Tom and Ben as Crash and Burn

This project would be nothing without the kindness and commitment of many talented individuals, all of whom gave their time, and perhaps dignity, to a project which at the very least was maddeningly over-ambitious.

The project has been Guerilla Film making to the core.

The distinctions between cast and crew have been blurry at best, and just about everyone involved has turned their hands to the countless jobs in the film making world.

To all that were involved - we truly could not have done this without you.

From the bottoms of our heart, we salute you.

sign off


Small Beginnings:


Tom and Ben


In the bitter, wintery months of 2008, childhood friends; Tom Hutchings and Ben Tallamy decided to embark on a project of perhaps foolish proportions.

With a team of two people and a budget of less than £1000, the two friends began Shields Of Justice - a feature-length action comedy, not only set in another era, but another country altogether.

Together they would have to fill the shoes of an entire production team: writing, casting, acting and directing - as well as building props and costumes, sourcing locations, organizing shoots and even dealing with tech jobs, such as lighting and sound.

As their production grew, so did the core team and thanks to the unending commitment of Jonty and Claire Fisk, the Shields Of Justice project overcame insurmountable odds.


Q&A Session:


How did you start making films?

We met in middle school and became friends, as teenagers we would make silly little films on a Hi8 camera - small fight scenes and stupid sketches mainly.

A decade on and neither of us has really grown up.

The rest is history.


Where did the idea for Shields Of Justice come from?

We were working on some comedy sketches for a show when Ben had a dream about two narcotic cops called Crash and Burn who had to destroy the evidence from a drugs bust by taking it.

The joke was centred around cool seventies montages intercut with the tragic footage of them them crawling and throwing up.

There wasn’t much to it but we liked the idea and started to develop it.

Very quickly the lack of mileage in the sketch became apparent but with the broader demographic of the 70's Cop genre as a whole, more ideas began to germinate.

Using shows like Dragnet as inspiration we eventually had enough material for a 40 minute episode.

The plan was to send the script to various producers and television companies, but then it occurred to us that sending the filmed material would be possibly more effective.

The next thing we realised was that if you’re going to shoot a 40 minute episode you may as well shoot a feature.

Before we knew it the project had grown much larger than we first intended and we have been 'scaling up' various elements to suit ever since.


What is your budget?

Nothing. Well almost nothing, the camera and most of the equipment we've used belonged to us prior to the project beginning.

Everything else, props, costume etc we have been able to either buy or build relatively cheaply.

We have also been very lucky as many people have given their time, locations and expertise for free. We are very grateful for all their support, without it Shields of Justice would not have grown as well as it has. In time we will make sure they are all recognised for their endeavours.

Passion can make up for a lack of money. To the detriment of our health and sanity, we feel we have never compromised the production, even if our better judgement told us otherwise.


How did you make the film look and sound like it was shot in 1970s America?

Well, a lot of attention was paid to costume and set dressing. In fact a lot of the props and costumes are genuine articles from the era.

We were also careful when choosing shots to stick to a television composition style most of the time - areas were over saturated or under lit, to replicate the stock used in the era.

You’ll notice a lot of soft focus too, and there is still a lot of post production work to be done with sound and colour balancing.

One other thing we paid attention to, was limiting the make up palette. Almost all the main cast use the same base tone for their make up.

We also had a lot of fun making deliberate mistakes, throwing in continuity errors and leaving shots rolling for slightly too long.


What was the most challenging part of filming?

Though there were days when cast and crew were in abundance, there were also many shoots where only the core team were involved.

Trying to get all the footage needed within tight deadlines often meant unruly hours.

The last shoot at Kay House for example, started at 10am and finished at 5am the following morning. There were only three of us on set by then and we must commend Kris Darby for staying till the end of that shoot.

We all ate packets of sugar to keep us going but the memories were worth the hardship.

In truth, it's things like that that are all part of the experience.

If it wasn't fun, we wouldn't have done it.

What was the most enjoyable part?

Working with so many fun and talented people.

It’s exciting to see just how many creative people are willing to throw themselves into the fray of such a project.

The whole film is a testament to the commitment and enthusiasm of these individuals.


Can I make a film?

Yes, anyone can these days, Digital technology being what it is. There are still a lot of hurdles to negotiate, but that's all part of the fun.

Go out and do it!

Just be aware that more often than not, these things take on a life of their own...

What should people do if they want to get involved?

If there’s anyone who would like to get involved they can contact us through the contact page on our website.

We always need people to help in front of or behind the camera - be it as extras, helping out with camera work or any other expertise you may wish to bring along to the project.

How will people be able to see the finished film?

We are planning to release the film at local cinemas and also film and comedy festivals.

After the initial release you will of course be able to buy it DVD too.

Watch this space!


Would you do it all again?

Definitely. There are undoubtedly things we would do differently as we have learned so much throughout the Shields of Justice project, but there are certainly more lessons to be learned and more fun to be had.

We wouldn't trade the experience for anything.



More About The Production:


Visit these links to see in depth articles about the film:


The Costume


The Props


The Set