icons-02 icons-01 MM Logo kickstarter-support

blog

Movie news, reviews, features and more thoughts coming soon...

By midlandsmovies, Sep 4 2018 08:45PM



Midlands Spotlight - StarMan


Regional film production company Nine Ladies Film return with StarMan, an ambitious short about human frailty and an alien encounter. Midlands Movies Mike Sales uncovers more about this stellar new production.


StarMan is the most recent release by British filmmaker Stuart Connock Wheeldon who explains that the film is not just a tale of financial hardship. In fact, StarMan "seeks to topple the film industry’s under-representation of people of a poor socio-economic rank", says Stuart.


As a timely criticism of the abandonment by the UK Government of ex armed forces personnel, the film tells a journey of homeless ex-paratrooper Mark (Nigel Barber) and his efforts to survive in a world of judgement and misconception.


His chance encounter with the open-minded Lisa (Mia Mills) spurs him onwards to realise his final mission: that of returning to a life beyond the constellations.


The story continues as Mark’s interactions with Lisa urge the viewer to question the modern-day surge of prejudice and spurious charity. Stuart explains that Lisa’s husband (Elliott Rennie) offers "condemnation of her efforts to help Mark; his opinions representing the ever-growing cultures of narrow-mindedness and self-servitude".

As well as looking at current issues regarding army personnel, the film hopes to be an indictment of our plastics epidemic and propensity to waste food as well as our discarding of religion.


Derbyshire writer-director Stuart has been able to assemble a formidable group of actors and crew for the filming in and around Wirksworth in Derbyshire.


The film was written by Stuart himself and Nick John Whittle. Doug Cummings was 1st Assistant Director, Jordan Frater Sound Recordist, Jennifer Whitmore Production Designer and Wheeldon was the film's director.

With a zero budget, the filmmakers have pulled together all their resources and have released the films's first trailer below and be sure to check for updates at the official website http://www.nineladiesfilm.com/starman.html






By midlandsmovies, Sep 4 2018 07:50PM



Midlands Interview - Emmeline Kellie


From Nottingham's Film and TV Tweet Up to acting in recent action film Outlawed, Emmeline Kellie is a force to be reckoned with after being involved in film in front of and behind the camera at every level of production.


With such a diverse cinematic background and with her new project Keep Breathing recently launched, Midlands Movies writer Guy Russell speaks to Emmeline about her short film which has been created in light of the #metoo movement.


Guy Russell: You’ve recently launched the funding campaign for Keep Breathing, is crowdfunding a format you have used before and if so were you successful?

Emmeline Kellie: Nope, this is the very first time! I still feel extremely nervous about it even though we’re already two weeks in! It’s been really hard because all of us have been working full time while running it so it hasn’t had the TLC it needs. I’ve come to realise that Crowdfunding really is a full-time job. I probably wouldn’t advise doing it unless you have a dedicated team to do shifts, or you can take four weeks off of work!


Please tell us more about Keep Breathing, I understand it tackles the importance of sexual consent?

Keep Breathing is a powerful and incisive look at attitudes towards consent, rape, and victim blaming. It has a tightly plotted script that challenges two characters that don’t conform to the typical depictions of victim and perpetrator. The situation we explore is extremely common and goes widely unreported, yet when it is reported, both parties often have very different perceptions about what they’ve encountered. Not every victim of rape says no, and not every perpetrator understands the boundaries of consent. This film will engage the audience, provoke thought, provide a voice and encourage discussion, which is the essential next step towards changing attitudes.


Whilst the message is extremely important to us, the script is actually something we’re very proud of as well. It has interesting characters and it’s gripping, pacey and emotional. The message is actually drawn out very subtly through it. Most of the dialogue is ambiguous and laced with deeper meaning, so it’s a drama on the surface, but an eye-opener underneath.


What has the reaction been so far?

Amazing. Of those who have been sent the script, we’ve had a few say it’s the best short film script they’ve read which is so encouraging. I think the last person to read it was a documentary filmmaker called Miguel Gaudencio who our writer Tommy Draper worked with about ten years ago. He said “I think this is Tommy’s best script. I LOVE it! It screwed my head, which is great, and I love the fact that characters are not stereotypical. It’s a very powerful drama and so well set up.” I was quite pleased with that reaction! Especially as Tommy’s other work is just incredible.


