Adam K Batchelor
Adam K Batchelor is a writer-director from London, UK who works as a self-shooting producer. As a self-taught, self-confessed student of YouTube and every other film book available, Adam went on to collaborate with filmmaker Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull as a cinematographer on his various short films, as well as Dulull’s first feature film – ‘The Beyond’ (previously on Netflix). During this process Haz kept Adam informed on all areas of the production journey, shedding light on how to take a high concept idea to cinematic reality. With this new knowledge and a growing network of connections and friends, Adam began to turn his many ambitious ideas into scripts, proof of concepts and eventually his first full short film, Satori. Adam is proof that anyone can make an ambitious sci-fi film with the right team, passion and perseverance.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
I often daydream about how I’d fare in a post-apocalyptic world (don’t most people?) What pro’s and cons would a back to basics existence throw up? How would we communicate? What would we do for food? My ego likes to think I’d be okay and that I’d find an invaluable skill that would benefit my tribe; but in reality, I’d probably run to a few people I know who would be great, ha! The jungle world within Satori is a particularly harsh and dangerous place. At the beginning of the film, the survival rate is stated as low. Given those odds, I’d only fair my chances if I had ‘Captain Fantastic’ or ‘Bear Grylls’ type character running the show. I’m fully aware that our imperfect existence on earth today is probably as convenient as it gets… too much so if anything! Hence the premise of Satori. If there was a sci-fi world where everything worked perfectly and we did no damage to the planet in the process, I’d say get me a ticket immediately. But I doubt that would sell out at the box office…
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavours?
Always a supporter of others. That’s the best inspiration! You can’t win alone, human or not.
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
Oh, this is a good one.... Greig Fraser - Cinematographer Ludwig Göransson - Music Gary Rydstrom - Sound Design Joaquin Phoenix - Lead Male Sandra Bullock - Lead Female Weta - Practical and Digital Effects 87Eleven - Stunt work ...what a team!
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
My bad ideas have been hypothetically emptied from the recycle bin of my mind. I find that the best way to get past the bad ones is to tell everyone (who’ll listen) every idea you have. You’ll know as it’s coming out of your mouth if it feels like something worth exploring. After that, I'll read around the subject and consume as much debate and discussion as possible. Or I’ll do the same backwards. I’m constantly looking online and reading new books about topics that interest me. Staying curious is essential in this game. I find that you can really feel the difference between a concept that doesn’t quite work and another that seamlessly meshes and starts to create new dimensions and stories. It feels like you’re uncovering a dinosaur fossil and it never leaves your mind, day or night. That’s definitely what it felt like with Satori.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
I don’t necessarily feel like I’m part of a fixed community. But I do have a good network. I have friends and connections that are interested in sci-fi - so if I see a cool new ship design, I’ll share it with one person; or if I stumble across a Sci-Fi TV show that explores some cool concepts, I’ll go to another one. But I also have friends that aren’t as hardcore into it as me - and I find them valuable too; to ensure the topics I’m exploring in my mind are still relatable. That’s what I tried to achieve with Satori, relatable sci-fi. I don’t feel like having my head in the future outside of a sci-fi community is isolating. There is plenty to be absorbed from ‘normal conversation’ and everyone asks themselves the question... ‘what does the future hold’ in one way or another.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do you strike between the two?
I’m a digital person that fantasies about being analogue. I think you can see that struggle within the storyline of Satori - where tech actually helps us to become more conscious of nature and simplicity. It’s an interesting idea. I often feel guilty about the amount of screen time I rack up in the day. And when I’m around cameras and screens all day I often try to get out in the evening to counteract it.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
For me, it starts with the story; the themes within it, their wider meanings and the subliminal references that I want to achieve to help a message land. The gun in Satori is a symbol of the destructive power that the egotistical male character believes he has. That’s the starting point. As a result, the size, dominance and masculine look of the gun is designed with that in mind. In terms of making props relatable, I think they have to look like they would work in practice. The vents on the side show the red glow of the heat build-up, which would need to escape before the blast. I knew I wanted to have it ‘power-up’ before it was fired to build a little anticipation. Then I wanted the gun to have a secondary weapon because… well… it’s just cool. I find that the best props are part of the experience, convincing practically and subliminally help to land the point.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Star Wars Philip K. Dick Practical Dystopia Post-Apocalypse