Enigmatic Technique

Tim Burke and a new film directing technique


Tim Burke

Tim Burke has a new and exciting directing technique that’s going to revolutionise film making of a certain genre.

One of the spin-offs from working on Shocking The Donkeys has been getting to find out more about the film business. And that has led to me being asked if I’d like to get involved helping out with various PR campaigns for various movie projects.

I’ll hand over to the email I received: “…and in particular, because you’re such an expert and experienced blogger, whether you’d be interested in being the social media manager for a number of films, blogging and twittering about them when they’re in production and afterwards.”

Flattery will get you everywhere. In fact it got me interested in Tim Burke’s directing technique. Tim is one of the directors I may end up managing, social-media-wise, if you see what I mean. His film is a far cry from Symi and the Greek islands, but it’s only an internet click away from my pen, as it were.

What’s this all about then?
According to the recent press release, drama schools throughout the world may soon have to change their courses if a new technique pioneered by a British-born Hollywood director starts to catch on in the film industry. Tim Burke is setting his actors a challenge for which nothing they ever learned in acting school will have prepared them. (Oh boy, will they ever!)

The director of cult television series MTV Blag! has already explored his new technique in his forthcoming movies The Harrowing and The Lords of Gas.  And he is already planning on taking it to terrifying new levels in his planned, unrelenting gruesome new horror franchise, L.A. Slasher.

Tim is labelling his pioneering method the “Enigmatic Technique”, because, for the actors, what goes on is a complete mystery, a dark, twisted enigma they have to solve for themselves.

Now this reminds me of a murder mystery party and friends of mine will know that I’ve written and hosted a few of those in my time. But this technique has nothing to do with polite and fun murder mystery parties, oh no. I’ve read some of the background stuff (the script outline you might call it) and boy, if you ever wanted to be an actor you don’t want to be one in L.A. Slasher. Well, actually you do because you will be one of the first to pioneer this new technique.

And the technique?
His technique is as far as you can get in the opposite direction from the much-reviled “response directing”, where actors are told exactly how they should feel, usually resulting in a crass display of over-acting. Instead, he trusts his casting choices and provides his actors with total freedom. The actors know nothing but the absolute minimum, and then he subjects them to unexpected events, either via text messages or through agents (other actors or extras) whispering messages for their next scenes.

Example: Tim sends the actress a text message telling her to find her own way to some remote part of the wood in the middle of the night to meet her boyfriend. When she gets there, she finds herself waiting, all alone, with absolutely no sign of a film crew or anyone else. And then she’s suddenly attacked by a maniac who’s going to slash her throat with a cheese-wire. “Wouldn’t you be genuinely scared?” Tim asks.

Yes I would, and I’d make sure I was genuinely insured as well. But that’s enough from me about this for now. I don’t want to scare you too much.


1.       Born 8 May, 1979, Kensington, London, UK. Grew up in Bristol, Avon & Somerset. Bought a film camera at the age of 12, and formally learned his trade at the Panico Films School (now part of the London Film Academy), London, where he passed out top of his class. The school’s roots lie in the production company set up by some of the Monty Python team (Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Julian Doyle) after Holy Grail. In 2005, Tim Burke created, produced, and directed the cult international smash hit series MTV Blag!, which included over 120 celebrity interviews and was viewed by five million people a week in ten countries worldwide, described by The Times as “a must see” and give five stars by Nuts magazine. In 2006, Tim Burke worked closely with Universal Pictures to create Miami Vice mobile portals in 17 countries, connected to 72 international mobile networks. Using his extensive celebrity and entertainment industry contacts, Tim Burke founded the charity BuyaMovieRole, which, in 2010, raised money for the World Wildlife Fund: Save the Tiger campaign by auctioning off donated movie roles.

2.       MTV Blag! featured a team of gate-crashers who blagged their way into dozens of high profile showbiz events, such as movie premieres, pop concerts, sports competitions, parties, even film sets, grabbing the luxury merchandise, meeting and interviewing the A-listers, and getting themselves on film and TV. The series resulted in some 120 impromptu interviews with the likes of Boyoncé, Owen Wilson, Puff Daddy, Pink, 50 cent, Dennis Hopper, Ang Lee, Paris Hilton, and Mickey Rourke, many with whom Tim Burke has remained in touch. The series was sold by MTV Networks to Channel 5 for £185,000. The series attracted widespread critical acclaim and out-rated The Osbournes. Tim Burke is now making a much anticipated and hyped follow-up documentary drawn from the 600 hours of out-takes called The Lords of Gas.

3.       The Harrowing is set in an abandoned and derelict mental asylum near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, and filming took place early in 2011. Due to be released later this year, the movie is the first proper essay in which Tim Burke explored his Enigmatic Technique. The shoot itself attracted widespread news coverage in the UK national media for its unconventional methods and dramatic events in which one of the actresses was attacked and nearly strangled. The film led to Nuts magazine describing Tim Burke as “the next big thing in British horror making”.

4.       The Lords of Gas will be the first ever low-budget “mocu-documentary” applying Tim Burke’s Enigmatic Technique to the reality comedy genre, aimed at the same audiences that loved Borat and Jackass. The film aims to court controversy by examining topics such as film funding, laughing gas, festival sales, porn sets, blagging your way into showbiz parties, and the second coming of Jesus. Shooting began in March, 2000, and continued up to the present. The film includes a wide range of A-list celebrity interviews and cameo appearances.

5. L.A. Slasher is a forthcoming movie project in which Tim Burke will more fully explore his Enigmatic Technique. The cast will mostly comprise a large number of rising Hollywood ‘teens who are not afraid to rise to the challenge of experimenting with Tim Burke’s demanding new requirements, the lack of a script, and virtually no detail.

6. Much of Tim Burke’s work is done using secret cameras or remote-controlled, hidden, HD CCTV equipment to keep the actors isolated and alone, greatly increasing the fear factor.

7. Among actresses who are shortly to experience Tim Burke’s Enigmatic Technique