I used to be a member of a group of authors in Lancashire, who organise an annual competition on behalf of Hayward’s Heath Movie Makers. The challenge is to write a story suitable to be made into a short film. There must be no exotic locations, and the film must be no more than six minutes long. A different theme is set each year.
Two years ago, I entered the contest, with a story called ‘The Player’, and was lucky enough to win; the prize being to have my story screened. How exciting!
I had a whole year to wait, to see the finished product, but David Fenn, the organiser of the contest, kept me up to date by email, of every stage of production. He informed me that for my story, they were going to try animation for the very first time!
The year passed, and the time came around for the presentation day, but sadly, David Fenn couldn’t make it up to Lytham, in Lancashire, as arranged. Determined that I should enjoy my special day, Olive Riley (the group’s Competitions Secretary) got in touch with Southport Movie Makers to ask if they could step in to show the film. They did, along with one or two from their own archives, and we all had a really enjoyable afternoon.
The awards day was held at the Lytham Assembly Hall, and was attended by the Lord Mayor. I was presented with a big bouquet of flowers, and it was quite a grand affair.
I am a great believer that everything happens for a reason, and the events leading up to that day, with Haywards Heath club not being able to attend, and the local film club stepping in, ended up playing a big part in my writing taking a new turn, as in September of that year, I joined Southport Movie Makers.
I now write screenplays, have directed two amateur (short) films, been in the production team for other films, and have even recently acted in one – which was great fun, but not something I ever expected to do, haha! Life can be such fun if you just go with the flow, and enjoy all the new things that come your way.
As for ‘The Player’. Haywards Heath did really well with it, especially considering it was their very first attempt at animation. There are things we all have a chuckle about, such as the weightlifting and levitation scenes (watch the film, you won’t miss them) which were not portrayed quite that way in the original story, but had to be done that way on film, because of limitations with new software, and unfamiliarity with it. The film is actually quite surreal and accidentally quirky. The whole process has been a great learning curve for all of us!
So, it’s all good! Although I was a little taken aback the first time I saw it, I’m really pleased with it, and it has opened so many new doors for me, including doing public talks about it, being asked to write an article for the Chorley Guardian, even showing it at an open mic night at a pub! I have made so many new friends because of it; it will always hold a special place in my heart.
A big thank you to Olive Riley, for making sure I had my special day, and also to David Fenn at Haywards Heath Movie Makers, for keeping me in the loop throughout the whole process. Not forgetting of course, the guys from Southport Movie Makers for stepping in at the last minute.
To visit Southport Movie Makers, click here
To visit Haywards Heath Movie Makers, click here