I’ve seen a fair few crowd-sourcing science fiction projects come up for films, books and conventions lately, and am often intrigued by what drives people to take the plunge and attempt to create something for themselves, without having corporate backup or using traditional business models for funding. I am also amazed by how often fans and enthusiasts will get behind a project and put their trust in the creator to come up with the goods.
I chatted to writer Adrian Reynolds about his latest film project, White Lily, which has almost made its crowd-funding target of £4000, just shy of £457 with 3 days to go. Reynolds has previously scripted episodes of Doctors for the BBC, which he describes as opening “a door I then chose to close, not wanting to write medical drama for the remainder of my career.” He is also working on a supernatural thriller serial coming soon in app form - see makingsparks.tv - as written seven hours of fantasy audio drama again for a forthcoming app, Dragon Run Saga.
Director Tristan Ofield has made numerous shorts, music promos, documentaries and corporate videos. Reynolds said “He's working with his preferred Director of Photography, Alistair Little, and you can see one of their previous collaborations on our Kickstarter page. It's a simple, haunting and beautiful adaptation of a story by Horrible Histories creator Terry Deary.”
So, what is White Lily all about?
Reynolds told me: “The line we're using is that it's a film about love, memory, and comets. Which is true as far as it goes. And a way to deflect closer scrutiny of what will be a film around 8 minutes long that we don't want to spoil. The film nods to predecessors like Moon, Dark Star, and Silent Running: intelligent science fiction which used the genre to explore themes that may be difficult to articulate in other forms of storytelling.
“We've got the script locked at this point, and thanks to the input of actors David McCaffrey and Siddhii Lagrutta we realised that the dynamic of the characters is reversed from how they were originally written. The new take adds nuances to the story, and allows for richer performances from two great actors. That's one of the wonderful things about film: as a collaborative medium, everyone's input is critical.”
I was intrigued by who else is working on the project, and Reynolds told me, “Our music and sound designers, Darren Bourne and Dick Hetherington, have some fabulous ideas about contributing to the film in ways which make use of their incredible talents as an electronica duo with experience of collaborations in other art forms. The extraordinary Light.Headed video will give you some sense of their approach.
“Pablo Hoyos, who is a big name designer in the computer game world, came up with about 20 sketches of spaceships, and we've chosen one of those that he's finessing bit by bit until we have a finished 3D model that can be used by Max Crow, who designs the incredible planetarium shows at the National Space Centre. And Andy Tudor has come up with logos for the ship and some other tech involved in the story.”
And, depending on how things go, the team may take this project further: “We've also done some looking around and found an amazing futuristic location in Nottingham that we're planning to use for the feature version of White Lily we have in mind to do if the short is well received.”
I asked Reynolds how he thought the project was going and he said, “It's a rollercoaster ride, with amazing things happening pretty regularly since we commenced the Kickstarter. Support from people we know, and those we don't, has been massively encouraging, and there are some really touching stories behind some of the contributions. Plus, we've has Tweet exchanges with Duncan Jones, Alistair Reynolds, Paul Cornell, and had behind-the-scenes support from Elizabeth Karr, a producer on the indie adaptation of Radio Free Albemuth, a late Philip K Dick book that's been critically well received and which Elizabeth secured distribution for using Kickstarter. You can do the same for us - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/whitelily/white-lily. We need £4000 just to make the film, and we're getting pretty close. Money beyond that will allow us to enter the film into festivals, and pay for the time to develop White Lily into a feature.”
Thanks, Adrian. If you are interested in the project, or think you can help, check out the White Lily Kickstarter page.