Since putting the campaign out there, we’ve also had a lot of people getting in touch saying much it resonates with them and how glad they are that we’re trying to do something about it. So overall, a really positive response!



Was there a specific moment which inspired you to start writing Keep Breathing, or was the idea brewing for a while?

I believe it was at 2:39am on Christmas morning just gone. I was in bed and couldn’t sleep. My head was swimming with #metoo stuff, and how even though everyone else had publicly nodded to their experiences of sexual assault and rape, I hadn’t felt I could because there were some incidents I just didn’t want to open myself up to talking about, and then there was one where I was still convinced that what had happened was my fault. I was drunk and had said no repeatedly, then after about half an hour of persistence while I was trying to sleep, I gave in because it was easier. I didn’t say the word ‘yes’ but my body gave in. Why didn’t I stagger out of there? Why wasn’t I firmer with him? Why did I even agree to staying there? But I was so drunk and verging on the edge of consciousness. He was sober. It really messed with my head afterwards for so long. But why? It seemed so trivial- just one of those things that happen when you get too drunk.


I then deliberately shifted my mind onto film because I didn’t want to think about it anymore. I said to myself “Right, come up with an idea for a film with two characters in one location so we can just crack on with it and make something decent in a month’s time”… and that’s when the idea just came to me. Checked the time. 2:39. Bam. Except it grew into something so much bigger that we wanted to put a lot more time and effort into, to do it justice.


You co-wrote Keep Breathing with Tommy Draper, what was Tommy like as a writing partner?

Amazing. The thing I’m really bad at is writing a first draft, but he did it quickly, threw some brilliant ideas into the pot and then we had a really solid foundation to work with. Mark, our director, was also involved every step of the way giving notes on every other draft. The first two drafts we did actually went in a completely different direction, and then we sat down to work out exactly what we wanted the piece to say which is what turned it into the compelling story we have now. Tommy and I took in turns to play with the script. He was fine-tuning the action and the drama while I was fine-tuning a lot of the dialogue. We had a good balance and I don’t think we had any disagreements. Having said that…. I’d love to see his response to this question! Probably quite different!


Your short film Cadence was quite the success, it has had over a million views and is currently being used as an education tool about driving awareness, is there something similar you’d like to achieve with Keep Breathing?

Definitely. We want to tour it around schools, colleges and universities with a workshop and presentation. The film will get students’ attention (we all liked watching videos in school!) and afterwards, we can kick off the conversation with a discussion about the story and characters. Getting people talking about it, thinking about it, and aware of it is the first step to solving it as it should mean that they are more mindful when in the moment. Once it’s done its educational tours and film festival circuit, we want to release it online with a campaign, containing some facts and statistics found in our on-going survey and research. Hopefully the festivals will help give it the buzz it needs for a strong online launch.


Keep Breathing and Cadence are quite similar in the sense that both short films have an important story to tell, they have narratives that will feel familiar to a lot of people but are not shown enough in the media. Is there a reason you’re attracted to telling stories like these?

I think the reason I found an interest in filmmaking was because of how movies made me feel, and the things I learned from them. For example, take the film The Butterfly Effect, this film realigned my thinking and outlook on life. I’m not even sure it intended to. I used to constantly be living in the past thinking “what if I’d done that differently, where would I be now?”.. I’d really dwell on my decisions after I made them, and it’d keep me awake at night wondering if I’ve done the right thing. Even when I was 6 I ran down to my mum crying at midnight because I regretted the choice I made about which sunglasses to buy three weeks previous. The Butterfly Effect made me realise that going back and trying to fix things would disrupt everything else, and that everything happens for a reason. Some other films that have influenced my thinking or taught me something valuable are Seven Pounds, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Detroit, The Day After Tomorrow and tonnes more. Filmmaking is such a powerful tool. It provides entertainment and escapism, but it can also change the world.



Alex Stroud & Emmeline Kellie at the Midlands Movies Awards 2018
Alex Stroud & Emmeline Kellie at the Midlands Movies Awards 2018

You’re an Actor, Producer and Writer, do you have a favourite and why?

