JT Film Review

Lord of the Manor

Poster 1 - David

Lord of the Manor (2014) Banner Poster

Well, I’ve finally finished Lord of the Manor! This film was my attempt at creating a small character-driven movie, as opposed to the “guys-with-guns” films I’d been doing (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I am very grateful to the cast for their time and talent (David Sarginson as The Man, Jeremy Watkins as The Reporter, and Ian Travis as The Servant). The film is embedded below, but I’d like to discuss my feeling about it first, and what I’ve learned.


— I’m quite proud of the cinematography. The day couldn’t have had more perfect weather. The fog created even lighting, with no garish bright skies and shadows to worry about.

— The tone is exactly what I was hoping for.


— The script just doesn’t work. It’s too expositional and stiff, and doesn’t really go anywhere.

— I didn’t give the cast enough rehearsal time. David Sarginson had way too many lines, and I didn’t give him enough time to memorize them, resulting in an uncertain and wooden performance. This is 100% my fault. David is a very good actor, as he demonstrates in the last couple scenes. I didn’t give him enough time, and that is my biggest regret of the film.

What I Learned

— Give your cast enough time to prepare. If there is a lot of dialogue, give them plenty of rehearsals and time to memorize. Best yet, I should try and not have as much dialogue, and focus on telling stories that can be told through more visual means. Show, not tell, etc.

— Workshop scripts more. Ask people’s advice on the writing.

— The use of wide angle lenses worked pretty well I think, and I’ll try using those more in outdoor settings. I like the wide angle feel. This also means staying in focus is easier, which can be tough with a run-and-gun style.


Well, there we go! Once again, many thanks to the cast and crew! The film is embedded below.



October 15, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Knowing how difficult it can be to write, direct and produce a short film, James, I think you’ve done an excellent job here. The fact you’ve also edited and wrote the musical score is doubly impressive! I agree the camerawork is very well done, and the ambience and atmosphere is dead-on. Although I knew where you filmed, I didn’t get a clear sense of place, almost as if you were disguising the environment to maybe suggest land somewhere in the U.K. (the line about not “being in the colonies” threw me off a bit). The “lord” of the manor is a complex character who dreams for “what might have been, but is not what is”, to paraphrase Charles Dickens. Overall, congratulations on a great little film.

    Comment by Bruce Bishop | October 15, 2014 | Reply

    • Thanks Bruce! It was supposed to be in the UK, yes. I’m realizing now I didn’t specify that. *Cough* woops. And it certainly is tough, that is true. I see it all as one big learning process (which helps when some aspects don’t work so well lol). Now, on to the next one! 🙂

      Comment by jamesturpin | October 15, 2014 | Reply

  2. I’m so glad to get to see this at last 🙂 It seems like you’ve definitely learned some great and useful lessons during the creation of the film. I think the music is well done and well suited to the tone of the film. Great job!

    Comment by Beth Hynes | October 15, 2014 | Reply

  3. Love this short fifteen minute film, well edited and a gripping storyline accompanied with superb appropriate musical score . Lord of the Manor seemed typical of a British aristocrat (probably with previous experience of Colonial time spent in British colonies) – the considered “uncertain and wooden” performance is typical of a well-to-do Lord of the period (ex-colonial). He seems a sad character with a secret which the audience can only imagine. Typically the setting is within the UK and gives me the impression of similar areas of the UK as filmed in “Wuthering Heights” – misty and mysterious. Can’t wait for the sequel – what is to happen next?? Does he solve family problems, does he develop the land, is he really in debt?

    Comment by Christine Clifton | April 4, 2015 | Reply

    • Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad you liked it! 🙂

      Comment by jamesturpin | April 4, 2015 | Reply

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