Solitaire is a film about my creative process for this module. I recently shot two films back to back, one as 1st Ad and editor and the other as director and Editor so I have been very busy creatively. When given this brief, I found it very difficult to come up with an idea for a short film without dialogue. I found myself suddenly in a creative slump and just sat there, alone, staring at a blank celtx document with the letters INT in front of me.
After a couple of nights scrawling the internet for inspiration, I suddenly had an idea, I started writing it down and then again, suddenly realised something else; it wasn’t very good. I went to bed.
To backtrack a little, I had an image of a man in an suit laying underwater in a bath, not moving. This was all very good but I didn’t know why he was there and after going through the motions of cliche plots, he’s depressed, he is remembering a traumatic time, it is a dream etc, I scrapped it.
So I am sat there, just staring into oblivion and I decide to do another cliche, write about somebody who doesn’t have anything to write about. I then realised I tend to start things off and never follow them through so I jotted down some of the ideas I had been holding onto for a while, mainly based around locations, props etc. It was then that I realised that if I make a film about myself and my inability to advance past the opening of a film, it might relate to other people.
So after knocking out a quick script I had a cigarette and then looked at it again. I picked out the themes and finalised them. Procrastination, writer’s block and loneliness (which I don’t suffer from, or maybe I do, maybe I should talk to someone). I chose four openings and structured around them. The main link between them all would be a man in a darkly lit room typing on a typewriter( which is the opening to a feature screenplay I have been writing for about 10 years, which I have just realised as I am writing this, weird). I have recently acquired office space where I will be starting a small production company from, which fit the bill exactly so that was my main location sorted. I have a bath in my house and a mirror too in fact, but unfortunately not a park bench and a quarry, so I arranged transport to shoot both locations on the same day.
You may be wondering why I said quarry, I clearly did not film at a quarry, funny story. A few years ago, my partner and I were trying to get to yealmpton from plympton to get to my nephews birthday party, we got severely lost and stumbled across an abandoned quarry somewhere in the jungles of the South Hams. I say stumbled, we saw a do not enter sign and totally didn’t break in, where we absolutely didn’t take loads of pictures and most definitely didn’t return many times. The issue is that memory is such a fickle thing so finding it again proved difficult. When we eventually did, we got out the car and as we were not attempting to get in there, a man showed up and instructed us that we were accidently on private property through no fault of our own. We left, having broken no laws of man and went to a back up location, the abandoned Shire Horse Centre near Dunstone. We were kicked out, FYI it is not abandoned anymore.
So it was getting dark and I remembered that there was an old U.S naval base from WWII nearby, we went there instead. It was the most terrifying place on earth, I sat by a dying fire while my two accomplices left me for twenty minutes to fetch more equipment, I have never been as afraid and never will be…I hope.
So, that tangent is over.
Long story short, I used Solitaire as an opportunity to get rid of some ideas from my dusty ideas closet.
I hope the film is appealing to people who have suffered the same fate.