I’d say my heart belongs to acting but I really do love it all.


Do you see a future where you actively undertake all three roles or is there one you would like to focus all your efforts on in the future?

I think acting is what I actually want to do for a career. I really, really want to go into TV and work on lots of amazing projects with talented and inspiring people. In an ideal world, acting is where I’d make my income, however, I think I’m always going to have a passion project on the go as well. If I can produce at least one really decent film every year, I’ll be happy - it’s such a fulfilling experience.


What is your experience filmmaking in the Midlands, is it a good region to make films in?

The East Midlands is fantastic. We have such a wonderful close-knit film community and everyone is so keen and supportive. I think everyone has worked with everyone at some point, and we have at least a handful of amazingly talented people to fill every single position in a film crew. Apart from a grip maybe- I’m not sure I know any grips.


Was there a specific moment in your life where you knew you wanted to embark on a career in the media/film?

Not that I can remember. I’ve always wanted to act since I was small. I loved school plays, loved going to the Valle Academy of Performing Arts and loved making my mum sit through many private performances that I’m sure she was a huge fan of. Film came about quite suddenly when I was presented with the brief for my GCSE art coursework. My teacher said “you can do whatever you like, whether it’s a painting, a sketch, pottery, a sculpture, a cross-stitch… hell you could even make a film if you’re crazy enough!” … I chose crazy and I loved it. Picked up a crappy digital camera from my mum’s drawer, flicked it into video mode and bribed my friends to act for me, and then started shooting. Never looked back.


What should the industry be doing that it currently isn’t for independent filmmakers such as yourself?

Funding. I just feel like the amount of hoops you have to jump through to get any kind of funding secured for a film, whether it’s a short or feature, is soul-destroying. Although I do understand that there’s sadly not much money in the pot anymore. Maybe there should be more peer-mentorship and shadowing opportunities set up with the people who are achieving the things we all want to be achieving. I don’t really know but it’s so hard to move forward.


Keep Breathing aside, have you any other projects in the pipeline?

There’s lots of ideas being thrown about at the minute - I think it’ll either be a fun, snappy short that we can do on a couple hundred quid, or our first feature!


If people would like to take part in the funding for Keep Breathing, how can they do so?

You can find all details on our campaign page: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kbshortfilm


Be sure to check out all the rewards! The campaign ends on 17th September at 10:00am.



By midlandsmovies, Aug 19 2018 06:38AM



Midlands Spotlight - Korky Films and JAM-AV present Dumped


Midlands Movies Mike discovers more about forthcoming new film Dumped from Lee Charlish and his Korky Films production company.


West Midlands filmmakers, and Midlands Movies Award winner, Korky Films have joined with JAM-AV to announce their second collaboration with a new comedy short film called Dumped.


The short is currently in pre-production and has cast the two main actors, Marian Elizabeth and Stuart Walker, who will be joined by a strong, experienced crew.


Marian Elizabeth has a wealth of experience in both feature films, shorts, TV and theatre and has been working in the industry since 2004. She has recently finished a horror feature for Mangled Media called We Wait in the Woods as well as feature film Blood and Bones (2016) and as Becky in When Quips Go Wrong.




Stuart Walker has a solid background in comedy with a long-list of credits in film, both feature and shorts, TV, radio and theatre, as well as commercials.




Jay Langdell of JAM-AV Media Production is lined up as Director of Photography and he will be assisted by Damien Trent of Doktored Films.


And last but not least the production has secured high-profile musician Chris Pemberton who is currently on tour with James Blunt, to provide the musical score.


Dumped is written by Lee Charlish of Korky Films who will also produce and direct the movie, which is expected to run for approximately 8 minutes.


Based on an uncompromising true story, the short will have some unique visuals and will hopefully have audiences cringing and laughing. Dumped will reveal a young couple called Steve and Kelly who in the early stages of courtship decide to spend their first night together.


The following morning, content and happy, the couple share breakfast before Steve leaves for work and whilst Kelly tells her friend all about the previous night and blossoming romance, she has an urgent need to use the toilet.


Unfortunately for her , things take an awkward turn and Kelly is presented with a problem which could ultimately lead to love ending before it’s begun.


