We had the pleasure of running a few questions by It’s Not Custard’s Writer/Director Kate McCoid.
But first a little about It’s Not Custard
The plot surrounds a girl named Louise who has severe acne and is relentlessly bullied. She makes a life-changing wish, but in a twist of fate, her acne appears on her bedroom wall. Desperately, she tries to clean up this mess just as her older sister, Jennifer, comes home. After seeing all the bowls piled in the kitchen, Jennifer grabs one and in a moment too late, she realizes it’s not custard.
They have an incredible team with a strong female crew leading their heads of department in Producing, Directing, Writing, Cinematography, SFX Make-up, and Set Design. But the crew doesn’t stop there! They have also teamed up with Waldo Mason (Prosthetics – Prometheus, Harry Potter); Yann McCullough (Music Editor – The Hobbit, The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Nick Goldsmith (Producer – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Son of Rambow).
“The idea for It’s Not Custard has been with me for years. I grew up in a bedroom with a textured wall and would often imagine what would happen if the walls came to life. This is also a film for the spot-popping enthusiast. A thriving culture that lies secretly just under the mainstream,” Kate comments.
LEGLESS CORPSE: It’s Not Custard is described as a dark comedy, which in general, can be interpreted in many different ways. What combined elements, as the writer, do you feel makes the film a dark comedy?
KATE MCCOID: The script features a narrator who is essentially a non-biased spectator on Louise’s life. It would be as if Alan Rickman was narrating your life. Very dry, very short. I’d say that’s one of strongest comedic elements in the film. Everyone who has read it has come back to me and said that the narrator had them laughing out loud. Which is great!
What makes it a dark comedy is the subject we’re dealing with. Bullying isn’t funny and neither is acne for those who live with it, but the situation Louise is forced to face helps to make light of an otherwise unpleasant situation.
Without giving too much away, for those that can stomach it. The ending comes together in such a way that should satisfy and disturb the audience. It’s a combination of dark humour that might make people uncomfortable but over all I’m hoping the audience will leave feeling amused at our antagonists comeuppance.
LC: Most people feel there is not an audience for short films anymore. How do you feel about the short film medium, and what is your plan for It’s Not Custard once it’s complete?
KM: I don’t think short films are as respected as they could be. They tend to get filed away at big awards shows as ‘not real films’ which is just ignorant. I think the short film medium is powerful. Shorts have the ability to make a big statement that can stay with you long after the film has ended.
I often hear people speaking about shorts as a ‘stepping stone’ to features and while it may be true that filmmakers do often move onto features after shorts, I think it is damaging to refer to them as a ‘stepping stone’. Short filmmaking is an art in itself and it is unfortunately completely overshadowed by features in the eyes of the mass audience.
Once we have completed It’s Not Custard we will be putting it into the film festival circuit. If it is well received short films can have a crazy life span at festivals, some bounce around for years. Here’s to hoping…
LC: Does the film share any traits, or pay a kind of tribute, to any filmmaker or film style?
KM: When I was writing It’s Not Custard, I had a very distinctive voice in mind for the narrator. Geoffrey Holder, who sadly passed away earlier this year. He voiced the Tim Burton ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and I just envisioned our main character Louise having her strange life voiced by this epic, magical voice.
It makes me a little nervous to compare it to other filmmakers styles. I do picture a warmth to the film that is similar to that of Amelie, (Jean-Pierre Jeunet). Although we’ve been told that it reminds people of Roald Dahl’s Tales of the unexpected which was written and aired in Britain in the 70s.
LC: Your current indiegogo campaign mentions Waldo Mason as crew for prosthetics, what kind of cool SFX can we expect in the short?
KM: Oh my goodness, Waldo is just phenomenal. The phone conversations we have had regarding this short are just so gross. It’s Not Custard is going to require some exaggerated spots, so for the last few weeks Waldo and I have been exchanging emails with reference photos and videos, discussing pores and how best to achieve the consistency of pus. I think we’re settled on using wallpaper paste.
We were researching different types of spots and I came across a video of a 25 year old blackhead being removed. That stuff stays with you, but I wrote the film so here we are!
I am so excited to get everything created for our ‘acne wall’ and Waldo has such an inventive imagination and his previous prosthetic creations are incredible. When I saw the work he has created on Prometheus, Harry Potter and Ripper Street, I just said to myself “We need him.” The SFX is just going to be amazing.
LC: Out of all the cool perks for donating to the campaign, what in your eyes, is the coolest perk you guys are offering?
KM: Personally, I really like ‘The Giant Spot” perk, which will be the practical SFX acne spot. The largest one, which can be seen on our concept art. I don’t know if it’s the coolest but I know there are people out there that would really love it. Just below the mainstream lies a thriving spot-popping culture and people are incredibly fascinated by it. There’s someone out there, someone who loves practical SFX and squeezing spots and they’re gonna come across our perk and it’ll be like christmas haha.
LC: When you reach your goal how soon would you plan on having the film complete and ready for viewing?
KM: We will be shooting in January and have a goal to finish post-production by March. It sounds like a long way off but I wrote this short in April and it’s already November. Time just flies. Those who have pledged for our Digital Download and Secret Online Screening should expect to see the film next Spring.
LC: If you fall a little short on your goal, will you forge ahead and continue with production?
KM: We really cannot afford to fall short, so for the sake of my own sanity I am trying to avoid thinking about that unless we have to face it. Our budget has been cut and refined so much that everything has been cut down to the bone and although £10,000 is a large amount of money. It really is the bare minimum required to make our short considering that is so largely SFX and VFX heavy.
LC: As a filmmaker, what is your ultimate goal?
KM: I write often, I have a handful of other shorts I would love to see become a reality and I’ve just written my first feature. My goal is to continue writing and directing my own work. I’m not opposed to directing others writing, it’s just at this moment in time with my own limited resources, I am enjoying bringing my own stories to life.
I am still learning what kind of director I am. It’s wonderful being influenced by established filmmakers but it’s difficult to take that influence and turn it into something original, something with your own voice. It’s hard to say where I’ll end up but ultimately, I want to be a filmmaker that brings a memorable story to the table. The Film industry is over saturated with the mediocre. I want to break away from that.
Get more info on the film by clicking on the links below:
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IT’S NOT CUSTARD: Interview With Writer / Director Kate McCoid
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