PRODUCTION JOURNAL: Chris Cooke's BBC Director Diary part 1

BBC has recently launched a series of diaries by directors. Reposted below is part 1 of 8 journal entries filmmaker Chris Cooke has written to give you a glimpse of the creative thought process and the practical obstacles filmmakers have to overcome during development.  Read and see how it relates to your life.
A few introductory words by Chris...
Chris Cooke has been based in Nottingham for the last ten years and has not just set films there, but drawn on local cast and crew to make the films. Previously a fine artist (terrible results), Cooke became a filmmaker when a friend took a filmmaking degree and Cooke tagged along, pretending to be a student until he had a vague grounding in film and video.
Later, after five years of unemployment, Cooke found himself on a ten-month training scheme run by Intermedia Film and Video, where he learned everything he could in linear and non-linear editing, film and shooting on video. And signed off.
Then he signed on again. Even more unemployment led to another course and his first short, Map Of The Scars. Set in Cooke's birthplace of Jersey, this was a twisted travelogue using the scars on a young street drinker's skull as a route map of the tiny tourist island.
A year later, Helen Solomon asked Cooke to write a short to be submitted to the BFI's prestigious New Directors' Scheme, funded by FilmFour. Together, Cooke and Solomon created Shifting Units, the story of an embittered and alcoholic salesman who manages to shift more units in the local boozer then he does cold calling. The short film received Special Mention at the following year's Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Shortly afterwards, Solomon and Cooke began work on a feature outline for FilmFour Lab. Joined in production by the award-winning Kate Ogborn (Under The Skin), the script that emerged was One For The Road. It tells the story of four men, with little in common, who meet on an Alcohol Management Course having lost their driving licences after convictions for drink-driving.
The film is a bleak and funny black comedy that premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and is released on DVD on 25th November. You can tell from the director's commentary that Chris Cooke needs to lose some weight and smokes too much.
Cooke is currently developing two new feature scripts with FilmFour, one a blackly comic road movie about returning to England from the French Alps for a funeral; the other a portrait of a world of pain and fakery set in the region's wrestling scene.
Cooke has taken to writing about himself in the third person for would-be dramatic effect... and he needs to lose weight.

Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.


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