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The Dark Night of my Soul…

23 Apr

'I'm desperate' 1992-3 by Gillian Wearing

image from here

This week I have started work on a brand new incredibly exciting project! Chris announces it here

My first job for this project is to generate some script for us to work from in rehearsals next week.

Chris and I have been talking, thinking, planning for this project for ages and ages. I have been scribbling down ideas, lyrics, scenarios, gathering images, preparing art journal pages… And today is the day that I will pull all of that together and begin writing…

I am going to spend the day intensly writing and making. My phone is on silent. Emails will not be checked.

I have a set an alarm to go off every hour so that I can tweet (@Sheena_Holliday) exactly what I am doing at that moment. It could be a line of dialogue, it could be lyrics from a song, it could be a scene description, it could be an image from my art journal, it could be a description of the glass of whiskey I am drinking…

Our new project is inspired by ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ – that moment in life and in film where you give up. There is no hope. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Only darkness.

So I will be spending the day exploring absolute despair.

See you on the other side x


Drink! Shoot! Collaborate!

19 Mar

Photo by Adam Greenwood

'The Ditch' cast and crew

Sheena Holliday, Director

Last September my film company Crestfallen Productions teamed up with On The Train Productions to shoot a short horror film ‘The Ditch’ which I directed. Shooting this film was a MASSIVE deal for me as I talked about here. The shoot itself was a gruelling but brilliant experience. We were in a forest for the weekend, luckily the weather behaved itself but I’m not going to lie to you; there were some really difficult moments during that weekend. One in particular was when we realised we had been overly ambitious with our shot list and there was NO WAY we were  going to shoot everything we had planned to…

Directing the fight scene

Sheena Holliday

However there were some truly amazing moments that weekend too. And one of them was having the absolute pleasure of working with the beautiful (in both senses) and talented cast –  Katie Pattinson (Donna) and Lucy Wilkins (Nina) and a wonderful and supportive core team of crew members. I am uber excited about the footage we have shot – I just can’t wait to finish shooting it and get the film out there!!

Last week we had a small meet up to chat about how things have been going and what is happening next. Unfortunately not everyone could make it (a lot live outside of London – Lucy is a Yorkshire lass and lovely Ashley (sound) lives on the south coast..) But it was great to catch up with those who could make it.

Stephen Coltrane

Katie and Henry

Katie and Henry

During the evening the subject of ‘collaboration’ came up. Of course it did. Bottom line: doing creative work such as making a film has to be a collaboration with equally passionate people because none of you are doing it for the money (Ha! What money?) So it is essential to find people who you can work well with but who most importantly you can trust. I am lucky enough to have found some of these wonderful people to collaborate with and believe me I will be clinging on to them for dear life.

Sheena Holliday

Stephen Coltrane

Henry Coleman

Anna Haffers

The plan is to shoot the rest of ‘The Ditch’ next summer (basically when the trees match!) We have a lot of planning and organising to do before then, but that is fine, I am looking forward to working closely with all these people again. Believe me, it takes a lot of passion for a project to keep it going this long! But luckily everyone involved in ‘The Ditch’ believes in the film and is being very patient and understanding. Watch this space for more updates… : )

Anna and Katie


Much love xxx

3 weeks of Drunken Nights…

28 Feb

Adam talks about little crescendos

Robert takes notes

Chris and Sheena get a free latte from the nice waitress with the incredible glittery nails

Fine Chisel discuss Rose

Fenella pukes

Sian Pukes

Selina Pukes

Cathy pauses

Sheena takes a photo

Adam James Fine Chisel Chicken fillets

Adam talks about Evil Dead 2

Chris and Sheena walk from Moorgate

Selina smashes a glass

Chris and Sheena walk back to Moorgate

Franko plays the harp

Tom interrupts Robin

Fenella breaks an egg against her head and smears the yolk through her hair

Chris turns on the light

Sheena takes a photo

Fine Chisel Fenella Ryan 7thJanuary

Tom plays the mandolin

Chris puts on a dog mask

Sheena carries a bulky box of breakaway glasses onto a busy tube. People scowl

George sings a song

Cathy talks about stories

Sheena brings the bulky box of breakaway glasses back home on a busy tube. People glare

Fine Chisel sing ‘Fill ‘em Up’

Franko talks about getting filthier

Sheena takes a photo

Fine Chisel Adam James Selina Thompson Franko B

George interrupts Tom and Robin

Sian stirs water into some cold gravy

Selina lists the sounds and smells of something she can hear but can’t see

Chris talks about The Mac

Sheena talks about the largest inland port in Europe

Robin plays the ukulele

Franko does The Sexy Dance

Fenella stumbles and falls

Sheena takes a photo

Cathy Naden IMG_9366 Non Applicable Dance Collective

Adam, Selina, Chris and Sheena eat Christmas biscuits.

George tells a story

Sian sees a drink and she grabs it, and she sees a drink and she grabs it

Selina gets lost

Cathy talks about wrong versions and right versions

Robin interrupts Tom

Franko takes Sian, Fenella, Chris and Sheena to a sex shop and gives them the grand tour

Chris plays the triangle

Sheena takes a photo

Adam James Selina Thompson Cathy Naden Fine Chisel

Fenella and Sian are in just their underwear

Chris and Sheena drink beer

Tom blows up imaginary colourful balloons

Franko, Chris and Sheena go for lunch

Chris turns on a special light

Sheena wants a mojito

Franko talks about convenience

Everyone drinks

Sheena takes a photo

Fine Chisel Franko B Fine Chisel


Making films with Studio Film School…

11 Jan

Tomorrow morning I start back at one of my favourite on-going projects! During term time I work in Balham on a Saturday morning  running filmmaking workshops for young people as part of Studio Film School.

