HORNY – PRE SHOOT Q&A

INTERVIEW WITH HANNAH LEOPARD - WRITER OF HORNY

LOGLINE

An insecure teenager, who is terrified of losing her virginity, discovers a horn is growing out of her forehead on the day she’s meant to do it.

Firstly, can you tell us a little about Horny? What it’s about and how did you come up with the idea?

Horny is a psychological drama about 15-year-old Lily who is terrified of losing her virginity but tries to pretend she’s already done it. On the night she plans to have sex, she starts growing a horn out of her forehead …so the story is about Lily figuring out what the horn is and how she can get rid of it. I don’t really know where the idea came from – the origins of stories are always a bit mysterious – it arrived a number of years ago and always felt very potent and compelling for me … but it took me a long time to really understand what I was trying to say.

 

What made you want to enter it into the Short Film Fund?
It’s one of the only film funds I could find out there right now and well regarded by peers, so I thought I’d give it a go.

 

How did you feel when you found out that you were our winner?
Absolutely amazed and delighted. I’ve dreamt about getting support from a major funding body for a long time and to get the seal of approval is a massive boost to the confidence & certainly helps get people interested in your film.

 

Are you looking to direct Horny?

Yes.

 

Do you want to develop the script further? If so, what will you look to change?
I don’t know if I want to develop the script further. I’m very open to feedback, and the script is certainly not a closed book … but I’ve worked on the script for a long time and part of me feels that it might just finally be in the place it needs to be. We’ll see …

 

What do you feel will be your biggest challenge in terms of getting your script off the paper and onto film?
If I had to pick one right now, I would say that casting the right girl for my main actor is possibly the biggest challenge as the role asks a lot from a young woman and much of the film’s success rides on this being a great performance. But more to the point and what is probably a bigger challenge than finding the right actor is my own personal challenge of supporting and directing her in a way that she feels safe and well held so she is able to give a beautiful, vulnerable performance.

 

Do you think about the practicalities of filming when you write? If so, how has that changed your writing process, or have you always thought that way?
I do and I don’t … I do in the way that I’m not about to write spaceships into my short scripts … but I also don’t because I don’t like to limit myself too much. If I start putting too many barriers up, I find it can inhibit the creative flow. You can always re-think down the line when you’re in the analysis stage but allowing yourself the freedom to let your imagination go to where it wants to go is really important in finding out what it is you want to say in the story.

 

I know it’s early stages, but do you have any thoughts/preferences on camera format, aspect ratio, crew, location, and anything else for the production?
I want the film to look quite low-fi and like it’s shot on film. I’m interested in shooting on film but financially speaking I think it’s probably out of the question … and let’s face it, it’s also a bit scary! Maybe next time… I want to use the Academy Ratio of 1:35 as it feels more contained than wider ratios and I’m keen to make the audience really feel Lily’s claustrophobia. I’m keen to have as many women as possible as Heads of Departments – particularly producers and DoP as it’s a female story and it crucially needs to reflect the female gaze.

 

Where, in an ideal world, would you like to shoot Horny?
Brighton & London.

 

What are your aspirations for the film once it’s completed? Certain film/festivals? Help with getting a feature off the ground, etc?
I would like it to premiere at a top film festival like Sundance, Berlin, or maybe Venice (for the glamour, haha) and then have a great run at other Bafta/Oscar-qualifying film festivals. Qualifying for the BAFTA Best Shorts would be cool too! Some people have said they think Horny could be a feature as there’s a lot there to develop and I don’t disagree but currently I’m not sure if that’s where my heart lies… but never say never. If there was appetite, I think I would roll with it.

 

Do you have any advice for upcoming screenwriters who are either looking to direct their own material, or find a producer/director for their short script?
Keep going! Get the script right then hopefully, everything will fall into place. Good producers are looking for good stories so if you’ve got the goods, you should be able to find the right people to work on it. So keep going, keep writing, keep believing, and keep sending the script off to be read by other people. And enter funds & competitions! If you want to direct your own thing, know that you don’t need to know everything – that’s why you hire other amazing people to bring the dream alive. But the vision’s got to be strong.

 

Are there any lessons you’ve learned from your previous projects that will help you going forward with making Horny?
Don’t start shooting before all the funding is in place! My last film was a real labor of love because I was trying to do too much & we started shooting before everything was in place – which made it difficult down the line and we had to change track and adapt the story to fit a smaller budget…which was very difficult. I promised myself that I would never do that again and would make sure that the script was right, and the funding was all there before shooting and hopefully, that will stand me in good stead with Horny.

 

Find out more about the current season of our Short Film Fund HERE.