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.

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.

Director Louise C. Galizia Opens Up About #oneshortfilmamonth.

Find someone interested in filming your work… check!

Hope that that someone visualises your characters and situations through a similarly-shaped set of lenses… check!

Cast a furtive glance to the heavens and pray that your box-checking someone also has the drive and ambition to attract and mobilise additional talent to roll up collective filmmaking sleeves and actually make a flippin’ filmCHECK!

We count ourselves very lucky to have met Louise who continues to impress us with an unerring sense of ‘mission’ and her capacity to work quickly and efficiently towards a quality end product: it’s why we’re happy to write for her.

Two of our scripts have featured on Louise’s #oneshortfilmamonth project with a third slated for later in the year. She recently posted a blog about her methods and motivations which is well worth a look:

#oneshortfilmamonth – Louise C. Galizia

View story at Medium.com

Funnies In The Funniest Places

Andy pulls together a little of what makes Rich Teasers tick on the comedy front. And tock. And chime on the hour…

* * * * *

We write a lot of comedy here at Rich Teasers.  In fact, the only time we’re not squaring off chunky layers of laugh cement with the funny trowel is when we’re writing about people breathing their last to scratchy old Erik Satie records or hideous acts of butchery and cannibalism in the bad-dream backwoods of mid-18th Century America (tease, tease…).

As committed as we are to diverse storylines and styles, funny is never too far from the front of the class with a hand in the air and an apple for Teacher whenever we sit for an earnest, brow-furrowed script brainstorm.  Just turning the briefest of thoughts to any of the following comic staples is enough for us to spray hot, milky tea over thousands of pounds of sensitive and irreplaceable computer equipment:

  • man looking over shoulder tripping on kerb;
  • man falling into canal after being hit on head by plank;
  • jogger ricocheting off lamppost into canal;
  • semi-naked cyclist riding through fence panel into canal;
  • anyone slipping on poo and skidding into canal [funnier if Prince Philip or Bono];
  • woman suffering from dementia in care home.

Hang on… dementia? How’s that funny? Any combination of poo, plank, canal and Bono is a guaranteed, cast-iron giggle winner so why chuck in an inglorious poke at a terrifying, dignity-sapping condition like dementia…?

We recently wrote a comic short called Home For The Bewildered [see LOGLINES] which was inspired by an observation of middle-stage Alzheimer’s during a Sunday lunch with friends. One of the dining fraternity brought along his elderly mother, fully in the grip of the ‘forgetfuls’. She forgot where she was. She forgot why there was food in front of her. She forgot my name. Repeatedly. My mate’s poor old mum. My poor old mate who’s had to sit back and watch the slow draining away of all that awareness and self-possession without the slightest power to stop it. No great glut of tummy chuckles there then.

DOCTOR:  It appears the tumour is inoperable, Mr. Jones.  I’m so very sorry.

[still on the phone, MR. JONES jogs into a lamppost and ricochets into an adjacent canal]

Except we all laughed over roast and pudding that Sunday. Quite a lot as it happened. Not at the condition. Not at the loss of dignity or the frightening appreciation of how it all ends in the long run. We laughed at those moments in isolation when circular conversations, repeated questions and baffling non-sequiturs are just plain funny, regardless of how or why they come about. They make us all a little forgetful with their sudden and inexplicable interjections. A little less self-possessed, caught in the dazzling headlight of the moment. Trying desperately not to express the slightest amusement at the many tail-chasing breaks in proceedings, it took me a while to realise my mate was chuckling through every meandering, yes-but-no-but interaction with his mum. He just didn’t seem like a man at the most sharp, most painful end of this deeply unfunny affliction.

Sid_James

A man laughing at a cycle/plank/canal incident yesterday

It would’ve been easy to part company with a few mumbled fibs about early Monday morning starts then spend the remainder of the weekend hoping to God our own marbles wouldn’t one day file for divorce, but it didn’t end thus. We left instead after a great catch-up, a few good laughs and some wonderful, funny memories of a lovely lady who couldn’t quite put her finger on her lunch.

