So, just to give a brief run down to all those out there that don’t currently know who we are and where we came from:
We began Inertia back in 2008 during our 3rd and final year at Coventry University studing media. Instead of having to write a 10,000 word dissertation we were given the opportunity to complete a final project, which would center around a production that would have to be thoroughly documented from inception to completion. So naturally, in order to mirror as much as possible a real-world production, we created a production company that would bring all the elements of the production together. This, we felt, would also help us when we were finally released into the real world and would have to try and sculpt a career out of our portfolio from university. Next step: choose a name that represents the ethos of the company you want to be, and the type of product you wish to produce. Now, we’re not in the business of giving the wrong impression, but the name that we chose for our company came directly from our ability to replicate a scientific relativity, a natural physical principle: Inertia.
1. inertness, especially with regard to effort, motion, action, and the like; inactivity; sluggishness.
2. Physics – the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force.
Translated into terms that we better understand: Lazy. And to be frank, for the first two years of university, we were. We got the work done, but always at the very last minute. In fact, during a production meeting we had with our lecturer during the second year he referred to us directly as ‘Wing-Its’. At the time we laughed but you could kind of sense the disappointment in his tone; he knew it then even if we didn’t believe that we were capable of much more. So yes we were a bit lazy, we did stay up until 3am in the morning completing work that was due that day, we did have a very relaxed attitude towards work and deadlines and truthfully, we did produce work that was always below the standard we were capable of. With just a little more time and effort our previous work would’ve been more towering and impressive than the one we did end up producing. By the third year, we knew this. By choosing the final project over a dissertation, we knew that we’d been given a great opportunity: we had free reign of subject; we could shoot anything that we desired (within reason of course); we had access to all of the equipment and resources we required, and we had the whole year in which to do it. Knowing that this would be the operative time to pull the proverbial finger out and really show what we are capable of, we still decided to choose a name which reflected the image we’d forged over the past two years. The final projects were to be broadcast at a media festival at the end of the academic year, so we wanted to continue to uphold the expectations that our fellow alumni had of us but then completely subvert it once they saw what we had produced. Our intention for Inertia Pictures was to show that we were self-aware of how we had been but this time, we meant business.
We chose to shoot a pilot episode for a planned TV show called ‘The Common Room’ – centering around a group of five friends as they begin their stint in sixth form, where they should be making the decisions that will effect the course of their lives but instead choose to enjoy the freedom of sixth form and concentrate on girls, love, and girls. We were doomed from the start, because what you’re thinking right now is exactly what everyone else was saying once we were knee deep into production: “That just sounds like The Inbetweeners“. The script was written at the end of 2006 and was just dusted off and re-drafted for our final project, so it was a little disconcerting to think that this idea that had been brewing for so long was being made by a couple of university students that looked and sounded exactly like a successful TV show that had just started broadcasting. Still, with the belief that our show was different in more ways than one (not better, just different) we ploughed on and spent 2007/2008 building this project. We wrote an 89-page script, shot on location at a real school in Birmingham, sourced local am-dram actors (just dropping the industry lingo in there) and filled most of the production roles ourselves save for the help of a very generous few who we are eternally greatful to. Due to the size of the script and the intended length for the pilot, we had to secure the school for two different times, so production was split into two. The first half was completed in four (long) days and featured a lot of the important material. The second half was due to start before Easter when, to use more of the industry lingo, disaster struck. Well, it didn’t so much as strike like a lightning bolt would, it more collapsed on us heavily and without remorse like a grand piano in a Laurel & Hardy short. One of the lead actors decided not to return to the second half of production as he had been offered a modelling contract (note to self: contract!) and we had no physical time in which to schedule him in or re-shoot everything with a new actor; and a personal family situation with one us meant that no time could possibly be given to save the project in time for the festival. So it was decided one month before Inertia were due to screen our final project at the 2008 Phoenix Media Festival: ‘The Common Room’ was cancelled.
With such a short amount of time remaining until the festival, we had to concede defeat on ‘The Common Room’ and instead quickly shoot something that we could screen at the festival. We ended up filming a one-minute stop motion animation featuring chairs called ‘Please Be Seated’ which we are immensely proud of but unfortunately, due to its short run time and its clear lack of direct narrative, it wasn’t much to display at the festival. We also screened a full scene that we’d managed to cut together from ‘The Common Room’ shoot but all in all the whole experience left us feeling deflated, defeated and truly living up to our name, upholding the image we’d worked so hard to overturn.
We worked hard on that project, harder than we ever had before and with more of a serious tone than we’ve ever applied. We screwed our heads firmly on and we never once showed even half an ounce of how we used to work – but we still ended up with the same result. Ultimately and on reflection, the contributing factors in the collapse of the project were out of our hands, but the feeling of defeat still couldn’t shake any solace we tried to offer ourselves. Then, almost the morning after the disastrous night before (NB: we awoke in separate beds) it occurred to us that Inertia Pictures needed to carry on because to us the name and the ethos is a reflection of ourselves, and though we took the Mickey Bliss (Google it) out of our once too-relaxed nature, it was this that we needed to apply to any of our productions going forward. Yes we needed to maintain the professionalism we had displayed during pre-production and production of ‘The Common Room’ but at the same time we needed to bring in our personalities and our demeanour – we needed to be our personal selves as well as our professional selves and it would be this mix that would make us an exciting and attractive production company to be a part of. At the end of this experience, we had become an amalgamation of our previous selves and of our more serious selves, and it was this mix that would prove to be the essence of Inertia. So yes, we can be a bit sluggish sometimes – who isn’t? We like to be relaxed about things, but that’s not us being lazy, it’s just us making sure we’re having a good time with it all, a sort of Lebowski attitude towards life without all of the constant and heavy drug use. And bowling – Kris isn’t very good at that either. At the end of the day, it gets dark. But at the end of that day, we consider ourselves professionals. We are serious about this industry, we are serious about our projects and we are serious about getting them out there.
And that, in a not so brief way, is how Inertia Pictures came to be. We’ve learnt from past mistakes and we’ve learnt to admit to them as well. After all of that, if you’re still with us, please continue to remain as we’re hoping that pretty soon we’ll be branching out to big and exciting things – and we’d love to share the experience.
Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude. The Dude, from Los Angeles. And even if he’s a lazy man – and the Dude was most certainly that. Quite possibly the laziest in all of Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide. Sometimes there’s a man, sometimes, there’s a man. Well, I lost my train of thought here.
The Stranger, The Big Lebowski (1998,. wr. Joel & Ethan Coen)