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netribution > features > interview with tim clague > page one
Tim Clague very nearly died the death of so many natural talents, on the brink of a very dull business studies degree in Huddersfield he about turned quicker than a startled asp and headed south to Bournemouth for a film course. As with many film production graduates Tim entered an experimental short into a competition or two. The first was turned down but the second got him the chance to speak to other writers and directors - including Guy Ritchie with a few clips of a pre released film called Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. Tim impressed greatly and found himself relinquishing directorial control on his script to another cinema unknown called Stephen Daldry. After much collaboration the film was shot and entered into the BAFTA short film competition two years ago by Working Title - it didn't win but the experience Tim gained was invaluable. Nic spoke to the writer/director about his young and blossoming career, that Daldry/BAFTA experience and his future projects in a very noisy Little Italy on BAFTA night - very fitting don't you think?

| by nic wistreich |
| photos by nic wistreich|
| in london |
  Where are you from Tim?
I grew up in a little town in Wiltshire, picturesque place with about 10 tea rooms and no shops and everyone was white. Not much in the way of film going on there but the first film event I can remember - it's a bit geeky - they showed all the Star Trek films back to back in Swindon. I suppose I was about 13 at that point but I hadn't really seen many films.
After that I found myself getting into Westerns, it's an easy route really because it has it's own language and strong symbolism to pick up on. No clever dialogue because its all about shots and it's quite good for studying montage, but the cinema was still a bit of a trek, I had to take 2 buses over an hour.

What style of Western?
Mainly Leone but larger than life stuff like High Noon, apart from that I remember really enjoying The Marx brothers oddly enough.

At what point did you become attracted to the possibility of making films?
Well I saw a film by Kevin Reynolds called Fandango with Kevin Costner. I don't know why it was that film because its not that great but it had a good pace to it and something to do with the characters made me feel that I could do just as well. Here's a film about a group of 20 somethings that are trying to dodge the Vietnam draft so they run, they end up in a mini bus together and go on this journey. I thought I could do something like that so we did. We got hold of a VHS camera and shot this 40 minute thing of absolutely the worst editing imaginable. It was called The X Files, they stole my idea!

How old were you?
I was about 16 when I made that, its still the longest film I've ever made and it took about four weeks off and on, you know how it is. That film sort of settled me into the idea of filmmaking a little bit. My school in those days was very academic, they encouraged you to do something sensible in life that you could fall back on later. After A levels I got a place on a business studies course at Huddersfield uni or poly or whatever it was and it was quite difficult to get in but when I got back home or just thought, 'well that's boring.' Anyway I wrote them a letter saying that I didn't want to do that anymore and started applying for all the film courses - even harder to get in - and Bournemouth was the only place that would have me.

How did you find the film course?
Well for the first two years you couldn't tackle anything artistic because it was all practical training, it wasn't until the third year that you could start really expressing yourself. Oddly, once you'd got to grips with all the processes and were starting to find a way to express yourself, they took it all away and you found yourself back outside without any money or equipment. There were some good people there but many that didn't know why they were there - they liked the thought of it but not the work, or the fear. It had more to do with what you couldn't achieve, you can learn a lot from that but most people weren't interested as soon as they found that out.

What did you work on after you graduated?
Well I wrote the script for a Sony prize that had to be shot on miniDV, it was dead new at that point, you had to write a script to use the camera in a new way. I decided on a documentary feel with a young lad tearing around, be free and easy with the camera and really jerk it around. Give it to the kid to run about with, it wasn't going to be high tech but it was really open with a lot of action and movement.
Anyway, I never heard back from them so then somebody emailed me about this Jerwood prize but the entry date was in 5 days time so I dug that script back out again. Trouble was that the Sony prize was 10 minutes maximum and this was only 5 minutes long. I posted it off anyway and it came in at the top 20, they mentioned that it was too short so I agreed to lengthen it.
The good part about this top 20 thing was that we were brought down into a room where there was a group of guests talking about writing and directing, including Guy Ritchie. This was before Lock, Stock and after he'd shown us a few clips from it I took the piss a little bit. He'd showed us a bit from the start when we are introduced to the characters, I asked him if the voice over was a little bit cliché, it goes back to Alfie with the whole geezer thing. I can't remember what he said but he thought that it moved it along quicker and rather than it being a bad thing it could really be a good thing. Of course the film went on to be a massive success so it shows what I know! It was an interesting day and I could instantly see what the trouble was with a lot of scripts, or rather writers. I was really the only person willing to mingle and talk about films, I'd introduce my self to others and suggest that we have a read of each other's scripts to see what we both thought. Most of them didn't want to show there's and that seems to be a big problem.
Anyway, they were looking for that sort of enthusiasm, I brought out a storyboard which no one else had, they weren't just looking for a good script - it got through.
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