Morgan has enhanced his beliefs.
"We recently completed production of Faith, my debut feature film, with a crew made up of almost 70% members on the autism spectrum - or from disadvantaged or challenging family backgrounds and minority groups. We hit many obstacles, faced many challenges and completed production with nature throwing three storms at us and extended periods of torrential rain. Not one crew member let us down and other crew members were surprised to finally learn they were working alongside people who are often classed as lesser employees due to their diagnosis. I've been so proud to see these guys grow and shine throughout the process. Hearing their feedback and witnessing their positivity and confidence grow has been amazing. I now need to push this concept forward and encourage others to embrace my own ideals."
PRODUCTION INTERNS: JAMIE WRIGHT (LEFT) JAMIE MURPHY (RIGHT) ACTRESSS LEONA CLARKE (CENTRE)
A SNEAKY VIDEO PEEK BEHIND THE SCENES
OUR FIRST TRAILER. FEEL THE FEAR!
#FAITHMOVIE LEADING LADY, LEONA CLARKE talks 'Underdog'.
"During my years as an actress so far, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with an abundance of different types of people. I have come to find that the most exceptional creatives are the ones who have had traumatic experiences, a difficult upbringing, painful backgrounds, learning disabilities, have struggled or do struggle with mental health... To me, these people have been some of the kindest I have ever met.
Their loving nature, warm-heartedness and willingness to go above and beyond for every task has no limits. Whether that’s applied to their job within the film or the simple action of making a cup of tea; it’s done with a kindness and compassion that I find admirable.
I have watched people come out of their shells and work harder and longer than anyone, throughout any situation, without ever even so much as a whisper of a complaint. I am thankful for the people that are deemed the “underdogs” of the world. To me, they are some of the most beautiful people you could ever hope to meet. They are the true survivors; the ones who have overcome incredible difficulty and not let it overpower them. Instead, they owned the hardship and took from it a wisdom that shines through their core.
Having recently wrapped on Faith, a feature film in which 70% of the crew are dealing with mental health issues, are non neurotypical or from difficult backgrounds, I can safely say it’s been the most meaningful project I have worked on to date. Being surrounded by people who had nothing to prove but wanted so much to prove themselves anyway, meant that we have created something that’s truly come from the heart. I am so proud to have had the pleasure of working with them. Within just two weeks, these people became like family to me and I will treasure that forever. They deserve to go as far as their desires wish to take them and I look forward to following their journeys. I hope to work with them all again in the future."
Personal outcomes from the #faithmovie 'Underdog Crew'
JAMIE WRIGHT: 16. Production Assistant / Behind-the-scenes documentarian
“As a 16-year-old college student, studying Level 2 Film and TV at Colchester Institute, I was lucky to be chosen as an intern. This experience has honestly been such a highlight for my life. My dream is to do filmmaking but after this internship. I have now realized this is something that I definitely want to do for the rest of my life. The cast and crew where all so kind and friendly. From just working on a film set for two weeks, I have learnt and grown so much more developing new skills. It has been a surreal feeling to me, my younger self could have never believed what is possible now.
When I was younger, I never really believed in myself, I never really had confidence in many things. From issues from my childhood. My parents suffer from mental illness and it was really tough. I always felt like I couldn’t achieve anything, and I have nothing to show to the world. I had a dark stage in my life dealing with a lot of suicidal thoughts. But I overcame it. This team and film have given me a sense of purpose, and the title alone just shows how I feel now in life. After dealing with a lot of stuff and gradually picking myself up. This experience has given me faith. The writer and director of this film Dom Morgan. I have thanked a lot and will again. But he has really inspired me. He has shown me that you can do what you love from any background.
This experience has helped me not only in more knowledge on the filmmaking side of things. But also, my opinion of myself. I can’t wait for what is in store for me, but I sure know that if it wasn’t for this experience, I would not have known it was possible.”
JAMIE MURPHY: 16. Production Assistant / Catering assistant / Photographer
"My name is Jamie Murphy I am a 17 year old boy with autism and asperger’s. I love films and film-making this is my passion in life but because of my asperger’s I generally get really worried and stressed before or in social environments. Before we started Faith, but everyone in the faith family made me feel really welcomed and appreciated part of the team. Sometimes I find it hard because I think people just see the disabilities sides of me and not take me seriously but I felt like on the Faith set we were all equals no one was judged. Everyone just had the one goal and we all came together with all are love of films to make this film all together. I felt like I was actually taken seriously on faith and that everyone was so it was a really good friendly environment.
One of the best things for me on the Faith set was the Yurt and House because if ever things got to much on set or if I just got overwhelmed and stressed out I had somewhere to go and relax. The yurt was really good because you were in nature but had the fire and the luxuries like a PS4 and stereo which helped me relax a lot. The house was also good just to warm up in or grab a coffee all of the set/farm was such a welcoming and homely environment where everyone came together to do what we loved. The food was amazing and also so helpful to fill us up before we went back into the set because the days were long normally from 7-12. Which was good because it prepped me for what the film making world is like and with the help of “DB” Morgan really made sure I was welcomed and showed me that even with my autism and asperger’s I can still make it in the film making world and to not let it put me down but let me use it to my advantage and make my mark in this film making world.
During the two weeks of production I love all the laughs and heartfelt moments shared on set. Even just doing the behind the scenes documentary was a ton of fun that was probally because I love film making but that was good because it confirms why I was there and that I wanted to do it in the future. I really loved the friendly and funny atmosphere of the set as everyone was always cracking jokes and being friendly on and of the set. I made a lot of new friends on the set and strengthened bonds I already had. “DB” Morgan really helped break me out of my shell and helped me grow in confidence and helped improve my film making skills.
