Lands of Our Fathers

Lands of Our Fathers is a documentary about the immigrant ancestry of the people of the Rhondda Valley. It was produced by Avant Cymru and filmed and edited by myself, representing my company, Outré Media. It was screened as part of Age Cymru‘s Gwyl Gwanwyn Festival.

Bob

When setting myself the task of writing multiple films for Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017, I formulated many of my ideas not by thinking of a social issue I’d like to tackle or a theme I’d like to convey, as had often been my method in the past, but by picturing a striking image and then forming the film’s plot and theme around that. It’s a method I now always consider as it produced great results; showing memorable imagery is equally as important to a film’s success as meaningful substance. Bob (script) was one such film for which I used this method. Another was Goldfish, which originated from the image of a man staring into a goldfish bowl. The image Bob originated from was that of a grown man on a park bench holding a red balloon. Once I had this image, it led to questions such as why would a grown man carry a balloon and what could this symbolise? The themes of insecurity, benevolence and release developed from this.

Synopsis

Bob carries his red balloon everywhere he goes, even though it prevents him from joining in and causes him to be teased. But is it the balloon he needs to let go of or something else?

Achievements: Bob was selected for the Oniros Film Awards August 2017, Hellfire Short Film Festival’s 12th Round 2017, Cardiff International Film Festival 2017, St Neots Film Festival 2017 and Isle of Portland Short Film Festival 2019 and won Short Film Sharer May 2017!

Tell Me About It, Sam

Tell Me About It, Sam (script) was inspired by a real-life incident in which I met a man who seemed to know me and proceeded to have a long conversation with me about his personal life even though I hadn’t a clue who he was. I thought it was an ideal concept for a comedy film for Cardiff Mini Film Festival as it could take place in a single location – on a bench – and provided the opportunity for a punchline/twist ending. I felt the best method of filming would be a three-camera setup, covering the action from all angles so we could run through the whole script in one take. To do this, I would require actors who could learn all their lines; a skill surprisingly lacking in actors solely working in film. Therefore, I cast two experienced theatre actors, who I had seen perform multiple times and who had displayed impressive skill as a comedy double act.

Synopsis

Unexpectedly, Sam turns counsellor to an old friend with relationship problems. Or at least he thinks he’s an old friend, but for the life of him, he can’t remember his name!

Achievements: Tell Me About It, Sam was nominated for best Comedy at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017 and selected for St Neots Film Festival 2017 and Isle of Portland Short Film Festival 2019.

Goldfish

Inspired to produce something simple to suit Cardiff Mini Film Festival’s criteria, I wrote Goldfish; a script based around the protagonist’s confined environment. It illustrates how you can miss out on life by not breaking from routine; paralleling the life of the protagonist stuck in his tiny flat with that of his goldfish. Although the premise was simple, I felt the production would benefit from some expert lighting and colour grading to further highlight these parallels and enhance the slightly surreal tone. For this purpose, I brought on board Steven Owen, whose lighting served Bamboo House so well, and his associate Jack Longley. Both proved invaluable.

Synopsis

Huw lives a life of routine, never leaving the familiar environment of his flat. In an odd break from tradition, it’s up to his pet goldfish, Gil, to put an end to his static lifestyle.

Achievements: Goldfish was selected for Loch Ness Film Festival 2017, Nightpiece Film Festival 2017, Hellfire Short Film Festival’s 12th Round 2017, MedFF 2017-2018 and The Short Film Show 2018. It was shortlisted for best Adult Fiction at St Neots Film Festival 2017, nominated in the One Minute Wonder category at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017 and for both best Fantasy and best Original Content at Nottingham International Microfilm Festival 2018 and reached the finals of the Oniros Film Awards August 2017 and Brighton Rocks Film Festival 2018!

The Prophet

The Prophet (script) was inspired by an old parable I came across on the Internet:

“A man said to the Prophet, ‘Give me advice.’ The Prophet said, ‘Do not get angry.’ The man asked repeatedly, and the Prophet answered each time, ‘Do not get angry.'”

I found it amusing that the man persistently questions the Prophet even though he’s already given his answer, seeming like he’s attempting to aggravate him to get him to contradict himself. This elaboration was the basis for the film and allowed for a comment on religious hypocrisy.

Synopsis

A modern-day prophet has some sage advice for an inquisitive young man, but he’s not about to take it without question.

Achievements: The Prophet was selected for Short to the Point November 2017, MedFF 2017-2018 and Isle of Portland Short Film Festival 2019, reached the finals of Brighton Rocks Film Festival 2018 and won the One Minute Wonder category at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017!

