We first interviewed Alec Liddle back in April to discuss his ambitious 12x12 project – a project in which he attempts to release a short film every month for the year. He is back again with his May project; Paisley Boom. Liddle describes it as “terribly silly,” but it is also pleasantly funny and sweet.
May was a busy month for Liddle and with his busy schedule, and already being five months into the project, Liddle admits to having trouble with this particular short film; “I managed to come up with a couple of ideas I really liked: both far too complicated and expensive to pull off in the time I had.” However, he was not going to be put off by that and so with only a week to go, he came up with a short, sweet film.
The actress playing Paisley Boom was thankfully available on really short notice; “thank goodness Amy [Howard] told me she was available for filming! She starred in a short I made a few years ago, and I’d always wanted to work with her again. I started trying to come up with character names, and when I thought up “Paisley Boom,” I laughed, so that was the idea: a girl whose name makes people laugh.” It certainly worked.
Amy Howard was part of a small crew on set as Liddle shot it over two mornings; “all we had was Pete on camera, David on sound, and on the first morning I had Eilisha as AD, basically to help me grab people on the street to laugh into the camera.” However, it was not all smooth sailing for the Director as he had to improvise last minute; “unfortunately, our second actor had to drop out at the last minute, so rather than try to get someone to learn all the lines overnight, I just took on the part of Ken. In the end there were only five people who actually worked on the film!”
Despite the film being just under three minutes long – the shortest of the projects so far – it was the longest script yet; “it’s actually one of the longest scripts: five pages. But dialogue always plays faster, and it’s all dialogue! Part of it was the pace set in editing; comedy suits that snappy back-and-forth, but mainly it was limited by the concept itself. There’s only so long you can watch two people talk about nothing.” However the concept worked well, with only two people conversing on the street; it makes for a smarter and funnier outlook on life.
Paisley Boom is slightly different to the other short films Liddle has been creating since January; “it was a step away from the kind of thing I’ve been doing, something of an experiment, and I learned that straightforward comedy isn’t my thing.” Liddle made it clear that there was no message he was trying to convey in this particular film but rather aimed to create something that “just gets a laugh.”
Liddle is still sceptical about his work on Paisley Boom, however; “I’m pretty ambivalent about “Paisley Boom,” which isn’t to take away from anyone’s work on it: everyone did a great job. It just isn’t the kind of thing I’m really good at, or interested in making. And that’s a good lesson to learn.” In contrast to this, Liddle praised his next short film Invidia, his project for June as it is “exactly the kind of thing” he wants to do.
With his next short film already released, Liddle has the creativity flowing. "Creativity’s like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. I’ve found that the more I write, the more ideas I have, and the more I write them down somewhere!”
After the release of his favourite short film so far, Liddle is feeling a lot more confident about the next six months; “coming off June’s film, which was a real high-point, I think I’m in a really good position to barrel through the rest of the year.” With the help of others, he is on to another six brilliant films; “I have actors and crew members keeping in touch, always asking about the next film, and I’m constantly writing down bits and pieces to see if anything comes out of them. If I can do six, then I can do another six!” The 12x12 project is proving very promising for Alec Liddle.