And that’s where we often find ‘funny’ at Rich Teasers:  stuck somewhere in the middle of the not-so-funny barrel of awkward, collar-tugging titters. Not because it’s deliberately provocative. Not because it’s more worthy than the poo-and-plank stuff or because “nobody’s done it for laughs yet“. Home For The Bewildered came about because a confused old lady in a care home can be as funny as a semi-naked cyclist riding through a fence panel into a canal. And sometimes she might not be as confused as she appears – just have a squizz at the script…

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As always, if you want to know more about our scripts or wish to explore the possibility of filming one, have a browse through our LOGLINES section or strike up a conversation via our contacts in, er… CONTACTS.

RICH Lists: Andy’s 10 Best Films.

So Rich had his moment in the sun, inexplicably missing out ‘Ishtar’ and ‘Sex Lives Of The Potato Men’ – films that’ll be inexplicably missed off this list too…

Andy has a crack at his own “10 Best” after a brow-furrowing, no-particular-order brain trowel through decades of great film. And ‘Cool Runnings’ if there’s nothing else to watch.

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  1. THE FRENCH CONNECTION – 1971

Hackman and ‘that’ pork pie hat. An antithetical New York to ‘Sex In The City’ where police officers fire their guns a lot (sometimes at each other), confuse ‘questioning’ with ‘assault’ and never go to magazine launches with Sarah Jessica-Parker. You get the feeling door-hinge salesmen in early ’70s New York must’ve made an absolute killing judging by the NYPD’s predilection for opening doors with the soles of their Size 11s. I also place the iconic, howling car chase across Brooklyn a notch above McQueen’s cat-and-mouse tyre shredder in ‘Bullitt’: Hackman’s tenacity during the lengthy FC sequence is almost coronary-inducing. Incidentally, both chases were choreographed and executed by acclaimed stunt driver Bill Hickman who makes extended cameos in both films. Hickman was also besties with James Dean who didn’t drive quite as well.

  1.  THE WILD BUNCH – 1969

A Western with a Schwarzenegger-level body count, made when the big man was still flexing his pecs in his undies and a body count was a yardstick to measure how well you were doing in your South-East Asian dirty war. William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and friends gurn, grimace and growl through a succession of gunfights and questionable business transactions: they kill their own gang members; they kill old ladies who don’t like booze; they kill an entire Mexican army regiment with a machine gun. Sam Peckinpah expends an awful lot of ammunition and propels men and horses through shop windows in slow motion as he crafts an elegiac lament for the passing of the Old West and its dubiously romantic ways… by killing absolutely everyone and everything in it. WARNING: contains Warren Oates.

  1. ’71 – 2014

An absolutely stunning portrayal of The Troubles in microcosm: young army recruits stuck with a thankless and dangerous policing task; Republicans and Loyalists plotting and planning behind the barricades on grim Belfast streets; shady British Intelligence-types playing all sides off against each other. A chase movie at heart as one young recruit finds himself cut off from his unit with the IRA hot on his heels, the film nevertheless subtly – and very eruditely – portrays a bewildering array of attitudes and standpoints that demonstrate just how politically and socially complex the ‘Northern Ireland issue’ was back in the 70s. I’ve never before seen a film display such a breadth and depth of topical knowledge in such a short window.

  1.  NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD – 1968

George A. Romero turned the horror genre completely on its head with his seminal low-budget zombie kickstarter. Young children were in the audience when this first screened in October ’68 as ‘horror’ generally cut through with a pretty blunt, campy edge. There’s nothing remotely campy about the anxious, disbelieving news reports of country-wide mass murders. Or the worrying close-up shots of the windows as darkness falls. Or the sight of an 11-year-old girl tucking hungrily in to her dead dad in the cellar. Romero also plays dirty trickster with the ending, allowing the hero to survive the titular night only to take a sheriff’s bullet square in the physog the following morning and wind up piled on a mini hillock of burning corpses. The guts and gore certainly shocked at the time but the ‘no-one-here-gets-out-alive’ motif genuinely troubled cinema goers used to the triumphant hero staple. “They’re coming to get you, Barbara… oh sh*t, they really are coming to get you, Barbara!”

