There is an expression that, like many noble sentiments, cropped up in last night’s Downtown Abbey. Sadly, it was not Dame Maggie Smith’s anachronistic accusation an uppity downstairs type was spying for the Russians (with this being 1916, they’d have had a job: as Capt. Edmund Blackadder elegantly observed, “The Russians are on our side, George”). Rather, the phrase “tempt fate” escaped from Lord Julian Fellowes computer/typewriter/bejewelled quill pen and made its way into the episode. It is that phrase that sums up this post. We are performing the raindance (or hailstone macarena) of foolishness to will the gods to do their worst, and as they are presumably wilful and contrary deities, therefore their fortune will smile on us, leading to a our more recent film funding application being successful. We hope.
So, you may ask, what are we gassing on about? Studio 279 trivia hounds will recall that over a month ago we mentioned we had been writing a web series of linked film scripts. This was for the Sky Arts Ignition Futures Fund in association with IdeasTap. Those beautiful people were offering the chance for artists of varied disciplines, from theatre to dance to visual art and film, to win £30,000 of funding to put towards their creative work for a whole year. A wonderful opportunity, you will surely agree, as did we. We felt the scheme would be perfect to get our film noir web series project off the ground. As we have said before, the project started life as an idea for a short film, then became our final twenty minute film at university, which was ignominiously scrapped, then became a feature, a short again, a feature, until its present, much better form, as a six episode web series. In the past few weeks we have been working feverishly, drafting scripts, sketching storyboards, designing cities, crunching numbers and wrestling with application paperwork, and as the window of opportunity slammed shut at 5pm, little over half an hour ago as we write this, we are incredibly relieved that our application, with all its ancilliary materials, is complete. Phew!
What next? Well, the Powers That Be now begin their unenviable task of sorting the wheat from the chaff, then the chaffier wheat from the best-wheat-since-Shredded-Wheat-wheat. They must trawl forensically through the application forms and supporting material portfolios of over eight hundred and sixty individuals, each eager to get their hands on some arty funding cash. From there, a shortlist is drawn up, with those lucky chaps and chapesses having to run a Dragon’s Den style gauntlet to make sure their project is worthy of such support, and not any old tat they threw together for a bit of a laugh or minor fraud. Those victorious peeps will then be granted their heart’s desire: thirty thousand smackers worth of funding. Then the hard work really starts: they have to make the bloody thing. Produce a whole film/play/art piece/book e.t.c. in just twelve months. Quite a significant challenge, one that we very much hope we will be fortunate enough to get, and to complain about, naturally, should we be judged worthy.
Should the very thinkable happen (one application amongst eight hundred and sixty four equally passionate creative types? Needle in a haystack, laddie!) and we not receive the megabucks and useful wonga, all is not lost. For one thing, the fund will reopen in early 2012 for a new round of applications, and so there may be a second bite of the cherry if this time we are left on the wrong side of the glace. If our sophisticated pan handling is doubly unsuccessful, then, to paraphrase Futurama’s Bender, “we’ll make our own series, with blackjack, and hookers! In fact, forget the series!” We are confident enough in our concept that we could go it alone if need be, albeit weeping mournfully as we slice budgets, cut down key characters and burn delightful sketches. In any event if you don’t hear us mention this application ever again, an entirely probable circumstance, you can assume we came out whistling dixie.
All that remains is to thank the team at IdeasTap for their tireless dedication to helping out artistes like ourselves, from opening the durned fund in the first place to answering all questions from panicked applicants in a timely and helpful manner. May fortune favour them, and their coffee providers, as they will no doubt have many a sleepless night ahead. Thanks too to the Sky Arts bods for flinging cash around in these austere times. Good luck to each and every one of our fellow applicants. If past Tap comps are anything to go by, there’s gold in them thar
hills piles of applications. And last, but by no means least, best of luck to our plucky project. As we appeal to the heavens, that most sainted of God-botherers Ned Flanders would say, “Godspeed, little doodle!” Now, if you’ll excuse us…
Blow, winds and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow! Hey, macarena!