Going up against the wall

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It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. It’s a trite adage, sure, but that doesn’t stop it being true. The over abundance of creative types means that many people submit perfectly decent scripts to production companies, only to have them rejected because of executive incompetence or a desire for industry professionals to help their friends or family members get a big break, rather than the people who probably deserve it more. For many creative people, the rejection seems almost inevitable and it’s a depressing thought to consider how many talented people have never been discovered simply for lack of being given a chance.

Camera at the ready. — Photo courtesy of Against the Wall Productions

Enter Josh Asquith and his newly-formed company Against The Wall Productions, a Lancaster-based production company started with the aim of providing students with an opportunity to get their creative ambitions produced and directed. It aims to assist budding script-writers . “Currently, around 2% of all scripts submitted actually make it to the screen, the rest are dismissed, abandoned or not even sent” says Josh. “We will almost always say yes, and if not, we will bring the writer in and discuss their piece with them, including how it can be improved or made better for screen.”

The company is in relative infancy, having only been started in February this year, but they have already attracted attention with last year’s controversy regarding their production of Five Knights, which describes itself as “a twisted tale of blood and mercenaries.” The production called for several actors to use realistic looking replica firearms and though the police had been informed, some of the staff in the shops on campus had not. The sight of several people wandering around campus brandishing weapons scared them stiff and led to a halting of the production and a security scare.

It would be a mistake, though, to assume that Against The Wall is some kind of rogue, anarchic film company intent on causing mischief and trouble. What it is in reality is an ambitious and promising new company which represents a leap forward for Lancaster culture. One of the most often-heard criticisms of Lancaster University and indeed Lancaster in general is that there is little to offer people who are passionate about the arts. Sure, there’s music societies, cinemas and all the usual amenities, but in terms of home-grown entertainment, it is often said, Lancaster is lacking. Companies like Against The Wall are attempting to tackle that problem.

The team itself is made up of a group of Lancaster students. There’s Josh Asquith, a theatre studies student and all-round film buff. Using his experience as both a director and an actor, his role as Chief Executive is to select the scripts that will be filmed and generally oversee all productions. Katie Evans, on the other hand, is production manager and deals with all the organisation of Against The Wall’s projects. Mike Rivera, finally, does all the stunts and special effects.

It’s still early days for Against The Wall and the quality of their projects remains to be seen, but what can definitely be said about it is that it is an exciting new company that is certainly one to keep an eye on in future. What’s more, its philanthropic nature means that anybody at Lancaster University who wants to take their scripts to be assessed by group of friendly, welcoming and objective people should check them out. If you’re interested, visit their website. My personal assessment — this company really is one to watch.

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