Film: BFI London Film Festival Guide

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Interview with Bristol Screenwriter and director Rhys Freeman

Rhys Freeman is a young Director and multi-award-winning Screenwriter, from Bristol

Rhys Freeman is a young Director and Writer from Bristol. A multi-award-winning screenwriter, Rhys recently just closed on two projects, one being a proof of concept for his most successful script, a TV pilot called, "You, Me & The Ex" and the other a short film, "A Paper Trail Of The Heart".

Culture Calling spoke with Rhys about his creative style, current projects and tips for those looking to get into film.

 

Q1 Who are you and what do you do?

I’m born and bred in Bristol and a screenwriter by trade. More recently, I’ve also become a director and producer. I’ve won a fair few awards with my screenwriting which have elevated me into the production side of things. People have been pushing me to self-produce for a while and in the last 6 months it’s all picked up.

I’ve recently lived up north and living on my own has really shaped the stories I want to write and tell. I think its massively benefited my work. Not being able to go out and see friends has given me evenings by myself and the time to just write something! Covid has given me perspective on how short life is and I might as well crack on and do something!

 

Q2 Favourite films/ TV seen during COVID?

I’ve recently been watching Virgin River on Netflix and I’m hooked! Also, Ben Affleck’s 2020 film The Way Back which was one of the best films I’ve seen recently.  

 

Q3 Tell us about You Me and The Ex?

You Me and the Ex is a recent television pilot that I wrote last year. I ended up getting an actor interested in it who is doing some big credits at the moment. He (the actor) was adamant that we needed to make part of this so we made a proof of concept for the show; which is the opening scene and 4 min long.

We filmed on a night shoot in Bristol in June and is currently in production. I worked with a fantastic director of photography who has now become a close friend of mine called Luke. I’m really excited to see the story that I wrote coming alive on the screen and am really encouraged as the script has been received so well already. It was a lot of work and a definitely a tight schedule, finished at quarter to 4 in the morning! A lot of fun.

 

Q4 What do you look for in a film?

A well written script. When I sit down and watch a show, I’m constantly thinking about the script and the thinking behind things. The Way Back is a good example of a great film; it’s very well written from a script perspective, but in terms of how its shot, the cinematography is phenomenal, the grading, it’s very in your face and really showcases Affleck as an actor. The film understands detailed and troubled characters and you can’t look away.

A lot of people probably don’t realise that the reason that they are drawn to this film or that film is (and watch it ten times over) is because you see something in the character that’s personal. It Catches you off guard and means something to you.  

 

Q5 Describe your creative process when writing?

Observation is key for me. Every writer is different in terms of their style and process; my process is not what other screenwriters would expect. I don’t sit down and write notes upon notes about where the story is going to go. For example, with You Me and the Ex, I had a side of A5 notes on the characters, where they were, and the dynamics was of the relationships. That was it! Then I sat down and wrote the pilot.

With a five-act structure, I will probably, have 5 bullet points for each act and just flesh them out whilst I’m writing. This is a really good prompt for me as I can leave a script and then come back and know where I am. If you overcomplicate things and write too many notes, you may as well have spent that time on the script. I would rather fail trying to write the script then fail before I’ve even started writing the script. I’d rather get stuck on page 7 then stuck on notes!

In terms of inspiration, I’ll go out into the world and meet people, in bars or coffee shops and find different ways of telling stores. I’m a hopeless romantic! I live for that stuff and love rom coms. I could watch them all day! I’m always looking for new ways to tell a love story.

 

Q6 Any thoughts for those looking to breaking into filmmaking?

Just do it. Jump in. Because of what’s happened and the industry is reopening so get out there and build a network. If you can make something with a small budget and have a script that is based in one location, get a group around you and try it! It’s amazing what you can make with £200 and some confidence and self-belief. You might as fall over trying then not fall over at all.

 

Q7 One closing question - favourite rom coms?

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

When Harry Met Sally

Crazy Stupid Love

You, Me and Dupree

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