Archive for the ‘How many times can I mention Burton Pedwardine’ Category


Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Writing a short film

Sometime in 2004 or possibly 2003 I had an idea for a short film in which two people were manacled together in a barn. They were then told that their only escape would be to chop one of their hands off, and while they had a painfully sharp butcher’s cleaver to begin with – each hour they delayed (the act) the tool at their disposal would reduce in size and suitability for the job, thus making it harder to carry out the amputation the longer they procrastinated. It was a comedy.


The original description of Chop! – well at least it wasn’t typed in Comic Sans

Having worked on it a little I eventually plucked up courage to show the ‘work in progress’ to a local film maker and man about town (Martyn Chalk). He decided it may make an interesting short film, with a few changes…

“Are you Crazy, mister Chalk?” I asked him, it was a Tuesday in Oxford.

“No I am not crazy, but you would have to be ‘kipper crazy‘ to pass by this opportunity to allow me to make this short film with the changes I have suggested” he replied (rather ‘wordily’) on that cold January day.

He was probably right, so I carefully considered the offer again. Could this former Newbury resident really transform the idea into a script suitable for commitment to film (or DigiBeta)  how could I be sure?  So, I phoned my parents who at the time were (uncharacteristically) on an extreme knitting holiday in the Peak District – a poor replacement (they later informed me) for their annual sojourn to a cat husbandry residential workshop in Burton Pedwardine, which had been cancelled after the entirely fictional Mayor of Burton Pedwardine (coincidentally named Burton Pedwardine) had absconded with the course fees and two of the cats.  Back to the story… my parents were pleased to hear from me, and once they had exhausted the knitting anedotes (there were some absolute corkers) they gave me some rather good advice. As a result I  happily agreed to Martyn’s terms, he could effect the necessary changes (well except Keith Chegwin’s glass eye segment, which he did concede later was a little out of context, a little?) and we would make this short film, huzzah!

I danced all the way home, which considering I lived in Kent at the time did extend the journey somewhat (principally due to being thrown off the Oxford Espress… damn you Flatley!).

bus 2

The new script

So we set about writing a new script, packed with hi-jinx, machetes, Celine Dione, buckets of water, jokes and a troop of frustrated French mime artistes obsessed with Brie and Mongolian barbecue.

Following a few read-throughs with members of the crew, many of the elements of the revised script were ruthlessly cut, out went Celine Dione, out went many of the jokes,  and the French mime artistes were relocated to Finland then the bin (but we kept the Brie). We were starting to get there.


Then our world fell apart… some wise lady implied it was just like SAW, a movie in the ‘torture porn’ genre (M.Kermode 2007). Were we a couple of cheap two-penny plagiarists devoid of original thought? No we were not. Duly the movie (SAW) was watched through clenched feet –  and there were similarities,  but our film still had more jokes, was considerably shorter (if that can be considered a plus) and there was nobody in SAW called Caz or Tom – unless you count SAW crew member Thomas Kuo (electrician) who is apparently sometimes called Tom, and has worked as a Gaffer on the short film THE VEST.

To cut a long story short Chop! was shot a couple of weekends ago in rural Oxfordshire, here we are on set…

Over the next few weeks it will be edited and polished, and what was the dream of a simple country boy will become reality (albeit a ‘warped fictional reality’).

Chop! is likely to become a short film the whole world can be proud of… well we’re chuffed!

More soon, much more!