‘Snug’ Nominated For Best Comedy Award at CPIFF 2019…!

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…

‘Snug’ Proves A Hit In The Beaver State…!

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…

Near-Return Of The Prodigal Film… With More Plaudits!

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…

snug pic

Comedy Short ‘Making A Killing’ Preps For The Long Game…

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.

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.

‘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…