With the movie hopefully shooting in October find out more information about Korky Films and the ongoing production of Dumpred at the following links:


Twitter - @korkyfilms

Instagram - @korkyfilms

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/korkyfilms


By midlandsmovies, Aug 5 2018 11:54AM



Midlands Spotlight – West Midlands filmmaker David Knight


With his new film Suicide Blonde selected for a prestigious new regional film festival, Birmingham filmmaker David Knight made a big change when younger to find a new career in the film and TV industry. Midlands Movies Mike caught up with his latest and future filmmaking plans.


David Knight started his journey to be a filmmaker at the age of 21. Walking away from a bar management career of 3 years, David took the big plunge to forge a new path in film and television.


With lofty ambitions and a love of all films he quickly enrolled at Solihull College on a Media and Production Course. And after just 6 months his first short film Rendezvous was already handpicked to be part of the official selection of the 2004 Stourbridge film festival.


As well as receiving favourable reviews, David used this acknowledgement to successfully complete his course and received a HND with distinction.


Moving to the University of Gloucestershire to study a degree in video production, David wrote and directed two short films in his final year. The first, 2’s Company was a romantic comedy and part of the official selection at the Viewfinder Film Festival in 2006.


After working on a separate project as editor to hone his skills, he then went on to make his final film Hit or Miss, a dark drama which won him the Screen Writers Festival Award for Best Writer / Director 2007.



And now his latest film, Suicide Blonde, tells the story of a young woman on a self-destructive path who tries to piece together the events of the previous night.


Cast members include the talented Kerry Sirrell, Joe Clarke and David Pritchard with Pocket Pictures taking responsibility for the post production and grading of the film while the audio soundtrack is being produced by Matt Shaw.


The Bottle Smoke Film Festival celebrates filmmakers from all budgets and comprises of wo days of industry talks with day one ending in a feature film with a Q & A, whilst day two will be ending with a short film award ceremony.


The event runs from Saturday 8th to Sunday 9th September 2018 at the Stoke Film Theatre, College Road, Stoke on Trent. For more information check out their Facebook page and to grab tickets click here at Eventbrite.


Check out some of David’s previous work on his Vimeo page here





By midlandsmovies, Jul 9 2018 09:00AM



Midlands Interview - Deborah Haywood


Midlands Movies Editor Mike Sales speaks to local filmmaker Deborah Haywood about her new film Pin Cushion, bullying and the brave decision to shoot back at the local school she grew up in.


Midlands Movies Mike: Hi Deborah. Thanks for agreeing to speak to us today. Please can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?


Deborah Haywood: Hiya. Well, my name is Deborah Haywood and I’m from Swadlincote. I’ve made five short films and have recently complete my first feature film, Pin Cushion.


MMM: And how long have you worked in the film industry?


DH: For ten years. I always wanted to write and I was writing scripts and wanted to read British ones and so I asked producer Sally Hibbin at Parallax (who was once Ken Loach’s producer) for a job as a script reader. To get the (unpaid) job she gave me two scripts and asked me to work out which one was on the rejection pile, and which one was in development. I had to write notes for both of them and luckily I picked the correct one that was in development and Sally liked the notes so much she asked me to become the script editor on it. The script was by the very talented actor and writer Tracy Brabin. Who is now, of course, Labour MP for Batley and Spen!


MMM: That's a great story. So what has been the most difficult hurdle you have had to overcome?


DH: As a writer, I think it’s been learning how to respond to notes. How to progress the script and story so that it satisfies the reader/audience while still keeping my original intention and vision.


MMM: Your new film is Pin Cushion. Can you tell our readers a bit about it and how it came about?


DH: It’s a dark fairy tale love story between an oddball Mother and Daughter and how their moving to a new town affects their relationship. I first wrote the treatment in 2008 and it’s been through various different lives and dark alleys and at times (a lot of the time actually) I never believed it would get made. I’m really glad I persisted.



MMM: And how did you come to cast leads Lily Newmark and Joanna Scanlan?


