Alien: Containment Interview With Director Chris Reading

Recently I spoke with Chris Reading:about his film "Alien: Containment".
Where did you get the idea for your story from and how long did it take to write?
I knew we needed a contained story as our resources were not limitless. I also
decided that showing the Alien in all it’s glory might not be as successful as I
would be happy with. So a small dramatic scene, focusing on characters and their
realisations was the way to go. The story opening and closing sequences were setup
pretty quickly in my mind. The development of the script went through many
iterations over the course of a couple months, until we had what we see now.
What other projects had you done prior?
I have worked on a number of sci-fi genre projects including a feature, and short
films. I also have experience in comedy, working with Tongal on a few commercial
projects, with a comedy angle. My natural instinct was to inject a bit of dark
comedy into the Alien short which we did right at the end.
How did you go about casting and how long was the filming and editing process?
To cast the film, I had help from the amazing casting director Dan Hubbard. He was
an Alien fan and was very generous with his time and advice. We shot at London’s
3Mills Studios for two days, however the set build took up a couple weeks before.
The edit went together very easily, within a few days, and there were no significant
changes all the way through post.
How did you go about getting the look for your film as it looks very much in the
ALIEN universe?
I knew we needed to convey a feeling of confinement and tension. That was a LOOK
that we had the ability and resources to achieve. I knew there were certain elements
of the ALIEN world that were out of our reach on this one, mainly because of the ten
minute run-time. I did put a lot of effort into the details that make up the world,
these included the ship interior and equipment. Ruth Syratt and Megan Stevenson went
to huge lengths to make bespoke costume for the characters, paying particular
attention to a 70s aesthetic.
What were your biggest challenges and greatest successes with it?
The biggest challenge was making the world look credible, given our budget. I knew
that the performers I cast would deliver, all I had to do was put them in a
believable environment. My greatest success was meeting and bringing to bear with
all the lovely talented people that worked on the film. It’s our greatest success,
and I can’t wait to work with them all again.
How did you achieve the FX in the film?
The Brewery VFX, London were instrumental in bringing to life the visual effects.
They worked to achieve memorable opening and closing scenes, with some quite long CG
shots. It was a huge ask and they delivered. All practical effects and in-camera
tricks were by Matter SFX, who had a lot of fun shooting blood everywhere.
How did you do the music and sound effects?
Music was composer by Simon Porter, a regular collaborator of mine. We had to walk a
fine line of linking to what had gone before and making something new. Sound design
was done by Michael Botwright, who did great work with the creature and it’s
‘birth’. We wanted it to be hard hitting and shocking. We also worked hard to make
the exterior space shots have lots of low frequency presence.