On a couple of podcasts recently I’ve been discussing the short film I’ve written and produced called “Pro”.
Pro is the story of a fictional footballer, Thomas Ryder, who gets himself into a spot of bother on Twitter and who is being quietly stalked by a small boy.
What me and the film’s director, Daniel Fitzsimmons, wanted to look at was the strange status footballers now have in society and in the way in which we interact with them. We switch them easily from hero to villain in terms of what they do both on and off the pitch and especially so as they share more of themselves on social media such as Twitter. There are those of us who want their approval and get irritated when we don’t get it. Those of us who get annoyed when they don’t acknowledge they have our approval and infuriated if they don’t seek our approval.
It occurs at times that we have more access to them than ever but at the same time we dehumanise them more and more. What we see are footballers as owned by society, club and agent, struggling to break out of those chains but with ultimately quite a dull, cosseted existence. We criticise them for being dull and then criticise them for being interesting. We bestow upon them something of a godlike status but instead of the gods creating the rules, we expect them to live by ours: never give the ball away, never stop running, never go out, never stay in, be complete humans, live only for football.
The film’s good. I know I would say that, but really it is. Being a writer/producer can be a little odd. You co-write the thing, you amass all the people to help you make it and then you get out of the way and hope for the best, only looking to support your director if you feel he needs it. Dan knew what he was about so I got out of the way and so I can say confidently that what I see now is good. We had some very talented people working on it – our cast of Joe Macaulay, Lee Fenwick, Joshua French and Kelly Forshaw; our crew who were excellent and experienced professionals and gave their time over to work upon it and to whom we’re very grateful. We also had people just helping us out; TAW’s John Gibbons and listener Robert Lawson helped the crew; Rob Gutmann and Steve Graves did some voiceover work for us. What was most pleasing was everyone coming together and working on the project and giving it everything they had.
So to cover our costs gone and our costs to come we’ve looked to crowdsource the funding: www.sponsume.com/project/pro. We’re happy for any help we can get but I’d love to share the piece and the screening with The Anfield Wrap listeners/readers insofar as that’s possible. We’ll have a bit of a Q&A afterwards.
We’ll get it on the internet over the summer for everyone to see, we’ll get Dan on and have a chat about it. We’re well aware that not everyone feels in a position to contribute to a short film in the current climate, even more so with 17 visits to Wembley in 3 weeks going on. We’ve made this film because it feels part of our universe and because we hope we’ve been successful we think it can be part of yours too. So you just eventually watching it will do us. But if you could help then please do have a look at the Sponsume link, see Dan’s video and we’ll see you all in the next few weeks with it on the big screen.