We have somewhat neglected the blog of late, owing to being varying degrees of busy. As well as attending an interview for the BBC Birmingham Runners Pool, in which I was successful in getting said position (why thank you!) the Studio 279 cause is being furthered by some film funding applications that have been taking up our valuable time. The lovely people at Ideas Tap, a non-profit organisation geared towards bringing young, creative people together, offering a space to showcase work, opportunities in the arts and cash funding, have been open to submissions for their IdeasFund Shorts scheme, with £5000 available for the chosen projects. The 5pm deadline has slammed shut, with four of our applications on the right side of the line. Good luck lads!
So, with all of those applications now complete, what are those projects for which we are singing for our supper? Well, we will not go into too many details, as per the advice of Gandalf, “the enemy has many spies in his service. Birds. Beasts”. Whilst a rogue orc or overexuberant tree is unlikely to factor into this, someone might love the gosh durned idea so much they want to nick it. So, we shall instead talk about each project in infuriatingly cryptic terms, with fuller details in the event we see some of the moolah splash over the films, or just up and make them anyway.
FILM THE FIRST
The first film we applied with is one we have previously discussed in these hallowed bloggy halls. For those who do not recall, the project is a horror spoof in the inspired by John Carpenter’s Christine, with dash of John Carpenter’s The Thingtoo. The plot revolves around a man who develops a psychic connection to a kitchen appliance, which soon reveals itself to be a malevolent and evil presence, one that may even involve…murder! (Cue sinister music!) As per our last update on the project, the nature of the appliance will be kept under wraps until production is well underway, but there have been some changes. Originally envisaged as a ten minute ode to 1980s horror, the piece will instead be half that length. The IdeasFund is only open to five-minute long productions, which means a cleaved right down to the bone script rewrite proved necessary. Of course, as any Carpenter fan knows, his stripped down, no-nonsense approach is key to the success of his work, and doubtless it will prove the same here. As for the humour, the plan is to deal with a ludicrous subject in a serious way, which is scientifically proven to be hilarious. This is a film that really revs our engine and funding or no funding will be one of our next projects. Lets hope the lovely IdeasTap folks like the cut of its filmic jib, as we will get sparklier trailers and stuff.
FILM THE SECOND
This project is, in many ways, as old as the hills. Intended to be my final twenty-minute film at university, technological constraints put the kibosh on such plans and left the script sadly growing dust on a metaphorical shelf. You see, this film, like the others, are special effects extravaganzas. Or, more accurately, require a green screen, one which the helpful folks on another course tore up before I was to film with no chance of finding another for the budget of “free”. For me this is a labour of love project, one that will not be done shoddily for a grade or to get the thing done already. The piece is a film noir inspired by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett fiction, as all the best films noir are, but using a modern approach to a time-honoured tale. Rather than the CGI backgrounds of Sin City, a film, for the record, I detest with every fibre of my being, the cityscape of a fictional American metropolis will be realised with hand drawn sketches. The black and white aesthetic and the pencil drawings go together perfectly, and I hope this will see the light of day sooner rather than later. The application is just to make a proof of concept trailer based on the idea, one to secure more funding for a longer (hopefully feature-length) version, or possibly a web series set in the same world. And it has a kick ass name that honours its literary forebears and is just stone cold clever, so there’s that going for it too. Hopefully the passion I have for the project will shine through and I will get to make it at long last.
FILM THE THIRD
This, like its companion above, is also a green screen piece. But rather than a film noir this is a space set science fiction film, an allegorical take on a contemporary and emotionally charged subject. At this stage to say it relates to an aspect of modern warfare in some way is as far as I will go, but the film is not controversial by any stretch. A dialogue free, one man only piece (as is, incidentally, Film The First) the aim is to create a moving and thoughtful short. As for the special effects, again the plan is to avoid entirely computer generated backdrops. Instead special photographic techniques will be used to create a visually stunning piece. My inspiration is in Darren Aronofky’s beautiful in every sense of the word The Fountainin taking a visually unique approach to science fiction. If I say, for instance, that tests have been shot of the space ship interior, using a fruit bowl and a vase respectively, and they look ravishing, you see what I mean. Unlike the other films on this list, I am happy to divulge the title of this one, being rather obvious anyway: “The Traveller”. Should this be selected as a lucky entry maybe you will see and hear more of it soon.
FILM THE FOURTH
And to the final attempt to extract money from trusting folks, this time for an original fairy story in the vein of the all time classic Edward Scissorhands (a time before, of course, Tim Burton went off the beam). In some ways this is the Application’s Greatest Hits: Like the noir project, it uses black and white and hand drawn backgrounds with green screen shooting. Like the Carpentry exercise and The Traveller it is wordless, although it has two people rather than a solitary protagonist. One of the characters is immortal with the other subject to the ravages of time, and it is here where we lay our scene. The plan is to deal with immortality, which is a theme that I have been interested in since being mentally scarred by the book The Man Who Wanted To Live Foreverin primary school (seriously, the ending scared the bejesus out of me). With the panel be swayed? Time will tell.
Good luck to all these films and to everyone else applying for funding. Godspeed, everyone! Stay tuned for more about these projects in the near to distant future. Don’t hold your breath on any of them, as you’d only pass out and our insurance won’t cover it. Feel free to let us know of any of these ideas tickle your fancy in the comments.