There is a sense of loss when you release something you've written. It's not yours anymore, its the audiences to do with what they want, have whatever opinions they want about it. That's how I felt after releasing Payback, excited everyone was loving it, but there was this sense of loss. How apt to release Toilet Soup in the second week, a film which questions peoples opinions.
This one was not written by myself, although I think I had a hand in the ideas when it was being put together. This was written by Twisted Showcase co creator Rhys Jones. Here's what he has to say about it.
"Toilet Soup, like many things I've worked on, began life as an absurd and disgusting joke. It was just something silly Robin and I were talking about via text late one night. I can't exactly remember what it was we were talking about, but it was very childish and somehow the idea of a deranged toilet attendant force feeding people Toilet Soup, to teach the ignorant a lesson, came out of that silly conversation. Throughout the writing process this idea of ignorance was fine tuned into an attack on the arrogance of some Internet trolls, that hateful stupidity I'm sure we've all been witness too online. I really like that we put a message we felt strongly about into this absurd gross out film. Makes me smile.It was different from anything else we had made, but still embodied Twisted Showcase in a very surreal way. It was decided that I would write it, because I liked playing around with dark and absurd ideas, and Robin would direct, because he wanted the challenge of directing a comedy. It was very twisted showcase in that way - "you'll do this and I'll do that and we'll make a film and we'll just go do it, yeah?"
Which thankfully remembers all the stuff I'd forgotten and sums up our way of working once it's time to make the film. We just go ahead and do it. But we'll work on scripts forever beforehand.
Since my role was more on the shoot, which are all one day shoots for Twisted Showcase, most of my tales are from that. A cold November/December, again Rhys would remember the dates better than me. Maybe he should write these. Where's the best place to be in the cold, why a toilet of course.
Luckily we were cheered by Norman Lovett, we couldn't believe we got him to star in our film. When we were planning the series Payback and Toilet Soup were the first two scripts we had and we knew who we wanted to star in them, so launched our crowdfund to make sure we got them.
If you've not seen the film yet, now would be a good time to catch up.
So the cold was an issue in starting the day, luckily the pub we were filming in made us some coffee, turned the heating up, did everything to make us feel at home, and we shot mostly chronologically in the one location. Shooting the bucket scene last in the day, more of that later.
The line I remember being delivered most was "backstabbing arselickers" Gets stuck in your head after a few takes.
But highlights of the day were cameraman Gordon Mitchell's comments. Forgetting Norman Lovett's surname in a moment of nerves he called him Mr Norman. Amongst many others which I won't repeat to save his blushes.
The most embarrassing moment, was filming the bucket scene. Never had to film anyone pretend to poo in a bucket before. Thanks for that moment Rhys. Luckily I think the cringe factor comes across and make that scene both bizarre and funny, and well timed in the film.
To get a little filmy for a second, my favourite thing about my direction is a tiny mise en scene detail. You can tell I've taught film. But, I love that the characters have something in frame to highlight them a little, cleansing soap behind the toilet atendant, and Andrew Lomax has a horrible, seedy looking condom machine. I remember when we sourced the venue, going in and that was my first thought.
I really don't see myself as a director still though, even though I've directed 3 or 4 Showcase episodes now. Last week I even saw one of them 'Something at the top of the stairs' on the big screen. Visually it made me think, "Wow, maybe I underestimate myself"
Talking about big screen viewings, Toilet Soup was the first Twisted Showcase film to be seen by people as it appeared at Cardiff Mini Film Fest in their comedy strand. Me and Rhys went down to Cardiff, did the Doctor Who Exhibition, visited Ianto's shrine and ate like kings before heading to the fest. The viewing was a nervous affair for us both, but was quite well received, even if some people were baffled and one person commented that it was a depressing film. Maybe he was the type of person to post ill thought out opinions online and needed to see the truth by drinking some Toilet Soup
Next week: The Drugs don't work