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?
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!
My latest script and film, Total Investigation Television. It was inspired by the currently very trendy social experiment films, which have flooded YouTube and social media. These films claim to be raising awareness about moral causes, but in reality are treating people like laboratory rats, forcing them into manufactured situations that are both dangerous and stressful. I’ve seen examples where assaults are instigated, the disadvantaged are manipulated and judged from a position of privilege, and children are put in extreme danger (a crime for which those responsible should be prosecuted for child endangerment). The filmmakers’ true intention – to scam the public to make their videos go viral, promote their companies and sell merchandise – seems to have gone unnoticed. I hope this film will draw attention to the hypocrisy of their immoral acts.
Jay is desperate to make a successful social experiment film that questions people’s morality, but his desire for success throws his own morality into question.
Additional: Since my original post, Total Investigation Television has been nominated for best Fiction at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2016, received a glowing review from Outpost 31, and been selected for St Neots Film Festival 2017.
Here is a short film script titled Nice Guy. It criticises aspects of Nice Guy Syndrome, including the self-delusion of Nice Guys™, who despite asserting that they’re the kind of guys girls really need, are motivated by self-interest, believing payment of sex is the rightful reward for their ‘niceness’. It also draws attention to social media culture, which as well as encouraging Nice Guy Syndrome, promotes an obsession with relationships and the belief one cannot be happy without one, having an adverse effect on young people’s minds. Nice Guys™ are often depicted positively in film and television, with the object of their affection realising the error of their ways and finally succumbing to their charms. I felt it was about time a more accurate portrayal was given.
Here is the intro to a ten-minute short film script I wrote in the second year of my Film & Video Degree called Heaven is a Place… It’s about an angel called Afriel who becomes disillusioned with the perfection of Heaven and leaves to live on Earth. There she achieves contentment with the realisation that happiness can only be appreciated with the prospect of failure.
The script was inspired by the Talking Heads song ‘Heaven’. The song got me thinking about the redundancy of the concept of perfection. I believe life is built around obstacles. In life, we set about overcoming these obstacles, and from this, we derive satisfaction. If these obstacles were taken away and we were given perpetual bliss, life would stay the same forever, we would achieve nothing, and existence would become completely redundant.
To me, the concept of paradise has no positive connotations. The idea that there is something ‘better’ waiting for us leads us to underappreciate what we have now. With this script, I wished to inspire people to appreciate what they have, and not be downhearted by the obstacles and failures they experience, as they are all part of the beauty of existence.
Although my writing has developed considerably since this piece, becoming more concise and down to earth (excuse the pun), the image of a funfair in Heaven filled with angels has always stuck with me. Finding its imagery persistently evocative, but unable to imagine it stretching to feature length, I’ve decided to use extracts from Heaven is a Place… in a feature film script for my MA major project. There they will be reinterpreted as the imaginings of a young protagonist: projections of his yearning for love and freedom from conformity.