Pitch a Film on a Friday: Silly Games – there’s always some-one who breaks the rules and ruins it for everyone.

In these days of austerity, going out to the cinema is beginning to cost more than a good night out. You’ll need to be thinking about parking, candyfloss, 3D glasses, meal after and before, a few drinks in the intermission never mind the price of the seat. And then there are all those interminaable adverts to sit through!

So why not settle back, buy in a few six packs and create the film in your own head?

Pitch a Film on a Friday allows you to do exactly that. By giving you – absolutely free – a pitch for a film that hasn’t yet been made, this blog enables you to become your very own film maker, casting agent, distributor, audience and critic all rolled into one. You can even imagine your own awards ceremony!

Pitch a Film on a Friday is released every Friday (surprisingly) just in time for the weekend. Settle down, settle back, put away your credit card and throw away your parking ways: the film is in your head and its just about to begin!

PITCHING THIS FRIDAY: SILLY GAMES: It’s like all kids games: there’s always some-one who breaks the rules and ruins it for everyone.

It’s 5am, dark, a prison cell. WILLIAMS, MAYER, JONES, SMITH and BLACK gather together illicitly to embark on a game of An Eye for An Eye.

An Eye for An Eye is a routine prison game and is based on the children’s game of ‘Stuck in the Mud Tag’. Its goal is for a ‘judge’ to judge a ‘suspect’ (by knifing them) and for the ‘suspect’ to avoid being knifed by either running away or by receiving help from a ‘policeman’. The ‘judge’ can similarly call on help from a ‘witness’ if he feels his ‘judgement’ is not being particularly effective.

As in many games, the action of An Eye for An Eye is circular and roles of ‘judge’, suspect’, ‘witness’ and ‘policeman’ become interchangeable and when someone decides to break the rules as well, the consequences are shocking.

WILLIAMS, playing the role of judge, interrogates and terrorises JONES, who plays the role of suspect. WILLIAMS calls on MAYER as witness to JONES’ crime, which is unspeakable and unnameable.

The game gathers pace and excitement when SMITH and BLACK, playing the ‘policemen’, enter the game. WILLIAMS eventually wins the game; but he gets carried away and knifes JONES, MEYER and BLACK. He’s broken the rules and so has to play the part of ‘suspect’ next time round.

The game restarts after some disagreement as to who is playing what role. The game finishes prematurely when the prison’s first bell of the day sounds and the men have to return to their ‘normal’ lives…

Pitch a Film for a Friday: STUCK!

And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime

A series of twelve five minute observational vignettes, Stuck portrays the tragi-comic stories of 12 people who are stuck: stuck in what look like bizarre routines to outsiders but to themselves, make perfect sense of their everyday if somewhat unconventional – some might say unsettling lives. It’s about outsider’s attempts to ‘unstick’ those people and connect them with ‘normality’ – when it was a bad dose of ‘normality’ which is what put our characters in their predicament in the first place.

Stuck-ees include:

Edith, 70, lives in an OAP home – she’s Polish, had – according to her photo album – a life of partying, family and good times – but now, after a stroke, can only speak 15 words of Polish in a perpetual cycle, broken up by her occasional and obvious frustration that she can’t say anything else. Her speech therapist tries to snap her out of this cycle using a variety of speech therapy methods – and just when she thinks she’s about to succeed, it appears that Edith resorts to her 15 word mantra, thwarting her therapist, her family and perhaps herself.

Paul, an old man of indeterminate age or background who cycles up and down the same road in Liverpool, searching the bins, very early every Monday morning. His encounters with the local traffic police and milk men offer no clues as to why he takes this route everyday but a wheelie bin cleaner has taken to Paul and attempts to connect to him by talking to him daily, engaging him in conversations about peoples bins and finding out what makes him tick – or what makes him stuck.

Ben, a 29 Geordie ex-student of 8 years who since leaving college has developed a highly successful business in selling Class A drugs. His business has various unsocial side effects though – and consequently he has found himself housebound, a prisoner of his success for the last 3 years, unable to make any contact with anyone outside his bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.

STUCK offers no sociological explanations or theories to our character’s ‘stuckiness’ but offers us an opportunity to review our own habits, obsessional behaviours and opportunity to ask ourselves, ‘well, how did I get here?’

