Whilst I still hold out hope that the four hundred short film scripts I have written will someday become self aware and make themselves, I have decided to get a head start on technology, and actually make one of them into a short film.
It was based on an idea I either had when I was drunk, or on public transport. That is normally when I get my best ideas. If I was ever to be drunk on a train with a notepad then I would write the next Ulysses. Which is why I have never been drunk on a train with a notepad. I am scared of my own terrifying intellect.
The only problem with making this short film, was my inability to direct.
I don’t have any longings to direct. I am not very good at instructing people. I am waiting for actor’s third eyes to open so I can imprint my thoughts directly onto their brains, but in the interim I asked Tom Betts, my co writer on The Photographic Memory Recalls the Highlights of the Year, to help direct it and he was kind enough to accept.
Here Tom and myself are directing my sister in my mothers bathroom (she has gone on holiday and left me in charge of her cats. I don’t think she imagined this was what I would do with her house, but in fairness one of the cats is in the film.) We are directing my sister in a poignant scene where she had to pretend to cry. Her character, Crying Woman, had a truly fascinating arc. She went from crying, to not crying, and then back to crying again, all because of science. SCIENCE.
However she didn’t let the melancholy nature of her character affect her, and as you can see in this picture she is making a silly face.
Speaking of science, check out this band of merry chaps.
Despite their get up, these are not real scientists (well actually the man with the beard is) nor are they professional actors. Instead they are my lovely lovely friends, who were kind enough to volunteer their time to act in the short.
I am not good at telling actors what to do, but I am good at making my friends dress as scientists and rugby tackle each other in the middle of Bristol in exchange for mini rolls and ginger ale.
At one point their acting was so convincing, that one drunken gentleman mistook them for real doctors, and asked for a prostate exam! What a card! We soon put him straight and told him they were not real doctors, and any prostate exam would therefore result in internal bleeding!
I am also pretty good at writing stuff down that I want to happen, but not good at planning how that will actually happen, (you know ‘producing’) so when it came to filming a scene in which shopping bags were meant to break on cue I had not worked out how that would actually happen….I assumed cans just…. kind of…got heavier if you asked them nicely…or you know… put them… under immense psychological pressure….? No….?
This lead to much head scratching.
We eventually constructed ‘stunt bags.’ The ‘Stunt bags’ involved string being attached to cello tape which covered up tears in the bag, and when pulled was meant to rip the tape and split the bag in two. I believe the trick was stolen off Michael Bay. Sadly it didn’t work, and we quickly realised jumping up and down on the spot actually worked best. Thank you Newton. So Adam, who played Angry Man, had to do it all in ONE TAKE.
Can you imagine the pressure? We were sweating buckets.
If it didn’t work then we would have to go back inside and get MORE bags, and who could be bothered with that?
Plus we were on a strict shooting schedule, and time is money, and we had a budget of £12.50
Luckily it worked perfectly, we got it in one shot and there is NOTHING funnier than cans of soup rolling down a hill.
It lead to immense celebrations.
Here are some more photos from the day. I think they are all fairly self explanatory and you can imagine exactly what the short is about.
At the wrap party (which was also my birthday) we celebrated a successful days shoot by watching Dazed and Confused, and played drinking games. Here were the rules.
By the end we were all nicely pissed, and wondering how Ben Affleck had managed to age backwards.
But now onto the editing! And the syncing! And the grading! And the putting it on the internet! And thinking of a title for it!