Short Film: Development, Storyline, Script And Casting

Storyline

We are sticking with the notion that “simple is successful” and our short film idea is nice and simple, with what we believe is a lovely payoff at the end:

Three friends, all men of similar ages (50-60) arrange that they have been putting off going to a festival for far too long and that it was about time to gear up and go to one. One of the men is reluctant and believes they are too over the hill for all that nonsense, but the other two soon persuade him into going. One of the men is seen packing his camping a bag inside his house (standard festival equipment – kettle, toilet roll, wellies, torches etc.) and then a montage begins of the other two men trekking past various landmarks in London (London Eye, Millennium Bridge, Liverpool Street) and then through the countryside past Stonehenge and eventually Glastonbury Tor. There will be a sense of an epic journey (similar to in ‘Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring‘ – the journey Sam and Frodo take just after leaving The Shire). The screen would then fade to black to emphasise the passage of time and the scene would reopen with the three friends sat within a tent eating beans out of cups, surrounded by festival gear such as sleeping mats and beers etc. The muffled sound of festival music can be heard in the distance establishing the setting that they are at a festival. The three of them joke around and laugh uproariously. Suddenly a door slam is heard from somewhere outside. The sound of shushing is heard from inside the tent and a voice whispers, “I thought you said she’d gone out”. The camera cuts to a shot of the tent zip open slightly with a hand emerging clasping a TV remote and pressing the off button. All noise suddenly falls silent. The camera pulls back slowly revealing they have simply set up a tent in a spacious living room to watch the coverage on TV.

The screen goes blank and the credits roll. End.

We initially had the two travelling men coming from different areas of Britain, one coming from the South, one from the North (we wanted to include a silhouetted shot of a man walking past The Angel Of The North), however this proved too uneconomical to get the actors and equipment all the way there for one shot, so we removed it from the script.

The Script

A script is never perfect on it’s first draft, here is the second draft for our short film. We have now re-named the production ‘Over The Hill‘.

Second Draft.

EDIT: After reflection we have made a third draft. You will be able to see how we have developed from the original.

Third Draft.

EDIT: Here is the fourth draft.

Fourth Draft.

EDIT: The fifth and possibly the final draft.

Fifth Draft.

Casting Call

Rich has done an outstanding job in terms of putting out casting calls for three British male actors (aged around 50-60) within the areas between the West Midlands and London. He wrote a brief overview of our short film idea with detailed character descriptions on the Casting Call Pro website.

Casting Call

Having had a few responses we have had to make a choice as to who we best think suits the roles, by looking at their previous work/their profile pictures. Our first to respond was Charles Nicklin, with 40 years acting experience (with students and professionally), he was absolutely perfect for our lead role. He himself studied a 3 year course in acting/musical theatre at Coventry School Of Dramatic Art and the ideal age we had hoped for. The second actor to respond was Bhasker Patel, by far the most professional actor of all to respond, with an impressive showreel, featuring in such films as Golden Eye, Arabian Nights, Thunderbirds and many more. After being in contact with Bhasker however, he stated that he was happy to work with us although he mentioned how he has worked with students before who have not been prepared, therefore he has left mid-shoot. Although we have done plenty of pre-production and planning, we felt we could not take the risk of having our actor bail on us, so we took the decision to not select him. Our next actor looked the part, Keith Chanter, but after originally seeming interested, he never got back to us after several emails.

We send the latest version of our script to Charles and he was really intrigued with helping us, which was brilliant! What make it even more fantastic was that he had two friends who also have acting experience who were happy to play the roles of our other two characters: Philip Alton and Peter Ross. The fact that all three already had a strong friendship was absolutely perfect, as the characters they would have to play are also pals, therefore the on-screen friendship would be real. Rich did a great job of keeping in constant touch with our actors by both email and phone calls, to maintain their interest and to make them aware how eager and on-the-ball we were. Charles sent us a photo of the three of them in their festival gear. This was truly the icing on the cake, we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

Pete Phil And Charles

We arranged the date well in advance so both the actors and ourselves had time to prepare and organise ourselves. We chose to meet at London Euston Station at 11:00am on Saturday 12th March.

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