I went to The Film Council with a two page outline of what it might be. Based on that they gave us the money to cast it and then with the two actors – it was a very, very small amount of money so we had enough money for two actors effectively – I workshopped it and wrote it with the actors. And it was shot in 12 days.
This is going back some time. These days that’s not unusual micro budget filmmaking, but at the time people weren’t doing that at all. And then we had a simultaneous webcast, the first of its kind apparently, at the same time as it was distributed in not very many cinemas.
And at each stage of the process we were trying to break the rather leaden way the film industry works, where contracts go to and fro, and things take forever to agree. We said, ‘Right, we’re going to write it in this amount of days, and you have to greenlight it over the weekend, and we’ve got to go the next weekend.'
That’s impossible; it takes a week just for lawyers to say, ‘No, my client wants egg sandwiches not ham sandwiches.’ We said, ‘What if everyone sits in a room together and we agree on everything?’ They said, ‘Well that never happens, that’s the whole point of having agents and managers, we all disagree.’
And we said, ‘But what if we say yes to everything, and money’s not an issue, we’re all going to work for nothing, so that is off the table.’ So they got round one evening and did all the contracts over some glasses of wine one evening. They all really loved the process. The whole thing was made and shot in a matter of weeks – which has its good and its bad side.
Simon Beaufoy interviewed for the Bafta Screenwriters' Lecture, the whole thing here.