  1.  PATHS OF GLORY – 1957

Kirk Douglas gets an entire regiment of French soldiers to fritter away on an ill-conceived attack on the German-held ‘Anthill’, a defensive network of trenches tougher than 3 Jet Li-stuffed Jason Stathams. With the attack breaking down for the want of any living rifle-carrying folk to help push it forward, the French high command elects to blame-file the tragic debacle under ‘cowardice’, graciously agreeing to reduce their death list from 100 to 3 randomly-picked rank-and-file scapegoats (one of whom is bodge-faced Hollywood fruit-and-nut, Timothy Carey). A defence lawyer in civvy street, Kirk steps in to sort this objectionable farce out for good ‘n’ all only to find a fait accompli for execution with its fait so entirely accompli-ed that it’s an exercise in frustration just watching the poor sod waste his breath (I genuinely shouted at the telly the first time I watched the court martial sequence). Bodge-faced Tim, Ralph Meeker and spooky barman Lloyd from ‘The Shining’ are duly taken out and shot – to encourage others to go out and be shot voluntarily – leaving an embittered Kirk to square his Spartacun (?) shoulders and ready another hapless bunch of corpses-in-waiting for a second pointless crack. The real power of this Kubrickian (??) classic is its deeper understanding of the abstractive ‘futility of war’ as a consequence of the limitless stupidity and intractability of individuals with the power to advocate and perpetuate it. Better pick a comedy next…

Paul Newman made over 60 films but I doubt I could name half of them.  I could probably name more of his salad dressings at a push.

  1.  GROSSE POINTE BLANK – 1997

OK, so it’s not a comedy in the strictest sense, but anything with Dan Aykroyd in it’s bound to inflate a little more chuckle space into the middle of that ‘comic thriller’ Venn diagram. Despite a modest showing at the box-office, the pearl in its oyster is its premise. Put Seagal or Stallone in the role of a disenchanted government assassin and they’d be taking down drug cartels or rescuing retirement-age POWs from the jungles of Vietnam with their serious faces on. John Cusack, however, drags his disenchanted government assassin ass off to his 10-year high school reunion, wisecracks laconically throughout and lets that pearl of a premise carry the joke onwards and upwards: he kills a guy with a pen at his high school reunion!; he disposes of a corpse in a furnace with an old pal at his high school reunion!; he kills Dan Aykroyd with a massive television just after his high school reunion! For me, the plausible implausibility of the whole thing is the cinematic equivalent of a stacked bacon sandwich the morning after a big night out – simply irresistible. Despite Minnie Driver.

Newman

Goes great with The Sundance Kid. And pasta.

  1.  ZULU – 1964

The 11-Victoria-Cross defence of Rorke’s Drift given the Technirama treatment and crafted into a polished piece of British cinematic awesomeness. Stanley Baker is a veritable rock. Michael Caine is coolly aristocratic. Nigel Green is shouty and avuncular with an Old Testament wisdom. The speccy Welsh bloke from ‘Please Sir!‘ is… Welshy. Never mind the liberal sprinklings of ‘artistic licence’ throughout (Zulu/Redcoat sing-off anyone…?), the film’s a cast iron blood stirrer and works hard to be even-handed with its positive treatment of all parties involved. Not all individual portrayals were universally adored, however: James Booth’s whiskey-loving, authority-hating Henry Hook was a sharp contrast to the teetotal model career soldier who snagged a VC for bravery on January 22nd 1879. Hook’s own daughter walked out of the UK premier which screened on the 85th anniversary of the engagement. Look out for Chief Buthelezi’s cameo at the beginning (clue: he isn’t one of the Redcoats). Peter Jackson modelled his ‘Lord Of The Rings’ battle for Helm’s Deep on the combat sequences in ‘Zulu’.

