So when we heard that one of Scott's scriptwriting pals was making a children's movie with another scriptwriter, we couldn't wait to watch it. What was created was Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? A whodunnit live action kids film.
The story is set locally in a holiday park in Dorset called Nelson's Retreat. There you find four friends who are growing a bit too old for the antics of loveable Nelson Nutmeg, the parks squirrel mascot. That is until Billie of them witnesses Nelson being pushed off the cliff by an unknown killer. The race is on for Billie and the gang to crack the mystery and work out who really killed Nelson Nutmeg.
We absolutely loved this film, Max roared with laughter the whole way through at the fun and games they got up to. Scott loved the clever twists in the plot that reminded us of a classic Scooby Doo tale whilst I loved the filming. They managed to capture the Dorset coast perfectly and the intrigue of the mystery at a child's level. It's a great blend of Scooby and the Famous Five but with a modern twist.
The cast was pretty spot on with a host of child actors hailing from the local area. There's a special appearance from Bonnie Wright (Ginny from Harry Potter) as the suspicious Diane who is the main suspect! I think the kids did brilliantly considering they navigated the film and we loved the live action aspect as it made the story relatable compared to the masses of animation that there is out there. It's definitely inspired Max to go outdoors and solve some mysteries!
Because the film is partly crowd funded and partly self funded, there is no nationwide cinema release. But we managed to secure our tickets through OurScreen that lets you create your own screenings of films. They have a host of south coast screenings already booking now so if there's one local to you I would definitely snap up some tickets, if not then grab some friend's and request a screening!
Luckily I was able to catch a few words with Tim Clague, one of the directors and writers of the film and ask him a few quick questions about how it was made.
We absolutely loved the film, but in a world dominated by children's animation, what made you pick a children's live action film to make?
Well the very real answer is that we can't draw or do animation. So we had to do live-action! However, we were pleased it worked out like that really as we genuinely felt that we could stand out from the crowd and offer something different to parents and children in the UK. There aren't many chances for British kids to see themselves represented on the big screen.
The film really reminded us of an updated Famous Five adventure and we loved the mystery element. Were there any other films and shows that were influences?
We were also influenced by films like The Goonies from the 80s. And then going back to the Children's Film Foundation films in the 60s and 70s. I remember seeing those projected from a 16mm print in my school hall on the last day before the summer holiday. Even though the film wasn't amazing by today's standards, we all loved it! It was the exciting and infectious feeling of watching it together. We also like the slightly bonkers and exaggerated characters from the work of the Coen Brothers and films like The Burbs, so we tried to bring that in too.
The film was part funded through Kickstarter. What made you decide to crowdfund?
We had no official funding for this film so we needed to raise money somehow. We had some money ourselves and some from local investors who we'd worked with in the past. Kickstarter was our only way really of reaching out to find that additional funding. But it worked out really well as it helped us generally reach out into the community and tell people about the movie early on.
The casting was fantastic. We loved the kids as they really captured the fun of the holidays. Did you have any difficulties finding a cast?
We didn't have any specific difficulties, but that was because we knew it would take a lot of time and effort. We had a 6 month plan to hold the auditions. We knew we would hold them in the early summer and that we wanted to spread the word about it as wide as possible. We put some adverts in magazines like the Primary Times, which only comes out quarterly. So that meant we wrote the advert in February. So as early as February we were planning for the first round of auditions in June. That gave us lots of time to speak to stage schools and other organisations as well. If we hadn't planned ahead then we wouldn't probably have found that great local cast.
Have you got any plans to make any more live action kids films?
Yes is the short answer. Next up is a Christmas movie for the whole family called "Who Kidnapped Santa Christmas?". And we've also teamed up with the guys behind CBBC's "Dixie" to help them produce a spooky movie for children called "Out of Season"
Finally, can you pitch this film to parents in less than ten words?
You could describe it as "Four kids solve a murder mystery during their summer holiday"