Our Rod Duncan is one busy man. Not only is he an author (Philip K. Dick nominated at that), lecturer and all-round great guy, he’s also a writer of screenplays. Excitingly, one of these screenplays, Acid Daemons, is being made into a feature film.
Here, Rod tells us a little about it…
It’s 8 o’clock on a dreary February morning and I’m standing outside an anonymous looking industrial building. It has no windows. The loading bay shutters are down.
People I don’t know start to arrive. Someone unlocks a metal door and I follow him inside. This is the first day of production on the horror movie Acid Daemons. I’ve been invited to come and watch because (alongside writing the Gas-Lit Empire novels and a lecturing at DeMontfort University) I write screenplays. This is one I co-wrote with the director Rhys Davies.
I find myself in a narrow space blocked off by a blanket hanging from a wooden strut above my head. There are lighting stands and electric cables. Everything is stuck down with duct tape.
The movie business really should be more glamorous.
It would be glamorous, of course, if this were a Hollywood production with tens of millions to throw around. But this movie is part of a new wave of British filmmaking, unleashed by developments in technology and a growing community of creative people driven by a desire to tell great stories.
I edge along a narrow corridor between the wall of the building and a large wooden board – the rear of a piece of scenery, I assume. Then I’m through a pretend door and find myself standing in a room that I have seen before – but only in my imagination.
It’s an apartment on the thirteenth floor of a tower block in the middle of a decaying housing estate. Here lives the Hannah, a girl on whose teenage shoulders too much responsibility has been placed. Directly below this room will be an empty apartment. And below that will be the rooms of a kitchen-sink chemist; a man intent on brewing up a designer drug that will open a door between worlds.
It’s a set of course. We’re on the ground floor and when I look up, there’s no ceiling, just an open space to the roof of the industrial building. But the experience of walking into a place I’d imagined – it’s just weird. Then our imagined characters step through the door and the sensation becomes even more bizarre.
How can it happen that a story dreamed up by a couple of guys in Leicester gets made into a feature film? There’s no big mound of cash behind the production. Indeed, money is very tight. But there is a group of dedicated professionals with a shared vision and a whole heap of ingenuity.
A revolution in digital photography has removed the barriers to film making. Or, to put it another way, there are no more excuses for people who might once have said: “If only I was a millionaire, I’d have made a better film than that!”
The only excuse for not making a movie would now be: “If only I had more belief in my story.”
It’s humbling for me to see the belief in the story held by the cast and crew of Acid Daemons.
If you’d like to help them in making Acid Daemons, you can find more information here.
And you can follow the adventure on the Facebook group, including a time-lapse of the building of the set.