Chief Rajendra Kumar
Reporter: Shubham Rajak Director, producer and actor JAY HAYER from LONDON has been working in the
independent film industry for several years – his first commercial release was in 2012.
With many titles under his belt, including “PISTOL” , A Haunting at the Rectory and
upcoming film, The Manson Family Massacre, Jones is fast making a name for himself
in the world of film. With many of his projects being dark in nature, he has become a
respected name in the horror genre AND comedy also regional Punjabi music industry
pushing boundaries and producing quality films on an independent budget. Exclusively
for Made in UK. I sat down with Jay and explored his career, attitude to directing, his
thoughts on film streaming and plans for his future…
Can you begin by explaining how you first got involved in the film industry?
I had dalliances with writing and directing in the mid 2000s but 2012 was the year of my
first commercial release, so I consider that the start of my professional journey. I was
done my graduation in film making and works as line producer in many films . The first
film I produced “pistol” Resurrection couldn’t have gone better really. We made it for a
very modest budget of £5,000 which was raised through private equity by Independent
Moving Pictures, a company owned by my producing partner aman hayer under THIRD
EYE FILM PRODUCTION LTD UK. The film ended up playing in UK cinema chain
Cineworld alongside big budget blockbusters, as well as reaching number 25 in the UK
Like all filmmakers I fell in love with movies as a kid. Every time I shoot a film I’m
thinking back to five-year-old me who used to beg his parents to let him rent videos like
Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Luckily they did let me watch them!
Many filmmakers of the future went to the cinema and got their minds blown by Star
Wars, but I got my mind blown by watching the shock ending of Sleepaway Camp on a
grainy VHS! The process of writing, filming and editing movies that remind me of the
films I grew up watching really enriches my soul.
How is the reality of directing films as an independent film maker compared to your
expectations of it?
Every director can plan out intricate shots and ambitious ideas while sat in their living
room, but the truth is when you’re working with very limited money and time you are
always forced to compromise during filming. Your imagination is unlimited but your
budget and schedule isn’t. So if a set of circumstances arise during a filming day which
result in you losing time you have to quickly come up with a new and simpler approach
to shooting a scene. Often a shoot day becomes more about getting as much coverage
as you can within a limited time frame, so a low budget indie director can never expect
to be Stanley Kubrick. You have to make quick decisions at every budget level as a
director, but when you’re shooting a micro budget feature in 8 days you need to be
particularly open to changing your plan at a moment’s notice. That’s why it’s important
to have a talented and dependable crew..
What are some of the biggest challenges and difficulties you face when starting new film
A big challenge is that the Home Entertainment market is constantly changing. Because
of the glut of content, trends change at a moment’s notice so determining which projects
have the potential to make an impact in the market place is becoming trickier. Getting a
unanimous greenlight isn’t as straight forward as it used to be, we have to be a lot
pickier about what we move forward on. We also need to be willing to change course
suddenly and drop projects we’ve spent time developing in favour of something new
which is considered more marketable.
What so far, in your personal opinion, is your best film to date and why?
I think when you’re making low budget indie films it’s impossible to be 100% happy with
all aspects of the end product. In my experience I often love several sequences within
each film and feel they turned out as well as or better than I hoped. But there will also
be sequences in each film I know I didn’t have the time or budget to realise to full
Your films are dark in nature – mainly paranormal or horror genres. What attracts you to
this style of film?
I find it provides the most fertile ground for making tonal shifts with the stories and
taking characters into unexpected directions. If I have to be concerned about always
portraying a character as a hero or telling a feel good story it feels kind of limiting. The
most interesting characters and stories to me exist in a world where morality is not black
and white, it has shades of grey. The horror genre offers great flexibility, it feels possible
to mix tones and subject matter with more ease than other genres. That’s why I love the
work of filmmakers like Wes Craven and Rob Zombie. Wes wasn’t afraid to mix horror
and humour even when dealing with the darkest of subjects. Look at one of his most
under rated movies The People Under The Stairs, it’s a movie about an incestuous
couple who keep abused children in the basement yet there are several scenes which
are intentionally funny and still fit into the context of the story.
You often work with the same actors on various films. Does it make the process easier
for you, to work with people you are already familiar with?
It is a lot easier working with people I know. There’s a comfortable shorthand with them
and they’re already in tune with how the set operates, so you can launch into the work
without needing a long discussion to get on the same page. Of course you do still have
to bring in new faces and mix it up. We make 4 to 7 feature films per year so it’s good to
freshen up the leading cast from time to time.
Do you have any insights, tips or advice for people starting out in the film making
To be honest, anyone can learn the rudimentary skills needed to make a film,
particularly with how accessible the technology is these days. Making a film is not the
hardest part. The toughest bit is trying to entice a paying audience to buy your work and
that’s all done through your cover art, trailer or advertising. It really is all about the
marketing. Someone who wants to make a living from filmmaking and have their films
regularly released can’t just be artistically minded, that’s not enough. They need to work
out how to package and present the marketable elements of their film as a product,
otherwise no one will get to see their work and filmmaking will remain a hobby.
Also, an aspiring filmmaker believing that someone in Hollywood is going to absolutely
love their script and suddenly propel them to fame and fortune is a fantasy. If you’re
waiting for that, you’ll be waiting forever. Hollywood is the corporate elite, the 1%. The
more realistic part of the film industry involves hundreds of independent companies
competing to get their films on DVD shelves and digital platforms, hoping they’ll be lucky
enough to make another film if the current one sells enough.
Your upcoming projects?
Iam working on 2 English horror movies and some of Punjabi music video and one
Punjabi feature film in 2021. Also we are promoting new talents in music and film
Where can people find out more about your work?
My personal instagram account is the best place to find the release dates and latest
news on my films: @jayhayer_