By Sarah Chaisson-Warner
Each year, Shore Scripts’ Short Film Fund competition offers an opportunity for emerging screenwriters and filmmakers to get their short films financed and produced. Our short film fund has an extensive track record of success, with its 16 produced short films playing at some of the top film festivals in the world.
Sam Baron’s short film, The Orgy, is one such success story. The winner of Shore Scripts’ 2017 Short Film Fund competition, The Orgy went on to play at major festivals, including BFI London, Austin Film Festival, and Encounters. Since its run on the festival circuit, Sam has been approached by a number of producers to develop the short into a television show.
But how did The Orgy come to be? Every good film comes with a good story – and this one just happens to include a hangover and a Burger King.
The Origin of The Orgy
A veteran writer and director of micro-budget shorts, Sam was still searching for that one film that would be his calling card. He knew he wanted to create a short film that showcased a love story with a twist. As he considered potential ideas for the script, he focused on themes of love and belonging.
“We wanted to make a film about feeling like you don’t belong – the feeling you get when you start a new job or a new school or walk into a party where you don’t know anyone,” he said. While out on a walk to cure a lingering hangover, the idea of an orgy came to him, and he immediately wrote the first draft on his phone at a nearby Burger King.
“I immediately saw the potential for a tragicomedy about the mundanity of orgies, feeling like an outsider, and looking for love in the wrong place. An orgy seemed like the ultimate version of that. The expectations are so high, and the potential for embarrassment is so huge – the tension would be unbearable.” -Sam Baron
He sent the first draft to his friend Tilly Coulson, a producer, unsure of what she might think. An orgy, after all, isn’t everyone’s cup of cinematic tea. But Tilly responded enthusiastically to the idea, and the two set out to make a short film about a heartbroken young man stepping out of his comfort zone to find love.
Going from Paper to Film
But having a great script is only half of the battle. Getting your short film made can be challenging – everything from financing to timing to talent can be barriers to moving forward.
After writing the film, Sam and Tilly sought to capitalize upon the momentum and move into production, but there were limited options for getting a short film financed. Many of the financing options were tied to schedules, posing significant delays. “We wanted a strategy which could allow us to keep up our momentum and move quickly from writing to casting to shooting the film,” he said.
Upon further research, Sam found Shore Scripts’ Short Film Fund and found both the fast turnaround from deadline to the announcements and the prize package, which includes funding to produce the film, compelling.