It started as an idea I came up with on the spot during an October half-term holiday in Bridlington. I knew I wanted to shoot something during this trip, as I had started Film Studies the year before, and bought my very own DV Camcorder a few months earlier – upon which I had already filmed some short movies. “The Laughing Clown” was to be my first short film shot on location. I’m pretty sure I even tried to write a script, but when it came down to it, the best thing to do was give direction to my actors and let them improvise. My actors in question, the children of my dad’s long-term girlfriend, took three days out of their five day holiday, spending about two hours each day shooting and reshooting scenes, eventually becoming part of my short film called simply, The Clown. This premiered to friends and family in December, and I figured that would be the end of that.
However six months later, we took another holiday to the same caravan park, and this time my sister Haley would be with us for a few days. I was inspired to write a character for her to play in some sort of sequel, but instead decided upon shooting additional scenes which would serve as sort of bookends to the original nine minute film. We all approached shooting with a bit more professionalism second time around, and I gave a lot more direction in order to make sure the story I had scripted was fully fleshed out (but again, almost all the lines in the film were improvised). This new edit came in at 16 minutes, and premiered online on my 18th Birthday.
Now, ten years later, I’ve made another edit of The Clown. This special edition features all-new never-before-seen footage (featuring digital stabilisation), and an original soundtrack scored by the film’s lead, Katie Heap! I was working on this new edit as a personal project last year, when the opportunity was presented for me to give the film a proper premiere and screening at an actual cinema.
On December 23rd, the 10th Anniversary of The Clown was projected onto the big screen at Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds, at a special event hosted by the generous staff of the Teenage Cancer Trust units at LGI and Jimmy’s. This was especially meaningful, as it was a partner of TCT, Candelighters, who were the charity that rewarded me and my family with the 2003 and 2004 trips to the caravan park – the whole reason behind The Clown being made in the first place! So, thank you to everyone involved, for anyone who’s reading this, thank you in advance for watching the 10th Anniversary Version of The Clown.