- Four:Play – Craig Daniel Adams & Bruno Collins Interview - 8 May, 2013
Joe Gillett meets the team behind Four:Play, an exciting new project for the gay community. Created by real-life couple Bruno Collins and Craig Daniel Adams, it also features an openly gay principal cast in David Paisley, David Ames, Craig Daniel Adams, Arron Blake and Darren Lee Murphy. Here the team talk theatre, gays and the new, interactive approach they have undertaken to fund the project.
Vada: Hi Guys. Great to meet you. We’ve heard some promising things about Four:Play and can see it being quite a fun and refreshing project. Some of our readers may recognise Craig as an actor. Tell me, what has made you decide to switch to working on the script itself as well as acting in it?
Craig Daniel Adams: Writing is something I’ve always wanted to do – I used to write plays and force my siblings to perform them when I was a kid – but I never had the confidence to do it is an adult. To act is one thing; if someone doesn’t like your performance, you can always blame the writing but when you’re the writer the onus lies with you. When I began, I found a real enjoyment in losing myself in the script and it kind of wrote itself.
Can you tell us a little about the story itself?
CDA: Four:Play is our answer to the current trend of angst driven issue based gay films. We wanted to break away from that, deciding to write a romantic comedy. We hope it leaves the audience questioning their own views, whilst making them laugh at the same time. It’s a celebration of gay life, rather than a lecture and it has appeal way beyond a solely gay audience. It’s about two couples and takes place the morning of and night before the former couples’ wedding. We are left questioning what took place in the missing hours; when Sam and Leo wake up on the others’ sofa. Our boys are subjected to crazy mothers, overly accepting fathers and bitchy best friends – with a little Viagra problem thrown in for good measure.
You guys wrote Four:Play together. How did that process work?
CDA: We came up with the original concept together. Bruno wrote the initial opening scene, then I came on board and together we wrote the initial fifteen-page short. This was then sent out to several trusted friends for their feedback, which was on the whole very positive. They wanted us to explore the film’s themes further; up the stakes; in short make our characters sweat. When Bruno went on holiday, after promising not to touch the script for a week, I turned the little short film into a fully-fledged feature.
Where did you get inspiration for your characters?
CDA: Being a real life gay couple, making a film about two gay couples, the automatic assumption is that the characters are based on us. In the earliest drafts, certain character traits were quite specific to each of us, however since the script has developed further, it’s moved away from that, which is a good thing. We know which bits and characters apply to us but that is for others to work out. However, Bruno has told me off, more than once, for directly lifting quotes from our lives.
That said, how do you see stereotypes as working in such LGBT projects? Do you like to play up to them or distance yourself?
CDA: The way gay men are perceived in the media currently really varies. In soap operas and reality television, we are often given quite two dimensional, stereotypical characters and whilst this can be entertaining, we want to show something a little more than that. Not saying there is anything wrong with people being stereotypes, if that is what they are, there are definitely characters in life, like those we are shown on television – stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. Our characters are just a little different. They are well rounded and multi layered; being gay is part of who they are but not their defining characteristic. Something we are both strongly passionate about personally. In a Comedy though it is fun to have some stereotypes kicking around, as often they can deliver real comic punch!
Did you think it was important to use all openly gay actors?
CDA: Being an out gay actor myself I always find it strange that so much praise is heaped on straight actors giving ‘brave’ performances in gay roles. They played a part; they didn’t go to war; they didn’t cure cancer; they pretended to love a man. Love is universal. Acting is acting. We never initially set out with this intention; it is just a really happy coincidence. It’s important to both Bruno and I that people can be proud of who they are and that youngsters can have positive role models to look up to. Actors who closest themselves and blame their sexuality for a damaged career, I find to be particularly dangerous.
We’re big fans of David Paisley here at Vada. How hard was it to get such noted actors involved in the play?