Bamboo House

Bamboo House is a short film with a long history of development. I initially entered a shorter, less Welsh centric version of the script to Jameson First Shot 2016 but was unsuccessful. The brief was to write about the great and/or unexpected things that can happen when you fear less and invite life in. I found out about the competition not long before the deadline and only had a week to prepare. I adapted the script from a premise I’d come up with a few weeks before, which meant that the protagonist was quite a bit older than the intended lead, Maggie Gyllenhaal. I thought this could be easily achievable with a bit of makeup, but I have a feeling this, along with some of the locations and shots, may have been overambitious and put the judges off, as judging by previous winners, they were looking for maximum simplicity.

I later entered a version very close to the one available here to It’s My Shout. I was unfamiliar with the competition when I saw it advertised in the BBC Writers Room; the brief stating they wanted scripts with scope for budding actors of ‘all’ ages. When I later checked their website, it stated they wanted scripts with scope for as many budding ‘young’ actors as possible. By this time, the deadline was upon me, and my script had just one young character. Again, I was unsuccessful.

I was not discouraged by my failure, in fact, it not only motivated me to enter as many competitions as possible in future (including the two mentioned; making greater efforts to fulfil the brief) but to film the script myself! It was the success of my previous film, Total Investigation Television, that really got the Bamboo House project rolling. Total Investigation Television was nominated for best Fiction at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2016, and it was there that I met Boyd Clack and Kirsten Jones, who were hosting the awards ceremony. After pitching the script to them, they wished to be involved in the project. With actors of their calibre and reputation on board, there was no question that Bamboo House would be filmed!

From extensive storyboarding, securing the perfect locations and shooting test footage, to enlisting trusted crew I’d worked with in the past and fresh talent with expert skills, I made every effort to make sure Bamboo House was the very best film it could be. I leave it to you, the audience, to judge if I achieved my goal.

Synopsis

Mair, recently bereaved, spends her lonely days in her empty flat. Her visits to Bamboo House, her local Chinese takeaway, are her only departure from her introverted lifestyle. It is there she meets Griff, an eccentric man with an insatiable sense of fun. On a romantic day out, Griff encourages her to fear less and invite life in. But will Griff’s own fear that Mair is unable to move on from the loss of her loved one put an end to their happiness?

Achievements: Bamboo House was nominated for best Fiction at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2017 and selected for St Neots Film Festival 2017.

How Not To Be Single

How Not To Be Single is a comedy series created by James Musgrove of J.A.M Productions that follows the highs and lows of four friends struggling with single life. I worked on the series as co-director, cameraman, and scriptwriter; acting as a mentor during the writing of episode one, offering advice on dialogue, character and plot development, and writing episode two. Although the scenarios were heightened for comic effect, we wished to present relatable experiences and provide positive messages about how to feel confident and comfortable being single.

Due to my extensive experience and a fast-approaching production date, I was asked to write the entirety of episode two (script); working from a brief from James. Matt was to move out of his old place and in with AJ, the lads would throw a housewarming party, and they’d all have to fail at being single due to their various foibles; the rest was mine to play with!

For a moment, you may think you’re rewatching episode one as it starts similarly with a knock at Matt’s front door. This isn’t derivative writing but an intentional motif that I wished to reflect Matt’s recovery from his break-up. Episode one, he couldn’t even answer. Now he can but in low spirits. What will episode three show? The main characters’ personalities were so wonderfully defined in episode one – AJ, the father figure who pulls everyone together, Pat, the anally retentive math geek, Simon, the mouthy narcissist, and Matt, the insecure victim in need of his friends’ support – that I made sure these characteristics were continued in episode two, but I also added some development, particularly for Matt and Simon, so the series didn’t stand still.

The word constantly going around my head during writing was ‘dynamic’. Although a sitcom will inevitably have far more dialogue and be less visually driven than your standard short film, I didn’t want any scene to be solely about the dialogue and strove to always have an interesting action, location or visual element at play. This, as well as elements of the brief, led to a vastly increased cast that delayed production due to actors’ availability. The challenge we laid down for episode three was to continue with this dynamic style while sticking to the main cast.

Sadly, episode three never came to pass, due to one of the main cast leaving the country: Jack, who played AJ. I did write a script for episode three, working around AJ’s absence, which is available upon request, but James did not wish to proceed with filming as he felt a series finale really should have the entire main cast present.

