With all the terrific festival-pick news drifting across the North Atlantic throughout January, we had to sit on our hands like fidgeting five-year-olds while a cracking score closer to home filtered through to waiting hopefuls…
The 2019 Crystal Palace International Film Festival!
As January dragged and drizzled into February, we would’ve been forgiven for thinking there’d be nothing but festival tumbleweed until deep into the Spring. Not so with plucky, mucky ‘Snug As A Bug’ out on the circuit: approbation in Albion with selection for CPIFF 2019 in its 10th Anniversary year.
Kudos. Validation. A tonic shot for the endorphin drones.
Then we hear about the award nomination: kudos-plus; validation GTi; endorphins through the wazoo. We write to get the writing noticed – when a respected funny-someone judging ‘funny’ finds your ‘funny’ funny, you can’t help but feel that you’re scratching the right creative itch. We certainly don’t write to get ourselves noticed – nobody deserves that.
‘Snug’ will be screening during the Gala Finale on March 30th and we’re bloody well going. Here’s a taste of what else is planned…
This is just getting silly…
Nothing’s supposed to happen in January; pub abstinence; kale smoothies; suffocating ennui; nine o’clock bed. January’s when excitement, energy, surprise and unexpected cool stuff take their own vacations, safe in the knowledge that nobody needs or anticipates them for 31 joyless, colourless, water-flavoured days.
That said, not everyone has a cheeky flick like ‘Snug As A Bug’ in their corner…
Oregon’s an interesting place. Having nabbed the lion’s share of the American beaver fur trade during the War of 1812, we Brits demanded a sizeable portion of the Oregon Territory extending deeper into the United States (nearly Mexico) than the United States was prepared to stomach. The United States in turn demanded a sizeable portion of the Oregon Territory extending much further north (nearly Alaska) than we Brits were prepared to entertain. Cue much political toing-and-froing, a rush of land-grabbing settlers, a furious few rounds of mutual moustache twirling and a threat of war at a time when we Brits were still mixing it in the heavyweight division. Calmer heads prevailing, however, more diplomatically-inclined Brits and United States-ians agreed to split the disputed territory cleanly across the midriff at the 49th Parallel. The bit from the bellybutton down to the Converse soles became America’s 33rd state in 1859 to much fanfare and moustache twirling.
It’s capital is Salem. It’s known as The Beaver State. It’s legalised cannabis for medicinal and recreational use. More importantly, it’s home to the annual Oregon Short Film Festival. Even more importantly, its 2019 iteration will be screening ‘Snug’ at the 5th Avenue Cinema in Portland on 23rd February!
We might just stick a cherry in our kale smoothies.
Check out the full 3-day itinerary here – don’t forget to pop along if you’re in Portland, seeking to carve a surreptitious slice of Oregon off for Trump or Liz The Second…
After a successful year of festival running, screening and kudos earning, “Snug As A Bug” is set to return to the bosom of our writerly home where we’ll listen to it’s tall tales of life on the road and overload the washing machine with it’s dirty laundry before packing it off for distribution.
Anticipating its arrival – like the Pale Rider, cresting the majestic dental peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains – we could be forgiven for thinking that it was done with the itinerant life… but no! News from the Jelly Film Festival that a semi-final posting warranted a laurel and a later-year screening was almost trampled underfoot by the breathless Hermes advising that another film festival was eager to put the “Snug” on it’s estimable slate!
We’re sworn to secrecy for now (organiser’s orders…), but let’s just say we’ll be able to get to it without disrupting the fragile ecosystem of our financial holdings.
More to follow…
Amongst the usual new-year writers’ hubbub of script scrubbing, goal setting and project whiteboarding, we haven’t lost sight of the fact that our latest budgeted short “Making A Killing” (starring Adrian Scarborough and Tiff Stevenson) is currently doing some sterling work raising our profile with key distributors.
Yes, we’re pleased as supercharged punch with the final product. Yes, we want to see it owning screenings like a boss. But as Confucius might have said: patience is a dish best served in a locked Tupperware bowl.
We’re happy enough to wait for the key. Besides, we’ve got a couple of Mars Bars on standby if things get really rough…
A short trailer can be viewed on director James Debenham’s Vimeo page.
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.
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…?
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…