A self-funded independent feature film about life within a WW2 Bomber Command aircrew.
*Please note: All proceeds from this fundraiser will be a matter of record, and will go entirely towards completing this work. Please see the bottom of this post for more details.*
Hi there! Jamie Sneddon and Luke Campion here and the video above is a work-in-progress teaser for Goodtime Charlie, our ambitiously epic WW2 feature film about a young and fractured Lancaster Bomber crew flying ops over Germany during the build-up to the invasion of occupied France in 1943/4.
Jamie and Luke in front of the main Lancaster set, C for Charlie aka, The Gublitz..
This is a hugely ambitious period feature film being created on a micro-budget by two close friends. The driving force behind which is a strong belief in the need for this often ignored and in some eyes, controversial story to finally be told, married to our passion for film and film-making. Over three years of tough, dedicated and personally funded full-time pre-production has resulted in a very realistic full-scale, complete Lancaster Bomber interior film set, along with an exciting, eye-popping, and often terrifying script, an expanding costume wardrobe, a series of detailed and motorised scale models and many other props, items and on-set assets. All with the intention of realising our vision of life aboard a WW2 bomber.
The video above is made up of a series of images of the main Lancaster set-build. It begins a few weeks into the build (in Nov 2019) and goes right up to the initial shoot in July 2022.
A few pre-production photographs of the Lancaster build (many more images in the gallery further down).
Set in and around a Bomber Command Airbase on the east coast of England in 1943/4 and more often than not in the Lancaster itself, the members of C For Charlie, a seven-man bomber aircrew, prepare for a maximum-effort raid deep over the heart of Nazi Germany’s industrial complex. The expectation is that this will be another long, hard and deadly yet hopefully decisive raid, as Bomber Command strives for air superiority during the build-up to the rumoured and impending invasion of occupied France, eventually to be known as Operation Overlord and later, D-Day. The stakes are therefore already extremely high, so when Barton, the young, overprotective and often unpredictable mid-upper gunner on this crew of unsung heroes learns that the others want him out, chaos ensues as his inner demons are laid bare for all to see.
A peek at some stills from the film:
A quick word from the Writer & Director of Goodtime Charlie
Hello, my name is Luke Campion, and I'm the writer/director of "Goodtime Charlie." I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and without wanting to ramble too much, I just wanted to offer a little introduction to myself and my partner in this project, Jamie Sneddon.
I first met Jamie when I was around 17 years old back in 2008 while I was on a Princes Trust course in Brighton. A little lost and unsure of what I wanted to do, I was given the opportunity to find an internship with someone over the summer. I searched the internet and found Jamie Sneddon, a local artist and illustrator in Brighton who, after liking his work, I nervously contacted and asked if he would take me on. Jamie could have rejected my request, as most probably would, but luckily for me, he didn’t.
It's hard to put into words how much Jamie means to me, but put very simply, he opened my eyes to a world I didn't believe really existed, the creative industry. He introduced me to films like Blade Runner, Alien, and film directors Like Neil Blomkamp (who at the time was rather unknown), and showed me little aspects that made them unique. I loved drawing and working on projects with Jamie, but truth be told, I just loved being in his company as it excited and motivated me.
Jamie encouraged me to pursue an education and career within the arts, I guess he saw something in me. Years passed by, and after finishing a game development diploma at Brighton City College, I left to study filmmaking in Newport, Wales. I enjoyed this immensely, but after leaving and going to work full-time as a storyboard artist, I felt the call of film reaching out to me again.
It was when out running one evening, trying to get my head around the looming deadlines I had, that a story about a stricken WWII bomber returning home came to me. I’d heard it some years prior and had fallen in love with the story. There are more details to this particular story of course, but without wanting to ruin it, I’ll just say that I fell in love with the concept of a young man, lost and in need of help, during a period of history most of us could not even imagine.
I knew nothing of this world at the time, so I spent many hours researching and learning more about it. The more I learned, the more my heart broke, and my determination to tell their story grew. I believe, and I can't say for sure, but I believe Jamie was in a similar place to me when I reached out to him. We both needed something big and important to blow the cobwebs away and focus our creativity on, not just big though, massive, Lancaster bomber massive in fact. Was it an impossible task? For us to tell this story, on film, little old us? Yes, it really was, or so it seemed. But, here we are now, remarkably close to finishing our film, three and a half years later!
