Death and Penelope

Pre-Production Poster for Death and PenelopePenelope is the author of a series of somewhat unsuccessful self-help books. She is suffering from a bad case of writer’s block as she writes one last book after having been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She struggles to focus, particularly as Death (the Grim Reaper) has moved in with her and takes to watching loud television and nagging her to hurry up. However, Death gradually begins to show a softer side and becomes a subject for Penelope to test her self-help methods on by teaching him to become more personable.

I originally wrote Death and Penelope for Jameson First Shot to the theme “the great and/or unexpected things that can happen when you fear less and invite life in”. Winning the competition would have meant Kevin Spacey producing and Maggie Gyllenhaal playing the lead role. I didn’t make it to the shortlist and so I worked on it some more and produced it myself.

Penelope
Bayley Freer

Death
Owl Young

Ralph
Robert Rowe

Woman in Green
Cindy-Jane Armbruster

Director
Rahman Noor Chowdhury and Glen Delahaye

Producer/Writer
Glen Delahaye

DP
Kamil Iwanowicz

Editing
Leonard Oguntade

Original score
Ross Allchurch

Production Designer
Sorcha Bloom Dunphy

Make Up
Hattie Leviston

Sound
Jillian Speed

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A Slice of Death

A short film in one take: In order to get a promotion at work, a grumpy employee attempts to defeat his competition through a sloppy and overly complicated murder plot.

An example of a film that didn’t work out. You can get away with making a number of mistakes in a film, but not if those mistakes prevent you from getting across what you are trying to say. This was an attempt at a murder mystery in one take, but the end result was sadly incoherent.

This was coursework for an MA at UEL. The brief had been to make a film in one take, without any editing or post production. They called it Slice of Life.

My concept was to film a real-time murder mystery taking place during a party in a flat. The camera would pan between three rooms, where we would witness characters conspiring with each other and begin to understand the motive before seeing the repercussions of the murder plot. To be honest, I don’t think it was such a bad concept.

The problems lay in the execution. It was a rushed production and so actors did not know their lines, equipment had not been tested and the script could have done with some rewriting. The end result includes mumbled lines, misplaced props, equipment noise, camera shakes…overall it’s like a rough draft for what might have been a decent student film.

But still, it’s a good learning opportunity and did receive merit.