- What message did you want to convey with this story?
I suppose I wanted to celebrate ‘ordinariness’. These men just do their own thing, unashamedly, and there’s often a wry humour that comes with them, which is what appealed most to me. They are independent thinkers and they don’t care what anyone thinks. I admire that, so this film is me shaking them by the hand and saying: “I’m glad you exist.”
I’m going to make a sweeping generalisation now but I’ve also detected that men get more into things than women; they get more nerdy about things and are more likely to get obsessed with a certain subject. I’m not saying there aren’t dull female hobbyists out there too, but it’s definitely more a male trait than a female one. It’s almost a mini sub-culture, hidden away in the garden sheds of Great Britain. I wanted to make a film that tapped into this observation.
- Are you still in touch with these men?
Occasionally I still send Kevin pictures of roundabouts if I stumble across a good one he might not have discovered. I also still speak with Leland very regularly and we meet up when we can. He’s since had a book published and after the film we worked on a Dull Men’s Club calendar together. Leland always has a project up his sleeve. He’s also a prolific emailer – I sometimes get a flurry of about 5 or 6 at the same time. He thinks aloud via emails. We’re currently looking for funding for a feature-length film so hopefully we will be launching a crowd-funder soon.
- What are you working on now?
Myself and Josh have shot a short film about another dull man we came across while photographing the calendar – a ‘drainspotter’ from Cumbria. His job is cleaning out drain covers and keeping roadsides clear. However, that’s been in progress for about 4 years, which is all very embarrassing – I just haven’t had the time to finish it because like Born To Be Mild, I’m making it without funding in amongst my paying-the-bills freelance work.
There’s also one that we’ve just finished filming about an amateur archivist who had a collection of 2,500 DVDs and had never heard of YouTube or Netflix. But again, it’s sitting on the shelf because of a lack of funding. So if there are any potential backers out there, please help! (I apologise for using an exclamation mark – Dull Men don’t like exclamation marks, they’re too exciting.)
- A word about 99.media and the multilingual subtitling of your film?
99.media have been great to have on our side. They translated the film into 5 different languages which was incredibly useful and then they acted as a distributor, overseeing arrangements with people who wanted to licence clips from the film. I am very grateful for all the extra exposure they brought us. The film was recently Doc of the Week on a French TV show, and that wouldn’t have happened without 99.media and their subtitling.