The short film idea . . .

One of the experiences that led me to this current project was a short film script that I wrote several years back with the working title of ‘Single-Track Road’. This gained me a place on ‘Opening Shot’ - a screenwriter’s workshop at the Ceilidh Place in Ullapool, run by Scottish Screen. In 2003, the same script got me a place in the top ten shortlisted projects for the BBC/Scottish Screen’s premier short film competition ‘Tartan Shorts’. As a ‘writer only’ I was teamed up with BBC director Bill MacLeod, and the project went into a round of development before going in front of the final selection panel in December, who selected 3 scripts from the 10 to go into production, with resulting films shown in the ‘Tartan Shorts’ showcase at the Edinburgh Film Festival the following August. Alas, although I could see the scenes from ‘Single-Track Road’ right up there on the big screen, the panel didn’t and the film remains playing only in my mind.

However, the insight I gained into the experience of developing any sort of film or programme was enough to make me think about approaching the subject in such a way that I could empower myself to make the creative decisions and explore the areas of interest at my own pace. I guess this could be described as from a more ‘fine art’ point of view. This then evolved into taking a more ethnological perspective informed by my work in Celtic & Scottish Studies and also influenced by some of the funding sources available to me from within the University.

Single-Track Road

by Ian MacKenzie.

A road movie in miniature that explores the particular nature of single-track roads and the social skills required to negotiate them effectively.

Single-Track Road script cover image, South Uist, July 2001

Synopsis: An anonymous single female, living in a remote area of the Highlands places an ad’ in the personal columns of a national newspaper. From the voicemail responses, she selects three of the men and arranges to meet them at an out-of-the-way scenic viewpoint on a particular day, each at a different time.

To reach the required destination, irrespective of their start-points, the respondents will have to drive down a long stretch of single-track road, unaware that she will be observing them at various points along the way. How they approach the idiosyncrasies of driving in the Highlands will determine whether she keeps the appointment or not. Two out of the three fail the test, but the third, an unlikely suitor, succeeds, only to be surprised by the identity of the woman, whose heart he has newly won . . . .

Anyway, that is the outline of the pitch for the short film. Maybe I will put the script up here in due course.