When a friend of mine approached me with an idea of his that he wanted my help with, it was something I knew I had to jump up. My friend suffers from schizoaffective disorder; which he describes as being “the worse of Bipolar and schizophrenia” and he told me he wanted to make a semi-autobiographic short film on this subject. My friend asked for my help in this project due to me having a passion for writing, and having done my degree in that.
At this point, the project is still in the writing stage but it is getting towards the end of that stage. We have around 15 pages of a script so far and are hoping to get it to between 20 and 30 because as a general rule a page of script is roughly a minute of screen time and that is how long we would like it to be.
Before we were able to start the writing process we spent a lot of time discussing and researching. As I don’t suffer from the illness that he does, I put in a lot of research into schizoaffective disorder as well as bipolar and schizophrenia as individual illnesses. It was important to me as a writer on a project that will be existing to raise awareness and understand that I have a clear understanding myself. I got a lot of information from the NHS websites and forums with people’s personal experiences, as well as discussing with my friend his personal experience with the disorder.
My friend had a very clear basic idea for a storyline for the film, however, he lacked the confidence to write it out and needed help filling in the gaps and fleshing out some minor scenes that he had in mind. I took some of his vague scene ideas and fleshed them out, turning him into a character called Adam who, while shared some similarities with my friend, was a character in his own rights.
In the next few months, my friend and I will be finalising the writing stage of the film, something I am excited to see come together as a whole. This is definitely something I am proud to be a part of and something I am proud to have written. Once we have the completed script, we will move to the next stage wherein we will be discussing actors; filming locations; and borrowing or renting a camera from someone.
In recent months there has been a push by a number of famous people, including the Princes Harry and William for some of the stigma against mental health illness and people with them to be lost so that people are able to talk more openly and freely about the way they are suffering. This is a positive step forward; however in the media their tends to be a focus on anxiety and depression and while these are both serious and terrible disorders (both of which I suffer from), I am glad to be involved in this project because it means that I can work towards raising awareness for another mental health condition that doesn’t get as much attention.