Pallas Paradigm 4: What next for Pallas?

This Summer Pallas Pictures released its fifth short film – Tergo. Creator Director Charles Willcocks has worked on Tergo for the last two years and it has taught Charles and Pallas valuable lessons in the making of a film with a CG character as well as about the wider film making process. The feedback and response to Tergo has been incredible but I wanted to hear what Charles himself had learnt from the process and what’s next for him and Pallas Pictures.
How you feeling after the success of Tergo? 

The whole experience has been an incredibly positive and intriguing experience. It has given me a very small taste of it would be like to create something on a larger scale. I had no idea Tergo would work on an emotional level for so many people.  It was my intention for the audience to empathise with Tergo and his existential dilemma but i didn’t think it would draw so many tears.

The other films we have created are very clear in their narrative as we have experimented with different genres of cinema. I thought that would also be the case with Tergo but instead people have come back to me after interpreting the film in very different ways and in ways that differ from my own original intention. Choosing to remove any dialogue opened it up to an international audience as there was no language barrier and  I love the idea that someone on the other side of the world who I have never met and probably never will, who doesn’t even speak the same language, can watch Tergo and the themes will still ring true and they can relate to the film in regard to their own lives.
What’s next for Tergo?
I dont know what’s next for Tergo but I would love to see it projected in a cinema with an audience. Fingers crossed we get into one of the festivals we have entered. Tergo is a character I am always going to have great feeling and sentiment towards. He will always be special. There may yet be more opportunity for him in the future.
What else have you been up to? 
Since Tergo I have actually being working on a feature film. The opportunity came off the back of the CG work I had done on Tergo only a week after we released it. It’s been incredibly intense and my first commercial experience as a CG lead. I’ve loved the whole experience and it has focused my mind towards where I want to take my CG career along side our Pallas work.
The next Pallas Pictures project is Harvest. Has pre-production begun for it?
Pre-production is in full flow on Harvest. I am slowly building up a larger team to create the CG monster which is so exciting. I had my first meeting with the ‘monster team’ last week and looked over the initial character design. I have also cut a sizzle edit and begun the previz. I will be reviewing this with our editor ahead of more meetings with the full CG team to discuss the pipeline. It is all very exciting!
What influences will Harvest have? And how have your ideas for it developed?
Harvest was born from thinking about fear and wanting to create an organic CG monster. I have three main starting points: It has to scary and tap into our primal fears, it has to be British and it has to have the Frankenstein theme of the monster not necessarily being the ‘creature’.
The script has ebbed and flowed over the last year and the story is exploring different angles. We have found a great location. We plan to shoot the teaser short for Harvest very soon and then I would love to secure funding to shoot a pilot for an episodic series.
I have many references for Harvest but like many I have recently been inspired by watching the brilliant Netflix series Stranger Things and the beautifully dark Happy Valley on the BBC. I think we have a distinct advantage over other start up film makers in that we have built up a strong production team and an A-grade VFX unit. Working in the industry I know the cost of creating a film ready creature asset and the fact that we are doing this as a passion project stands us in good stead, I hope, of getting picked up and standing out from the crowd.
Another reference for this has been The Leviathan by Ruairi Robinson – the level of the CG created on a very small budget is incredible but I guess it helps when you’re industry friends are at ILM and Weta. Other things that will influence Harvest are many and varied from Roger Deakins colours in The Assassination of Jesse James, via The Wicker Man, Kill List, Hot Fuzz, to anything by Guillermo Del Toro especially Crimson Peak and Pan’s Labyrinth. As well as looking and learning from Horror classics like Alien, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and TV series like Hannibal and True Detective.
What is your ambition for Harvest
Whilst Tergo and the other Pallas shorts have all been successful and positively received my ambition for Harvest is to step it up to the professional level. I want this to stop being passion out of hours work and move into the commercial sphere where I can get the funding to realise my ambitions and reach a wider audience. I’ve enjoyed the starter with Tergo but its time to move on to the main course.