I was really excited when Carolyn Goodyear, to whom I’ve given feedback on some short scripts, contacted me to share her wonderful news – that she’s been longlisted in the Reed short film competition with her entry ‘Sesquipedaliainst’! So I found out more…
Carolyn, welcome to the Writesofluid blog! Tell us a bit about the competition…
The theme this year was ‘The Question’, and film-makers had to interpret this as they wished and make a 3 minute film. I wanted to come up with an original idea which would hopefully stand out as it’s a really competitive competition.
This year, 570 films entered which have been whittled down to a longlist of 50 films. Luckily mine is one of them. The 12 finalists will be revealed later this month and invited to an award ceremony at BAFTA where the winners will be announced. I was lucky enough to make the finals in 2013 with my entry ‘Ambition’, so fingers crossed for this year.
Fingers and toes crossed! You’d better win, or this could get uncomfortable… 😉
Tell us a bit about how the idea for your film, Sesquipedalianist, came about… Oh, and you’d probably better explain what one of them thingamajigs actually is!
Sometimes I hear words in conversations that I don’t know and internally I am thinking, ‘What does that mean?’! I wondered if there was a word for someone who uses long, unusual and obscure words. A bit of research later and I discovered that such a person is called a sesquipedalianist. Big words can sound sexy too and I just got inspired by pages of strange words that I had never come across before.
Some English words can also sound rude if mispronounced by a non-native like Coke (cock) and having lived abroad, I have had my fair share of language mishaps! James Bond films use some classic word play – innocent words which when put together take on a different meaning, such as cunning linguist. Innuendo was a big part of The Sesquipedalianist!
Norman Kipling, the main character, has a penchant for long words. He is a wonderfully, quirky character who nearly misses out on the girl of his dreams when he decides to stop speaking. The underlying message to the film, is to be yourself.
You started out as an actress. What made you decide to make the transition to writer and producer, and how did you find this transition?
I am an actress first and foremost and started writing and producing so I could create myself more acting roles. I have been greatly inspired by the acting coach, Bernard Hiller, who encourages his students to create their own work rather than sit and moan that their agent isn’t getting them any. His advice and guidance over the years has been invaluable to me. It’s thanks to him that I started writing.
Did gaining feedback at the written stage help to improve the project overall, do you think?
Yes. It really helped to get a different perspective on the script – a fresh pair of eyes. I had feedback from numerous people and all this advice helped me polish the script. On the shoot day, dialogue was also added in. The script was always evolving a little due to new ideas being thrown in by my fellow actors and director.
How long did the project take you to complete?
I was working on the idea for a few weeks in October. The shoot didn’t happen until January due to the lead actor’s availability. I wrote the role of Norman Kipling with the very talented actor, Keith Hill in mind. I just couldn’t imagine anyone else who could play this role like Keith. He is acting gold.
What difficulties did you face?
The weather was the main problem on the shoot day. It was so cold and rained for most of the afternoon. Luckily I had pre-empted the rain and had a gazebo lined up. It wasn’t ideal shooting this way due to the sound problems caused by the pitter patter of raindrops on the gazebo. Post production was tricky!
In contrast, what was your favourite part?
My favourite part of the day is always bringing together my talented friends to collaborate with as it makes it a lot of fun. They were all such troupers and such a great help to me as it gets a bit crazy producing as well as acting. We had a great wrap party in the evening in the pub we shot in, so a good time was had by all!
Did you feel like you learned a lot from the process? What would be your top tips for others who are thinking of making their own short film?
Every short film I make, I learn something.
The main thing is to be really organised and to preempt problems that may come up on the day.
Making shorts has opened up so many new opportunities to me and I would encourage everyone to just go for it! It is by doing that you learn so much. I was totally clueless when I started – I didn’t even know how to write a script, so if I can, anyone can!
Brilliant advice! Thank so much for taking the time to tell us about your success!