Found this photo. An important find. So, from the beginning…
I wrote Les The Punter as a poem first, before the short screenplay. This picture is the pub – The Sportsman – where Les really existed. Until his demise of course. I went back (that’s me standing) to pin a laminated copy of the poem to the wall where Les used to sit, on my right beneath the TV.
On Saturday afternoons the pub was full of racing enthuisiasts and our bets were placed by the landlord via phone to Austin Wilkins, a local bookmaker.
The bar is as small as it looks, perhaps seating 40 with a further 20 standing on a busy night. Brian and his crew, including me, sat to my left where, just out of shot, there’s bench seating facing the TV. The bar is to my left and behind. Ashtrays on tables will give an indication of the date of this shot although I’m sure not too much attention was ever paid to legislation.
I remember the bar had a stone floor but it turned out that the landlord’s son was a carpet fitter and so we had carpet. And then we had carpet up the walls. He couldn’t stop.
Being an end of terrace pub there was a back room where parents took their children, a lounge which was more of a snug for those courting or being posh for a night (it seated no more than 10) and a serving hatch for off licence sales.
The smoking ban and corporatisation is killing most communal pubs but I believe The Sportsman is still alive. I drove past it only the other day and its front door was open.
Inside? Perhaps the ghost of Les and echos and shadows of horse racing and punting. And, who knows, maybe my poem is still on the wall.
A while ago I started my first full length script project. Code named TPLS, today I have just finished the first draft.
I don’t think I’ve ever tackled such a complex writing task and it is by no means finished. In fact, the journey has only just started.
However, I’ve allowed myself a little whoop here to mark the beginning of the end of a project I never thought I’d reach so far on.
The first draft has the basic plot and character interactions outlined. The task for draft two is to strengthen the plot, round off the characters and pump up its distinctive backdrop.
Self indulgent whoop over, now back to work…
A very exciting development. Phil Hawkins, a Director I adore for the consistent high quality and visual scope of his work, has indicated he would be pleased to be involved in the Les The Punter short film project.
There’s a long way to go of course. I’m aiming to secure up to £20k of funds to cover the project which will enable the film to be made to an acceptably high standard. Of course, this is tops and in theory short films can be made on a shoestring. However it does indicate, along with Phil’s involvement, the production standards we’re aiming to achieve.
There are several next steps, not least attracting a known actor to be cast in the central role. We have some ideas and approaches are being made.
Of course, I’m not completely niave and anticipate many obstacles, set-backs and disappointments along the way but for now things are definitely looking positive for a script I and others truly believe in.
I’d like Les The Punter to be made into a short film (statement of intent). And so would all of the folk who’ve read the script (justification).
Everyone loves an apocryphal story and feedback from an eclectic range of readers has been beyond encouraging. As has the pro opinion here.
Perhaps this is a perfect opportunity for an established bookmaker to jump on board and brand the short film – or embark on a series of them?
Maybe it’s an opportunity for a Director (comedic inclination) to add a relatively inexpensive piece to their portfolio?
Who knows? All options are open.
If you’re interested then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send the script and we’ll take it from there.
Well, none really, apart from a lot of learning.
The script alluded to in the last post got to first draft – and draft two is underway.
But this is all an experiment. Not only is this the hardest writing challenge I’ve faced it’s only a stepping stone to the real feature length film I want to write (started as notes in 1996).
I’m not at the point of defeat on this initial script – far from it. I’m graduating through the University of Life. A degree takes three years and I’m only just into my second year on this self-teaching exercise.
One day everything will click into place.
Bluecat Shorts announced the four finalists, 4th April. Unfortunately Les was not amongst them.
Exciting times though. Going to be taking him and the story to the theatre – see how it will work on a stage.
A new writing challenge. Love it!
Things are hotting up. Les The Punter is now through to the Bluecat Shorts semi finals.
That’s the last 25 scripts out of an entry of 1730.
Finalists to be announced April 4th.