TNC Archive 2018
Looper: Farfisa Song
LOOPER: FARFISA SONG is a music video which Iain created for as a vehicle for his new characters MUSTARD & KETCHUP, a gay badger couple. They find themselves in this short film tasked with creating a music video on a very tight budget.
Hey Iain, thank you for talking to The New Current, how's your New Year going so far?
The beginning of a New Year always feels a little like a reboot of your favourite TV Show from the past – it’s exciting to see how it’s going to turn out, but there’s an element of re-establishing the ground rules! I’m kind of at that replanting the foundations stage of the year. As well as evolving the characters in the film which is screening at BRITISH SHORTS, I’m developing a half hour film based on a true story connected to Edinburgh where I live.
What does it feel for you to be screening Farsia Song at this years British Shorts in Berlin?
I’m very proud that FARFISA SONG has been selected to screen at British Shorts – I’m just gutted I can’t make it over in person to attend the screening.
Are there any nerves ahead of the screening in Berlin?
I don’t tend to get stage fright ahead of a Festival – I guess those anxieties can arise when you’re attending a Festival, as you’re never sure how a film will go over with an audience and it can sometimes be a bit hit and miss in terms of the mood when your film plays and you’re sitting there eavesdropping on people’s reactions!
As an award winning filmmaker how important are festivals like this in supporting and championing British filmmakers?
It’s the life blood of film making, isn’t it? People question the relevance of Festivals in our age of multi-access to content online, but having a curated selection of films, presented in a specific time and place to a curious audience really helps the profile of a short film and often opens doors to other such cultural events. It’s really vital to have these meeting places and debates. As Britain enters into the murky domain of Brexit, it’s lovely to feel that we still have friends within the rest of Europe willing to celebrate our cultural output!
Can you tell me a little bit about Farsia Song, how did the music video come about?
I’d previously made a music video in collaboration with LOOPER for their SKINNY LEGS track – I saw it screen at Aesthetica Short Film Festival and just wanted to do another. I’ve been developing the animated characters MUSTARD & KETCHUP™ and asked Karn and Stuart of LOOPER whether they would mind me using another of their tracks as a vehicle to develop them.
What was it about Looper and their music that interested you so much?
Unbeknownst to me when I lectured animation at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, one of my mature students Karn David was one half of LOOPER, which was a band I already followed. Due to their music being of an electronic nature, I’d never really associated any faces with their sound, so was blown over when Karn revealed she was part of LOOPER! Stuart, her partner, who performs vocal and writes much of the music was in the original BELLE AND SEBASTIAN line up, and they’ve always been one of my favourite bands. Actually, the brass player from BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, Mick Cooke, collaborated with me on my 2010 short film THE TANNERY.
What was the inspiration behind this music video?
It was an opportunity to ‘try out’ MUSTARD & KETCHUP™. I’m still working out what their eventual ‘format’ may be within their own programme, but I was aware that I’d found a lot if inspiration for their characters in British double act MORECAMBE AND WISE who were massive in the UK during the 1970s. FARFISA SONG has that kind of retro vibe to it, so the music video is largely homage to the aesthetic and humour of the BBC MORECAMBE AND WISE shows, which is immediately clear to anyone of a certain age!
This is the first outing (sorry) for your new characters Mustard & Ketchup, how did they come about?
Quite accidentally. My partner and got hitched in Canada at a discreet civil partnership ceremony which had deprived our families of a good knees up. So a year on, we decided to hold a reception and needed a design for our invitations. After many false starts of images featuring cutesy animal couplings, I randomly drew these two gruff badgers sitting on red leather upholstered chairs. Our guests loved them, and their personalities started to develop from there..
Did you have any apprehensions about creating two gay badgers?
No. In a sense, the fact that this is even a question highlights why I feel it is important to do so. Society still has quite a way to go in terms of making such decisions a non-issue.
Where did their names come from?
My partner and I often would wear similar hoodies in red and yellow – once when meeting a friend on the street, she said on seeing our approach ‘here they come, Mustard & Ketchup’. The hoodies stuck as well.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing this all to life?
Finances, if I can be blunt. Animation takes such a long time to assemble, even with all the technologic advances which make it more accessible and possible to create from a single laptop. And I volunteered to make this music video as I wanted to get to know the characters – so that was a substantial amount of time without income. MUSTARD & KETCHUP™ are a bit of a long term project for me at the moment and it can be difficult at times due to the amount of pitching and speculative work. But it’ll pay off one day!
"To be fair, I had to be quite disciplined about creating this in a reasonable amount of time, so the implementation of a GANTT chart has been a bit of a practical legacy!"
Since making this film what would you say has been the biggest lesson you've taken from it?
It’s a lesson you keep learning and somehow forgetting with that bit reset button – time management! To be fair, I had to be quite disciplined about creating this in a reasonable amount of time, so the implementation of a GANTT chart has been a bit of a practical legacy!
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
Actually my passion started in acting and animation – I’ve always been more of a TV addict than film buff and I think this reflects in the aesthetic choices I’ve made. TV has of course become more cinematic, but my early influences where on a 4:3 screen in the corner!
For anyone out there thinking about making their first film what advice would you offer them?
Never forget your audience – I’ve participated in many film discussions at Film Festivals and I’m quite shocked at how often the word ‘audience’ never comes up – we’re all so focused on having our voices heard we overlook who we want to listen to us. So I’d advise people to know who their intended audience is and ensure you challenge them and leave them wanting more.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?
I’ve maybe been guilty of proselytising in previous short film, so there’s no deep meaning behind this particular short – it’s just intended as a bit of fun. I’d hope people are amused at the very least, and that they’d like to see more of MUSTARD & KETCHUP!