Student Spotlight: Exploring Lockdown Creativity with the Students Behind SNAP

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We spoke to students Joe Bedford, Cat Thomas and Lewis Pugh about their lockdown inspired short film, SNAP.

1. Firstly, let me congratulate you on the positive reaction to the film. I saw that you’ve been interviewed by BBC Radio Suffolk and even have the film being shown on the BBC website! I imagine all those involved in SNAP are rather overwhelmed! 

Joe: Yes, I don’t think any of us expected the kind of response we got. I’d already submitted my original script for SNAP to the BBC as part of their InterConnected series, along with 6400 other writers, and needless to say, it was promptly rejected. So we went ahead and made this film for ourselves. It was only when I saw Cat and Lewis start to shape it in rehearsals that I thought “Wow, this is actually a thing. People might actually like this”. So we were over the moon when they did. 

2. Lockdown has provided a whole new experience for writers to work with. What inspired you to explore the topic of finding love in a Covid-19 world? 

Joe: Well, even many months into this pandemic I think we’re still discovering that it permeates every aspect of our lives. When I realised I wanted to write a Zoom-based comedy, I thought immediately about which two kinds of people would be the most fun to watch. Everything else was just exploiting how to make things awkward for them – the one-night stand, the North-South divide, the competitiveness. That’s what I started with, but it was Cat and Lewis who took that to the next level. 

3. Boredom is something that both characters in SNAP come to feel after the novelty of the new situation has worn off. Did you have any difficulty finding the motivation to fully commit to this project?

Lewis: Honestly no! Not only was it brilliant being able to do something to put my energy into and get back into doing what I love; it was also so well written and whenever we filmed we ended up having such a good laugh together. I’d say finding the motivation to stop laughing so we could finish a scene was the hardest part!

4. Did you have any quarantine habits or routines that helped you get into that creative headspace?

Lewis: Most creatives will know it can be so hard to get into that headspace. I often like to listen to music with really beautiful lyrics or music from soundtracks to really get my brain into action. I think the lucky part of this role was that I was playing a character that was living a very similar life to me, so it wasn’t too hard to get into his thoughts and headspace.

5. How was the experience of creating a film entirely through an online platform? Did you run into any difficulties you weren’t expecting?

Cat: The horror of ‘gallery’ and ‘speaker’ mode on zoom still haunts me to this day! Filming was actually a surprisingly complicated process, which the final film doesn’t really reflect. We had to contend with a poor internet connection, which meant our cameras lagged sometimes, as well as other Zoom-related perils – it really wasn’t as simple as just sitting in front of the laptop and reciting a script. My hat goes off to Joe, who had to go through hours of footage of us messing around, messing up lines, getting changed between shots etc. Because of the nature of the script’s humour, the editing was crucial in ensuring that the flow and structure worked effectively – he really did an incredible job.

6. For the foreseeable future, the online realm appears to be the most accessible form of creative expression. With the future of arts venues still relatively unclear, do you worry about changes being made to how we engage with arts and culture?

Cat: At first I was really worried. There has been copious amounts of chatter online about ‘the end of theatre’ and such like, which of course is a scary and heartbreaking concept. However, we’re not the only ones who have taken to the online platform. I think it’s been incredibly inspiring to see how people in the industry have refused to be silenced. I have the utmost faith that even if things have to change slightly, the arts will always be a part of the ‘new normal’. If our silly film was able to do as well as it has, then I have no doubt that creatives everywhere can find the joy that we did in adapting.

7. In attempting to continue to support the arts scene in Lancaster, do you have any advice to give to any future or current students seeking to become more creatively active at university?

Cat: Yes! Creatives Assemble! Joining LUTG (Lancaster University Theatre Group) was the best decision I made since coming to university – I’m constantly astounded by the talent that exists amongst our group and I’m super excited to see what new talent we gain this coming year. But away from LUTG, I would just say that if SNAP has taught me anything, it’s that if you have an idea DO IT. Find a way. SNAP was born out of a “wouldn’t it be cool if we could…” that turned into “let’s do it“. We had no real pattern or rulebook to follow. We quite honestly had no idea what we were doing. We had a brilliantly simple script and we took it and brought it to life as best we could given the circumstances. It was never about how many views we got, or how far it reached – that was all just a happy coincidence for us. I hope SNAP inspires people to get creative in their own way, in any capacity available to them.

8. Lastly, will we be getting a sequel to SNAP? I must know whether their relationship survives in a world where ‘quarantinis’ and webcam dates are no longer socially acceptable!

Joe: Maybe when I’ve finished my lawsuit against the Beeb for their flagrant plagiarism in Tenant and Sheen’s miniseries Staged I’ll have time for a sequel. And I saw someone on Gogglebox use the word ‘quarantini’, which I’m still reeling from. Perhaps when the royalty cheques start coming, we can check in with our star-crossed lovers. If they’ve not killed each other. 

SNAP is available to watch on Facebook and YouTube.

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