Latest Short Film ‘Between’ Puts An Unsettling Spin On The Family Picnic…

Perhaps it’s an echo of the horrid little boy in us that we see and appreciate beautiful things… then do our level best to scuff them up.

Thus it was a healthy and happy woodland perambulation with the family was used as the basis for our M. R. James-esque spooky short ‘Between’ which we shot in the summer with a mindful eye on the shortening days to come.

The shoot itself deserves special mention for a truly collaborative, problem-solving team effort that saw us overcome equipment issues, site access, body doubling, dog playfulness and an August morning that threatened throughout to bat for the other side. We writers became carriers, crew and provisioners of grub and essential tech. Family members endured leaves, mud and mosquitos for scene takes and resets. The director, DOP and cast pulled together splendidly to circumvent all the inherent problems of working with kids, animals and unpredictable elements.

The finished article is a real testament to everyone’s ability to convert difficulties into quality end product – I think we’re as proud of the process as we are of the film it produced. Many thanks to Louise Galizia [@cuepictures], Caroline Bridges [@dancingdop], Georgina Blackledge [@GBlackledge], Lewis Cartwright [@LewisCartwright], Tristellar Music [@TristellarMusic], Alexey Moskvin [@_alexey_moskvin], Andy’s daughters Lily and Molly McCormick and their remarkably well-behaved pet pooch Cooper.

Watch ‘Between’ here and let us know what you think.

Collaboration Is NOT A Dirty Word…

Recently, Shooting People asked community members to comment on their experiences with the site’s Script Pitch service – a conduit through which screenwriters can connect with filmmakers to start building something beautiful… so long as they keep the dialogue going. Despite those times a promising something fizzled out to nothing, we haven’t done too badly from the conversations that carried on.

So we replied:

False starts are emblematic of any collaborative venture, so we tend to ignore them: connections that go nowhere, dialogues that end before they ever really begin – who hasn’t been there…? The real value of a network becomes clearer once those who feed in decide to trust their instincts and take a chance on a project they might not have initially considered.

We had some false starts. Some dead-end dialogues. Then we connected with a script seeker on SP who’d never directed or particularly considered comedy. The script she was curious about was a comedy, but it had an indirect appeal. We met for a beer at the BFI. We talked. We committed. Rewrites were made to develop a shared vision and accommodate production values. People were drafted in from the real-life production world to work on ‘something fun’, and within the year, we had ‘Snug As A Bug’ filmed, screened and earning laurels on the festival circuit.

Immediately after, we began working with Snug’s producer on ‘Making A Killing’ where all the necessary production ducks fell into their rows in less than five months. This screened for the first time in late September.

More dialogues. More connections. Four more shorts were made in the calendar year with the director of ‘Snug’. A feature’s being pushed. Some very interesting people are getting to know what we’re about… and it’s no word of a lie to say that it all fans out from that one connection on Script Pitch for a project that wasn’t necessarily ‘the one’ for a director we’ve now made five films with.

If I’d say anything to anyone coming into this diverse collaborative network, it’s open your mind a lot further than you’ve opened it up until now. All of our successes, major and minor, feature collaborators who’ve made major comfort zone or preference concessions to see these projects through… quite a lot of which has rubbed off on us.

And so on we go, ready for more new projects, more new conversations.

Who wants to talk…?

 

‘Making A Killing’ Makes Landfall At The BFI…!!

Of course we’d been through all this before, but a debut screening’s always going to test the durability of any writer’s nerves: would the punters show, would they like our work, and would they want to stick around to talk about it after… or would they ALL have to duck out to a function they couldn’t get out of “somewhere in Covent Garden”…?

We needn’t have got ourselves so worked up. The punters came, the punters liked it and the punters stuck around long after the bar had been drunk dry a second time and all that remained were the pretzels.

Our latest dark comedy short ‘Making A Killing’ made its splash and cast its ripples with a very healthy crowd in attendance. Stars Adrian Scarborough and Tiff Stevenson received due praise for elevating the funnies throughout and we were particularly pleased to hear director James Debenham, producer Rosie Wells and editor Will Peverett lauded for their efforts.

[Photos courtesy of Tony Hay]

But now that ‘Making A Killing’ has filled its knotted handkerchief-on-a-stick with bread and cheese for the long road to wider recognition, we’re not content to simply stand back and bid it a teary-eyed farewell from the garden gate. We’ll keep pace beside it like Dick Whittington’s feline familiar, but just like any single-minded puss, we’ll be nipping off here and there to commence writing from scratch, continue working on developing projects and occasionally pounce on mice and ravage bin bags.

