Wednesday, 23 March 2011

With, most definitely WITH you lot!

I pull this face in the film. Shame about that.
Wow wow wooo-wow, you people are nothing short of amazing. In the last 5 days since my first blog asking for help I have been showered with offers of support, help, introductions and general resounding cheering! You lot have taken this mad plan to heart and messaged me in your hundreds upon hundreds. I am utterly overwhelmed by how kind each person who has taken the time to get in touch has been. THANK YOU!! *bottom lip quivvers*

I’m super duper grateful, truly awed. I should leave it at that before get all Gwyneth Paltrow about the whole thing….

Anyway I am delighted to say, CALL OFF THE SEARCH!!

  • I now have the amazing Mark Roberts creating an original arrangement of the track for the chorus (his website’s here, listen to “Time” it’s utterly gorgeous!
  • And a selection of members from the incredible Silverlake Chorus as my chorus of angels (check out their videos here, they’re freaking awesome! All thanks to my new BFF Lea Endres.
  • Plus I have a horde of brand new pals in the US of A to boot!*
(*With several offers of places to stay - you loonies really want me in your house? Right now if I was a cat my tail would be permanently pouffed up like a bog brush. I’m quite jangly at the moment. Seriously you don’t want me, I have a hotel. But thanks so much!)

So I am over the moon to say that because of kindness of these (former) strangers, my tiny film With or Without U2 will not only still be eligible for the finals of the LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival, it will now be headlining the Saturday night screening and voiced by a chorus of angels with an amazing original arrangement!

One should always rely upon the kindness of strangers.

I also dress as a doggie in the film. I wrote it. I have only myself to blame.
Here comes the “science” bit

Lots of you have asked about the licensing – how come I can’t play the film with the score but can use a live choir. So...

The choir Scala (who’s cover of the song I wrote my film to) offered me a license, no probsies, they were very sweet about it. But I still needed the license from the writers (who are of course U2) to have it as a soundtrack for the film. U2 personally said an unequivocal no to any form of license whatsoever. The end.

But my film is still my film, it just has to be silent.

As it’s being shown in a theatre in LA they have a license to play live music, as any venue like a pub, bar, theatre etc would. In real terms this means that I can come to your local pub and repeatedly sing Careless Whisper all the live long day with my ukulele and there ain’t a single thing George Michael can do to stop me. You might object though. Espesh as I only know 3 chords. Though given that I’m singing all the live long day I might eventually fathom a 4th chord, going with the Monkey + Typewriter x Time = Shakespeare theory. I digress.

Therefore if a live chorus HAPPEN to be in the screening room where my film HAPPENS to be playing silently, and they HAPPEN to sing With or Without You, well… there ain’t a single thing Bono, The Edge and The Other Two can do about that.

Yes, it means this will be the only time my film will be shown in public. Which makes it all the more special, and makes all of the messages of support and offers for help all the more heartening. I feel like the luckiest little lady in all the land and this is going to be an adventure. THANK YOU I'll keep you posted X

Friday, 18 March 2011

My Short Film 'With or Without U2' - Most definitely without U2! Can you help?

An unintentionally filthy press pic from the film
 Recently some of you will have seen me jellified with joy that my teeny tiny debut short film With or Without U2 made the finals of the LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival! I have been in a permantent state of delirium and possibly reached critical mass several times. Quite pleased.

It’s a silent film written to a soundtrack: With or Without You sung by a Belgian all girl’s choir: Scala.

But in a devastating twist it can never ever be shown in public as it stands. Ever. Why? Sadly, it's because U2 have declined our license application to use any version of their track.

If you want to read the full story it’s below, but for those time poor but compassion rich, I am asking for HELP!! I have a cunning plan to jump through a loophole….

The LA Comedy Fest are totally behind my idea – to show the film in the style of the silent era, with a live choir singing the score! Amazing! They love this idea so much we’re now headlining the Saturday night screening!

But only if I can recruit:

  • a Los Angeles choir/glee club who are just mad enough to learn a new score by 9th April and perform along to the film
  • a composer to help us create an original arrangement
  • general help/fixers in LA to help me liaise until I get there on 7th April

And if we win our category, every cent of the prize money will go to Comic Relief!

Granted, this is a tall order, but if you know anyone who might be able to help, please do get in touch, I would be unutterably indebted and grateful! X

Tom Price (yes him, PC Andy off Torchwood! How lucky am I?!) and me on the set of With or Without U2
The long version:

So… having made a few sketches to music, like this one for Funny Or Die I have fallen in love with writing comedy to music. It’s such an inclusive way to work: if you remove language you not only get to find inventive ways to tell stories, you also get to tell them to literally anyone in the world. Music and visuals are universal languages.

In my eager naivety as a first time producer, I had no idea that I needed the music licenses approved before shooting. Idiot. I know. But a keen, passionate idiot. So with barely a budget to speak of, ace director Lee York and I invested and shot it with the highest possible production values, because the entire cast and crew worked like demons for love and cake. But not a penny of coin. I was genuinely astonished that so many seriously talented people gave their skill, time and love to this film so willingly!

Written to a beautiful version of the iconic U2 track With or Without You, sung by a Belgian all girl’s choir Scala: It’s haunting, lush and we shot every moment to the beats of the music. I used the track because it was stunning. Then I applied to Blue Mountain music for just a one year festivals only license to show it at film festivals. No internet, no TV, just a festival only license for 12 months. They asked for a copy for the band. Wowsers in trousers! The band! Sure thing, Bono watching my little tiny film, what an honour!

But I’m devastated to say the band have personally said an unequivocal no. This is of course completely their right, it's their song! And a gorgeous song it is too.

But I don’t let little things like nay-saying megastars keep me down! Too many people have worked like demons for this. So, with the festival’s full support we’re looking for an LA based choir or glee club just crazy enough to learn a new arrangement in the next 2 weeks, and to sing my soundtrack live! The festival are so behind this idea that they have moved our screening, it will now headline the Saturday night show! I am over the moon.

So if you know anyone in LA who can help? If you happen to be friends with an entire choir? Or have friends there who will be willing to help? I would be so grateful. It ain’t over til the glee club sings! X