DH: Kharmel Cochrane and her team found Lily and I picked her out of a massive amount of videos they sent me. They had worked with her before for a pop video. I told them I was looking for someone who seemed untouched by modern life, and Lily felt like that in both her essence and her unusual looks. She looked like a pretty prawn or a beautiful rare salmon who had never seen dry land. So I met her and I fell in love! I think Gavin got the script to Joanna? Then Kharmel fixed up a meeting? I’m not exactly sure!


There was so much happening and often these things just magically happen and I’m not always privy to the ins and outs! All I know is we went up to Manchester to meet Joanna on her day off because she was shooting No Offence. And we talked and talked and I instinctively knew that if Joanna said yes then she would take such good care of Lyn. And she did. They both did. I think both Lily and Joanna cared for Iona and Lyn a great deal and that shows on screen and in their wonderfully sensitive performances.


MMM: That sounds great that such a bond was made between the cast. But how did you make the decision to film in the Midlands?


DH: Yes, I’m from Swad! (Swadlincote). When I’m writing I somehow always picture everything set there because I know it all so well. I was a bit nervous about shooting a film in my home town in case everyone thought I thought I was ‘it.’ But everyone was really welcoming and we actually shot in my old school, Pingle, which turned out to be amazing. I’m so glad we shot it there because it felt more authentic for me and I think I’d have felt insecure shooting such a personal story in a place that I didn’t know like the back of my hand.


MMM: That must have been like going back to the past! And how much of your other own experiences were included in Pin Cushion?


DH: Well, I was bullied at school and I suffered as an adult because of it. I still do, sometimes. It isn’t really physically autobiographical, it’s more like emotionally autobiographical. I think I definitely drew from people I’ve known when I first started writing the characters. But then they transformed into their own characters the more I developed the script.





MMM: What films or filmmakers inspire you? Did that influence any creative decisions in Pin Cushion?


DH: So many! The films that inspired Pin Cushion include Sweetie, by Jane Campion. Carrie, by Brian de Palma, Heavenly Creatures by Peter Jackson. Welcome to the Doll’s House by Todd Solondz. I also love David Lynch and the Hungarian novelist Agota Kristop inspired me. I also admire and am inspired by Lynne Ramsay and Sarah Polley and Jane Campion and Cate Shortland.


MMM: And where can people see Pin Cushion?


DH: It’s getting a release nationwide in select cinemas from July 13th, with previews set up in some cinemas, along with a tour from Bird’s Eye View, as part of their Reclaim The Frame campaign.


MMM: And finally, what’s next on the horizon for you?


I’m just starting to write a postnatal depression horror called SQUARK, and a kind of comedy in the tone of my short film SIS, that is also a musical!


Pin Cushion will be released in select cinemas across the UK from Friday 13th July


Check out http://pincushionfilm.co.uk/ – for more information and cinema listing details.





By midlandsmovies, May 28 2018 07:59AM



Midlands Spotlight - Birmingham Creatives Ready for Hire


Midlands Movies finds out about Talent Connect which is a new initiative bringing twelve fresh faces to Birmingham’s creative industry. It is the first time a scheme like this has been piloted, with a drive to help enable new talent to enter into the film sector as freelancers.


A group of 18 to 25-year-olds with an array of talents are to become available for projects that need immediate hiring with each participant having an online profile.


Once registered on their website, employers can access these profiles where they can choose a participant which fits their requirements and contact them directly. The skills of this talent pool are camera operation, camera assisting, editing, hair and make-up, lighting assistant, graphic design, scriptwriting, locations, administration, social media, web development and more.


Contracts are set up between the company and the participant, who have all set up as self-employed and Talent Connect contacted Michael Ford of Infinite Wisdom for his thoughts. “I would definitely look at this platform if I needed new freelancers, having already recruited similar talent through the Producers’ Forum in recent months".


Much like the Creative England Crew Database, the difference between them is that this forum screens its members which is a huge selling point for Michael.


Talent Connect has been created by The Producers’ Forum and Creative Alliance with the support of Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds. Creative Skillset is the industry skills body for the Creative Industries.


The Producers’ Forum is an independent organisation serving the vibrant community of filmmakers and content producers region. Membership includes producers, writers, and directors and many others involved in other aspects of film & TV.