In fact, there’s another short in post-production we’re dying to tell you about… but we’re happy for ‘Making A Killing’ to hog the limelight here – we’re extremely proud of it and incredibly grateful to everyone who helped it get this far.

Think you all deserve a few stills…

Short Film ‘Bloody Tourists’ Screened By London Short Film.

On 3rd September, we pottered up to CafĂ© 1001 on Brick Lane, E1, to front our short film ‘Bloody Tourists’ at a screening hosted by London Short Film (LSF).

Resisting the twin temptations of attractively discounted bhuna and beer along the way, we walked into a smart and very well attended event showcasing the diverse work of eight filmmakers over two halves. We were also surprised and delighted to run into one of the stars of ‘Bloody Tourists’, actor and stuntman-in-the-making Harry Palmer who so willingly put himself forward to be chased down by an angry pack of dogs in an unflattering boiler suit.

These events are very useful things to pitch for and attend if you’re able to briefly suspend that competitive instinct to ‘rank’ your efforts against the work of others – there’ll always be something to praise right alongside something to pick apart. Indeed, it’s listening to the filmmakers after the fact that often sparks the most interest: visually gorgeous shorts that nevertheless disappointed the directors who shot them overall; interesting and engaging ‘story’ pieces that just clipped the last few narrative hurdles near the finishing line. Even if you can’t help your preconceived ideas of what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ short film, it’s always surprising how much more you learn from a Q&A, no matter how brief.

Being writers, we tend to look at – and therefore judge – everything from a narrative perspective. So what if you start with some incredible drone acrobatics, showing two circus clowns aggressively playing ping-pong at the edge of The Grand Canyon…? Do nothing to explore that engaging thread and you’ve produced nothing more than an advert for your piloting skills, right…?

One of the films on the evening’s bill seemed to fall into that kind of ‘image-heavy, narrative-light’ list of flicks for writers panning for storytelling gold to slosh dismissively back into the water. We watched – curious, then impatient, then confused – and then we sloshed it dismissively back into the water. After the completion of the first half, the filmmakers were invited to take the stage. We listened – curious, then a little more enlightened, then a little more forgiving – and we realised that their presentation was more a ‘near miss’ than it was an outright failure.

And wasn’t that, after all, the point of making and showing these shorts…? That these were the great ideas we had in our mind’s eye to begin with, and with all the budget, time and expertise constraints we faced along the way, this is how close we got to realising them…? That at least is worth showing some credit for.

We’re very grateful to LSF for picking our film for their event and hope to grace another Q&A sometime soon. If you’re wondering if we managed to suspend our competitive instinct on the night, let’s just say we came away fairly confident of a podium finish…

Short Film ‘Between’ Raises Level Of Threat To Defcon “Gasp!”…

Funny how a sunny family stroll through the glorious Kent countryside could lead to a spooky-assed short exploring the recurrent nightmare of a horrifying discovery…

But then that’s what we’re all about here at Rich Teasers: digging out the funnies from the darkest holes or plonking gut-wrenching revelations in the eyeline of a sumptuous rural view. Thus it was for that amiable family amble through the Garden of England way back when and a spot of mental bookmarking at an elevated treeline that wouldn’t have felt as welcoming on a solo slog at sundown. You don’t always need a starless night, a rundown house on a hill and an axe-wielding loon in a hockey mask to put the hairs on the back of ones neck on high alert.

Fast forward several months and we found ourselves back at that ambivalent backdrop with director Louise C. Galizia, DOP Caroline Bridges and actors Lewis Cartwright and Georgina Blackledge to shoot ‘Between’ – the spooky-assed short exploring all those things we said it explored two paragraphs back.

Despite a few early equipment travails and the ever-present threat of a mood-altering mizzle, the shoot was a great success, due in no small part to the hardy collaborative shift put in by all involved. Andy’s two daughters and the family dog also provided sufficient evidence to the contrary that you should never work with animals or children. One daughter even put in a solid shift as a body double – the quietest she’s been in years…

Between shot

‘Between’ was written and filmed for the #oneshortfilmamonth project and will be released some time in October 2018.

It’s pretty spooky-assed.

