2nd Year Film Students Set Up Their Own Production Company

News | Posted on Thursday 11 April 2024

Max and Ben, two 2nd year film students set up their own production company, Lot 108, and is going from strength to strength. Check out what they had to say when Ysobel Lloyd-Payne interviewed them

A photo of Max and Ben underneath a tree looking at a camera

Spotlight on Lot 108: An Interview with Max and Ben
by Ysobel Lloyd Payne

Turning an impromptu speech at the beginning of first year into a booked and busy production company by second is no mean feat, but the students behind Lot 108 have made it look easy. A combination of hard work and the right attitude has meant the group has gone from milestone to milestone. From recent production Alone by Harry Mitchell to upcoming music video Lush, there’s lots Lot 108 have to shout about.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Max: I’m Max Beckett from Greater Manchester, a 2nd year Film and TV Production student and, yeah, we just like making films outside the course. I think it’s something we all want to do, so we thought why don’t we just do it? We started 2 years ago doing it with our phones and everything and now we’re slowly getting better equipment.

Ben: Yeah, I’m Ben Broom, and, yeah, I also make films! I think we're just, y’know, 2nd year film tryna do something with our lives I guess. And I’m from Watford, near London.


So, who is Lot 108? Who’s behind the scenes?

Ben: So, there are about 20 of us currently in it. We work with people outside Lot 108 as well but there are 20 of us who crew, then in terms of admin and management there's generally about 5 of us. I mean, me and Max, we’re kind of spearheading it.

Max: Well, Ben is the founder, I’d like to say!

Ben: Well, Max was there from the beginning. I did a - what was it - it was in the beginning of first year and I got some people that I knew-

Max: This is like the first two weeks, so he didn’t actually know that many people!

Ben: Yeah, it was just people that I’d met in seminars and over there by the entrance to the Piazza where I did like a speech saying if we wanna do anything in this industry we’ve got to work for it! And then we went to a friend's house and we sat in his kitchen, about 10 of us maybe and tried to write up a constitution and work out exactly what we were doing. It's taken us a little while but we’re getting there.

Max: Originally we were called Script Anonymous, where the whole point was gonna be that we’d all write a script and we wouldn’t know who wrote what script and then we would make a film. We realised that that idea wouldn’t really work and it's just better to be open with people and have that critical assessment and, y’know, not judge your peers but kind of push them in the right direction.


What's the inspiration behind the current name and branding?

Ben: The current name took us about a month to decide. There’s a Blurr song called Lot 105 and I put that forward but obviously changed the number. If you google Lot 108 now you’re either gonna find us or pig auctions so… 

Max: In terms of branding, I kind of said to everyone we need to fake it til we make it. If you have a proper logo, a proper visual identity and we have that kind of look and feel of a company, people are gonna believe that we are more than what we are at the moment. And that’s not underselling us because we will get there eventually, but right now it's about selling ourselves to grow that platform and you know if we could make money from this eventually that would be great so we could fund ourselves from that. 

It was interesting what that branding did for the social media though, like we got 100 more followers in January just from looking the part. We’ve been growing quite well on Instagram and y’know, Ben sets us quite high goals. 

Ben: Yeah it's good to have something to work towards and the more people make, the more they learn and that's the whole point of Lot 108, learning. In my speech, my whole point was that we need to teach ourselves not just the basics, but how to get better at everything. If we have goals in mind and fun projects, then even just doing them is learning.

Max: Yeah, you’ve just got to believe in yourself and keep pushing others around you. 


Is that the kind of reputation you want to build for Lot 108? 

Max: Yeah, like there’s people in the group and I’m like: “ I know how talented you are, let's make something now!” 

Ben: We really do want people to make more stuff, sometimes it's like “Oh I really wanna read what this person has to say”. We’ve got some really talented writers and really talented people and we want to see what they can do next. 

Max: I always like looking at what we’ve done and going: “This is good, but I know we can do better next time”.

Ben: We’re always one-upping ourselves. We’ve got the Lush music video coming out and that's the best-looking project we’ve done so far I think. 


What are the kinds of projects you like doing most? 

Ben: We wanna make videos for everything really, we wanna get our name out there, get practice. I have a music “thing” called Koniko that's doing alright. Since I have that, it makes sense we’d make a music video for it. And we’ve got other bands who want us to make music videos for them now, and one of them wants us to make a documentary for them. 

Max: Music videos are good because they are an easy thing to do - or easier. That’s only because we don’t have much sound equipment really. We’ve kind of got some now but before we didn’t so music videos are a good way to show your creativity without worrying too much about other aspects. 

Ben: We buy all our equipment ourselves, the amount of money we’ve invested is maybe a bit silly. 

Max: But yeah, it's mostly just what you can make out of what you’ve got. We went to Scarborough for Lush and we relied on the generosity of people, you know. We walked into an arcade and just said “Do you mind if we just film in here” and they were like, yeah go ahead. So it’s about looking for people near you and hoping they’ll be generous or can give you something to work with. 


What other projects are you working on?

Max: We’ve recently uploaded Alone which was written and directed by Harry Mitchell and that was one of our first. It's doing quite well, it got 100 views in the first seven hours which is pretty good going for a YouTube short film. We were working with a boom that was made out of just a rod that he found and it was kind of just Guerrilla filmmaking in that we’d look for anything we could to make it work, even reaching out to societies to borrow sound equipment or whatever help that they may offer. But yeah the most recent project that we’ve worked on is the Lush music video.

Ben: We’ve got Meal for Two coming up which, hopefully, will be one of our best things. It’s gonna be new territory, it’s gonna be longer, it’s gonna be more difficult, one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done.

Max: But that’s exciting!

Ben: We’ve been commissioned to make a documentary about a charity, then the band’s documentary, another band who want us to film some of their live gigs and potentially make music videos for them. 

Max: We love the people near us who are incredible. We have people like Bob, who is one of the youngest people to climb Mount Everest so that's quite a story to tell - he wrote a film. Then we have people like Em, you know who is one of the best climbers in the UK. So yeah it’s looking for people like that. 


What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers? 

Max/Ben: Do more!

Max: If you’ve got an hour in the day, get out your phone and see what you can film. 

Ben: I think we’ve got a very intense attitude to it with, y’know, how much we envisage ourselves working. But I do think that if someone wants something, if someone wants to get to a certain point, they’re not going to get there by doing nothing. It's not a question of planning it necessarily, that can come later. Just really it is, y’know, just get your mates and go to a field with your phone and film a film!

Max: Don’t expect perfection. You’re not gonna make the next Dune from your bedroom but what you can do is find out how to hold a camera or what stories you want to tell. But our word of advice for people who want to get into it is just do it! See what you can do. Get the people around you! In the School of ACT, you’re surrounded by so many creatives.

Ben: One of the things we spoke about in our very first meeting was that we need the room to make mistakes, we need to spend the most time possible now making as many mistakes as we can because only then can we move on and make things better. 


Where can we find you? 

Ben: We’ve got a website*, that leads to everything and then the main one is YouTube because ultimately we just want people to watch our films. If we could reach our subscriber goal that would be great. We also have an Instagram. 

*Authors Note: Links below!


Anything else before we wrap up?

Max: We need more actors! Any connection to DramaSoc or the Theatre course would be awesome.

Lot 108 also wants to reassure those who have seen the poster that, contrary to popular belief, it just links to their socials, not to a scary virus. So feel free to scan the QR code, or go to the links below to support them!