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 won Short Film Sharer’s film of the month! Please join the Short Film Sharer group to watch and share quality short films!
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.
Out of the blue, 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!
Additional: Since my original post, Tell Me About It, Sam has been nominated for best Comedy at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017.
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.
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 won the One Minute Wonder category at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017.
Bamboo House is a script I completed over a year ago. I initially entered a shorter, less Welsh centric version to Jameson First Shot, but was unsuccessful. The brief was to write about the great and/or unexpected things that can happen when you fear less and invite life in. I found out about the competition not long before the deadline and only had a week to prepare. I adapted the script from a premise I’d come up with a few weeks before, which meant that the protagonist was quite a bit older than the intended lead, Maggie Gyllenhaal. I thought this could be easily achievable with a bit of makeup, but I have a feeling this, along with some of the locations and shots, may have been over-ambitious and put the judges off, as judging by previous winners, they were looking for maximum simplicity.
I later entered a version very close to the one available here to It’s My Shout. I was unfamiliar with the competition when I saw it advertised on the BBC Writers Room; the brief stating they wanted scripts with scope for budding actors of ‘all ages’. When I later checked the It’s My Shout website, it stated they wanted scripts with scope for as many budding ‘young’ actors as possible. By this time, the deadline was upon me, and my script had just one young supporting character. Again, I was unsuccessful.
I was not discouraged by my failure, in fact, it not only motivated me to enter as many competitions as possible in future (including the two mentioned – making greater efforts to fulfil the brief) but to film the script myself! It was the success of my previous film, Total Investigation Television, that really got the Bamboo House project rolling. Total Investigation Television was nominated for best Short Fiction at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2016, and it was there that I met Boyd Clack and Kirsten Jones, who were hosting the awards ceremony. After pitching the script to them, they wished to be involved in the project. With actors of their calibre and reputation onboard, there was no question that Bamboo House would be filmed!
From extensive storyboarding, securing the perfect locations and shooting test footage, to enlisting trusted crew I’d worked with in the past and fresh talent with expert skills, I made every effort to make sure Bamboo House was the very best film it could be. I leave it to you, the audience, to judge if I achieved my goal.
Mair, recently bereaved, spends her lonely days in her empty flat. Her visits to Bamboo House, her local Chinese takeaway, her only departure from her introverted lifestyle. It is there she meets Griff, an eccentric man with an insatiable sense of fun. On a romantic day out, Griff encourages her to fear less and invite life in. But will Griff’s own fear that Mair is unable to move on from the loss of her loved one put an end to their happiness?
Additional: Since my original post, Bamboo House has been nominated for best Short Fiction at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017.