Total Investigation Television

Total Investigation Television (script) was inspired by the popular social experiment films that saturate YouTube and social media. These films claim to be raising awareness about moral causes but in reality are treating people like laboratory rats, forcing them into manufactured situations that are both dangerous and stressful. I’ve seen examples where assaults are instigated, the disadvantaged are manipulated and judged from a position of privilege, and children are put in extreme danger (a crime for which those responsible should be prosecuted for child endangerment). The filmmakers’ true intention – to scam the public to make their videos go viral, promote their companies and sell merchandise – seems to have gone unnoticed. Total Investigation Television’s aim was to draw attention to the hypocrisy of their immoral acts.

Synopsis 

Jay is desperate to make a successful social experiment film that questions people’s morality, but his desire for success throws his own morality into question.

Achievements: Total Investigation Television was nominated for best Fiction at Cardiff Mini Film Festival 2016 and selected for St Neots Film Festival 2017.

The Housemate From Hell

The Housemate from Hell (script) is a short film I made in the final year of my Film & Video Degree. It’s a dark comedy about how a lack of communication and suppressed emotions lead to antagonism. It also uses the device of the untrustworthy narrator (inspired by the Doctor Who episode Love & Monsters): clues being spread throughout that contradict the narrator’s story.

Synopsis 

Cleanly and organised, James is a peaceful, heavenly soul. But when Mike, a slobby party animal, moves in, a war begins with the housemate from hell.

CV and Contact Information

JOHN REES

Mob: Available Upon Request                                                               Email: jrees256@gmail.com

Personal Statement

A highly driven and productive writer and filmmaker. Quick-thinking, perceptive and creative when it comes to both problem-solving and generating new ideas. Has the ability to propel any project forward and is strongly determined to create inspiring, original work of the highest quality, with the fundamental aim of arousing thought, discussion and enjoyment.

Work Experience

Independent/University Films                                                                                2010 – Present

I have amassed a vast amount of film production and writing experience through my university and independent films. I specialise in directing, producing and scriptwriting, having taken on these duties for the majority of these films. Many of my films have achieved great success, being nominated for and winning multiple awards (see Filmography).

Long Shots                                                                                                             2017 – Present

I’m script editor for the comedy series Long Shots, which involves working closely with the head writer and editing all aspects of the scripts to a high standard we’re both satisfied with

It’s My Shout                                                                                                                         2018

My script That’s What I ‘Eard was selected out of hundreds of submissions to be produced by It’s My Shout and broadcast on the BBC. The process also involved attending script development classes at the BBC and communicating with the director.

Private Tutor                                                                                                              2016 – 2017

I taught English Language and Literature, Film Studies and Scriptwriting at the GCSE level and helped initially struggling and despondent students achieve high passing grades.

Avant Cymru                                                                                                                          2016

I filmed and edited a half-hour documentary for Avant Cymru, titled Lands of Our Fathers, and a performance of their stage play Killer Cells, as well as trailers for the production. I was in charge of all practical aspects of filming, including cinematography, editing, sound, managing crew members and communicating with them and the producer.

Key Skills   

  • Communication
  • Extensive use of Adobe Premiere Pro editing software
  • Extensive use of Canon DSLR and DJI Osmo cameras
  • Extensive use of Celtx scriptwriting software
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Organisation
  • Reliability
  • Teamwork

Education

  • 2009-2010 Coleg Glan Hafren, Cardiff. A-Level Film Studies – Grade ‘A’
  • 2010-2013 University of Glamorgan. Film & Video Degree – Grade ‘First Class’
  • 2013-2014 University of South Wales. Scriptwriting MA – Grade ‘Merit’

Filmography [Selected Credits – Writer/Director of All – Unless Otherwise Stated] – Viewable on My Website [That’s What I ‘Eard is Viewable Upon Request]

  • Bamboo House (1 x Nominated, 1 x Official Selection)
  • Bob (1 x Award Winner, 5 x Official Selection)
  • Goldfish (2 x Finalist, 3 x Nominated, 5 x Official Selection)
  • How Not To Be Single – Episode Two: Party (Directed by James Musgrove)
  • The Prophet (1 x Award Winner, 1 x Finalist, 3 x Official Selection)
  • Tell Me About It, Sam (1 x Nominated, 2 x Official Selection)
  • That’s What I ‘Eard (Directed by Michael Gilhooly)
  • Total Investigation Television (1 x Nominated, 1 x Official Selection)
  • The Veil (Directed by Nat Pearse)

Unproduced Scripts [Selected Credits] – Available Upon Request

  • Fish Stew (Short Film)
  • Gaul and Credo (Short Film)
  • Odd Hobbies – Episode One – Bird Watching and Golf (30 min TV Episode)

Website

  • johnreeswriter.com

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