This week we are talking to The Ballad of a Haunted Man writer, producer and director, Emma Pitt. The Ballad of a Haunted Man is a short film being shown at the Bridgslaughter Horror Film Festival on 15th June at The Cobblestones.
We asked Emma what was the greatest achievement to date and she told us,
“Deciding to try and become a script writer and being brave enough to take a chance.
“I gave up a well paid career to do an MA in TV Scriptwriting and thankfully it proved to be the right decision. I worked really hard, I achieved a Distinction, I found an agent and I’m now a working writer and filmmaker.”
“I originally wrote The Ballad of a Haunted Man as a short play, for a call out for short horror scripts.
“It’s the first time I’d attempted to write a horror and it won the competition and was staged at a theatre in Wales.”
She went on to tell us,
“The idea came initially from me deciding who would make a good central character for a horror, and my immediate thought was a mortician. I then built the story around him, continually thinking ‘how can I make this worse’ until I had a pretty horrible story. I wanted to see if I could convey the ‘horror’ predominately through words and hold the audience’s attention through direction and dialogue.”
We asked Emma how she found her cast and crew, she replied,
“It’s a short horror film that was made with a very low budget. I can’t say too much about the plot without giving away the twists but it’s about a lonely mortician who’s search for company has become very dark!
“I made a short film a few years ago whilst I was doing my MA so I could showcase my writing, and a friend of a friend suggested using a Cameraman/DOP called Dan Shoring – Dan has done a lot of work with SKY and the BBC. We worked well together and then a couple of years later we decided to make The Ballad of a Haunted Man.
“I wrote and directed it and Dan and I co-produced it.
“My MA tutor Jim Hill also helped out, he’s a well established TV writer/director. Dan organised the crew through his contacts and he shot and edited it as well. I found the cast.
My husband knew Shane Attwooll from the local music scene. Shane had just starred in Legend as George Cornell opposite Tom Hardy who was playing the Kray Twins. He’s a very successful actor and I knew he’d do a fantastic job so was delighted when he agreed to read the script, and then agreed to play Daniel, the lead.
“Helen Lederer and I used to go to the same gym and through a mutual contact there we had been put in touch and I’d done a bit of work for her. We’d become friends so she was happy to appear in the film, and she also found our younger actress Eliza Leonard.
“I found a make-up artist through the Iver Academy, and my niece was our runner and photographer. The crew and the cast were really committed and worked really well together.
“The Ballad of a Haunted Man was nominated for Best Film and Best Actor at the Twin Tiers International Film Festival in New York. We were up against some big budget films with Hollywood actors in, so being nominated was a huge honour.
“I was overwhelmed when Shane then won Best Actor.
“I also won Best Woman Filmmaker at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards which was amazing.”
Emma finished off by saying,
“To those that wish to get into filmmaking, never be afraid to ask. If you have an actor in mind for your film but think they’re too famous or too busy, don’t be afraid to ask them. The worse they can do is say no!
“So be brave. And along with this, always be nice and always say thank you.”
Join us at Bridgslaughter Horror Film Festival on 15th June at The Cobblestones.