The Forum provides training, networking, and lobbying. In an industry currently undergoing profound changes, it provides a unified lobbying voice through developing strategic relationships with key partners such as Creative Skillset, Film Birmingham, Creative Alliance, and West Midlands Screen Bureau.


Creative Alliance, founded in 2005, was one of the first training providers in the UK to offer apprenticeships in the Creative and Cultural Industry, an industry with no previous history of apprenticeships.


For more information check out https://talentconnect.creativealliance.org.uk



Talent Connect member Fahima Khatun
Talent Connect member Fahima Khatun

By midlandsmovies, May 17 2018 06:17AM



Midlands Review – Answer


Directed by Adam Palmer


“I didn’t mean it to end like this”.


Answer is a new Midlands short from filmmaker Adam Palmer which covers a difficult conversation about a young couple’s relationship that lies in tatters.


We begin with a shot of a man who wakes up in bed as the filmmaker dubs over the voice of his ex-girlfriend leaving a message on his answerphone.


The film was made in an afternoon and despite its off-the-cuff origins, the script is well written as our lead rolls out of bed whilst hearing a voice from a girl explaining her decisions to leave him.


Our lonesome lead is played well by Lawrence Walker who gives his almost-silent protagonist a sense of confinement and loneliness with just a few quiet movements and beats.


His introspective performance cuts a solitary figure as we see him undertake a serious of mundane tasks – getting a pet’s dinner ready, buying a frozen meal for one or even simply gripping the kitchen work surface in apparent frustration.


The (somewhat anonynous) voice is provided by Nathalie Codsi who gives an outstanding reading of what could have been just another local heartfelt drama. Her voice is infused with regret, sadness yet determination as she delivers information to her ex.


The audience can feel her pain and one begins to wonder what could have happened to get to this situation. The juxtaposition of this melancholy female voice tinged with hopeful sorrow and a man looking remorseful begins to create a certain sympathy. The voice explains how “rushed” their relationship and that they were “very young”. When it is clarified that they have a child as well, “Charlie”, even more compassion can be felt.


However, the filmmaker cleverly provides this information slowly but surely over the course of the message. Here, the dynamic changes quickly as the voice tells us that the man is not allowed to see his son for a while and we start to question why.


The female partner reveals how she “couldn’t see why you were so controlling” and our attention shifts to a more sinister underlying menace from the past.


Ending in tears she explains the domestic violence she suffered at his hands and her partner breaks down crying with exclamations of how sorry he is.


An impactful film, Answer uses its short runtime to create a fantastic story that uses relatively cheap production to get its powerful message across. This is no bad thing and shows how ingenious storytelling need not be too expensive and can be delivered in a way that’s affordable to local filmmakers on a budget.


Using the subject of domestic violence, which is quite common with local shorts, could have resulted in a stale familiarity but here the director Adam Palmer uses a unique conceit to show how conversation may be the key to salvage these most difficult of situations.


With two strong performances – especially from the mouth of the talented Codsi – Answer ironically provides no answers to the complexity of relationship breakdowns. But despite the dark subject matter leaves the viewer with a tinge of hope as we hear the surprising “ping” of another answerphone message before the story ends.


Midlands Movies Mike





By midlandsmovies, May 11 2018 07:30PM



Midlands Interview - Birmingham actress and filmmaker Hayley Davis


Midlands Movies Mike speaks to West Midlands creative Hayley Davis about her film work and new web series Random where the talented actress has created a series of exciting monologues to flex her acting work into new media.


Midlands Movies: Hiya Hayley. Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hayley Davis: Hello! I'm a Birmingham based actor and writer. I'm Birmingham born and raised but moved away to study and after university I moved to London for a few years before realising that I couldn't balance being a creative with being able to rent and buy food in one of the most expensive cities in the world! So I came back to Birmingham and really started concentrating on making my own work.


MM: And what attracted you to working in the film industry?

HD: It's strange to think of myself as being "in the film industry" as I'm still in the very early stages of my career. I actually started writing film purely because I wanted to be in a short film! I was trying to get acting work with only a little experience and everyone was telling me that unpaid work was the way forward. I just thought, well if I'm not getting paid anyway, I've got ideas so I may as well write something, get the crew together myself and then I can schedule it all around my paid work.


