Up all night, down half the next day

The endurance/creativity test is over; all body parts present and correct, if a little on the trembly side.

Our Team, Little Ed, successfully completed the forty-eight hour challenge in forty-seven.

Everyone participating was given a character to include, a prop, and a specific line of dialogue. So, Norman or Norma MacKenzie, a cleaner, must find his or her way in, the prop was a ring, and the line was “do I know you?”  Hmm, tricky. For the genre, the team captain, A,  put his hand in the bag and pulled out…horror. Sigh of relief that we did not get ‘period drama’ – budgets would struggle to stretch that far.


With that to work with, the team began tossing ideas about. Friday night was devoted to blether, beer and story-boarding. Somehow, the eight or so people coalesced around a single concept: a crime scene cleaner, Norman, is observing the aftermath of a vicious murder while he cleans up around it. In monologue, he describes, based on injuries sustained, blood splatters etc, how it must have played out – this is interspersed with flashbacks of the attack. In the end, he finishes up and walks to his car…but I won’t spoil to for you any further.


Strangely, the comedy element usually present in Little Ed productions (I’ve been involved in a couple) was completely absent.  There were a lot of effects dreamt up, which always happens. Not many fun-with-computer visuals, as there simply wasn’t the time – so everything was reliant on physical props. Of which, I was one. Two and a half hours of lying on the floor in a puddle of red-dyed golden syrup. Yes, I was the victim – named Velma…okay, there was a teeeny bit of levity in there. We had a pair of 3D glasses lying about, and they seemed to fit with the clingy mustard top and hideous, baggy fronted, rust-coloured trousers A and I bought specifically for the outfit on Saturday. The killer wore a hat brought back from Oktoberfest in Munich, and a scarecrow-style mask made out of a cloth bag, as well as equally ugly clothes. We joked that the big reveal would happen at the end Scooby-Doo style…”I got away with it, no bother from you pesky kids!” Instead, the film turned out to be incredibly serious, and rather grim. I hope to put a link up to the film on youtube after the screening, but be warned – I did have to squeeze a bottle of fake blood quite a bit.


What was fascinating was taking part in a collaborative effort, under the stress of time, and having it all turn out well. Even on Sunday morning, as daylight crept up on us, everyone who was awake (A was sent to bed as he had the last scenes in the morning) was committed to the work, but still able to chat and laugh. The editors, J and J, put the footage together, but passed it round to D and I for second opinions and ideas for splicing it together.  By the time 5pm had rolled around, we were done, exhausted, but with a pretty coherent short of four minutes fifty seconds on our hands. We handed the film and the paperwork in just after 6, with not even the energy to cheer, then went our separate ways. I then slept for fourteen hours.


Quite a different experience from writing alone in my living room and bedroom. Relay sprint versus marathon.



Filed under Scotland, The Now

4 responses to “Up all night, down half the next day

  1. This sounds like a blast, like nothing I’ve ever done. And fake blood! Ah, the gore.

    You know you just saddled yourself with a nickname, Velma.

  2. Heee, it was so great, mostly because playing with props naturally leads everyone to be a bit silly.

    Why are there no people in real life called Velma? At least, I’ve never met any. Velma’s a fab name.

  3. How fantastic. I love the idea of this from the collaboration to the impromptu nature. What a refreshing reprieve from your own brain.

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