Sunday, 16 October 2011

Are We in Hollywood Yet?

A few weeks ago, my mate Loz - the same one I recently blogged about going to Frightfest with - suggested we throw together a script for the Two Days Later short film competition, which he'd then go off and direct.

This isn't the first time Loz has entered a film competition.  Take this, for example, a mock-up trailer for a horror film I really goddamn want to see.   Nor would it be the first time we'd scripted together - but that's another story, that I hope I'll get to ramble on about at great length some day.

Apparently I was totally dismissive when Loz pitched his idea to me.  This was in Leicester Square, outside the Odeon there, after one of the Frightfest screenings.  I only vaguely remember the conversation.  Possibly it was after the Wicker Tree screening and I was hating on all things celluloid.

Whatever I said, Loz had enough sense not to listen.  The weekend after, he asked me to go over a rough draft he'd put together.  It was very neat, a simple setup leading into a creepy horror sequence that wasn't quite like anything I'd ever seen before.  But, like every first draft in history, it wasn't all there.  And the bits that ran away with my attention weren't always the bits Loz was focusing on.  Of the two characters, a young single mother and the deeply odd stranger she'd invited back after a night on the town, it was the single mum who drew me.  In my head, she quickly became a woman trying to balance boundless love for her child with the notion that maybe, just maybe, she shouldn't have to give up her whole life to motherhood.

I happened to be hanging out at Loz's house that weekend, and I spent a couple of hours hammering out a second draft.  Mostly I just tweaked, trying to prod it towards that idea - that you can love someone and still resent the hell out of them for the hold they have on your life.  That maybe, just sometimes, you wish they'd go away and let you have a little fun.  The result wasn't exactly Mamet or Sorkin, but it was a nice vignette, with one two-line exchange at its centre that seemed to sum up everything perfectly.  Here it is, completely out of context: 

(Hopeful, yet suspicious)
Yeah? Ever think about being a dad?

Ever think about not being a mum?

I think the first line was Loz's and the second line was mine.  Our contributions pretty much balanced out that way.  After my pass, we went for a walk - in the rain, as it turned out - and wrestled with what we figured to be the remaining glitches.  Despite the rain, it was a lot of fun.  If I remember rightly, we finally figured out the end while sheltering under a tree, trying to balance the risk of getting wet with the risk of getting fried to a crisp by lightning.

A week or two later, Loz (who I should probably have mentioned, is a professional video editor by day) went off and hooked up with a couple of other mates who also happened to be professionals in the film and TV industry and roped in a couple of professional actors and all together they filmed our script.  Then Loz and his co-editor / director Slade spent twenty three solid hours editing their raw footage within an inch of its life.

The result is Match.  And - not so surprisingly, I guess - it looks pretty damn professional.  Mid last week, I found out it had been shortlisted for the competition.  Having seen what Loz, Slade and crew managed to throw together out of our script, I wasn't a bit surprised.  So in a couple of weeks, I get to go to Kent and watch the first short film I've had a hand in writing on a cinema screen.

Which, when you're a complete film nerd, is just absurdly cool.


  1. oooh, =kewl!=

    Ahem. But it is.

    Best of great luck to you and Loz and the rest of the crew -- and Match also, of course.


  2. Thanks! Three days now until the screening (and the finding out if we've won!)