Help teachers and students at a state school in South London make a comedy hit film!
It's a modern version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, all set in the school on the night of the school play, with alien teachers instead of fairies. So sort of combining A Midsummer Night's Dream with Clueless and Men in Black.
And with a full-length script and a fabulous cast of students and alumni, it's all shaping up really well - which is why we've decided to appeal for more money so we can carry it through successfully.
The Producers: Nathaniel Hardiman, Pat Sharpe, Keith Roberts and Andy Lamont standing on set (in our school). We are the Film and Media Dept at Graveney School. More about us later (too boring for here).
We are opening up an opportunity for talented young people to experience film-making and acting in a full-length film. We want to make a funny, magical film and have a funny magical time making it.
The budget is £18,000 and we have £8,000.
So we need another £10,000 which is why we are putting out this appeal for sponsorship.
Because we need YOU!
We’ve cast most of the main parts – and everyone is linked to Graveney School. They are mainly students and ex-students – some of them are professional actors now - but we also have staff and parents; we’re even roping in a school-keeper (but he doesn’t know yet).
The cast is fantastic. Many smaller roles are still being cast, for example the other alien children and the cast of the school play.
The film will be designed, shot and edited by students under the guidance of professionals. This will give them experience of independent film-making and a start in the industry if they want it. We are particularly keen to encourage girls onto this career path.
We will post updates on the film crew as we finalise roles. Some students have not yet finished exams.
Of course, our Drama Department, Music Department and Art Department are involved too - in fact anyone can join up who wants to.
The film is scheduled for shooting in the first 4 weeks of August.
So we need YOU! And quick.
That is the Question! When aliens puzzle over teenage hearts and hormones they can't make head or tail of what's going on.
It’s the night of the school play - Romeo and Juliet - teen romance 17th century style. Emotions are running high backstage; Helen likes Dan and Dan likes Helen. Helen’s bezzie Charlotte likes Louis and Louis likes Charlotte. Great.
A naughty night in the art room after the school play is all set up. Even greater.
Then Helen dumps Dan.
And Charlotte is grounded.
And Dan falls for Charlotte.
And Helen decides she wants Dan back.
What a mess.
Meanwhile, the Headmaster and the Deputy Head have been caught in the book cupboard together by the Ofsted Inspectors. Their only chance to redeem themselves in front of the school governors is to present a fabulous school play. But with the incompetent Hugh Jass directing and the cast in meltdown, their careers are toast.
The whole evening is going pear-shaped in every dimension. And talking of dimensions…
A bunch of dysfunctional aliens are making a routine journey through hyper-space when a major glitch means they emergency download into the bodies of the Headmaster, the Deputy Head and some naughty kids in the middle of a major telling-off.
Which is a bit confusing for the aliens as they they’ve never had bodies or emotions or flatulence before.
But they soon catch on to what’s happening with the teenagers and can’t resist trying to set things right with their superior technology.
If only they had a clue what they were doing.
How does it all end? Let’s just say that the course of true love never does run smooth and the aliens never do find the answer to the question they’re all asking: ‘What is Wrong with these People?’
The director, producers, main editor and lead script writer are all linked to the Film and Media Department at Graveney.
We do all have track records in film and TV - ‘parked’ in favour of a more stable way of life - so we know what we’re doing.
Before teaching English and Film Studies, Pat Sharpe was a freelance Producer/Director for 14 years. Her independent film ‘Flying’ won two Festival awards; a range of TV documentaries and dramas won her two Bafta Nominations, 6 RTS nominations and one win, the Basel Prize for ‘The Secret’ and a place on the board of Bafta judges choosing the Best Childrens’ Drama. The production company she co-set up, Lambent Productions, is still going strong (without her)! She loves teaching and has never regretted her decision to leave TV. Pat is Producer/Director of the film.
Before becoming a Media and Film Studies teacher at Graveney, Andy Lamont spent several years working in the London television industry at companies such as Hat Trick Productions and Red Earth Studio. He worked on many high profile shows in a variety of roles and eventually settled in post production where he could exercise his passion for editing. This, together with student experience organising large scale university productions as Station Manager of Warwick TV has given him his enthusiasm for film production. To combine it with his other great love – teaching – is just perfect. Andy is Producer of the film.
Keith Roberts is the Head of Film and Media Studies at Graveney School. Prior to teaching, Keith was an Assistant Director for David Yates. He has worked on many independent film productions and continues to this day to remain involved in film and media production. Keith is Producer of the film.
Steve Smith's film ‘Sleeping Together’ (about 2 total strangers who are both insomniacs and discover by accident they can sleep together) has been stop-start in America for several years, and is now properly in pre-production for shooting in the Autumn with Kaley Cuoco (Big Bang Theory) and Adam Pally (Happy Endings) starring. He’s written several comedy dramas for TV – all optioned at great expense, but not produced. He has been a Graveney Dad for 12 years and a psychotherapist for 10. Steve is the writer of the film.
Nathaniel Hardiman recently worked as editor and special effects artist for the independent film Devil you Know (2017). He is currently the Graveney Film and Media Department technician and the resident expert of all things technological. Nathaniel will lead the editing of the film.
Why do we need another £10,000?
To make a 90 minute film for £18,000 is almost unheard of.
We can only do it because we are getting large chunks FREE:
The location is free.
The 112-page script is free.
The Producers and the Director are free.
The supervising Editor will be unpaid.
The film crew of students and designers will be unpaid.
However – so it doesn’t look like dross, a fuzzy mess with terrible sound – we have to have some more money! It's annoying and embarassing, but we do. See our pie-chart breakdown below.
PAT'S STORY OF HOW IT ALL BEGAN......
When I began at Graveney, I was overwhelmed by the energy, the variety and the vivacity of the students here. I would look at certain students brimming with life, and think ‘Where were you when I was trying to cast my TV dramas?’ I felt as if I had been thrown into a talent pool wider and deeper than I could ever have imagined. Of course, there are lots of outlets for all that creative energy here already – but I mused about it and decided I wanted to use it for my own film. So gradually, over about 5 years, the idea of a modern Midsummer Night’s Dream evolved. It’s perfect because it’s an ensemble piece, it’s funny, it’s magical, and it is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays.
As a Film Studies teacher too, I know how students embrace making films with a passion. I also know how hard they will find making headway in our film and TV industries. This project will give them a real taste of the challenges of working on a full-length film.
The time is right now. With talented colleagues and a super cast, we are ready to launch our very own Midsummer Night’s Dream. I hope William will look down and approve.