Happy Critics & A Category Win In Toronto!

Word came in on the Toronto screening of ‘Snug As A Bug’ on July 5th… and the Word was GOOD!

Not only did the rakishly ruggish ‘Snug’ snaffle the gong for ‘Best Cinematography’, it also left an audience of FEEDBACK Female Film Festival critics wanting more. Do we accept the verdict that we wrote an “adult cartoon”…? Yes we do. Are we happy with the plaudits heaped on the writing, acting and directing…? Yep. Is the praise lavished on our comic beats and timing forcing a shy “aw, shucks” smile of gratitude on the outside whilst inwardly we’re charging around the walls of our inflating egos with our shirts pulled over our heads…? You betcha!

What really struck us was the number of critics calling for a feature or series… because that was precisely the motivation for creating ‘Snug’ in the first place. Its big sister, ‘Happy Birthday Mrs. Shine’, came long before the thought of a bookended showcase short, so to hear viewers wishing there was more to the story bodes well for our future feature offensive.

Check out the filmed audience reaction here:

Thanks again, FFFF, and thanks to you too, Toronto: we’d celebrate with a Ruben at Shopsy’s, but we’re just the wrong side of the Atlantic at present…

A Win, A Shiny New Thing & A Mini-Revelation.

At the beginning of the month, we were notified that ‘Snug As A Bug’ had placed in the One-Reeler Short Film Competition – a smashing new piece of industry endorsement that came at the same time the film was screening in Toronto as part of the FEEDBACK Female Film Festival

…at the same time we were being reminded by our calendar-crunching social media accounts that it’d been a year since an I-dotted, T-crossed ‘Snug’ birthed in a central London editing suite… at the same time we realised two years had passed since a script with a different name had risen to the top of a keen director’s slush pile and gotten the whole snuggy, ruggy snowball rolling.

So cheers, One-Reeler! You’ve been added to a growing list of favourite Rich Teaser festivals and competitions: a tacking, broad-sailed “yes-please” on a rolling, wrecking sea of “no-thankyous”. Or something less overtly nautical.

“If you’d told me two years ago I’d be the first man from Greater Manchester in space when I was still clearing up half-eaten plates of sausage and mash in Mecca Bingo in Bolton… I’d have laughed in your stupid face.”

In 2016, we had lots of content, no films, no writing credits (no terribly recent ones, anyway…) and no fast-track plans for demolishing all the insurmountable-looking industry walls separating us from Square 1. Then someone liked something we wrote. Then someone else did. Then the BBC invited us over to Broadcasting House to wax lyrical about our work and tell us we could “absolutely” write for this industry. Then a film got financed and made. Then three more. Then we won some laurels. Then some more. Then something else we wrote attracted the interest of some people we could never have imagined getting close to when we first started. Then that got made too. Then we acquired interest in a feature. Then we began writing a television series.

Then we realised we’d gone a lot further than we’d ever thought we’d get two-point-something years ago.

As planless as we might’ve been way, way back in 2016 (when we toiled in sepia with top hats and smoking jackets…), the greatest favour we did ourselves was to write and write and write. If anyone was to ever give us the time of day, we weren’t going to be short of winning alternatives – after all, the Beeb got us in for a gangster flick then asked where we stood on children’s comedy. Having additional content kept working relationships going past the ends of individual projects and started fresh dialogues with new and interesting filmmaking folk. It kept us invested in our own game, revising, refining, even repurposing material as new enquiries were made and opportunities developed.

We didn’t exactly sit the wrong side of the Square 1 wall praying for a Christ-in-cornflakes style revelation of arcane industry secrets, but we did sit on a pile of finished works wondering how we’d ever get them looked at. Turns out once we got that one important break, we’d already laid the foundations to demonstrate quality, versatility, timeliness and a willingness to adapt: yes, we did have ‘other stuff’ that was just as good; yes, we could have it ready for the end of the day, week, month or Skype call; and yes, we can adjust it to fit all of X, most of Y and enough of Z to tie it all together.

Oh, and that shiny new thing…?

We’ve recently seen the assembly cut of our newest flick ‘Making A Killing’. It stars a critically-acclaimed ‘Bombshell’ actress and comedian and an Olivier Award-winning actor and accomplished nailer of tricky bathroom takes.

But I think that’s all we’ll say for now…

More too on our One-Reeler placing once we know it.