How was The Rat Trap conceived? TV - Not at all, my family has always been in business but they wanted me to do whatever I wanted, I have an older brother who did the sensible thing and go into management. When it got to me it didn't really matter what I did.
BH - Two things coinciding. I had the idea years ago that I thought it would be quite fun to do a story on The Pied Piper of Hamlin and also a story of a female flautist that drowns men - maybe that's misogynistic but I thought that it would be quite funny. Later on we also wanted to make a fairy tale into a short film because, being a short, it's better if the audience already knows the story, it gives you a lot more space to do what you want.
Where does it come from?
BH - Well it's quite interesting. It comes from the Crusades, taking children to other countries as a religious movement, it's an ancient German tale I think. The weird thing about fairy tales is that they are already in your subconscious and kind of magical.
TV - I think it was adapted by Grimm in the 19th century - from the 12th century crusades.
BH - It's weird, especially the ending. Drowning people
yes, in the original they take away the children which is really quite horrible.
What are your film backgrounds academic?
TV - None film related! I make documentaries, mostly science and history.
What sort of themes?
TV - A variety really. I've just done something about the weather on other planets, I did a Cutting Edge last year and one about why we shouldn't keep dogs as pets - from a philosophical standpoint. A variety of stuff, I studied history at Cambridge but I was always more interested in drama than documentary but I've found that they really feed off one another.
Is that either of your parents' fields?
BH - I did an English degree at Birmingham, fairly irrelevant and when I was about 16 I decided I wanted to make films so I wrote to loads of producers. I just stated that I wanted to have a little talk with them and 2 or 3 said yes and through that I started working on film sets. I worked on 2 or 3 sets - David Puttnam's War of Buttons and a little bit of editing on The Full Monty but only a little. It's interesting, you either work your way up over 10 or 15 years or you decide to go out and try to come back in at the top. I'm trying the latter.
Is this your first short as a producer/director team?
TV - Yeah. It is the first together but we've both made quite a lot of shorts in the past. 2 or 3 years ago we decided to start working together and this is the first product of that relationship.
Are you also keen to direct?
TV - Not at the moment but in the future I may want to, I want to produce now and get producing right. One of the things I find really interesting at the moment, when talking to directors and writers there is a general feeling that producers are in short supply. Those who are prepared to work with a script and actually get it right before trying to make it into a film. Of course there is also a general lack of money.
BH - A producer with knowledge of how scripts work is really key.
Did you write it?
TV - We co-wrote it.
How did you finance it?
TV - It was the usual thing with shorts. We used some of our own money, we got some money from private investors who were prepared to invest in us as a company and to see what would happen over the longer term and then it was completed with Lottery money.
How long did that take?
TV - It took a long time, it took something like a year from sending the first application to getting the cheque but we had to re-apply several times. Because it's effectively government funding it was done in a fairly bureaucratic manner and you had to fulfil certain criteria. Like the fact that you considered that it was actually going to get to an audience, that you'd considered who that audience would be, you had to show that you'd match funding and you had to prove that you had an equal opportunities policy.How does one fulfil that criteria?
TV - We had people involved from a relatively wide background, what was more relevant was the fact that it was shot in the North and we used many local people. If anything, people outside London are the ones with the least opportunities to get into film rather than those from ethnic backgrounds.