"One of my university roommates had a dream in which the whole world went crazy for pie, and I immediately knew I wanted to adapt it into something."
Lottie Smith was last month's Script Competition winner with 'A Feté Worse Than Death', a post-apocalyptic dark comedy for the whole family.
Lottie's story takes place following a catastrophic event at a local village féte, where a group of survivors get to know one another as they spend the night hiding from the aftermath.
We got in touch with Lottie to find out a bit more about her writing process and her plans for the future.
Firstly, why have you chosen to specialise in screenwriting?
I first got into screenwriting while studying film at college. It was the first thing about film that really grabbed my interest, and I loved being able to let my creativity run wild on the page. Since then, I’ve experimented writing within a range of genres, and through exploring these different writing styles, I’ve fallen in love with the possibilities that writing can offer me.
Would you consider directing your projects?
I would love to direct one of my own projects, as I feel my connection to projects that I have written gives me a far greater understanding of what the script needs to really come alive. I really look up to Mark Duplass as a writer-director - the way he navigates his characters’ lives and draws audiences into stories that everyone can relate to is incredibly inspirational to me, and his execution of comedy is one of my favourites. I would recommend for all aspiring screenwriters to watch Paddleton on Netflix - an absolute masterclass in writing comedy-dramas and my favourite film of 2019!
How did you decide on the twist ending of “A Féte Worse Than Death”?
I’d been wanting to write a comedy-horror for a while, feeling that they were two genres that I really enjoyed watching but had never tried my hand at, so I had the idea to use the dream as a twist ending to a longer apocalyptic tale.
I love the fact that you got the idea from a dream! Where else do you find your stories or characters that you choose to write about?
Honestly, I find characters from kind of everywhere and anywhere! Rubbish answer I know, but the most unusual and mundane things will sometimes give me the best ideas!
I just finished up writing a super-short script about a young boy who discovers he can breathe fire when playing in the snow, which came from nothing but me being able to see my breath when I walked home from Bonfire Night! I think inspiration can be found in absolutely anything as long as you’re always perceptive and allow your mind to run a little wild!
You mentioned you are passionate about writing for Children's Film and Television. Have you made some creative decisions in this script to make it more suitable for young audiences?
I began writing the script with a teen-comedy vibe, but I subsequently decided to change my approach, and mix up the characters and tone in the story, most notably widening the age gaps of my characters, which I think had a better affect in the end as having people of all ages at a family féte gives a much more realistic environment. This took away quite a bit of the family-friendly and teenage humour, but I was so pleased with the outcome and loved having the chance to go out of my comfort zone a little with the script. Although I am now working on a feature-length family Christmas movie, so I’m enjoying being back to my roots on that!
What’s next for “A Féte Worse Than Death”?
I don’t have any plans for the script at the moment, focusing on university more as I work to complete my feature script for my final year project, but I fell in love with the story of "A Féte Worse Than Death" when writing it, and I’d love to see it made! I’m hoping that it may attract someone’s attention on the Sunday Shorts website and hopefully find it’s way onto a screen, and if not, then it may be my first post-graduate project!
How does writing a feature after only writing shorts?
The feature is a crazy experience, it’s such a wildly different writing process!
I’ve never been much of a planner, writing most things off the bat as soon as I have the idea, and then editing and whittling it down into it’s final form, which obviously isn’t possible with a feature. The research has been intense too, needing to know that everything about your story is watertight, because one small slip in the details or continuity really can be the thread that pulls the whole script apart! Also, it seems like there’s a lot more pressure to check that there is an audience out there for the kind of feature you’re writing, so that when it comes to finally showing the world, you know you have a safe place to take your work to where people will be excited about your story!