In mid-February, I started developing six premises into scripts for It’s My Shout; hoping multiple submissions would increase my chances of selection. My plan worked! And yesterday, it was officially announced that one of my scripts, Tha’s What I ‘Eard, will be produced by It’s My Shout and broadcast on the BBC (my first industry credit). You’ll have to wait until September to see that, but I plan to share the other five scripts before then. The first of which is The Tart. The Tart was the easiest to write as it was adapted from a segment of my feature-length script, The Darning Needle; my favourite segment as it features the best and most comical dialogue and the character of the protagonist, Elissa, really shines through. However, I think The Tart improved on the segment as it allowed me to introduce new setups and payoffs, which also allowed for even more comedy and strong character moments for Elissa.
Elissa’s dream is to be a rock star, and she has the personality and creativity to achieve it, but those who should be encouraging her, only suppress her; forcing her into either isolating herself or acting out. But when pushed too far, Elissa makes her final act one to remember.
I wrote Marching Orders at the beginning of last year as a contender to be filmed and submitted to Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017 in the One Minute Wonder category. It just missed out on being shot by me, but after joining the filmmaking group Film Focus Wales, I offered it to them, and it was taken on by talented, up-and-coming director, Nat Pearse. I’m hugely satisfied with the results and will be looking for Nat and Film Focus to film more of my scripts in future. The film attempts to show how a positive attitude can affect those around you, and a negative one can do just the same. I myself am extremely positive about Marching Orders and its chances for selection for this year’s Cardiff Mini Film Festival!
Here’s an extract from my feature film script, The Darning Needle. The Darning Needle has been with me a long time; originally writing the treatment for my MA. Since then it’s gone through many drafts, and the story and themes have altered as I’ve changed my perspectives on things and my writing ability has developed. In its final form, it follows the protagonist Elissa as she’s held back from achieving her dreams by the selfish motivations of those around her (even those closest to her). I’ve decided not to continue with further drafts as, as I’ve mentioned, it has been through many changes over a long period of time, and I think it better to start afresh with new works that can benefit from a purer, more focused vision.
Toast is a script I wrote as a possible contender to be filmed for Cardiff Mini Film Festival. It ended up being rejected in favour of other scripts as its plot was more complex and it would require a more elaborate production: the festival favours simplicity. It’s a comedy about how lack of communication and pent-up feelings lead to antagonism. It’s, in a way, a reboot (well, they are in fashion) of an earlier film, The Housemate from Hell. There is much I still admire about that film. In particular, its themes of suppressed anxiety (that weren’t intentional, but I’ve since recognised), and as my ability has developed greatly in the four years since its conception, I felt I could write a more focused and efficient script in a similar vein.
When setting myself the task of writing multiple films for Cardiff Mini Film Festival, I formulated many of my ideas, not by thinking of a social issue I’d like to tackle or a theme I’d like to convey, as has often been my method in the past, but by picturing a striking image and then forming the plot and the theme around that. It’s a method I plan to employ regularly from now on as it produced great results; showing memorable imagery is equally as important to a film’s success as meaningful substance. Bob (script) was one such film for which I used this method. Another was Goldfish, which originated from the image of a man staring into a goldfish bowl. The image Bob originated from was that of a grown man on a park bench holding a red balloon. Once I had this image, it led to questions such as why would a grown man carry a balloon, and what could this symbolise? The themes of insecurity, benevolence, and release developed from this.
Bob carries his red balloon everywhere he goes, even though it prevents him joining in and causes him to be teased. But is it the balloon he needs to let go of, or something else?
Tell Me About It, Sam (script) was inspired by a real-life incident, in which I met a man who seemed to know me and proceeded to have a long conversation with me about his personal life even though I hadn’t a clue who he was. I thought it was an ideal concept for a comedy film for Cardiff Mini Film Festival as it could take place in a single location – on a bench – and provided the opportunity for a punchline/twist ending. I felt the best method of filming would be a three-camera setup, covering the action from all angles so we could run through the whole script in one take. To do this, I would require actors who could learn all their lines; a skill surprisingly lacking in actors solely working in film. Therefore, I cast two experienced theatre actors who I had seen perform multiple times, and who had displayed impressive skill as a comedy double act.
Unexpectedly, Sam turns counsellor to an old friend with relationship problems, or at least he thinks he’s an old friend, but for the life of him, he can’t remember his name!
Inspired to produce something simple to suit Cardiff Mini Film Festival’s criteria, I wrote Goldfish; a script based around the protagonist’s confined environment. It illustrates how you can miss out on life by not breaking from routine; paralleling the life of the protagonist stuck in his tiny flat with that of his goldfish. Although the premise was simple, I felt the production would benefit from some expert lighting and colour grading to further highlight these parallels and enhance the slightly surreal tone. For this purpose, I brought on board Steven Owen, whose lighting served Bamboo House so well, and his associate Jack Longley. Both proved invaluable.
Huw lives a life of routine, never leaving the familiar environment of his flat. In an odd break from tradition, it’s up to his pet goldfish, Gil, to put an end to his static lifestyle.