Goes great with The Sundance Kid. And pasta.

  1.  SOUTH PARK: THE MOVIE – 1999

Shut your f*@$ing face Uncle Fuckaaaaaa…“.

There’s really nothing more to add here.

  1.  BAD LIEUTENANT – 1992

Harvey Keitel bottoms out and outs his bottom in Abel Ferrara’s dark and difficult-to-watch litany of sex, sleaze and drug guzzling. Less a tale of redemption in a Catholic overcoat than a powerful study of the kind of behavioural contradictions that mark out each and every one of us, though perhaps not to the same polar extremes as Harvey and his al fresco gluteus maximus. In spite of his sense-killing addictions and abuses of power, the Lieutenant nevertheless metes out a kind of forgiving ‘second chance’ justice at odds with his destructive manner and mentality – an articulation of ‘good’ by other means, if you like. A really, really fascinating film once you get over the ‘hero’ indulging in cocaine and threesomes, blackmailing teenage girls for sexual gratification and shooting his car radio over the baseball scores.

  1.  GET CARTER – 1971

A gold-plated British crime classic. Ruthless, remorseless Michael Caine comes ‘home’ to the grim North-East to put some serious hurt on the shady types implicated in the death of his kid brother. He knifes the barman from ‘Minder’. He throws Coronation Street’s “Alf Roberts” from the roof of a parking building. He threatens tough guys with a shotgun in his birthday suit. Not even the creepily laconic John Osborne can deviate Caine from his vengeful course: those who manage to avoid the stabbings and involuntary off-building aerobatics end up drowned, poisoned, clubbed to death or shot instead. Caine’s divestment of the cheeky, chirpy, cockney geezer that garnered him such fame in the years immediately preceding ‘Get Carter’ is a gamble that pays off in spades, but the prize for ‘Most Convincing Baddie’ must surely go to supporting cast member Ian Hendry. Blighted by alcoholism and ill health, Hendry lost out on the role of Jack Carter to Caine and wore the indignation of his ‘demotion’ and envy of Caine’s success on his sleeve throughout the entire shoot. Hendry barely conceals his loathing and prodigious beverage intake during their on-screen exchanges.

Subs bench:

Deliverance (1972); The Killers (1964); Dead Man’s Shoes (2004); A Field In England (2013); Rollerball (1975).

RICH List: Rich’s 10 Best Films.

Engross yourself in conversation with a director or writer-type for long enough and talk will invariably turn to motion picture faves, hates and Holy Grails. Finding out what someone slots into these cinematic pigeonholes can serve as a useful window into the creative soul of the listee.

Or it can red-flag the guy dressed like Brandon Lee in ‘The Crow’ touting his “whimsical” rom-com next to a stack of low-budget X-rated European slashers and Dario Argento DVDs.

Rich takes time out from drafting another short to indulge his passion for drafting lists. Then re-ordering them. Then changing the font. Then re-ordering them again. Then agonising over that second font choice…

* * * * *

  1.  BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF – 2001

A film seemingly comprised from randomly generated elements: werewolves, psychopathic gypsies, a religious conspiracy, an incestuous longing, 18th Century France, and a heavily-tattooed, somersaulting native American kung-fu ninja! Strangely, it works. Even in French.

  1.  THE LORD OF THE RINGS – [all 3 films. I can have that as one choice, right?] – 2001, 2002, 2003

Firstly, for massive geeks like me, this is the equivalent of a pilgrimage. Fantasy taken seriously after all the “Muscles & Mullets” of 80s fantasy flicks. Peter Jackson treats them as alternative history and wrangles magic from a seamless blend of CGI, models and mattes, sets and stunts, and cast and costumes – ‘epic’ done right, in painstaking detail. Not a mullet in sight. Chris Waddle missed his chance.

  1.  THE USUAL SUSPECTS – 1995

An underworld urban myth of the devil in disguise played out across action set-pieces, intense interviews, and narrative sleight-of-hand. The whole cast plays a blinder, especially an Asian-Welsh Pete Postlethwaite. Features the greatest name in the whole of film history. “I am Keyser Soze. And so’s my wife.”

