Master’s Degree Sustained Independent Project: Short Film Funding Proposal focused on Alzheimer’s Disease.
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, ranked amongst the most prestigious drama schools in the UK, MA Acting for Screen Master’s degree course is a professional training that focuses on acting in film, television and screen-related media. Primarily for those with previous training or professional experience, it explores the expressive potential of performance and the relationship between performers and camera. The course builds on existing skills and focuses on the specific needs of the year group. It draws on the expertise of Central’s permanent staff team and top specialist professionals within the industry.
The MA Acting for Screen syllabus aims to encourage development as creative artists with the flexibility to work across all performance mediums, specialising however in screen performance. The emphasis of the training is on producing actors who, on leaving, have a high skill level, with the necessary technique to apply to a screen context.
Towards this end, a major portion of assessment for the qualification of “Master” at the end of the 1 year immersion, is the Sustained Independent Project (SIP), where students are required to produce professional quality work from concept, to script, to screen, i.e., a fully produced short film. Though no small feat, many of the works produced by past course participants have been worthy of being shown at film festivals around the world and have in fact garnered awards.
A major part of the process, in an effort to completely prepare new actors and film makers for the competitive industry, is the process of pitching for funding. It takes money, however small the budget in this case, to make good quality films. This, we hope, is where your organization will be willing to play a part. Please review the following Film Outline, Profiles, Budget Considerations and Schedule.
We believe that we are on the verge of telling a simple but important story and as such, are sure that this is a project worthy of your financial support and endorsement, with end credits being given in lieu of any involvement. With this creative work, we hope to reach audiences in the UK, Europe as well as the Caribbean via festivals and through partnered organisations who advocate on behalf of those with all different strains of Alzheimer’s disease.
MA Acting for Screen
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Ruth: 35, Young and vibrant at heart, engaged in the fight of her life as she battles through the gradual fog of early onset mental illness
Mei-Lee: 35, Ruth’s childhood friend and lifelong confidant. Sensible, quick witted, wears her heart on her sleeve.
Rose: 59, Ruth’s mother, a deep rooted power house, who is wracked with guilt thinking that her daughter’s illness should have been her burden to bear.
Nicholas: 40, Ruth’s fiancé, quiet, strong, logical and patient, who is completely unprepared for the hand and heartache that love has dealt him.
Snap shots charting a young woman’s, (Ruth) decent into the fog and pain of dementia/early onset Alzheimer’s disease. These snap shots are as much about the anguish, confusion and helplessness her family and loved ones (Rose: mother, Mei-Lee: best friend, Nicholas: fiancé) feel as they struggle to come to terms with her new and rapidly developing reality. The action moves back and forth between past and present. Blurred memories triggered by the colourful post it notes that are the only things that seem to keep Ruth grounded in her flailing reality. The film will also seek to seamlessly blend simple creative elements with factual medical information, research and data, for which we would be happy to lean on the expertise of relevant organisations who decide to come on board.
Although often thought of as a disease of older people, around 4% of people with Alzheimer’s are under 65. This is called early-onset or young-onset Alzheimer’s.
Symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s can include:
• Memory problems which interfere with everyday life. This may include forgetting messages or recent events which would normally be remembered, or repeating questions.
• Confusion or disorientation. People may become confused in unfamiliar situations and lose a sense of place and time.
• Changes in personality and behaviour. These may be subtle at first and could include apathy, depression or loss of confidence.
• Language problems – difficulty finding the right words and communicating. This may sometimes be called aphasia.
• Visual problems – people can have difficulty recognising words and objects and judging speed or distance. When visual problems are a major symptom, the disease may be called posterior cortical atrophy.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means that symptoms get worse over time.
There is an inherited or ‘familial’ form of Alzheimer’s disease which is very rare, accounting for less than 1% of all cases of Alzheimer’s disease. But in those families, the disease passes from generation to generation. In these rare cases, it is possible for family members to have a genetic test to find out whether they carry the faulty gene.
It is the possibility of this form of the disease that the film will seek to explore, even while demonstrating the universal horror of the disease despite the genetic strain and Ruth’s age.
My interest, as the writer, in telling this story is rooted in having seen three women in my family: my grandmother and great aunt, both deceased, and my aunt currently ill, battle with dementia. It is rooted in my fears for myself and the potential of genetics and heredity, as well as in an exploration of the tendency within certain communities and demographics within the diaspora to be completely unprepared to deal with and accept the realities of severe mental illness.
Amanda Brennan (UK)
Course Leader and Project Mentor
Amanda Brenan is an Acting coach, Film director and Producer, Author
After training at Darlington College of Arts Amanda worked as a performer, director and writer, mainly in theatre. Much of her early work was devised and co-written with communities in various settings including youth clubs, youth theatres, alternative to custody centres and prisons.