CDA: I was a massive fan of David Paisley; being a gay teen growing up in Glasgow; seeing him on television in his ground-breaking role ‘Ben’ in Holby City, was a real inspiration. He was a massive encouraging influence on me going into acting, I saw bits of myself in him – he was also one of my first teen crushes but I probably shouldn’t say that! Bruno is a massive Doctor Who fan and really wanted David Ames to be involved, so it was a massive coup that we both got our Davids! When I wrote the script, I pictured actors in all the roles, as it helped me to write. Unbelievably we have managed to secure all the actors I wrote the parts for, to film our ‘Four:Play Vignettes.’ What is even more special for both Bruno and I, is that they came on board on the strength of the concept and writing in the short scripts. They have yet to read the full feature.
You’ve explained that the film is a comedy, why did you choose to write in this genre? It’s quite a departure from Bruno’s ‘The Morning After’.
CDA: The comedy aspect of the film came as part of the original concept, though I think the outcome is more of a Dramady. The situation that Sam and Leo find themselves in at the start of the film, is in itself comical but also has allowed us to explore ideas of monogamy, family and modern gay relationships, which feels very current, with the legislation of gay marriage.
We really loved ‘The Morning After’. Where did the inspiration come from for that? I think it struck a chord with so many people.
Bruno Collins: ‘The Morning After’ was an interesting journey for me; the emotional journey Harry goes on, is based on my own journey from about the ages of 13-21; dealing with my own awakening sexuality. My right of passage into film is in essence based on my right of passage into adulthood. I was actually surprised the film was so successful and struck a chord with so many people. It was my little film and suddenly it was all over the web being blogged about all across the world. It was a little insane. I have had quite a lot of guys emailing me saying I have summed up their experiences of coming out or their bisexuality. I think it struck that chord because it’s not a film about drunken sex, strange men or broken hearts. It deals with coming to terms with your own sexuality; coming to terms with you; the awareness that you can hurt both you and others if you lie to yourself, stopping yourself from being who you truly are.
Four:Play is a new and innovative crowdfunding venture, why have you decided to go down this route for fundraising? Do you feel that this might give you a greater interaction with the audience?
CDA: The reason we chose to crowdfund with Indiegogo, is that in this current financial climate it is extremely hard to get any new material off the ground. I am a first time writer and despite the critical success of ‘The Morning After’, Bruno a relatively new director. Filming this triptych of shorts – the ‘Four:Play – Vignettes’, allows both of us to have a platform to showcase their work. As well as introduce the main characters and themes from the feature. This campaign definitely allows the audience to have a more immediate connection with you. We have filmed a series of Youtube videos charting their journey and the Indiegogo campaign itself allows the audience who donate to choose from a selection of different perks, really getting them involved in the whole process. Whether it be a signed cast photo, a cast member’s T shirt from the shoot, or an Executive Producer credit on the ‘Vignettes’.
Ultimately, why do you think it’s important for new projects like this, which perhaps operate in a different way to traditional projects that use contacts/heritage etc to be funded in this way?
CDA: It allows work, which might not otherwise have the chance or support to be created, really lift of the ground. In a way the public has a say in what they want to be made.
Finally, how can people get involved and support Four:Play?
You can donate to our Indiegogo Campaign at the following link: www.indiegogo.com/projects/four-play-movie-the-vignettes
We are not asking people to simply give us money; there are a series of perks available for donation. We have set our target at £2000 but this is the bare minimum we can film with. Our aim is to really overshoot this target and we need all the help we can get. The best way for these campaigns to work is by having continual activity in the funding. Whilst massive donations are greatly appreciated – believe me we do want them – having a constant amount of smaller donation helps raise awareness to our campaign. It ends on the 17th of May and then we will be filming the shorts on the 18th and 19th and 25th of May.
Follow on Twitter @FourPlayMovie
Like on Facebook www.facebook.com/FourPlayMovie
Writer: Craig Daniel Adams @CraigDanAdams
Director: Bruno Collins @Unolando