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netribution > features > interview with mark herman > page two


Going back to Little Voice. At what stage did you come in on the script?
Well Little Voice had a long history before I came on board, I first saw it in 1991 and I think there had already been three or four drafts written by different people. It went through that history of the possibility that it could be shot in America, it had had quite a chequered past and I wrote three drafts myself before it got made. It's quite hard coming on to a film that has had such a long history.

Did that make it harder?
Well it’s the way it happened. Jim Cartwright had actually written a draft that they didn't like - you know, the guy whose idea it was - and I think after Brassed Off they thought I could bring that comedy element to it.

Was Sam Mendes ever involved?
Yes, he was writing and directing it at one point and then left, I think he got tired of Miramax and walked off and I came in. He went off to do American Beauty. Quite a good career move I think!

Were you entirely happy with the film?
I don't think there's anything I'd change, it was a huge success over here and not in America and that may have been due to the casting or the accents. When I first saw it as a stage play I thought that this would never work as a film and to suddenly find your self in charge of doing that is quite difficult. It’s a very difficult piece to get onto screen but it worked and, after all, it got me here.

How did you get involved in the film industry? I heard you were involved in animation.
I went to art college quite late on, at 26 or 27, I was making cartoons and then I got involved in drama by studying film at Leeds college and I then got into the National Film School. I was there with Nick Park, which made me realise that I could never compete with such a genius and the whole idea of spending a year on one joke isn't my idea of fun. That got me into script writing and out of animation but the animation training still applies as a director because you can grasp the concept of pre editing while you write.

Quick Fire Herman.

1. - What's your most hated film phrase?

2. - Have you ever stormed off a set?

3. - What do you dislike most about the film industry?
Backstory. No, networking.

4. - What do you wish you'd known when you were starting out?
Not to drink so much at festivals.

5. - Are you religious?

.6. - Is it true you used to write lyrics for The Christians?
Yes, yes I did.

7. - Who will you vote for at the next election?
I don't vote.

8. - What was the first film you saw?
I think it was a Norman Wisdom film.

9. - What's your favourite film soundtrack?
I should think, Midnight Run.

10. - Have you got any advice for people trying to move into the film industry?
Don't do it, it's too crowded already.


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