  1.  ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST – 1975

Fantastic story of a bunch mentally unwell vs. the medical establishment (read: misfits vs. conformity – the story was penned by ‘merry prankster’ Ken Kesey who pretty much wrote the book on misfitting) with a tour de force in unbridled mania from Jack Nicholson and a punch-the-air moment with a removable wash-stand. Nice shirt Chezzeroo!

  1.  MEMENTO – 2000

Back-to-fronty, twisty-turny and upside-downy… above all just an engrossing story from whichever direction you look at it and so clever with its chronology it has a Ph.D in timey-wimeyness. Watch the DVD – it includes a version of the movie edited to show the story ‘in the right order.’ Whoever thought Mike from ‘Neighbours’ would ever get so far?

Martial arts has worked wonders for Steven Seagal:  watch your lame ‘ex-Special Forces chef with wolf spirit guide’ pitch fall flat on its arse then chin-kick a studio exec through a window and – hey presto! – there’s $50million wired to your off-shore account for Under Siege 3…

  1.  DANGEROUS LIAISONS – 1988

Conniving, witty and waspish tale of decaying morals, reputations and social one-upmanship, with a ‘none more Malkovich’ performance from the rakish and razor-sharp Mr. M. Words used as weapons, love used as a landmine, all set in period splendour and dressed in French finery. Keanu Reeves gets a look-in too, just not a very big one:

     “Tell us what we should think of the opera, Chevalier?”

     “Woooah… it’s sublime, don’t you find… dude?”

  1.  MULHOLLAND DRIVE – 2001

Baffling, bonkers but brilliant. Does any of it make sense? Does that really matter? Possibly pretentious, possibly piffle but compelling viewing. A film to watch with your friends and play ‘Create Your Own Theory.’ A film with more questions than answers…or is it? Either you revel in the style or you’re holding the noose at the head of the David Lynch-mob.

  1.  GLADIATOR – 2000

A great film. A film with Russell Crowe in it. There’s not a large overlap in that particular Venn diagram but Crowe delivers here, in a blood ‘n’ guts tale of righteous revenge against a proper pantomime baddie. Not sure it will ‘echo through eternity’ but it will hold up well for a long time. A duck’s quack probably won’t echo through eternity either.

Seagal

Not on the list. Knows exactly how to find you. Also cooks.

  1.  GROUNDHOG DAY – 1993

No-one does hangdog like Bill Murray. Or multiple suicide. (No, I can’t listen to ‘I Got You Babe’ without wanting to top myself either). A perfectly structured comedy with gags galore. Even the presence of Andi MacDowall doesn’t put me off this one. I can watch it again… and again… and again… and again…

  1.  LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – 1962

Peter O’Toole being all English and Arabian and conflicted in his loyalties all at the same time. Deserts, dust and received pronunciation. And a man on a camel who takes a really, really long time to arrive – but then it is Omar Sharif and the casino’s at least 3 days ride…

*****

Also-rans:

Silence of the Lambs; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Apocalypse Now; The Exorcist; The French Connection.

Citizen Kane? Never seen it. Probably shouldn’t admit that.

On Collaborations [Or “Scripted Togethernessess”] – Pt. 2

Rich shows the other side of the coin… and it’s ‘heads’.  Or rather, ‘two heads’.

* * * * *

Firstly: yeah, what he said [Part 1]. Co-writing works for us for a numbers of reasons and can yield advantages which might be worth thinking about if you’re a ‘lone-wolf.’ Or a lone Wilf.

Often Andy and I start work on HALF an idea and because there are two of us, it becomes a WHOLE idea… whereas if there’s just one of you, it might remain a HALF-arsed idea for a WHOLE lot longer. You might not even think it’s half an idea, just the beginning of a fragment of a teensy bit of an idea. But share it with your co-writing mucker and see what happens. Your co-writer has an idea that latches itself onto your first idea, which in turn sparks something else and before you know it, there’s a plot unfolding. And if nothing happens then you were right, it wasn’t even half an idea and you’d be better off moving onto something else.