MM: That's great. So, what hurdles did that entail and how did you overcome them?

HD: Apart from the logistics of producing a film and getting a project up and on its feet, the biggest hurdle was to stop waiting for permission to create something. I waited for so long to start making my own work because, to be honest, I was scared shitless. Am I good enough? Can I do this? Am I "worthy"? Will people think it's shit? Once I thought, you know what, no-one is going to hand you a job so you either get over your anxiety or nothing will ever happen. I just got on with it. Even if people don't like my work, I'm not going to die.


MM: You also have a new series called Random on your site. Can you tell our readers a bit about that?

HD: I've been doing a lot of corporate roleplay acting over the last year, which isn't very creative and can get a bit boring. I wanted to make sure that I was keeping my creativity going. I ALWAYS feel like I should be making more work and I wanted to create something that was fairly quick to produce but also allowed me to challenge myself.


Random is a set of monologues that I write by going on Snopes.com which is a website that debunks or confirms various stories, urban legends, news articles etc. Some of the stuff on there is crazy. So, I select a random story and then write and perform a monologue based on the story. So far there's been a UFO fanatic, a murderous wife and a teacher who has a momentary loss of control. The idea was to post every two weeks or so, but my work schedule has been busy, so I try to do them as and when I can.



MM: The Get Out Clause brought you a lot of attention including a win at BFF. How did that project come about?

HD: That was so crazy. As I mentioned it was really something I did because I wanted some short film footage to help with acting work. I had already made a very small film / monologue called Would Like to Meet but wanted to do something a bit bigger. I wrote, produced and starred in the film and then it languished on my laptop for a year or two. I didn't do anything with it. Then last year on a whim, I entered it into the BFF and then forgot about it. When I was told it was nominated for Best Local Film, I thought, that's nice. It won't win, but I'll have a night out at the awards and that will be something. So, when it did win I nearly fell out of my chair. It was such a lovely feeling to have this thing that I had made from nothing, with no expectations, receive some recognition.




MM: You also both act and write. Do you have a preference of one over the other? What do you bring to each discipline?

HD: A few years ago I would have said that I wanted to be recognised as an actor more than anything. But now for me they go hand in hand. I find both challenging and rewarding in lots of ways and they inform each other. Writing makes me a better actor and vice versa.


MM: Can you give any advice can you give to other actors out there to get noticed?

HD: Please let me know if you find this out because I'd love to know! It's hard. I'm very much trying to be "noticed" myself. I'm working on the theory that if I do everything I can, make work, try to get that recognised, supported, enjoyed then the profile will come.


MM: And what has been your greatest achievement so far?

HD: I think one of the things that makes me most proud is changing from working in jobs I hated and made me unhappy (office, corporate) to be able to make money from acting and/or creative jobs. I think back to a couple of years ago when I was sat on my lunch break, in a badly fitting blouse crying because I hated what I was doing and I'm thankful that I haven't had to do that for a good while now. It could all change tomorrow but I still think that's an achievement.


MM: And who has inspired you in your work?

HD: Of course I'm in awe of brilliance like Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright. But I am also really inspired by women who have had success with creating their own work. Michaela Cole, Phoebe Waller-Bridges, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Lena Dunham and Ava Duvernay. I look to them for inspiration.


MM: Who are you favourite Midlands creatives out there you’d recommend our readers checking out?

HD: Elinor Coleman is a wonderful writer/performer who wrote a show called Baby Daddy which was on at the Birmingham Rep. Not film, but a lovely Birmingham based performer. [Editor: check it out at this link - click here].


MM: And finally, what’s next on the horizon for you?

HD: I'll be continuing to create Random so keep an eye out for those. I'm also in the process of writing my next short film which I'm really excited about and will hopefully be a bigger project than The Get Out Clause. I'm also involved in a pilot which I am also co-writing and is being filmed in the Autumn which I'm hoping will lead to bigger things. Just keep an eye on my website. It will all be on there!


Check out Hayley Davis’s new blog series ‘Random’ on her website at www.mshayleydavis.com


And follow for her latest news on Twitter @mshayleydavis






RSS Feed twitter