Good People of Lyngarth: The Extras

Good People of Lyngarth: The Extras

It’s one thing to build a medieval village, but it would have been nothing without villagers to populate it. Fortunately, the Ren production team were able to gather together a pool of wonderful, dedicated extras to bring the square and streets of Lyngarth to life. There were up to 50 extras on set at times, and we’ve caught up with just a few of them to find out what their experience was of making Ren. Birte Mattes, a veteran of director Kate Madison’s Born of Hope, portrayed a villager as well as helping out in the costume department. Matt Unger was a volunteer helping with the set build, who later played villagers and Kah’nath soldiers. And Chloe Belcher performed the role of “Broom Lady”, shooing Hunter (Duran Fulton Brown) out of her house. What attracted you to take part in the project? Birte: I have always loved fantasy books and films so when my brother told me about Ren and what it was all about, I got really excited and wanted to join in and as it wasn’t the first time I had worked with Kate on a movie, it was great to be able to work with her again! Matt: I heard about it around Easter and was immediately quite drawn to the idea of helping with making the set of the series. Admittedly I was a bit reluctant to take part as an extra at first, since I was quite shy, but after spending time with Chris, Kate and all the other crew it became quite a fun idea; to work with them all on the set...
Interview: Production Assistant Claire Finn

Interview: Production Assistant Claire Finn

Initially joining Ren as an extra, Claire Finn began helping in various areas behind the scenes, and quickly became one of the core team. We asked her to tell us about her time on the production. How did you get involved with Ren? I heard about Ren through my re-enactment group, when the call for extras was sent out. I’ve been re-enacting for about five years and we get film work every now and again and I’ve always really enjoyed it. I’m also a massive Lord of the Rings fan and I was obviously pretty excited to work with Kate and some of the crew from Born of Hope. Your entire family helped with building the prison set – how did they get roped in? They’re my own personal construction army! The art department was pretty stretched that day as there was a lot of set construction going on. My sister Alex, my Mum and Dad, and friend Greg also played villagers, and the whole team stopped in after work to give me a hand building the prison set which we needed for the next day. Some people will do anything for a slice of pizza! In an earlier post, you explained how you made the Kah’Nath fire arrows. The day of that scene was very busy for you, since you were filling in for both the costume designer and the make-up artist on a day that featured more Kah’Nath soldiers than had ever appeared before. What was that like? It was pretty crazy, but so much fun! There were several challenges that night on set; we had 12...
Free Spirit: Sophie Skelton on playing Ren

Free Spirit: Sophie Skelton on playing Ren

As the titular Ren, Sophie Skelton is the beating heart of the series. We asked her about the highlights and challenges of shooting season one. Firstly, how did you get into acting? Acting was always what I wanted to do and, when I was younger, I did a lot of stage work. I always loved the rush of being on stage in front of a live audience but it was the more natural approach of TV and film acting that made me want to concentrate on that side of it. Through my ballet school, I was contacted by my first agent. My first TV experience was actually dancing on the mystery guest section of Question of Sport with Ricky Hatton through the Palace Theatre in Manchester whilst in a production of Oliver. However my first official TV job was playing Snow White in Jamie Oliver’s final Sainsbury’s commercial. After that, I went on to do DCI Banks, Doctors, Foyle’s War and Waterloo Road. My first film role was in a WWII movie, where I played the lead female role of a French resistance fighter. (You can still catch a clip from Sophie’s episode of Doctors.) What attracted you to Ren? I actually saw the Ren breakdown on a site called Casting Call Pro and sent a self-tape through the day before the deadline. Apart from the obvious ones such as Lord of the Rings and now The Hobbit and Game of Thrones, there aren’t that many scripts that come through in the fantasy genre. That combined with the originality of the story of Ren and the quality of Kate’s...
Interview: Michelle Golder, Co Producer

Interview: Michelle Golder, Co Producer

A core member of Ren‘s creative team, Michelle explains how she got involved in this epic project, doing everything from giving script feedback, through catering, to wrestling with German computers. First, tell us a bit about your background in film and theatre. I wrote my first play at 9 and made my first films at 11 (an animated film about ants and a puppet movie about Eskimos) – but after that I took a long break while I wrote a lot of terrible poetry and tried to figure out what I was “really” supposed to be doing. While teaching primary school I rediscovered a love for telling stories and wearing costumes, and that led to writing and performing in my first play as an adult. Totally inspired, I became part of a scriptwriting forum and launched myself on production, toured plays to Edinburgh and London and started entering a few writing competitions. I’d always fancied writing for film, but assumed that was out of reach since I wasn’t in Hollywood anymore – until I met Kate Madison (when I hired her as an actor). She had just finished making Born of Hope, and when I saw it I said to myself, so THAT’S what can be done. At around that time I found myself able to leave teaching and devote myself full time to writing, directing and producing, and over the next five years I produced, wrote, or crewed on around 18 films – including, last summer, co-producing a new feature by Sundance Grand Prize Winner Gary Walkow, which made it into this year’s Slamdance festival (2015). What attracted you to Ren?...