Shane Meadows is a Nottingham based screenwriter, film director and actor. As a lot of his films are based in the East Midlands and have a very British vibe focused on council estates, it felt relevant to research him and the different ways he involves/represents the architecture in his films. He manages to capture a lot of depth in his films that provide psychological portraits of the types of people that live in the areas and architecture that are captured in the films.
I decided to research Shane Meadows as his films feature a lot of council estates and I feel this is relevant to my project as Leicester has a lot of similar areas and so this is appropriate.
He is well known for shooting in local locations where he lives which allows him to constantly be creating new films and not having any barriers preventing him from doing what he loves. Shane Meadows also likes to incorporate untrained actors in his films which give a more realistic interpretation of the places and people from those areas.
Shane began his film career by volunteering at Intermedia Film and Video Ltd in Nottingham, being able to use and borrow the filming equipment by working for the company for free. At the start he tried to involve his family and friends in the work as this was the most convenient option at the time. He also made himself an actor in his films which shows how versatile he is and dedicated to his craft. As he gained more experience, he was producing short films at a very fast rate which shows how dedicated he was.
Information I got from video above:
Shane Meadows got involved with film after he was thrown off his Photography University course for getting into trouble with debt and he saw a film crew when he was on the way home. he was interested in the way that lots of different people were working together. After he had made a large amount of films, he showed them to someone at the place he was volunteering and was advised to enter some of them into competitions. He was called by a well-known British producer and filmmaker called Steven Malloy and was asked if he had considered making a feature film. Since then, he has made many films that demonstrate his passion for filmmaking.
This was the first feature film that Shane Meadows made based in Nottingham in 1996. It involves themes of friendship and theft which are quite common in run down areas which relates to how he captures the essence of council estates and troubled people from those places.
This is one of the first well known films directed by Shane Meadows to feature well known actors. Again, based in Nottingham which allowed him to portray the realistic aesthetic of the area and the common traits/characteristics that people from those areas have.
Shane has made a few psychological thrillers in his career which often show the dark sides to council estates and life in general with drug dealers being a big part of the foundations of the films.
This is England, 2006 – Shane Meadows
Information I got from videos above:
“It’s this story about Shane’s experience growing up including the political side with Thatcher and the miners’ strike, including all those things that that they both remembered. Shane wrote in the opening paragraph saying remember boys before Gameboys and PlayStations. Before all the kids looked the same, there was this time when they were punks, mods, skinheads, new romantics. On this release or captured in this opening paragraph, this tribal thing about the 80s then but have you belonging to one of those tribes. You see a young boy Sean going to school for the first day, he has a terrible day by getting bullied and having a fight. He’s a loner and doesn’t really want to be there. On the way home from school after this really bad day, he meets a skin head gang in an underpass and they’re funny and witty. He makes a good impression on the gang, so they take him out for the day hunting and slowly but surely he becomes part of the gang. Shane Meadows experienced this as when he was about 11-12 years old he went hunting with this group of skinheads and they were all crazy and then he made friends with this lad Gadget who he wasn’t really close with before the hunting day. The hunting day made them do all these mad challenges. When he met the cast, and they were all together they made him cry his eyes out with laughter after their extreme hair decisions. Although the film was based on Shane Meadow’s experience, he wanted them to choose what they wore and experiment with their costumes. The main character feels he belongs when he gets new clothes and a haircut to fit in with the gang. Then it’s the summer Holidays and a big character called Cosmo gets out of prison. He has made some opinions in prison that are not great, but you get a sense of menace, he’s become racist. This affects Milky in the gang who has black skin. Cosmo takes Sean under his wing. This gives Sean a father figure. Then slowly but surely that kind of the menace of the race goes from super joke stuff to a national fraud which is horrific and it’s six weeks this young boy goes from being a boy to a man.
The core of this film is autobiographical but each person that comes into that process has something good that Shane sees and then he allows the character to breathe. Joe who played Woody was a funny guy and so why not allow them to be funny characters. The girl’s hair is more grown-up but it’s not case of just having the costume, it’s that they walk right in it too. Shane said he remembers the day when they did the haircuts and the costume fittings, putting on the jacket badges, jeans, and the docs. As soon as they put that uniform on, you could see the most change regionally and they began to look the same. A famous part is the tattoo which Shane also has which is an autobiographical element. After meeting Tommy who played Sean, they didn’t come on too graphical about Shane, there was a lot of Thomas character included. You have to you have to learn to trust and to work with these people and I think the relationships in the film that you look at, you know Stephen Graham who plays Cosmo really took Tom under his wing and helped/supported him which added to their relationships or when it came in there was a very strong father relationship. I don’t think Shane set out to make a political film, not at all it’s about caring about specific characters and the choices they make for you on that boy’s journey. There are many ways were ultimately kids are easily influenced and you can see how the wrong adult father figure or the wrong peers if you like can influence the way you think.” – what the video above says.
Information I got from video above:
This is one of the films and dramas that Shane Meadows is well known for. His portrayal of British life and council estate issues was very unique and more importantly a very realistic portrayal of life in the 80s. This film put a lot of Nottingham based actors into the limelight and set off their careers which was important as there wasn’t a lot of well known actors from the East Midlands before then.
This film showed the importance of friendships. The fact that Shane Meadows covers a lot of different themes in his films is important as it allows him to be more relatable. I like that he shows the highs and the lows as life isn’t all doom and gloom but it also isn’t sunshine and rainbows all the time.
This essay takes consideration into how the uses of environments in Sean Meadow’s films impact upon human development.
“Set in towns and cities once characterised by thriving industrial and manufacturing economies, these films depict communities in which the working-class of the British documentary movement”
“Therefore, I want to frame my consideration of Meadows’ representation of space from the perspective of these debates about the relationship between consumption and masculinity. What follows, then, should be read as an attempt to begin thinking about Meadows’ work in light of this theory, and to hopefully contribute towards a possible understanding of his work in the context of this changing landscape of contemporary British social-realism.”
How researching into Shane Meadow’s filmmaking is relevant to my project:
I was recommended to research into Sean Meadow’s films by my tutor during my crit as he often films in the east midlands in council estates similar to Leicester, often close by in Nottingham. I found he way he combines landscapes with different people and demonstrates the unique relationships between people and the places they live. I like that he maintains the realism of the places he films and doesn’t feel the need to photoshop or change anything to suit a particular aesthetic. It is a true depiction of the world some people live in which is very unique, embracing the true beauty of the world.