Archive for July 22nd, 2020


22nd July 2020

Aoife Noonan has written three short films, A Terrible Hullabaloo, Herstory: Mary Elmes and The Chancers Guide to Dublin, produced through her company Bowsie, which she owns with writing partner Ben O’Connor.  They have worked in special effects winning an IFTA in 2018, and are now focussing on production.

Clíona Ruiséil: Tell me about the script you’re currently writing?

Aoife Noonan: I’m currently co-writing a film script called Something at the End with Ben, for which we’ve coined the genre Cyberpunk Fairytale.  It’s an experimental sci-fi film funded by the Arts Council.

Shooting has been delayed with the current situation so we’re using the opportunity to develop the script.

CR: What inspired you to write this particular story?

AN: It started with an image of a giant machine which we thought was interesting, and we grew the story out from there.  A lot of what we had been reading and talking about in terms of society and our relationship with technology has found a place in the story so it came together quite naturally.

CR: In terms of the creative construction, tell me about the stages you went through when writing the script?

AN: As visual artists we normally start with a visual idea or concept and build the story out from there.  We enjoy playing around with ideas, often the original idea is discarded as we flesh it out, but the tone or concept might still be there in a different form.

For a long time we talk and talk and very little writing gets done, but once the outline is solid we can get it into a script format quite quickly.

It’s a really low budget film for what we’re planning to do, so the script itself is loose and will have to accommodate the tight budget.

I love David Lynch, and he talks about writing all your ideas down and then stringing them into a story and that’s definitely an approach that we use.  For this script we were pretty clear on what the beginning and ending would be from the start, the middle of the film was a big unknown for a while.  We have a lot of ideas that were never used for other projects and we just tried them out to see if they would add something interesting to the world.  Like ideas for music videos that never got made, but now they sit naturally in this story and brought it somewhere new you might not have thought of before.

We stick all of the story beats and visual ideas up on the wall and move them around to see what fits where.  We quickly know the must-have scenes, others that aren’t strong enough on their own are discarded or elements get folded into another scene.  We have a board of ideas and interesting quotes that starts to look like the work of a madman.  If we’re stuck for an idea of where to take a script we’ll look to that and see if anything pops up.

CR: Are there elements of writing a script you find particularly easy or difficult?

AN: Just writing it down can be difficult – and not always due to chronic procrastination.  I enjoy the stage where you’re throwing around concepts, and everything is open.  Writing it into a script format feels like a commitment or can be a bit restrictive.

I cut or change characters or locations multiple times as an idea comes to me and it ends up a bit of an incoherent mess. If I push past that and the story starts to take shape I start to find where ideas fit in the story or have to answer questions I never thought about, so there’s a lot of thinking to do and then it’s fun again. Getting over that hump is probably what I find most difficult and plenty of scripts have been abandoned at that stage when I couldn’t tie ideas together into a script format.

CR: Have you got a producer on board?

AN: We’re producing ourselves through Bowsie.  We’ve produced three short films, and this will be our first feature film. It suits us to have full control over the creative and budgetary decisions, so it’s been a really enjoyable project so far.

CR: Why do you write?

AN: As a child, I was the classic introvert with her head stuck in a book at all times.  My mam once told me that I should do a job where I sit in a room alone – I’m not sure if that was for the benefit of myself or other people, to be honest.  But I enjoy it, so I see no better reason to do anything.


You can watch Herstory: Mary Elmes here and The Chancers Guide to Dublin here.

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