Writing & redrafting: (July 2009).
Ian wanted to edit the piece rather than direct. We originally spent some time working with Ian’s director friend, Jack Burnford in July 2009.
I hammered out first draft of roughly 30 pages. Even with the total lack of pressure at that point, it was very odd coming back to writing after such a long time. Although I felt much more confident in terms of the content than I ever had before, I was very out of practise editing anything longer than a page of song lyrics. Nevertheless, Jack seemed excited with what I’d produced, and drew up a few pages of storyboards based on what I’d written.
Unfortunately this stalled after a few months, and the project was shelved for a short while. It had became difficult for us to push on with no production backing, or to synchrinise our diaries in a way that was going to keep everyone satisfied.
Eventually, Ian and I decided to push on on our own, (with Ian directing and editing), and in September 2009, I managed to convince an actor friend, Gresby Nash to get on board. Ian and I were still buoyed by our relentless optimism, and suffered under the delusion that we’d be able to fit 30 pages of script into 1 weekend of filming. Gresby had been working in TV for many years, and I remember the expression he’d tried to disguise when we discussed the proposed schedule.
Amusingly to me, although Gresby’s TV credits featured a lot of comedy, a lot of the films in his own collection included brutal new-french extremism and 70′s giallo. Our project seemed to fall roughly on the equator between things Gresby was in (The IT Crowd, The Lenny Henry Show), and things he watched, (fun family entertainment like Martyrs, Irreversible, Suspiria, etc).
In order to try and get further interest, Ian and I put together a mood reel. This was basically a few clips from films that Ian and I found to be emotionally and atmospherically resonant with our aims for the project, (including clips from The Fountain, 2001, Insomnia, Stalker, Youth Without Youth, and in particular for me, Nicholas Winding Refn’s excellent box office disaster, Fear X). The mood reel was basically a tool to try and pitch the proposed atmosphere of the piece to interested parties. We sent this on to people who had expressed interest in the project.
Rael Jones, (my friend and bandmate in Thumpermokey Lives!) had agreed to do the music. After having read an early draft of the script, he sent me an email about a producer that he was working on a project with, and asked if he could forward on the script.
‘Yeah, ok’, I said. I didn’t really think too much about it.
Soon after, I got another email…
Next – part four: Meeting the Producers.
This blog is also updated on the Punchdrunk in Matalan blog.