The Water Rat started life as a writing exercise by Edinburgh-based writer Steve Porter, where he had to create a short film that had a specific object in it. From the list provided he was attracted to the laser pen, and from this weaved a tale around two boys playing by a river, where they see a strange creature, antagonising it with the laser. They try to hit it with rocks, only to be challenged by a mysterious Stranger, who tells them off about being cruel to animals. As the argument escalates, the two boys quickly realise that the Stranger is not all he appears to be.
Steven wanted to see if the script had legs, so he contacted Rain Fire Films in Glasgow, who offer a free reading service for short scripts. The script impressed director Andrew Rainnie, who encouraged Steven to rewrite the script, offering suggestions as to how the structure could be changed to better serve the narrative theme.
After a couple of rewrites, Steven asked if Rain Fire Films would be interested in shooting the script, and given the chance, we said yes!
Andrew and Steven spent several months exchanging emails about how the film could be made and where it would be shot. After several days of searching for the ideal location around the West of Scotland, Andrew came across Dawsholm Park in the north part of Glasgow. It offered the perfect bridge and river to realise Steven's vision, as well as being very handy for our production base.
For the two friends, Liam and Dougie, we auditioned a number of great young actors, but we were lucky enough to have a pair of brothers audition for both roles. Both Rio and Rudi Jordan have been acting since they were six, joining a local village drama group. The musically-inclined siblings are now in an older drama group for teens.
As for the mysterious Stranger that happens upon the boys and teaches them a lesson, we were looking for someone who could come across respectable and sinister at the same time, as the story takes a dark turn. Stuart Falconer wowed us with his reading of the script. He is a versatile actor who has enjoyed roles in the likes of Outlander, River City, and Scot Squad.
At Rain Fire Films we love crowdfunding and have supported many projects including film equipment, films, and video games. The platform not offers us access to funding but helps us build word of mouth about the project, and with your help, it will be seen around the world.
Even if you can't contribute this time around, we would very much appreciate it if you could help our project by sharing it on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter! You can find us at @rainfirefilms.
We are fortunate that we not only have a great group of volunteers but that we have access to our own equipment, including our Panasonic GH5 camera with customer Veydra Mini Prime lenses to shoot on. We also have the portable Scorpion and Tile lighting kit made by our Kickstarter friends at Blind Spot Gear. (If you are in the market for a lighting kit, Blind Spot Gear are Kickstarting the Scorpion Light v2 - check it out!)
We still need to procure various items for use as props, as well as petrol for our transport vehicles, and food and drink for our wonderful cast and crew. We also want to ensure their safety by having the production fully insure.
Making a film, even a short one, requires a lot of planning. This basic budget breakdown simplifies how we expect the funds to be used.
Any support is much appreciated and we will forever be grateful. Even a small pledge of £1 can help push us over our target. All of your pledges will help make this film a reality, and we will mention your good deeds in our social media and hope that your good karma is returned in kind. To reward you for your awesome contributions, pledgers will receive some great perks including:
- Your Name In The Credits
- Digital Copy Of The Film
- Digital Copy Of The Script
- Exclusive Access To Production Blog
- Invitation To The Premiere
- Dinner With The Director
- An Animal Sponsored In Your Name
- Executive Producer Credit
If we are fortunate enough to exceed our target, then we have a few stretch goals in mind.
£750 - Everyone Gets Paid!
This film can only be made with the help and support of our cast and crew, who are volunteering their time and effort. If we manage to reach our stretch goal of £750, we are going to distribute some of the funds to them as a thank you for their hard work.
£1000 - Festival Funding!
We believe that The Water Rat has a great shot at playing at a number of film festivals around the world, but many festivals have submission fees. If we reach £1000, this will help us expand the scope of festivals we can submit our film to.
£1500 - Another Short Film!
The future is bright! Should we manage to triple our target, Rain Fire Films is going to run a competition looking for great scripts to make. Every entry will receive a script report, and we will make the one we think is best. Even better, anyone who helps us crowdfund The Water Rat will also receive the same awards on the next short film!
£2000 - Environmental Short Film Incubator
As the man who discovered the centipede first said, "It's got legs!" Our campaign has proven to be very popular, with many people responding to the moral story tied to animal rights and animal cruelty. And we would like to have more of these types of messages out there.
So should we reach £2000, we want to take some of those funds and Kick It Forward. We plan to do this in several ways:
- First, we will find five scripts from first-time writers/directors based in Scotland that tackle an environmental theme - this could be about animals and animal welfare, the environment, pollution, or other ideas that take the theme to new and exciting places. We don't want to limit people.
- We will host a weekend incubator session with all five creators, forming a tight group where we analyse the script and give feedback, until the stories and themes are as good as we can possibly make them.
- We will educate these five teams to run their own Kickstarter campaign, showing how we set up ours. We will also contribute £50 to each one to get them started.
- We will give all five teams full access to our filming equipment, in the hopes that this will allow them to set smaller Kickstarter goals and reach their funding targets.
The best thing is that all of these films will be made available to our backers at any level, and if you are credited on The Water Rat, you will be credited on those films as well.
Andrew John Rainnie is a writer and filmmaker. He founded Rain Fire Films in 2014 to make music videos, short films, and websites, and to help others achieve their creative vision through film. In the same year, he released his debut fantasy novel, Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits. He also oversees a website about his home city, DiscoverGlasgow.org. He is a strong advocate of animal rights, and regularly contributes to charities who fight to end animal cruelty.
Steven Porter’s published writing includes fiction, short stories, poetry, memoir, travelogue, reportage, essays and reviews. His first venture into film was providing the script for Beyond the Haar. This homage to Aberdeen was screened at several cinemas in Scotland and won a Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Amsterdam Film Festival. Steve is open to discussions with filmmakers about another completed feature-length script, a dark comedy about the trials and tribulations of young flatmates in late 80s Scotland. Steve is now doing research for a Western set in Canada.
Alastair Brown is a freelance sound and recording engineer, specialising in sound design and composition. His time is split between recording in the studio and performing foley work at home. He has a keen knowledge of both analogue and digital recording techniques, and a varied interest in many musical genres, offering a diverse foundation to any project undertaken. His studio work has seen him collaborate with musicians of all shapes, styles and genres, be it punk, post-hardcore, folk, progressive rock, from solo singers to a nine-piece folk rock band.
Risks and challenges
There are always risks when making a short film, and as ours is set entirely outside, we are dependent on Mother Nature to grant us two calm days of weather. For anyone who has never visited Scotland, this is likely to be a miracle. However, the location we have chosen is sheltered, so we hope to be able to shoot despite a little wind or rain.
As our cast and crew are volunteers, we may have people drop out due to paid commitments, but we hope to have enough hands on deck to offset any last minute issues.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)