Speed through those three and a half years (more details of which can be seen below), and I can honestly say I have been absolutely blown away by the people we've met, the stories we've heard, and the accomplishments we've achieved together so far. Even though it's not over yet, we're very close, and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to not only make this film, but also to have had the opportunity to work alongside Jamie and to enter a world we have both loved and observed, but until this, only from afar.
Thank you for your interest in our project. I hope you feel inspired by what we’re trying to achieve. Any help you can offer towards this project, I can promise you will be put to good use in the telling of this important story.
Yours, Sincerely, Luke Campion.
Why do we need your help?
Well, it has been a determined and arduous, yet exhilarating 3-year journey getting this passion project of ours to where it is today, using in the main our own resources and money, of which the coffers are now rather, unfortunately, all but depleted (traditional funding is incredibly hard to come by for such an ambitious and some might consider controversial project). So, in order to finish this feature properly and therefore do justice to the memory of the brave men and boys of Bomber Command, and indeed to those on all sides of the conflict, we need some help of the financial kind. So we’re looking for backers..
We have a series of key location scenes to shoot on base up at East Kirkby in Lincolnshire to add to the previous shoot back in October, along with a few more scenes within our main Lancaster set in the rented barn space we have down here just outside Brighton. We also have a fairly long list of practical special effects shots we're trying to achieve so we can keep the CGI shot count relatively low and focused on quality rather than quantity. After which we will need to navigate the rather costly waters of post-production, to focus on bringing our movie to life with all the necessary additional special effects, said cgi and audio elements etc.
We were very grateful to receive the generous help of many of you, our friends, after Storm Eunice ripped into our Lancaster set back in February 2022. This helped me (Jamie) to rebuild the set and allowed us to shoot the main bulk of the movie back in July 22, but we need to put cap-in-hand once again in a bid to push on and get us over the finish line. So, to help us achieve this enormous final hurdle we have set up this GoFundMe campaign.
Project inception & development
It was late summer 2019 when Luke first approached me and said he had discovered a story about a stricken Bomber and it’s decimated crew and that he wanted to make a short film about it. I found this concept exciting as I had been looking for a new creative output myself at the time. So we buried ourselves in research and set about trying to work out exactly what we needed in order to tell this story.
We soon realised that access to existing WW2 aircraft of this nature was hard to come by and would offer little flexibility in allowing us to shoot the kind of scenes we had in mind.. So, we concluded that we needed our own set within which to film these scenes. We had absolutely no idea what that actually meant in real terms, if we did we probably would have looked at other options and this project would have become something completely different.. enthused naive optimism can be a wonderful thing when let out to roam free by two dreamers such as ourselves!
So, we began putting the pieces in place. Who could build it for us? Where could we build it? Out of what exactly? And what the hell does it look like inside anyway? We approached a good friend of mine, Mr Paul Harrison aka @PaulHarrisonsArtworks and put the concept to him. He was keen to help but after much consideration concluded quite correctly that the cost would be too high and the amount of work too vast for him to realistically build a full-sized Lanc’ interior for us. He remained excited by the project and offered his services to us but it would need to be focused on particular items rather than the entire plane fuselage.
Undeterred, we decided to build the fuselage ourselves and commission Paul to help build some props for us. At this point, things slowed down a bit as we came to terms with the idea, and tried to figure out where and how we would construct this 21-metre long beast!
I started to draw up plans and developed a 3d model using a programme called SketchUp. And Luke set about trying to find a location to house it. It didn’t take Luke too long to find our barn, a quick look on Google Earth around the local area and quite a number of phone calls to farmers later, Luke had half a barn for us at an initial cost of £350 a month. We envisaged a 6 month operation to build it and maybe a month to film it, we could do that!
Jamie's Sketchup plans
So, on Saturday 16th November 2019 we set to work in our half a barn just outside Brighton. We hired a van and gathered up as much reclaimed and cheap wood and potentially useful scrap as we could. The Wood Store in Brighton was a treasure trove for us and we procured many a pallet and building site boarding panel from them. Piled it all up at one end of the barn, and cracked on with the job at hand.