Her first teaching experience was in higher education where she ran a range of classes in acting, directing, teaching skills and devising. During this period she became the Head of Performing Arts at Kensington and Chelsea College where she developed a large department with over 500 students in Drama, Dance or Music. In 2002 she was appointed the Director of Studies at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art where she managed one-, two- and three-year Acting courses.
Between 2004 and 2010 she worked as a Specialist advisor and inspector for the British Accreditation Council and Ofsted in Film and Drama schools. She also been an External Examiner on BA and MA courses at universities and for conservatoire drama schools.
Amanda joined the staff team at Central in 2005 and co-wrote the MA Actor Training and Coaching and MA Acting for Screen, serving as leader for both courses until 2012. Between 2009 and 2013 she was the Programme area leader for Performance postgraduate courses and contributed to the development of other Masters programmes. She has spoken at several conferences including TAPRA, ELIA, How to Act, and has led workshops at national and international film festivals.
Abeo Jackson (Trinidad and Tobago)
Writer, Actor, Producer
Abeo Jackson is a multi-disciplined artist from Trinidad and Tobago. She is an Actor, Dancer, Choreographer, Radio and Television Host, Creative Producer as well as a Theatre Producer. She is now also a Master’s student at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London.
An honours graduate of Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Abeo has over 25 years experience in various elements of the Performing Arts and over 10 years experience in various elements of Mass Communications/Media.
Abeo gained popularity on hit Trinidad and Tobago radio station Star94.7fm as beloved personality "Abi" between 2011 and 2015 after which she left to concentrate on her brand AbeoJacksonProductions. She was also co-creator and creative producer of television series "Cup of Joe".
Theatre Producer and star actor of hit local plays "50 Shades of Gravy", "Peepshow", "Act like a Lady, Think like a Ho" and "Man Cyah Take Horn", recipient of the Coco Dance Festival 2016 Maverick Award, as well as a past National Youth Award winner in the sphere of Culture, Abeo is no stranger to wearing multiple hats within the Trinidad and Tobago theatre and media fraternity having worked over the years with experienced stalwarts like Raymond Choo Kong, Penelope Spencer, Nikki Crosby, 3 Canal and Danielle Dieffenthaller.
She has choreographed 7 full musical productions in last 7 years, "The Sound of Music", "The King and I", "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Mahalia, A Gospel Musical" to name a few.
Anne Musisi (Uganda)
Anne Musisi is a British born Ugandan. She grew up in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Eastern and Southern Africa. She is currently studying a Masters in Acting for Screen at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
In previous years Anne volunteered for the UN Women in Moldova, running workshops using the acting skills she gained during her training to assist the ‘HeForShe’ campaign to raise more awareness about the importance of ending violence against women. When she returned to the UK she toured as Destiny in the show called ‘Don’t Blame the Bankers $toopid’ at both the Camden and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. She was also involved in a few short films, one of which was 'Tomaten zum Fruhstuck'. A film written by young female German director Ela Kurth about a warm relationship that develops between Keza (played by Anne Musisi), a Rwandese immigrant and the elder woman she's assigned to care for.
Anne is now embarking on producing original work with the intention of creating safe environments for open dialogue on taboo and/or social issues that affect the modern day society. In her spare time she enjoys going salsa dancing and script-writing.
Budget considerations to be covered with an aim of a total budget of £5000
|Director of Photography||Camera Operator|
|Art Director /Scenographer and set material||Costume Design and costume purchases|
|Incidentals||Festival entry requirements|
Please note: All creative professionals will be giving of their time, equipment and expertise at hugely reduced and nominal costs to fit within our proposed budget, with the understanding that this is a ‘passion project’ and our very first foray into completely independent film production.
Potential Project Schedule: All dates to be confirmed
|Finished Script||April 23rd|
|Script Workshops||Between April 24th – May 2nd to be decided|
|Begin scouting locations||May 8th (Nelson Medical Practice South Wimbledon, Co-Op Grocery Outlet South Wimbledon, Air BnB Flat, all to be confirmed)|
|Character workshops and rehearsals (off book)||Dates between Jun 1st – 25th to be decided|
|Meetings with Scenographer and Costume||Dates between Jun 1st – 25th to be decided|
|Finalizing locations||Week of June 11th|
|Finalizing and final fittings of Costumes||Week of June 18th|
|Shoot Dates||Sun 24th June to Tuesday 26th June|
|Final Edit||August 22nd|
Pamela Jikiemi- ‘Rose’
Asher Crichlow- ‘Mei-Lee’