Nuno Bernardo is an award winning and Emmy nominated Transmedia writer and producer and the creator of the world’s first international interactive on-line teen series, Sofia’s Diary. Is also the author of “The Producer’s Guide to Transmedia” book and his new multi-platform project BeatGirl is about to be launched. At this exciting time, we caught up with him…
FTN: Beat Girl is a multi-media release in that it encompasses a film, a book, and online media. Did you always envisage this project as a multi-media release or was that something that gradually came along through the production process?
NB: Beat Girl follows the traditional beActive development process where we create new stories with the audience and for the audience, allowing them to build and interact with the characters as soon as possible. In the last 10 years, the majority of our TV Series and Films started as on-line experiences and blogs. With the initial success with real audiences and fans we then cross to new platforms and transform them in full entertainment brands. The plan for Beat Girl always included a feature film at the end of this development journey. We started as a profile on Pinterest, but Beat Girl gradually extended to different platforms and formats, from Books to mobile games.
FTN: Beat Girl is a music film in that virtually every scene has some form of music in it. Did you have an idea of the exact tracks you wanted to feature in the film, or was this achieved and completed late in the film’s production?
NB: Some of the songs were found or created before the movie was even shot. We needed a strong main theme for the final scene that could sum Heather’s journey so we invited DJ Nuno Carvalho to write a song for the movie. Other songs were discovered while we were shooting because the lyrics or the melody were in sync with the movie. Then, later, in post-production the Director, Mairtín de Barra and myself all added additional tunes. The goal was trying to feature different Electronic Dance Music sub-genres, from more commercial tunes to underground ones.
FTN: The classical performances by the supporting cast are incredible both in sound and performance. Did you openly cast talented musicians to perform these pieces?
NB: This is one of our production secrets but I’m sharing it with you. Yes, we had professional pianists and musicians performing the classical pieces, including Heather’s parts. Beat Girl is a movie about music, so it needed to sound as good as possible.
FTN: Beat Girl appears on screen as a very talented DJ. Did the cast have any lesson or guidance on how to perform as a DJ?
NB: Both Louise and Craig had DJ lessons and Louise had some piano lessons to make her scenes at the piano look as real as possible. Although she’s not performing what you hear in the final mix, she needed to look as real as possible and her hands needed to hit the right keys. Also we had some real DJs doing cameos in some of the parties that helped Louise have the right pose behind the decks.
we had professional pianists and musicians performing the classical pieces, including Heather’s parts. Beat Girl is a movie about music, so it needed to sound as good as possible
FTN: Beat Girl was filmed in several locations. What difficulties did you encounter when trying to shoot in the locations such as the Music School, the residential areas, the Airport and Nightclub scenes?
NB: Shooting on location always gives a real look to the film and that is what we were trying to showcase on Beat Girl. But it’s always a challenge as the spaces are too small to accommodate all the cast and crew, there are unpredictable noises and you’re always depending on weather conditions.
FTN: Beat Girl is an inspiring piece of cinema with very believable characters. Were there any characters from the film based on or inspired by those from the cast and crews own experiences?
NB: In my teen years and early twenties I was a DJ, performing in parties and small clubs. But even after retiring as a DJ, I always followed this culture and saw the growth of the Electronic Dance Music phenomenon. I had the idea for a DJ based movie in my head for years, but only when I met Susana Tavares, the co-writer of Beat Girl, I was able to transform some ideas into a story. Then Melanie was attached to the project and the script became a reality.
FTN: Now that Beat Girl has been established as an up and coming DJ, are there any plans for a sequel?
NB: In the U.S. we are working with Electus to transform this story and characters in a prime time TV Series for the North-American market. Electus is Ben Silverman’s company and previously he was the person responsible for the successful adaptations of Ugly Betty and The Office to the U.S. market. On the film front we already started working on the script of a sequel to this first movie, but of course the funding and the production of this new film is dependable of the financial success of Beat Girl in cinemas and home video in the upcoming months.
FTN: Thank you Nuno for taking the time to chat to us and we wish you every success with Beat Girl and in the future
Read our review of Beat Girl HERE