Never under-estimate the value of having someone whose job it is to listen to you spout out your half-ideas and add useful suggestions about how to mould them into something whole or just into… something. Someone who can ask you searching questions like:

  • Why did the killer use the candlestick and not the rope / revolver / lead piping / mechanical egg-whisk?
  • Wouldn’t it be better if that character was an old woman instead of Tom Cruise?
  • Do we HAVE to have a llama in this scene?

Someone to work off, so that between you, you can tease out what the story, or scene, or character really needs. Or someone who will just say to you:

Er… No.

Sometimes you just need that. But it’s better coming from someone you trust, someone with a vested interest in making your manuscript as good as it possibly can be. The deal is of course that you have to put that trust in too. It doesn’t work if you get in a huff about your golden egg of an idea being cricket-batted by your writing buddy rather than transformed into a delightful soufflé. It only works if you aren’t too precious about your writing; if you are, screenwriting might not be for you in all honesty. This is a collaborative business and it pays to be flexible. Bend in the breeze. Like a ninja. A bendy ninja.

Having another PoV alongside your own is also an instant benchmark; you can tell instantly if your partner is excited by your suggestion, has suggestions of her/his own or stands staring at her/his shoes whilst tumbleweed rolls past with some plaintive harmonica. This is especially important if you need to get a sense of whether something is funny or not—much harder to do when you’re on your own, reeling off your one-liners to yourself to see if you crack up (or just crack).

ANDY:  …so it’s basically a Jane Austen-y type period romance that ends with a Mafia/Yakuza gun battle at a dolphinarium.

RICH: …??!?

ANDY:  Right.  I’ll just pop the old coat on and be off then…

Andy and I have been mates for more than 20 years, which helps. It means we share a sense of humour and frames of reference, most of which fall under guitar-bands, cartoons from the 70s and savoury snacks. This gives a kind of short-hand that helps us to short-cut rather than short-circuit.

But more than this, having a writing partner does make you GET ON WITH IT. Sure, play ideas ping-pong, act stuff out to see if it works, wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care… as long you’re being productive. When there’s two of you in the room, the process can take many forms. Even if one of you isn’t in the mood, you feed off the energy of your other writing ‘twinnie’. When I write on my own, the risk of an energy crisis is greater than an OPEC embargo – the ideas ping-pong has no ping, just pong, and the lure of noodling around in the Twitter-verse instead is too great to resist.

Having a mate to write with helps you encourage/cajole/beat great work out of one another and there’s definitely a sense that you don’t want to let your co-writer down… or let them write all the best bits.

RT8

Some chalk and cheese just feeding off each other’s cool and diverse ideas, yesterday.

Also, being in a team means the work tends to take shape a little quicker, though with one caveat: that you actually DO THE WORK. That means, no faffing* around, chatting about the footie, girlfriends, boyfriends, girl-boy friends, footie friends, or just last night’s drunken shenanigans**. Unless of course it leads to you actually writing a scene about exactly that. Co-writing can be great if it gives you more focus, but beware that it can derail your best intentions too.

It also helps if you divvy up the workload: if one of you is in full-flow on a full-blown flight of fancy, the other needs to grab pen/paper, PC, Dictaphone or camera to make sure the outpourings are recorded somehow, somewhere before they flutter away like rainbow-coloured sparkle dust in a gust of Satanic hell-trump. Or, if one of you does dialogue better, the other takes care of the structuring and scenic ‘book-ending’. And so it moves forward, as it does for me ‘n’ him, alternating the lead-and-follow:  Holmes and Watson; Bodie and Doyle; Terry and June.

But we always, ALWAYS, take turns making the tea.

[* faffing is a word. Yes it is.]

[** also a word. Official.]

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As always, if you want to know more about our scripts or wish to explore the possibility of filming one, have a browse through our LOGLINES section or strike up a conversation via our contacts in, er… CONTACTS.