Shane Meadows on mobile movies

The Stuff Interview: Britain’s master of dark drama tells all about wheelie bin movie-making, his 15-second Pride & Prejudice and Nokia's new mobile phone film competition

Cameraphones at the ready, Stuffers. The Nokia Shorts 15-second film competition has just introduced a phone-only category with a stonking prize of £1,250 and film-making courses from the Raindance Festival.

Seeing as our own mobile movies don’t extend far beyond flicks of us behaving badly at night and falling over while blading, we thought we'd chat to Shane Meadows. In addition to making proper, gritty films featuring Paddy Considine, he’s also entering his own movie in the competition.

You’ve made tonnes of short movies. What’s the big attraction?

Yeah, I made about one a month before doing my first feature – I reckon I’ve done around 80 in total. The reason was a pretty practical one. I was a real working class kid, and when I was 17 video cameras cost a bomb. No one in feature films took you seriously unless you were shooting on film, which we couldn’t afford.

These days, it’s more democratic. Most kids have access to a video camera mobile phone – and they’re all sharing videos with Bluetooth. There are less barriers to people getting into film-making now, which is great.

So what’s your own mobile movie about?

I’ve shot three. One’s a version of Pride and Prejudice, which has me as a 16st Darcey getting out of the lake in riding boots. Something tells me I won’t go with that one.

To be honest, there’s a lot of pressure on me for this one because last year’s winners were damn good and I’m the one who’s meant to be the professional.

How the hell do you fit a narrative into 15 seconds?

It has to be really simple and singular. If you try and cram too much in, people just aren’t going to get it.

What are the challenges to making a movie on a phone?

Well, it reminds me of when I first started shooting stuff - when I’d do things like use wheelie bins for tracking shots. I also had a mate with a shed who could make anything you wanted. He was very handy. Basically, it’s all about using your ingenuity to get by.

It’s all about shooting something suited to a mobile phone. If you try and make Star Wars, you’re gonna struggle.

Phones let you do some really cool stuff, too, like doing crane shots with your hand.

Click here to continue on and read part two.