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.
After setting myself the task of writing a number of scripts specifically catered to Cardiff Mini Film Festival’s criteria, I wrote seven in total; three of which weren’t selected to be filmed. One of which was Toast, which can be found here. Another was The Artists, a comedy inspired by Vic and Bob, and Wham! that acts as a commentary on the life of the independent artist (earning just enough through their work to carry on producing further work). And finally, Marching Orders, another comedy, that shows how a positive attitude can affect those around you, and a negative one can do just the same. I felt these last two scripts’ dependence on music made them less preferable to the ones I finally selected as it gave them more of a music video quality.
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 vain.
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?
Additional: Since my original post, Bob has been selected for the Oniros Film Awards August 2017, Hellfire Short Film Festival’s 12th Round 2017, Cardiff International Film Festival 2017 and St Neots Film Festival 2017, and won Short Film Sharer May 2017!
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 preceded 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 set up, 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 onboard 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.
Additional: Since my original post, Goldfish has been selected for Loch Ness Film Festival 2017, Nightpiece Film Festival 2017, Hellfire Short Film Festival’s 12th Round 2017, Brighton Rocks Film Festival 2018 and The Short Film Show 2018, shortlisted for Best Adult Fiction at St Neots Film Festival 2017, nominated in the One Minute Wonder category at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017 and for both Best Fantasy and Best Original Content at Nottingham International Microfilm Festival 2018, and reached the finals of the Oniros Film Awards August 2017!
The Prophet (script) was inspired by an old proverb I came across on the internet:
“The man said to the Prophet, ‘give me advice’. The Prophet said, ‘do not get angry’. The man asked repeatedly, and the Prophet answered each time, ‘do not get angry'”.
I found the proverb amusing as the man persistently questions the Prophet even though he’s already given his answer, seeming like he’s attempting to aggravate him and get him to contradict himself. This was the basis for the film. I also incorporated subtext about the irrationality of having an unquestionable text and the hypocrisy of religious violence.
A modern-day prophet has some sage advice for an inquisitive young man, but he’s not about to take it without question.
Additional: Since my original post, The Prophet has been selected for Brighton Rocks Film Festival 2018 and Short to the Point November 2017, and won the One Minute Wonder category at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017!