Pitch a film for Friday: TYTHING MAN!

TYTHING-MAN is a hardhitting, action packed political thriller set in Anglo Saxon Britain in 1098 AD.

We’re in a world we wouldn’t recognise as contemporary Britain or Europe: English society was organised around the Kingdoms of Mercia, Northumbria, Wessex, Kent, the Five Boroughs and East Anglia. Each Kingdom had its own King who had his own companions – The Earls and Landowners – who formed the basis of the nobility. Below them were the Ceorls – Farmers – and at the bottom of the pile were the serfs and peasants.

We’re in a time when the most significant technological advances were the horse collar, the tandem harness and the nailed horse shoe which did for the 11th century what steam did for the 19th and computerisation did for the 20th. This is a time when most people would hardly ever have seen a horse, and indeed, would have been terrifed of what a creature might represent.

This was a time of immense power and cultural shifts, with power shifting from being run on a Tribal to Feudal basis as the Norman Conquest of 1066 eventually took control of ‘England’.

But this was not a time of easy transition: tribal communities were breaking down, loyalties were changing from tribe to the state. Whilst paganism was reluctantly being replaced by Christianity it still had an active influence: Gods representing the days of the week: Tiw (a War God), Wodan (a Wizard), Thunor (God of Thunder) and Frig (Fertility Goddess) were all actively worshipped for the favours they could bestow upon their worshippers. Witches, giants, elves, dragons, sea monsters and nicors were all real forces and influences in people lives and had to be respected. Battling against these pagan forces was the Christian Church which, as well as offering moral and spiritual guidance, played an important part in the legal process: overseeing the plunging of an accused’s arm into a pan of boiling water, assessing the injuries later and then deciding on guilt or innocence on the basis of those injuries for instance.

Anglo Saxon Britain was not a place for the faint hearted.

This was a time when justice was rough, ready and directed by the community who had suffered at criminals hands. Communities would elect their own representatives – the Tything-Men – to secure peace and order for their communities. But like so much else of the era, judicial processes were also in a state of flux: ‘bottom up’ justice was giving way to ‘top down’ justice and the right to police the community was shifting away from the People to the State.

This is the time when the Tything Men secured order for the ordinary man and woman and jealously guarded their power and the film, TYTHING MAN, is their story of the struggle of progress and tradition, of community and state, of logic and superstition, of Religion and paganism, of the heart and mind.

Pitch a Film on a Friday: Len and the Art of Motorway Maintenance

LEN AND THE ART OF MOTORWAY MAINTENANCE is a full length road movie which crosses the English coast to coast, Hull to Liverpool, and traverses the musical tastes of our times.

It’s the story of a family of three – LEN (father), VAZ (son) AND JENNY LOOSE (daughter) who make a trip to their musical Meccas in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool along the length of the M62 in a bid to heal their musical and personal differences. LEN is not just a travelogue but maintains a dramatic tension which is driven by a strong character base with strong needs and desires.

LEN – the father, hippie poet of 50 whose spiritual home is Liverpool. Into solstice lines and paranormal phenomena. Protested against Leeds becoming the Motorway City of the North in the 60s and still refuses to use the ring road. VAZ – the son, a punk ranter, 25 at ease in Bradford. Bash the rich, via Blair via pets lib. via digging tunnels via boredom. Deep in the vegan underworld. JENNY LOOSE – the daughter, a new romantic-industrialist, no-one’s too sure about her gender. Searching for Ian Curtis from Joy Division who she thinks didn’t really die, he just took up sharing a flat in Hulme and can’t find his way out.

In LEN, the family are saddled at the beginning with an unspoken and unacknowledged source of grief which is resolved by the end of the film.

Inspired very loosely by the Robert M. Pirsig novel ZEN, AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE, LEN… is intended not only as paying a humorous and quirky tribute to the ‘motorway that never freezes’ but also sees the journey along the M62 as a metaphor for the family’s healing and reconciliation.

Whilst there have been both many American films of the genre (Wild at Heart; Natural Born Killers; Thelma and Louise)and German films predominantly directed by Wim Wenders (Kings of the Road, and Paris, Texas) a successful British Road Movie has still to be made: Len and the Art of Motorway Maintenance could just be that film!