The great side of making a documentary

So now that After Tomorrow, (our 53-minute documentary about the lives of the Bedouin of Petra, Jordan, in case you didn’t know), is complete and we’re busy trying to get it ‘out there’ in the world, it seems relevant to reflect on the whole experience of making a documentary.

There were good times, there were bad… just like life.

Petra is awesome!

It was an adventure we’ll never forget. Not only do we have the memories of our two months in Petra hanging out with the incredibly accommodating Bedouin, we also have 55 hours of film which we can access for the rest of our lives!

I can just see the Toufic and I, aged 75, sitting around the hologram machine, somehow projecting our ancient .Mov files onto a wall of plasma… laughing and reminiscing about the good times.

Petra will provide

They say that fortune favours the brave, and in terms of filming this documentary, we both found this to be the case, profoundly. As soon as the decision to go to Petra was made, the Universe literally opened doors for us.

If we needed money (and we always needed money), we’d find some. If we wanted to interview someone, they would suddenly show up. After a month in the village, we needed a new place to live. Bam, next day it was sorted by a Bedouin we’d never met before, free of charge.

For the duration of our stay, we were in no doubt that this is where we were supposed to be… jobs, credit, relationships be damned.

Thinking of shooting your own doccie?

So if there’s one piece of advice we could give budding filmmakers, it’d be ‘just do it’ (thanks Nike). Dive right in, ignore the problems until you can’t any longer, and then you’ll find ways to deal with them. Because fortune does indeed favour the brave, in miraculous ways.

But you’ll never find out how until you try.

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The painful part of shooting a documentary

After living the dream, returning to reality proved to be a real pain in the ass…

Money, money, money

As soon as we returned to our normal lives, the Universe abandoned us to our fates. Suddenly everything became a struggle. Especially cash. Back in London, we had to find jobs ASAP to pay rent, catch up on credit card debt, eat. And then once we were sucked back into the rat race, it was hard to find time to finish what we’d started.

The more you shoot, the more you pay!

It took us about a year to catalogue the 55 hours of footage. We found an awesome editor, but she cost money which we didn’t have. So we had to go around, cap-in-hand and beg (a horrible experience).

Ain’t too proud to beg

If you’re in a similar position, here are some ways we tried to raise completion funds:

  • Toufic is an excellent photographer, so we put on a photo exhibit in South London. It was fun, and a mild success… but after paying for booze, food, studio rental and printing costs, we only managed to raise £500. Enough for one day’s editing.
  • Toufic was in Dubai and somehow ended up giving a talk to people interested in film. This didn’t raise a cent at the time, but helped us when it came to…
  • … the hellishly embarrassing Crowdfunding video we made. This helped us scrape together some decent funds, and was by far the most successful way of raising money. We were, however, blessed to have some very generous friends.

So, it took us a while, but we managed. And after a final post-production stint in South Africa, ‘After Tomorrow’ was finally finished, four and a half years after the process began.

Selling the dream

But now another journey has begun. Film Festivals. Hustling to get Sales Agents to look at the doc. Hassling broadcasters. All of this is new to us, and we’re struggling to figure it out. But we’ll get there. Eventually.

Because the one thing this experience has taught us is that where there’s a will, there’s a way (and yet another cliché). And we’ve got plenty of will. The only thing is… when will we make our next doc?

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Watch our new trailer

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We’re Jumping for Joy!

The Guys

Why? Because it’s finished. It’s over. The footage has been graded. The sound has been mixed. The changes have been changed and the tweaks tweaked.

We’re finally ready to go.

Best news of all? It looks great! So now we’re on the hunt for film festivals, scratching through our contacts in broadcasting -generally embarking on a mission to get it seen.

Many thanks to everyone who has supported us (patiently) over the years. After Tomorrow started in Jordan, was built in London and finally finished in Johannesburg. Now it’s time to be shown to the world.

So wish us luck as we enter the final phase of this long journey. We look forward to bringing you good news soon.

And we will be sharing the film with all our crowdfunders as soon as we have submitted to all the festivals.

Touf and Carl

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Editing is done!

Editing is done!

“After Tomorrow” & Carl Gough have moved to Johannesburg, South Africa.
The editing is now officially done.
The grading and the sound design will be done by two very talented guys in Joburg.
It’ll be finished soon, promise!

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March 8, 2014 · 3:07 pm

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Light at the End of the Tunnel

It’s been a long journey, but with the patience of camel herders, the persistence of trinket sales-people and the financial help of some incredibly generous people, the end is finally nigh.

We’re literally 3 steps away from completion:

1) Trim 1:30 off the edit
2) Grade the footage (make it look pretty)
3) Mix the audio

After that, we’ll be good to go. So thank you for sticking with us… It’ll be worth the wait, we promise!

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November 22, 2013 · 2:35 pm

We’re crowdfunding!

Hi all,

Just wanted to update you on our latest fund-raising venture. We’ve started a crowdfunding page on, and things are progressing rather nicely.

Please have a look here:

Feel free to contribute and share to your heart’s content!

Thanks for the support,

Carl and Touf

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