Sunday, 8 January 2012

Martin McCardie - The Tinsel Town Writer Visits Sanna Bay

When Martin McCardie visited Sanna Bay in Ardnamurchan, sex, drugs and
rock roll weren't on the agenda. That unholy trinity were the subject
matters requested after McCardie asked a young group of film makers
what they wanted their work to be about. McCardie's experience of the
most westerly point in mainland Britain made what became The Corkscrew
Road something very different for Shooters, the community-based
film-making wing of Spirit Aid, the humanitarian charity set up by
actor/director David Hayman a decade ago.

McCardie had come on board to advise on the nuts and bolts of
film-making alongside Raindog director Stuart Davids, and what Shooters
got instead was a poetic evocation of a lost childhood. With a
soundtrack currently being scored by Edwyn Collins and former Superstar
frontman Joe McAlinden (an old school-friend of the McCardies), and
chip-off-the-old-block Davie Hayman Junior directing, The Corkscrew
Road is the first of three McCardie-scripted collaborations aiming to
move Shooters beyond gritty realism.

“I told them to read Dylan Thomas' poetry,” says McCardie, “to look at
John Ford films and David Lean films, and to help them realise that if
you've got that amazing landscape in Sanna Bay as a backdrop, then you
need to use it. There's no point in just doing extreme close-ups all
the time. What was really impressive was that they started off not
having a clue what was going on in the script, but by the end of
filming were telling me things about it that I hadn't seen.”

As a veteran of River City and the Raindog-produced Tinsel Town whose
writing and acting career began with the Wiseguise company, McCardie's
connection with Shooters is on one level a rediscovery of his own
grassroots.

“It wasn't a conscious thing,” he says, “but both me and Stuart
realised that's what we were doing. Writing episodes for television has
been good to me, but there are times you self-edit so as to fit in with
everything else that's going on. With Wiseguise and Raindog, we just
did what we believed in.”

Next up for McCardie and Shooters is Markheim, a modern-day version of
a Robert Louis Stevenson short story. This will be followed by The
Anniversary, featuring Peter Mullan. There will also be a sitcom pilot
which will more than likely be put out first online. Again, such
seizing of the means of production harks back to McCardie's early days.

“The reason why Tinsel Town was commissioned was because we made the
pilot ourselves, otherwise I doubt it would've got off the ground,” he
maintains. “It's about having that belief in what you do.”

The Herald, January 3rd 2012

ends

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