I was watching one of my favourite films over the weekend, Local Hero, written and directed by Bill Forsyth. (For the Doctor Who fans out there, it has an early, excellent and delightfully gawky performance from Peter Capaldi.)
After watching the film, I found a great 'behind the scenes’ documentary about its making on YouTube. There were some fascinating stories and insights into getting a film from page to screen and I would encourage anyone who has a creative project, film or otherwise, to watch it. (Probably best to watch the film first, as there are spoilers!). There are stories about being in the right room at the right time to get financial backing and your big star; shooting your first film on spare ends of discarded film stock; the importance of collaboration; being talent spotted at a party…..
One of my favourite stories is about a key scene at the end of the film, when two of the characters, who could change the whole course of the story, come together. They meet inside the home of one of them. Meanwhile, all the people whose lives will be affected for good or ill by this conversation wait patiently outside. Where would we, as audience, expect to be? Probably inside with the main protagonists. But no, in a move described by the producer, David Puttman, as ‘genius’, we stay outside, waiting as anxiously as the locals as the outcome of the conversation, and the film, is decided. Was it genius from the writer? No, says Bill Forsyth; “I couldn’t imagine what they would say to each other.” Out of a potential problem for Forsyth came a moment which everyone else thinks is brilliant.
So, next time you are feeling a bit stuck, don't despair - it might just be your Bill Forsyth moment.
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