Seeing Him is the story of a couple deeply in love who face increasing disapproval from those around them, because of their age difference. The new short has its premiere on Saturday 17th June in London. Not wanting to miss out, we caught up with its writer, producer and lead actress, Vanessa Bailey.
Stories of love can be so powerful and occasionally, that power can take you over. This was most certainly the case for Bailey as a writer, working on Seeing Him. “It was a story that I had no choice but to write. It wouldn’t leave me alone, but it took time for it to grow into the right space and shape.”
Her first short, Three Days, centred around a relationship with a large age-gap: the older woman fell in love with a much younger man. “Three Days was actually the beginning of Seeing Him and Seeing Him grew from Three Days. For one reason or another we needed to reshoot a large portion of Three Days so we made the decision to go back to the drawing board and create a fresh take on the age-gap theme. In the middle of this, a lot of significant events happened in my life which gave me fresh eyes and perspective and I brought that to the script. I love what the film has grown into as Seeing Him.”
“The film is infused with a restlessness, a yearning, a constant undercurrent of struggle between the two main characters James and Sophie.” Having previously appeared in EastEnders, Doctors and Casualty, Bailey takes the lead role, Sophie. She stars alongside George Taylor (seen in Howard's End and Loaded) as her lover, James.
“One of the main reasons I was determined to persuade George Taylor to take the central male character of James was that he had an immediate connection to the themes in the film. I didn’t need to explain any of the subtext or layers of the story to him. He just read the script and felt it in his gut.”
As a second-time producer, we asked her how she found the whole process: “exhilarating, exhausting, intensely collaborative. It’s been a complete privilege to have had so many extremely talented people to learn from throughout the whole process. I’ve been incredibly, incredibly lucky.” Concerned with keeping everyone up-to-date through the production, they’ve shared many videos of the behind-the-scenes for you to indulge in.
Production of the film however still had its expected, and unexpected, trials and tribulations: “for our re-shoots we had to re-write to accommodate unavailable locations, potential bad weather, major cuts to the previous edit. I love that! The ups and downs were more with the filmmaking process and the producing side of things – we did a lot of re-shooting...And both my parents died during production, three months apart. That was, and remains, the biggest challenge and I’m still not quite sure how I did it.”
While production had its demands, as a talented actress Bailey couldn’t compromise on the quality of her own film. “I’ve refused to cut corners making the film – the whole team wanted to make sure we told the story as effectively as we possibly could.”
This included the musical score. The score was composed by William Goodchild and recorded at the Department of Music at the University of Bristol. “It’s written for cello and piano and it’s more beautiful than I could have imagined...It was a very powerful moment to hear William’s interpretation of the characters and story through his music. Juliet the cellist is superb and Jonathan our engineer did an utterly amazing job. I feel so privileged to have the music team we do.”
Speaking about the project as a whole, Bailey feels grateful for everything she learnt. “Supporting indie filmmaking is very important to me. In terms of Seeing Him, I think people came on board because the script resonated with them and they liked the team. I was lucky that we were able to shoot on an expenses-only basis, putting the crowdfunded finance into great kit, the insurance, locations, travel, accommodation, catering and other expenses.”
After such a journey to bring this film together, we asked Vanessa Bailey how she’s feeling about the upcoming red carpet premiere. She replied, “terrified and excited in nearly equal measure. More terrified than excited, but so proud of what my team have achieved – it will be fantastic to finally share all the hard work with an audience.”
Schmoozing at the premiere screening and attending the Q&A session with the cast and crew is also available to you! Lest this not be enough for you, the afterparty will make it a night to remember! Bailey emphasises, “we want our audience to get to know the team behind the film, to see how much love and expertise and hard graft has been poured into the making of it.”
The Premiere is at the Prince Charles Cinema, London on Saturday 17th June. Tickets for the event are on sale at £8 each (plus a small fee). We’ll be Seeing Him there...sorry, we’ll be seeing you there!