Despatch from Hollywood: the day before the world premiere of our film Dotty

12 Feb
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Dotty, premiering at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival tomorrow

So here I am in West Hollywood. The sky is as ridiculously blue as it almost always is – that’s partly why the first film pioneers chose this place. I’m staying with hospitable fellow film journo and screenwriter Steve Goldman. And tomorrow the short film I wrote, Dotty, is having its world premiere at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, with Florida, Australia, St Albans and New York so far to follow.

I’m really proud of the film. Ben Charles Edwards, with whom I collaborated on the hugely ambitious Animal Charm, did a superb job of directing. Sadie Frost is so good she’s being awarded Best Actress at the festival – despite Juliet Stevenson also being in the running. The specially composed score still echoes in my mind.

I can’t tell you too much about the plot of Dotty, as it would spoil the ending, but it’s a touching inter-generational friendship between a lonely, troubled boy and the eccentric woman (‘Dotty’) he finds in a colourful caravan plonked in the middle of the dusty Nevada desert. I had the cult 1971 film Harold and Maude half in mind when I wrote it. I’ve shown it to septuagenarians and nine-year-olds, and all ages in between, and it seems to strike a universal chord.

One great lesson when writing it: less is more. The first draft was 10pp long – half the length of Animal Charm. It was deliberately light on dialogue, since it stars a nine-year-old kid. And though that kid is Rudy Law, son of Sadie Frost and Jude Law and with acting clearly in his genes, you still can’t ask too much of children in the way of scripted dialogue.

I got one note back on the script: make it shorter, with less dialogue. It was a great note. The even more stripped-down 6pp version worked even better.

And now, tomorrow, The Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival gives Dotty its first showing to critical fellow film-makers, ones who aren’t cast or crew or friends or family. I’m not nervous. With my film critic’s hat on, rather than my insecure writer’s hat on, Dotty works. It’s good.

I’ll tell you on Friday how it all went…  

 

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4 Responses to “Despatch from Hollywood: the day before the world premiere of our film Dotty”

  1. Veronica Haidar February 13, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    Sounds great – when’s the St Alban’s screening?

    • dominicwells February 13, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

      Hi Veronica, thanks for your interest! It’s in the St Albans Film Festival, which is May 1-4. They haven’t yet confirmed what dates/times individual films are on within that period. Website here: http://www.stalbansfilmfestival.com/

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Online at last: watch Rudy Law in Suzie Lovitt | London, Hollywood - June 15, 2015

    […] a natural on film that Ben, Sadie and I developed another short specially for him. That’s Dotty, my favourite of all the shorts I’ve been involved in, and I’m incredibly excited to say that […]

  2. Online at last! Watch our acclaimed short film, Dotty | London, Hollywood - June 20, 2015

    […] one of those rare films where everything comes together. Sadie Frost, the producer and award-winning star, gave me a terrifically useful note on my first draft: it was just “simpler, with less […]

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