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Lancaster University Film Production and Lancaster University Comedy Institute have recently wrapped on the film production’s biggest feature to date, Party Foul, where six individual stories, each with different directors, come together all in one party. I caught up with two of the directors Will Spicer and Amelia Slater to find out a little more about the film.
Tell me a bit about the film:
Will: Basically it’s a very crazy party where six different storylines intersect. You get to meet a bunch of really crazy characters and see how they all interact with each other. As It goes along you see how these ridiculous plots progress and get crazier and crazier until they all connect.
Amelia: Even though they intersect they’re all completely separate at first; they all have different things happening to them. It nicely cuts from each story back to the original story every time we see a bit more… yeah. It’s crazy.
Will: This is the biggest film the film production has ever made. It was in pre-production for 14 weeks! We had a cast of about 20-30 people, a crew of about that size as well; it’s absolutely huge, the biggest thing I’ve ever worked on.
Impressive… so what are some of the major themes?
Will: I guess friendship!
Amelia: Friendship yeah. Unity is big… but it’s also crazy and erratic. At the end though it just makes sense, it works together as one.
So take us through some of the main characters:
Amelia: Well there is a lecherous clown. He’s basically this sleazy guy who’s found himself at the party and spends the whole time trying to chat people up to no avail.
Will: There’s a dog with his human companion… a kind of, dog man? It’s difficult to describe; very strange.
Amelia: Also there’s a couple who meet right at the start and are looking for a room to ‘defile the lord’ in. Every room they come across has some crazy supernatural thing in!
Don’t want to give away all the surprises so… Amelia you were an extra and Will, you played a fresher in a drinking game, how was that?
Will: I had Matt Hardman directing that section which was ideal as he’s a fantastic director. He came in with a booklet with all the shots he wanted. He knew exactly what he wanted and how everything was going to look. I had never really acted before so it was great him telling me what to do, how to deliver lines, where to be…
Did you add your own touch?
Will: I did a few little extra bits that Matt seemed to like and I’m (pretty) sure he’ll keep them in!
The Lancaster University Comedy Institute wrote this, what was that whole process like?
Will: The best part was that the writers were very involved. At every script read through they were there to help if we weren’t sure on something, or give insight to their imagination. Even at shooting occasionally the writers would drop in which was really helpful. Instead of just writing they stayed involved for the entire process, which was great.
Amelia: Sam Possible who is part of the Comedy Institute also acted in the film. He wrote a segment that Will is in and performed so he got very involved. Other members had a great deal of influence too so it was a really good collaboration.
As Directors who were you influences and inspirations for this?
Amelia: I guess we focus a lot on sit-com tradition. Cinematography too; zooms, close ups, sharp cuts to try add that bit more humour.
Like Edgar Wright?
Will: Yeah, we really tried to use the camera to always add that extra joke and visual comedy.
What were the positives and negatives of directing individual stories rather than the whole thing?
Will: It was interesting just knowing you’d do your bit. I hadn’t seen the footage from the other three sections I wasn’t involved in. It’ll be good to see what they end up looking like!
Amelia: I hung around quite a lot to see some of the other directors doing their bits like Jack Maidment who directed the Clown. I watched pretty much all of that and it was great to see how all the directors’ creative decisions differed but in a way that brought everything together. Whatever each personal director thought worked for their characters made everyone’s own ideas come together. I think it was good that we had so many people directing because a lot of people had so many ideas about how they wanted it to work; you can’t get that with just one. The way that it’s been done like that means there’s been another level to directing.
Will: This project would be far too big for one person to direct themselves; it would just take absolutely ages. The fact that it was split up allowed people to really specialise and focus on their particular scenes. I think it helps each individual storyline be more distinct. Lot of outlandish characters… the shoot must have been pretty funny?
Will: I had a scene where I was acting where I had to down a pint and throw it up. It took about four takes.
Pints of real booze… and it took four takes?!
Will: Oh no it was water! I had to kind of spit it out again but make it look like I was throwing up… it was really tricky actually. We did the first take, and then I wasn’t happy with the next three takes so we ended up settling with the first one in the end anyway. It’s hard to make it look like you’re downing a pint when you’re not!
Amelia: When I was being an extra we were sat in the corridor positioned in a certain way. One of the characters had to come through the corridor and push everyone aside. She was tripping over, crawling over people’s legs. Oh and there was another scene where we had to dance but there was no music playing. We had to try and structure this routine without music; it was such a painful ten seconds to film!
At parties, which characters would you most identify with?
Amelia: I guess probably Charlie to an extent. He’s a character who’s just there awkwardly, but he just keeps coming across bizarre situations!
Will: It’s tricky. Probably the fresher. I have become him while playing him. *laughs* Especially when it’s your party and you have to drink.
Well we’ve all been one! Just in case the craziness isn’t obvious yet… what can audiences expect from Party Foul?
Amelia: Whatever you think is going to happen…won’t.