Overall faith has been such a incredible experience, One of the best experiences of my life as it has helped me grow so much more as a person and readied me for the world of film making. I cant wait to see everyone else at the premiere very soon."
NEIL ROWE: 26. RIGHT SIDE OF BOTH IMAGES.
Working on Faith with Asperger’s By Neil Rowe
Age 26. 1st Assistant Camera / Gaffer
For me, I don’t really talk about my Asperger’s. Whilst I hear most people get on and learn to live with their condition, I never really have since being formally diagnosed 8 years ago. I suppose I am very bad with dealing with it but working on Faith has ironed out a few of my quirks. Originally I was brought onto the project to help the 1st AC and the Director of Photography/ Camera Operator. That lasted the first two days where I was primarily the 3rd AC and Gaffer. When the 1st AC left for different commercial projects, I inherited all his roles; so I then became 1st/2nd/3rd AC AND Gaffer for the final 9 days. As you can probably imagine, that is a lot and I certainly wasn’t prepared for it. This feature film is therefore a milestone in many ways. It’s my first paid job, ever. It’s the first feature film I’ve worked on, it’s been the most I feel I’ve truely worked since finishing university 3 years ago and it was definitely way out of my comfort zone. Given my comfort zone has been built up over 3 years really, it was a very tough routine to break.
I haven’t had meltdowns in years. Yet the project caused me to get two. Like buses, I suppose. The first time was the first day I took all the responsibilities (day 3) and the second was the third day in the roles (day 5). I told the director, Dom B Morgan, of my condition after the second meltdown as it was a lot less private. That first time, I was able to take a breather to myself, as there was a break between filming. The second time, it began to creep in whilst in front of everyone through mainly body language in the middle of takes. When I was asked if I was ok, they could tell I blatantly wasn’t. With technology breaking on it’s own and with things slowly grinding me down, I was barely able to get words out to explain.
Some of it is a bit of a blur now (it has been a week and a bit now since the incident) but I eventually said to Dom that I’m Asperger’s. Dom’s look of surprise and slight glee made me a little uneasy until he said that a number of the other crew members had it as well; and was happy for me to join the Asperger’s club. He gave me 5-10 minutes to collect myself and then return when I felt able to. Whilst everyone was on a break and after I had had time to process everything and calm down, the pair of us chatted and he made sure I was ok and tried to get a sense of how Asperger’s affects me. The fact it took until the fifth day for anyone to realise something was different about me, might be a testament to how far I’ve come generally.
I have learned a huge amount from this project. Whilst I had previously never thought about what equipment was really used, what they were called and how to put them together; this project made me appreciate all the previously background roles that the original 1st AC had always done instead of me. Obviously that has been one of the many things I’ve taken from Faith. Another is that it is a stressful business; I think the other takeaway is being creative on a budget. But the one I think you’re most interested in is my Asperger’s. Whilst I had a few meltdowns, a number of the others in the crew (not Asperger’s I don’t think) were also highly strung, so I didn’t feel like I stood out as the weird one. In the end, it’s taught me a lot about film-making and my Asperger’s has been improved somewhat. Multi-tasking may still be an issue but at least I can now say that I have the ability to ask people to wait for me to do one thing at a time. This film has done so much for me personally/professionally and Dom was a big part of making me be open and helping me feel accepted.
DB MORGAN: 48. SCREENWRITER / DIRECTOR / PRODUCER
It would be wrong of me to ask my crew to open up on their own personal experiences without offering my own into the mix. Two years of hell at a notorious Essex boarding school led to my younger life being consumed with drug abuse, leading to being an ex drug user and mental health survivor. I have been left with bouts of crippling anxiety that restrict my life in many ways. After losing our 12-year old daughter, Jodi, to aplastic anaemia in 2010 I've also been left with PTSD. I choose to rise above my limitations and slowly face my demons one by one.
My son, David's autism makes him unique. He's driven, kind, funny, fiercely loyal and a credit to my wife and I. We've slowly grown to fully understand his own condition and embrace his eccentricities and developmental challenges. Having him working alongside us on the Faith film shoot showed me his ability to integrate comfortably into a stressful, real world, environment and share in the challenges on his own two feet. David worked between the film crew and hospitality departments and really enjoyed being part of such a highly positive group of adults. He also got the chance to be Frank Jakeman's body double on several occasions, earning himself a feature film acting credit - acting being his chosen passion and life pursuit.
As a writer my life experiences have provided me with so much ammunition to channel into the emotions of my work. As a creative I have learned that everyone has a story to tell and the richer a life's tapestry, the deeper the story. I love working with 'outsiders' as a true underdog myself and thrive on proving people wrong when it comes to underestimating, prejudging or prejudicing against marginalised people and groups.
I am passionate about growing my 'underdog crew' ethos into a recognised UK movement and allowing all comers to shine under the brilliance of their own light.
There are many regional projects and community groups who allow under-represented or marginalised groups the opportunity to dabble in creative environments. It's brilliant! BUT... the 'underdog crew' takes them deep into the real-world creative battlefield, with the blood and guts flying and leads them courageously out the other side. With renewed vigour, growth, positivity and focus.
Okay, that's a little dramatic. But I am a stortyteller after all, so I hope you won't judge me for it.
Peace and love. DB Morgan