It’s awesome.

I generally work with ages 7-10, and we, well, make films – from start to finish!

We do…





Camera work

Assistant Directing

Clapper loading

Art Directing

Special Effects make up



And we have a blast!

Here’s a promo video I made for Studio Film School back in the summer. It shows the young people in action and they explain in their own words why they love being part of SFS…

This term is going to be all about Sci Fi : )

Love x

Drunken Nights development week #1

7 Jan

Today Drunken Nights development week #2 has begun. Chris and I are currently happily ensconced at Rich Mix working with the lovely Selina Thompson and mentor Adam James.

Non Applicable Dance Collective

Non Applicable Dance Collective

So I thought now would be a good time to reflect on Drunken Nights development week #1 which happened here in the week just before Christmas. We worked with Non Applicable Dance Collective who were mentored by Franko B.

And what a week it was!!

Fenella RyanTactical vomSian and Franko

Chicken fillets

You can read what Non Applicable thought about that week of development here.

I remember seeing a video of Franko’s work back when I was at university and just being like ‘wow…’ and so the idea that I would actually be working with him was, well, mind blowing!!

Franko BFranko B

I always find it really fascinating how different people create and respond to work. I know what is inspiring and exciting to me and so it is always refreshing to get an insight into other people’s working methods. Even if (or especially if) those methods wouldn’t necessarily work for me. It’s just so interesting! What can I say? I’m a creative geek.

Anyway, so, being a fly on the wall while Franko mentored Non Applicable was just brilliant. I got so much from it so I can’t even imagine how inspiring it would have been for NA!

Franko B

There are many, many aspects from that week that I could talk about, but I am going to take just one. While giving feedback Franko said something that really struck a chord with me, so much so that I have decided to make it my overall ‘mission statement’ for 2013.

‘Don’t do anything just because it is convenient’

It’s so simple, but as soon as he said it I just realised that for a lot of the decisions I make in both my working and personal life I will often choose the most convenient path. It’s a little bit to do with being generally quite a frightened and insecure person, and a little bit to do with always having to budget, budget, budget, but I can 100% see how this way of thinking is holding me back. And I want to change it!! Just imagine what life could be like if I take the ‘convenience factor’ out of my decision making process… I’m excited about the possibilities…


The best kind of night is a Drunken Night #3

12 Dec

It's Drunken Nights!Tech rehearsalPrepare to get smashed...Tech rehearsal 2The stage is setCompere John Osbourne prepares

Eleanor & SophieEleanor & Sophie

John Osborne

Josh CoatesJosh Coates

Selina Thompson

John Osborne

Lydia Fraser-WardLydia Fraser-WardFoxy and HuskFoxy and HuskI Like Gameshow

I Like Gameshow

Last Wednesday night (5th Dec) was Drunken Nights #3 in Tooting! It was another cracker of an evening with some fab performances and a lovely supportive audience! Thanks to all who came along – if you were there and didn’t fill in a feedback form please let us know what you thought of the event by leaving a comment below…

Much love x

Drunken Night #3 | 5th December 2012 | Tooting

4 Dec

Drunken Nights flyer

Holy moley!! It’s December!! It’s time for Drunken Nights #3!!


Wednesday 5th December 2012 – 8pm (Short performances)
@ THE TRAFALGAR ARMS – Tooting High Street, London SW17 0RT – Tube: Tooting Broadway

***Special Guest Compere: JOHN OSBORNE (poet)

– by Eleanor and Sophie
Eleanor is reluctant to go out. She lives in the pub and is still in her pyjamas. She fancies putting on her whites wash load, nursing a pint of milk, and watching the footie on the big screen. When Sophie arrives, however, she is already dressed for a night she might regret. Through a mixture of blackmail, teasing, and inadvisable dancing, these girls tell a story about who they want to be. Whether they get there or not is still unwritten.

– by Josh Coates
Moon Under Water is a conversation between you, Josh and his dad (Nigel) about pubs. After breaking a promise to his father on the turn of his 18th birthday, Josh is now in search for the perfect pub in which to buy his father a belated pint.

– by Selina Thompson
The first time I went to a pub, I was 14. I’m 22 now, don’t worry. The first time I went in a pub, the first time I went to London, the first thing that happened was a fight. I almost feel like that’s what pubs are for…

– by Lydia Fraser Ward
Lydia Fraser-Ward presents newly developed dance piece Binge, exploring how to be drunk, and how to be a woman. Lydia doesn’t drink – she can’t get drunk. She just pretends to be drunk…to fit in. She’ll dance on tables, sing too loudly, and fall over exposing her pants. She wouldn’t want to embarrass herself by sitting in a corner all night. Binge is a dance where Lydia gets to explore what it’s really like to get drunk by asking other women to get drunk for her, or pretend with her. See some ladies get off their heads… or perhaps not.

– by Foxy & Husk
Foxy takes to the stage. Solo.
Milk used to be their favourite tipple to share. Now she drinks alone. Come and look after Foxy before she does something stupid. In return she will sing and dance for you, desperate to win your love and affection.
“Terrific” **** SCOTSMAN.

– by I Like Gameshow
The running is good to soft. Claire Balding is nowhere to be found… but we are ready to go.
Our suits are pressed and the masks are on.
So I’ll put the bets on and you get the round in – and hurry up ’cause it’s happy hour again.


Hope to see you there!!

Love x