My drawing plans had been evolving throughout this process, and I had developed a decent 3d model with accurate measurements on which to base the whole build. Pallets, 2 a breast along the floor, end to end, 21 x 2 metres of them. The idea was to build the fuselage in sections so it could be separated into 3 metre platforms and moved around independently of one another to allow access and mobility.
Jamie's Sketchup plans
It didn’t take long to realise that the amount of work required to build this huge thing meant that we couldn’t just shoot a short film in it. It was just too much of an undertaking for something that would probably just disappear without trace, so we decided to turn it into a full-length feature. I think Luke realised what that meant in terms of script, story, character development etc straight away. But I certainly didn’t.. It also didn’t take long to discover what our strengths and weaknesses were in terms of the build itself and before long Luke was focusing on developing this newly conceived feature-length script, screenplay and storyboards, and following up his research on Bomber Command, while I pushed on in the freezing cold barn, alone with my plans and an ever-growing collection of tools and scrap and materials.
During that first 6 months covid erupted, I stayed away from the barn during the first lockdown after making some good but painfully slow progress, and that initial 6 months then turned into a year. Which turned into 2 years and then 3! During that crazy 3 year period Luke had developed this amazing script and his remarkable storyboards, being visually oriented he drew the film many times over, and developed the script on the back of these visualisations, so what we have is a very striking look and feel. He also hunted down the cast and crew, and inspired many people along the way to build scale models, create costume pieces and source technical equipment and props.
We shot the first scenes in mid-July 2022 during that extremely hot summer. Which was tough on the cast, wearing all that gear in 30+ degrees, but ice-packs and fans helped keep them as cool as we could, and night shoots were a little easier. I became quite emotional at times seeing the set that I had toiled over alone in a freezing cold/boiling hot barn over these three tough years, come alive with our wonderful actors playing out Luke’s scenes.
Then in October 2022 we managed to book up East Kirkby in Lincolnshire (the Lincolnshire Aviation and Heritage Centre) and Just Jane, the beautiful Lancaster they are rebuilding up there. Luke inspired yet more people to join up with the dream and many many people showed up to help, with all sorts of awesome period gear, kit and vehicles, and an overwhelming willingness to help us realise this really important story, a story that probably wouldn’t see the light of day if left to a traditional studio, with money and the fear of losing it being the main focus.
Since that shoot in October we’ve filmed a few more scenes in the plane and in my freestanding mid-upper turret. And I’ve developed a massive burning city on the floor of the barn as seen from 20,000 ft. Luke has been working on the edit while trying to continue earning money as a storyboard artist to pay for the next (and the previous) series of shoots and props and equipment we need.
I have used a Go-Pro to record a time-lapse of the entire Lancaster build and the shoot, which I will eventually edit together into one long video. The first part of which can be seen at the start of the video above, with a couple more clips below, and many more available on my @sneepthings Instagram & FB pages (see links below).
Time-lapse clip from November 2021.
Time-lapse clip from May 2022.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Sorry it was a bit long! Don't forget to look through the gallery of images below though, and give our Instagram, FB and YouTube accounts a little follow (links below). And if you can, please do join us on our final big push and get your name in the credits with a donation, and with any luck your bum on a seat alongside us in front of a big screen, when we finally get to show the world this quite magnificent story..
Pre-production image gallery:
Production image gallery:
Image credits: JJ Waller
* All funds raised will be used exclusively to pay the cast & crew (with the exception of Jamie & Luke), cover the cost of the remaining location shoots at East Kirkby and other locations throughout Lincolnshire and in East Sussex where we’re based. It will also help us to procure any props we still need, along with on-set items, technical equipment, costumes and kit and also hopefully cover the post-production.
Without your generous donations, we would struggle to finish this film and take it to the level it deserves. So thank you, so so much, from the very bottom of our hearts.
** Please note: as requested by the GoFundMe team we must state that we offer no raffles, sweepstakes, giveaways, or promotions in exchange for any donations made to this GoFundMe.