“Filmmaking was something that I have always been fearful of,” Miro Caminade first said when we got to interview the emerging filmmaker behind the quirky and lighthearted short film Mr Smokey. He has worked as a personal trainer for eleven years before he decided to move on to something he is not entirely confident in, but is entirely passionate about: filmmaking.
Miro first became interested in scriptwriting when he sent a feature script to a production company in Bristol. “Scriptwriting is quite punchy and sharp, and I just loved that. I wrote a feature script, Tipi Valley, which was then leased by the production company I had sent it to, so then I thought I’d like to sort of try filmmaking. I started Mr Smokey and I fell in love with it.” Mr Smokey is a ten-minute short film of a man who becomes best friends with his smoke alarm.
This original plot came about during a personal and difficult time in Miro’s life. “I was quite lonely. I had split up with my girlfriend and I was living in a flat alone,” he remembers, “and I suppose I was kind of looking for someone to come into my life and, you know, spice things up a bit. The character, I guess, is kind of based on me when I was a little bit lonely, and then somebody comes into his life to change all of that.” It is a theme everyone can relate to at some point in their life and Miro captures it perfectly.
His debut production is different to other works in that it began almost as a solo performance by the actor. It had very little speech or music in it other than the raw, real sounds of life such as cars going by, and it was also in black and white. Miro’s decision for this was not to make it “arty” but instead it was because he believed “the colour would look a bit too real” for this eccentric plot. He decided that he “wanted to make it a different world and make something a bit different.” The use of black and white works well with the story. It adds another dimension that allows the captive audience to truly suspend their reality for a short while.
However, it is not only himself who Miro credits for making this happen. Visual-effect artists and filmmakers, Andre and Tommy – the people behind the creative group United Lemons – helped Miro with his project. “Andre did the cinematography so he shot everything on his DSLR and Tommy helped with the camera angles. Those two were key in the making of this project.” Not only did they help behind the camera, Andre actually helped in front of it too; “Andre, who did the effects and cinematography, is Mr Smokey.”
Despite the production being scripted and filmed in a matter of days, post-production of this film took several months with Andre, Tommy and Miro all working hard to create the character of Mr Smokey. “What we did,” Miro remembers, “was we basically bought a smoke alarm from a shop to give us an idea and then we got a friend of mine – an actress – and we filmed her expression, up against a white wall, with the script. So she was doing all of the expressions and stuff, we got the footage for her character and then we did the same with Andre.”
Miro credits Andre and Tommy profoundly as they helped him develop his debut short film; “Obviously in software packaging they spend hours and hours with movement, expressions and other smoke alarms. Literally, I would pop in for half an hour and see how they were getting on. They were great, they were really great. They put a lot of work into it.”
Miro has the confidence to showcase his work online so his next project is a little bit bigger. “For me, it was about working with a bigger team on a bigger project. I wanted the next step, which I’ve feel we’ve done.” His next short film, Hank, is to debut within the next few weeks and it is one that he is very proud of. “I tried to make another short film recently but it felt forced, like I was trying to do something that wasn’t me,” Miro explains. “I tried to do the thriller genre, but with a low budget it is difficult to make it look good. For now I am focusing on something a little bit more quirky or a gritty, British drama. Hank is my next project that I’m trying to squeeze out at the moment. And then at some point I want to make the feature that I have written. I would love to make that, possibly in the next couple of years when I’m more confident and I’ve got the experience.” Taking inspiration from directors like Guy Ritchie, Miro is on track for another hit with his next project.