We speak to the director of The World I Forgot, which will be screened at Papaya Rocks Film Festival.
Your film will be shown at the inaugural Papaya Rocks Film Festival in London, what does taking a part in this event mean to you?
Can't wait to hang out with everyone at Papaya Rocks – thank you sincerely for selecting my film.And I adore firsts: first kiss, first girlfriend, first time I tasted lemon cheesecake.
Do you think nerves will set in closer to your screening?
Nope. My film spans only 32 seconds. If people don't like it, there'll be another one along shortly, no hard feelings.
Tell me a little bit about your work. How did this film come about?
I'm a writer and creator. The technicalities and gear underpinning the film don't appeal to me in the least. Instead, I'm obsessed with sharing unscripted truths. The World I Forgot was shot spontaneously on my Samsung S6 – it was simply me documenting a slice of my day. I had no agenda, I was just lying under a tree, and immediately felt a connection to reality that I'd too easily forgotten given my unhealthy relationship with social media. As I was laying there, under those mighty branches, I felt reborn. I know how “hippy” that sounds, but it's true. I wanted to document it as a personal reminder to myself.
What was the inspiration behind your screenplay?
It's more of a diary entry than a screenplay. The only dialogue in the film is my voiceover. I actually filmed, edited and uploaded the film to YouTube in under six hours. The day I made it, I'd just finished a month-long challenge that required me to write, produce and release a new YouTube show every day for a month. By the time The World I Forgot was born, I was exhausted and had no desire to spend excessive time crafting something fancy. As a result, the voiceover was recorded in one take, and with no script. I had no idea what I was going to say until I hit “record” – I chose instead to trust that I'd say something vaguely lucid. As a self-confessed overthinker, this approach was incredibly liberating. That said, to this day, there are bits in the voiceover that I don't like, but I wanted to challenge my overthinking, so refused to redo it. And I'm proud of myself (laughs).
What was the hardest scene for you to film?
In truth, nothing about it was a challenge. I had no clue what I was going to do with the footage. I just wanted a permanent record of how emotionally rich I felt lying under that handsome tree. Everything was filmed in under twenty minutes, then I fell asleep on wet grass.
What were the biggest challenges you faced making this film?
Making sure nothing was stolen as I slept.
Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker?
Nope. Ultimately, I just love telling stories in all formats: be it written, audio or visual. My background as a radio presenter and magazine features writer means I'm fortunate to have done it all.
Do you have any advice or tips for a fellow filmmaker?
I consider myself a writer/storyteller more than I consider myself a traditional filmmaker. But if pushed, my advice would be: stop trying to show how clever you are with your equipment, and instead, fall in love with the business of making people feel something.
What are you currently working on?
Plane tickets – I'm going to San Diego. I recently released my debut short film 61 HUGS and it has been invited to screen at the International Mobile Film Festival in April. £476 for return tickets baby, boom! Trust me, finding that bargain price was work! And I'm also filming The Train this year – my most TV-friendly project yet. I look forward to selling the format to Channel 5, as now they have a huge Big Brother-shaped hole in their schedule.
What do you hope people will take away from your film?
Emotions trump equipment. Every time. No exceptions.
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