Twelfth Man - Short based on a true story by John Challis
Twelfth Man - Short based on a true story by John Challis
A theatre company tries to perform a matinee of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, while watching the 1966 World Cup Final backstage.
A theatre company tries to perform a matinee of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, while watching the 1966 World Cup Final backstage. Read more
About this project
WHAT IS TWELFTH MAN?
Twelfth Man is a short comedy film based on a true story by 'Only Fools And Horses' star John Challis, set during the World Cup Final of 1966 when a theatre company are trying to perform a matinee of William Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' while secretly trying to watch the game.
John was part of a theatre company performing many Shakespeare plays at the time, and this particular one included stars such as Sir Ian Holm, David Warner and Dame Diana Rigg.
It's just one of the incredibly entertaining stories John tells on his touring one man show 'Only Fools & Boycie', where he shares some wonderful anecdotes from his life and career.
I had the pleasure of working with John on my previous short film TEA FOR TWO, which co-starred Amanda Barrie. The film had a great festival run, which included being selected for the BAFTA-qualifying Aesthetica Film Festival and is now available to watch online.
John and I have stayed in touch since, and after seeing his show, I knew I had to make a film of this particular story as soon as I heard it. So, I spent some time working on a script with Paul Dixon Barker and a few months later we sent it to him for his thoughts and his immediate response was, "I love it! When do we start?"
So here we are now trying to get it started with all of you!
Against the backdrop of this historic occasion, we have written a host of characters involved in the action on stage, backstage, out in the audience and we even venture out to the pub! [Side note: who wouldn't like to venture out to the pub?]
The ensemble of characters includes gambling addict and Twelfth Night's leading man, Harry (who's placed an ill-advised large bet on a Germany win), the seasoned and stoically professional Diana (who's only concern is impressing a critic in the audience) and Suzie, the bright young starlet playing Viola/Cesario* (in the midst of her own personal crisis that has nothing to do with football or Shakespeare).
(*If you want to know why Suzie has male and female character names, you'll either need to read Twelfth Night or watch our film!)
Other characters include the supporting cast of the play, the stage crew waiting in the wings with one eye on the TV and, of course, our befuddled theatre audience watching all unfold before them - in particular Stanley who's been dragged to the matinee by his other half Nora and is desperately trying to keep tabs on the game with his pocket radio.
The film is a fast-paced, character driven comedy-drama that will pack in a hell of a lot in a short space of time.
WHO IS ON BOARD?
Caroline Sax of The Hampshire Picture Company is the Producer of the film. She's a writer and director whose work has previously screened at the Sundance Film Festival. The remit of The Hampshire Company is to support emerging filmmaking talent in Hampshire, and I'm delighted that she sees this script and this project as something special to get behind.
It's also wonderful to be working again with April Kelley and Sara Huxley, Executive Producers of the film, co-owners of award-winning production company Mini Productions and producers of TEA FOR TWO. They are both members of BAFTA crew 2017 and their last short film EDITH, starring Peter Mullan and Michelle Fairley, was long listed for BAFTA earlier this year.
This script's lofty ambitions are in very good hands, and we're all inspiring ourselves with the famous Twelfth Night quote... "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."
However, to NOT quote Shakespeare... "with great ambitions comes a great... budget!"
WHY DOES TWELFTH MAN NEED YOU?
The scale of this film goes against all the usual rules of making a short film, which include keeping the action to a handful of actors and shoot in one or two easily accessible locations. We're basically attempting the exact opposite.
Our ensemble comedy will have over a dozen speaking parts, filmed across two theatre locations - the Theatre Royal in Winchester and The Plaza in Romsey - plus the Milestones museum in Basingstoke, which we will need to exclusively hire for our 5 day shoot.
In addition, the interesting juxtapositions of the film is what makes it so costly to put together - the 1960's, football and Shakespeare. Not only are we going to have to reflect the 1960's period in locations and fashions, we're also going to have to dress the acting company in very specific Shakespearean costumes.
Did I mention we'll need a 100-strong theatre audience of extras too? Bloody hell, who's idea was this?!
With all those mouths to feed, we're delighted to have The Travelling Glutton on board, who are looking to make a big splash in the film catering business. They're helping us with an incredible deal to make sure everyone gets fed top nosh throughout the shoot, but we still need help to cover this cost.
Add to all of this the regular costs involved in making a short film (camera equipment, lighting, sound, transport, insurance, etc) and you can see why we're desperate for help to make a film of this size possible.
WHY SHOULD YOU GET INVOLVED?
We've put together a range of perks to hopefully make helping us worth your while, some that even John has volunteered for (including video shout-outs from the great man himself) to give us the best chance of the film being made.
We've got signed scripts, set visits, invites to the cast and crew screening, posters, IMDB credits, stress balls (it will be handy having a box of those during the campaign), plus a specially designed football scarf being produced for the campaign - all this and more I hope will entice you to join our journey and spread the word about it to as many people as possible!
BUT WHY SHOULD YOU GET INVOLVED?
The film will be a great opportunity for the huge number of cast and crew coming together to make it (two football team's worth should do it), and should especially be fun for the audience we're making it for (it's all about the fans).
It's a film that needs to be fully funded in order to get made. That's why we've chosen Kickstarter as the platform to try and raise those funds, as for me it really is all or nothing. There is no cutting corners on a project like this. If I can't raise the full amount, we cannot make this film.
And, despite being an Arsenal fan*, John is one of the greatest gents you could ever wish to meet, so I would dearly love the chance to bring one of his stories to life.
All of us are well aware of the size of the project ahead, and the level of help we're going to need to achieve it - it's a BIG ask - but we know that if we're given the opportunity to make Twelfth Man, you will have helped us to create a very special film indeed.
You don't need to be a football fan or a Shakespeare fan to enjoy TWELFTH MAN.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our project - we hope you join us for the ride!
(*I'm a Spurs fan, sorry John!)
Risks and challenges
Making a short film of this scale requires extensive planning and budgeting, as despite our high target, every penny has been stretched to it's maximum.
We have a fantastic Line Producer on board, Rebekah Renford, who has project managed shoots for such clients as Sony, Volkswagen and Nokia. Rebekah was also Production Manager on the recent Kickstarter-backed 'Biopunk', so should the Kickstarter community give us the opportunity to make 'Twelfth Man' they can rest assured every penny counts.
The main challenges for the film are the size of the production and the fact it has a period setting. The attention to detail to make sure the authenticity of the period is captured will be key, something not often attempted in short film for the sole reason that it is a huge undertaking. However, that is just one more reason we want to make this film - it will achieve something rarely seen in short film.
We will be in constant communication with backers about the progress of the project and delivery of rewards. Many of the team, myself included, have experience of crowdfunding other projects so we know how important it is all our supporters are kept up to date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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