Paul Van Sayers and Andy Howlett met at School but it wasn’t until they enrolled on the Media Studies course at the local 6th form that they discovered a mutual affinity for the creation of moving images. Grades were mediocre because their tutors felt that they were enjoying themselves too much. Far from discouraging their antics, this merely instilled in them the attitude that if “we weren’t pissing off our superiors in some way, then we were doing something wrong.” And so the foundations of Deadly Serious Productions were formed.
It was more than five years later, in the midst of a post-university slump that Paul and Andy named themselves Deadly Serious Productions in an effort to re-focus and claw back some of what they felt they had lost since graduating. They had spent “three incredibly fruitful years giving free reign to our creative whims and fancies, meeting and collaborating with likeminded people, broadening our knowledge of cinema and generally taking full advantage of all the equipment, resources and free time that doing an undergraduate degree in Media Studies afforded us”.
Then suddenly they found themselves unemployed, living back with mum’s, with no equipment, no money and separated from any likeminded people by geography – not exactly ideal circumstances for continuing a rampage through the corridors of cinema.
“In many ways Deadly Serious Productions has been an attempt to turn all these negatives into positives – we may not have been living in such a creatively fertile environment any more, but we were in a good position to express the many frustrations of being alone, unemployed and desperately yearning for artistic greatness.”
There were never any clear-cut aims or objectives made for DSP. At various times the guys have entertained vague notions of forming a collective and finding a common living space and curating our own underground film nights and forming a loose network of underground artists, etc. However as their lives have taken them in different directions, to the point that they now live in different cities, it seems increasingly likely that DSP will remain essentially a brand name that Paul and Andy slap onto collaborations when they find the time. The one common thread that runs through all their work and which will continue to motivate everything they do is a commitment to absolute independence. “We will always make exactly the films that we want to make, without funding, without compromise, and purely for our own enjoyment. If other people like what we do then that’s great, and of course we want our work to be seen by people who will appreciate it but we will never pander to anyone and we will never treat DSP as a money-making venture.”
And it is because of statements like the one above (and the fact that all of their films are hilarious) that I personally admire the work of Deadly Serous Productions, and always look forward to seeing their next release.
– An experimental black comedy about the unrelenting misery, alienation and mental degradation of being an unemployed graduate (yes we still haven’t gotten over that)
– A film about a deranged Nicolas Cage obsessive (not autobiographical).
– An epic poem about the university experience and what it all meant. This has been in production for a ridiculously long time now but we can assure you that it will be completed one day.
– A day trip to Slough.
– A short film adaptation of The Tempest for the “Filming Shakespeare” competition. We don’t stand a chance of winning but it’ll be good fun nonetheless.