"Short Cuts" began back in Spring 2010 when Ashe Tait woke up after a curious dream about people visiting a barbers and then finding themselves in our local village, Temple (Midlothian, Scotland), acting out their favourite movies. Of course it had nothing to do with Mackintosh Barbers starting their Facebook page the night before! Temple was already 'famous' for being the backdrop to the movie "The Undiscovered" premiered in March 2010, so had a host of actors looking for their next assignment!

"Dream Maker" Ashe had the courage to ask Iain Hyslop, co-filmmaker of The Undiscovered, if this idea could work? Since it sounded so much more straightforward than the previous film, he said yes! Easy! Ha!

Initial plot outlines consisted of a series of famous film sequences, which was incredibly exciting, however it was missing the "wrapper" - the story line that would flow through out the whole film. That was until Gregory's Girl appeared on our list - it was an all time favourite of the filmmakers, so many memorable scenes... "oh we have to do the one with penguin, what about 'Caracas', we can't not do the park scene". Ping - we had it, our film scenes were all linked by Gregory's 'Date' scenes.

The script was written in a way that allowed us to switch the location of each movie montage around - we had a beginning, a middle and an end, with the middle being very flexible. The response from the community was very positive with people volunteering to be involved, or saying yes when we asked them. Further movie montages were added to include more people and ideas, but eventually we had to finalise the sequences which were laid out at specific places in the village where Gregory was walking on his date. Filming of some scenes began in May 2010, before it was known how they would fit into the movie.

Casting was not a problem at all, we picked our actors very carefully and gave them offers they couldn't refuse! Of course there was not much typecasting but we think you can see a little bit of everyone in the characters played! Some people signed themselves up for parts without any clue what we were about to ask them to do. Crazy, the lot of them, but heros - all of them!

When we look back at some shooting days, all we can remember are the shouts of "Quiet. Quiet! Quiet!! Pheasant! Plane!" and that motorbike that did a 5 mile trip round our location... that one was torture! But we had a campfire of flatulating cowboys and cold beans, nearly 30 ladies skipping through fields in their wellies, a churchyard full of The Good (actors), The Bad (biting) and The Ugly (midgies), not to mention a village hall filled with satisfied bacon roll eaters! There are a number of other scenes that standout as "don't try this at home folks" :

  • King Kong appeared on our script from the ideas of Crispin who was already determined to re-enact this film anyway - we are glad it was us that got to share his dream. The location consisted of a house with a tower, and we needed to film closeup shots of Crispin in an ape suit, on the roof of the tower. How else could we do this, but with 30 foot high scaffolding assembled by ourselves. We got the shots and the great views of KK falling to his death - don't worry he was stuffed. The ape, not Crispin!
  • What-to-do-about-Pam! We had great plans for one of the lead actors of The Undiscovered, we won't mention the scenes we couldn't persuade her to do, but to get her to do the one we really wanted, we had to combine it with one of her favourites! And so Nanny McCeption was born, a mash-up of Nanny McPhee and Inception. We think these 2 combined brilliantly but it was the first scene with special effects. Temple main street had to be folded in two, something that still hurts our heads, and was probably the scene that took the most effort overall.
  • We spent 2 days in the studio of Midlothian Camera Club who had a big green screen. We had not used this technology before, but we spent a day doing some tests before returning with some actors to film performances for Harry Potter, ET and Inception. Many thanks to Ken Adam for organising and helping out for this work.

Although the vast majority of people involved in "Short Cuts" were from the Moorfoot villages, we had some outstanding contributions from people outside our community:

  • David Wilks is the nephew of one of the lead actors and it was suggested he could help us out with some aerial filming - he flies model planes and helicopters with cameras on them! As David lived in England, we scheduled 3 dates for him to visit as wind conditions had to be good. The first 2 dates did not happen due to bad weather, so we just went for the 3rd and we were lucky. We spent 2 days directing David around the skies of Temple capturing footage for The Sound of Music, Harry Potter and King Kong and this contribution transformed those particular scenes. It almost felt like a weekend off for us as David did the hard work, so we rewarded him and Sarah with a special appearance in Grease!
  • Colin Beattie was a local councillor for the Temple area (now an MSP) and appeared in our first film, The Undiscovered. He was even more keen to support our next film and boy did we have the perfect role for him - The Fully Monty! No not that scene, the Dole (Post) Office dancing scene! Colin was a great sport and repeatedly allowed us to reshoot that scene for our own enjoyment - "oops Colin, I forgot to press record".
  • Local business Alba Ballooning allowed us to capture some great footage from both inside the basket and on the ground for the Pixar movie, Up!
  • We had a couple of officers from The Lothian & Borders Police help out in Thelma & Louise adding that extra authenticity/hilarity. Apologies for waking up the Temple villagers with that siren!
  • When 'writing' the dancing scene in Gregory's Girl, the most important requirement was to get the original music which adds so much to that scene. We struggled to find the OST anywhere, including eBay so began contacting people involved in the making of the film without any response. Eventually we found the original composer and performer, Colin Tully. Colin found an old cassette of the music however it had deteriorated too much over the years. A few depressing weeks passed before Colin contacted us again advising he had re-recorded the music with his band Sensorium. We were over the moon with this contribution and it completed a key scene in our film. As an addendum, Colin contacted us early in 2012 to say he was touring with his band in Scotland in June, particularly to play the Glasgow Jazz Festival including featuring Gregory's Girl music. Colin asked if we were interested in hosting his band while he was up and we jumped at the chance. Sensorium went down a treat in Temple Village Hall and the gig also included the Gregory's Girl music featuring the orginal date scene footage from the film.
Shooting of Short Cuts continued right up until the week before the premiere on 1st October 2011. While it was high pressured, the scenes just needed to be slotted into place.

Throughout the making of Short Cuts, our aim was always to try and include as many of the community as possible and have fun making a film. While all the actors and filmmakers are amateurs, the efforts of everyone were outstanding - no prima donnas on this shoot! It's unlikely we'll make anything quite as big as this again, but Short Cuts will always have great memories for us... ahhhh!