Svetlana and Hamish AKA Alina and Jim

On Friday night Sunchalkers gathered to celebrate film maker Rob West’s birthday by creating what one might call a ‘flash movie’, an instant short drama.  Of course we had wine and cake and lots of laughs but by the end of the evening we had a short film which, with the birthday boy’s editorial talents, will be worth watching.  It struck me that for all the ham acting, comedy wigs, and silly voices, we actually hit on a few principles that apply to both short drama and the short story:

  • A strong basic scenario and premise; in our case a seance in which each of the characters had an agenda.
  • Unity of place – Rob’s kitchen table
  • Unity of time – the length of a seance, albeit compressed.
  • A strong theme – unmasking deception.
  • A definite of genre – we went for a documentary style with Rob as interviewer with a distinct nod to Noel Coward’s Blythe Spirit and, dictated by our limited technical abilities, a touch of The Blair Witch Project. This also provided a format with interviews before and after the main event.
  • A specific tone – distinctly ironic.
  • A limited cast of well-defined characters with distinctive voices and something to hide i.e. Madame Ardella Arcati, the drunken medium, millionaire distiller Hamish and Russian pole-dancer Svetlana (Jim and Alina) who are seeking his late wife’s blessing on their nuptials, Tamsin Timid (Sarah) who wants to know what happened to her late husband (he was hit by a juggernaut – great sound effects), Ding-Dong Bell (Clinton) who is trying to contact his dead dog in the happy hunting ground beyond, Norbert Schmit who wants to reach his Sunday school teacher upon whose knee he had spent happy hours as a 14 year-old, and Maddison from Texas (Kimberley) who is really a Daily Mail journalist intent on exposing our medium as a fraud.

Can’t wait to see the final cut. Happy Birthday Rob West!
Ardella Jones