'Start small and work with people that have the same passion' an interview with Richard Boddington

Writer/Director and Producer Richard Boddington talks about introduction to films, experience with using Mandy.com for his various projects, working with different challenges and advice for upcoming filmmakers

20th March 2019
/ By James Collins

Richard Boddington Patrick Toselli

How did you get involved in film? 

I started when I was 12 with a super 8 camera in 1980. I saw ET in 82 and decided I had to be a filmmaker and just started shooting, all through high school and then film school in the USA. After graduating I was hired at one of the networks in Toronto as a producer and then became a Director of Photographer. In 2007, I decided to make my first feature and put an ad on Mandy.com, I had 100k of my own money to spend but no script. I got a lot of responses but one person in particular got in touch to say he had the contacts and wanted to partner with me to get the film to distribution. He had a friend at Image Entertainment so, as soon as the movie was done, they bought it and got it into distribution. The whole cycle started from using Mandy, I did also get the script there too. From meeting him I worked on another project called ‘The Dog Father’ for 2 million, from 100k on my first film. He got me that job directing and from that I went on to make my next movie and just continued on from there. 

And you have just used Mandy.com again for your next project… 

We have written a script called ‘Ocean Odyssey’ but it needs a UK producing partner. I couldn’t find one, I tried to contact so many people but with Mandy.com within 48 hours I had found someone and we have partnered and the application which we have just sent in, we are now waiting to hear the outcome. 

You are a writer/director, but also edit and produce; how do you manage to wear so many hats? 

I produce, write, direct, shoot and edit my own films and I have done that on 5 features now. I also have a relationship with the banks and can arrange my own financing, but first I have to write a good enough script to attract the cast and financing. My last one with Elizabeth Hurley was called ‘An Elephant's Journey’ and the script was sent to her agent on a Friday and committed to by the following Wednesday. It was my first studio picture as it was sold to Lionsgate and also had a 729 screen theatrical release in the US. 

Richard Boddington on the set of Against The Wild 2 IMDB
Richard Boddington on the set of Against The Wild 2

You work a lot with animals and children, does this throw up different challenges?

I use 100% live animals in all my movies, all the animal action is real and in camera. We did have animatronics on set for different part of the elephants, for close ups, but each time the elephant performed the actions and we never needed to use any of these elaborate rigs we had made. My technique is to get a video and a list of action from trainers for the different animals and then I will back write those action into the story. We have used bears, lions, wolves, a cobra and a lot more. In the next one we already have a cougar and a skunk scheduled to come in. 

Because I work as my own Editor, I use a technique called ‘Shooting the edit’, I know what coverage I will use and not use as I have already edited it on paper or in my head. So I just shoot what I am going to use in the movie. Also, the issue working with animals is you only get a few takes, so we always shoot the rehearsals and we don’t stop shooting until 30 seconds after a take, as Murphy’s Law says something will happen in those moments. 

What advice do you have for up-and-coming filmmakers? 

For people just starting, at the end of film school, I would say start small and work with people that have the same passion and are in the same league as you. Making something simple and good is always more impressive than something complex and substandard. Also persistence, it’s the business of no’s, with 999 ‘No’s’ for each ‘Yes’, and you are working towards that one yes. You simply have to be able to shrug it off and go on to the next thing.

interview  |  editing  |  director