Tuesday, 25 March 2008

New Website

We launched our new website last week. Check it out with the link on the right if you've not seen it. It was a funny ol' moment doing the upgrade and it came with considerable debate amongst Heike and I. The previous Mk1 website was my own baby but to be frank was a bit of a messy child, hand cobbled together on a 'learn what you need' basis, simple, rough and ready,  yet I did love it. I found it quite direct, simple and honest (but hey that's me all over ;-)

As we now proceed to a more sophisticated site with much more information and professionalism, is there something lost? It's a big question for us just because of what we have made in our film, something we think of as a very personal film, a hand crafted article and with a style and feel all of its own. It's very well made but never glossy or formulaic. Yet as businesses we have to try and instill confidence in the customer, but do we actually lose something of the 'personal touch' in the process? It's a funny old world is it not, we are quite determined to hold onto our film craft niche, yet need to earn a living and so put the right message across. Dear, dear, these modern times are all a bit to sophisticated. Can't I just go camping and fishing in the mountains, please!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Mullock's auction at Ludlow

We had a 'works day out' last weekend and travelled to Ludlow to visit a Mullock's vintage fishing tackle auction. We've filmed there a couple of times while making our film so it was a bit like visiting old friends. Mullock's had invited us down and given us a stand to show clips from the film and do a little face to face marketing. We packed the car up with a flat screen telly, a laptop and a box of DVDs and were away. 

The 'face to face' bit of actually meeting people was great for us, as we suddenly realised how much of a rarity this has become, most people buy the film from the internet and a few buy over the phone. Phone-buys are nice as it is interesting to hear a little about the people themselves who are interested in our film. One kind gentleman from Sweden even sent us a picture of a lovely Grayling he had recently caught on his Hardy gear. 

However, getting back to Ludlows, as I say, the 'face to face' was a first and it was also the first time we had met people who had already seen the film. The thing that most astonished us was that virtually all of them had watched our film 4 or 5 times already. They invite their friends around and have an evening in, almost a cult film. I'm quite proud of that because I know that something really has to hold up on the quality front and especially on the editing to bring people back to watch again and again.

The big downside was that I missed the lovely little brook rod I had an eye on. I guess we will just have to visit Ludlow again..

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Mr Hardy at Hardy's

We are really pleased to say that our "The Lost World of Mr Hardy" DVD is now also on sale in the Hardy's shop in Alnwick. I am still not quite sure if it is correctly called "The Hardy Country Store" or "The Compleat Angler", however it doesn't really matter as it's built onto the front of the Hardy factory alongside the museum so if you've got that far you can't miss it.

And heck if you have made that special trip why not buy the DVD and Jim Hardy's book at the same time - what a classy double act!

1st DVD review

Our film has been hinted at on Clarks Classic Fly Rod Forum in the U.S. over the months but as the film only came out on NTSC (North American format) last week nobody had seen it and several over there were asking for a review from somebody over here. Shoeless Joe saved the day, he was one of the 1st in the U.S. to receive a copy and posted this review on the forum. Many thanks to Joe and for his permission to reprint here. Over to you Joe:

"Only the best is good enough for fishermen"

... and though it was fishing tackle that John James Hardy Jr. had in mind when he uttered that line near the end of the 19th century, after viewing this documentary one might surmise that J.J.'s words are indeed prophetic, as they have come to embrace the efforts of Heathcote and Bachelier and their film, The Lost World of Mr. Hardy.

Though The Lost World could stand alone on the anecdotes of former Hardys directors and employees or perhaps even composer, Stephen Daltrys' music, particularly intriguing is the way the filmmakers chose to incorporate present-day rod and reel makers, Edward Barder and Chris Lythe ... their inclusion brings the film full-circle and thus fulfills Andy Heathcote's desire that we "Be inspired by a poignant reflection of the world we live in and the myriad ways it has changed over 130 years."

As I reflected on my first go at The Lost World of Mr Hardy, I found myself at once, not only wrestling with a sense of loss, but also nuturing rekindled feelings of adoration for those who churned out and stamped their intitials into my Hardy reels ... one reel at a time.

We were really touched by this. Being an independent film we never really knew what people would think of our film or what we wanted to say in it so it is really gratifying to know that people share the message.

Around the world

Now the "Mr Hardy"DVD is out and about it's really interesting to see how it will find its way onto distant shores. What really amazed us from the outset is just how many of the website visitors are from outside the U.K. I guess once could expect North America to figure highly but I am quite surprised that Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands must be big Hardy acolytes too. Similarly with Japan. Yukio at the Andy Murray society is helping us out over there and the web interest from Japan is incredible. 

We had an order this morning from Copacabana, our first from Brazil. As we print out the labels to send off peoples DVD to Rio or Wyoming or Vermont or all these interesting sounding places it just makes me want to experience the countryside there, to fish in all these places, smell the grasses on those hills, feel the big waters running down from distant mountains. Such a big beautiful world but I guess you can't fish everywhere, can you?

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Off topic birthday surprise

It was my birthday on Wednesday last. It is tradition that Heike and I give each other a little surprise trip. "Urrhh where is she taking me" I wondered as we trundled through an unpromising locale and she refused to be drawn.

We ended up at a farm and not just any farm. Steve runs a raw organic milk dairy farm and it was astonishing. We live in the countryside and regularly have cows nibbling away at the bushes in our own back garden so I don't quite feel the total townie. However I must admit that I have had my worries about farming practises and animal husbandry for years. I hate what looking after the 'bottom line' does for animal welfare, something has to give and with supermarkets piling on the price pressure it is usually the animal that suffers one way or another.

The great thing about Steve and his dad's farm is that it is not like that at all. It is a low yielding farm with very unstressed animals which live longer. I'm sure most farmers care about their animals but here on this farm it is almost as if that is the main thing, that's the business idea.

The cost of all is? Well the milk is double the price but when we walked around his farm you can't help thinking. 'If that's what milk like this costs then that's what it costs and if this kind of farming is the result then bring it on.'