Circle/Line trailer goes live

Beg Steal Borrow News, Circle/Line, Trailers, Uncategorized

The trailer for Beg Steal Borrow’s forthcoming documentary, Circle/Line, has now gone live.

The trailer features snippets from some of the many interviews that William Brown and Tom Maine conducted between May and August 2015 outside stations on London Underground’s Circle Line.

In the film, interviewees are asked one simple (?!), initial question: are you happy? And from there, the conversations go in all manner of different directions… although in order to see those, you’ll have to wait until the finished film.

On that note, William is putting finishing touches to what he hopes will be at least a preliminary draft of the finished film. Keep your eyes open for a preview screening coming up soon…

Partially inspired by Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch’s Chronique d’un été/Chronicle of a Summer (France, 1961), Circle/Line offers a fascinating insight into the well-being of people in London today – from the homeless to the hopeful, from the ambitious to the activist, from task-driven Londoners to visiting tourists.

We hope that you look forward to seeing the finished film!


Scriptapalooza wants (to) Kiss and Make-Up

Beg Steal Borrow News, Festivals, Kiss and Make-Up, Screenplays, Uncategorized

William Brown’s screenplay, Kiss and Make-Up, has been accepted into the 2016 Scriptapalooza International Screenplay Competition.

Judges on the Scriptapalooza panel include representatives from Lawrence Bender Productions (Reservoir DogsPulp Fiction), Ambush Entertainment (The Squid and the Whale), Bender-Spink (A History of Violence), Ghost House Pictures (Evil Dead), Cross Creek Pictures (Black Mass), Aperture (San Andreas), Industry Entertainment (Requiem for a Dream) and many more.

Founded by Mark Andrushko and running since 1998, Scriptapalooza has featured in Entertainment WeeklyVarietyVanity Fair and The Hollywood Reporter, among others.

Over 90 scripts from Scriptapalooza have been optioned, with nearly 80 writers having been hired to write for film or television as a result of the competition. Furthermore, of participants in Scriptapalooza, 68 have gone on to have films released and/or moved into production, with nearly twice that number of writers also getting an agent or manager.

Needless to say, therefore, William is delighted to have had his script selected for the competition. Who knows what his chances are from here on in, but we shall see. Quarterfinalists are announced in late July, with the winners being announced in mid-August 2016.

Kiss and Make-Up is a screenplay about a man who disguises himself as different people in order to remain close to his ex-girlfriend. In October 2015, the script was selected as a finalist at the Oaxaca Film Festival.



Circle/Line Filmmaker’s Diary #5

Beg Steal Borrow News, Circle/Line, Uncategorized

I have been meaning to write about the progress of Circle/Line for some time now.

In short, editing progresses not necessarily apace, but steadily.

There have been some frustrations along the way. First and foremost is that it appears that we have lost the video files for one interview conducted at High Street Kensington, all of the interviews that we conducted at Gloucester Road, and part of the long interview that we enjoyed at South Kensington (the very final interview that we conducted).

I guess these things happen – and we still have the sound files, so not all is lost; but this might mean that to include those interviews in, say, a finished film, would mean having the sound over other images, which might seem odd with regard to the look of the rest of the film.

Either way, though, having been through all of the footage it is clear that we have numerous wonderful interviews with numerous fascinating people – all talking about happiness in lots of different ways/approaching it from lots of different angles.

How to arrange it now becomes the big challenge.

I hope that the ‘film’ will in fact take several different shapes.

Firstly, I would like to edit together a film in the traditional sense, which includes footage from a range of the interviews conducted, although not necessarily all of them. I shall return to this shortly below.

Secondly, however, I hope also to create a website with all of the interviews (at least in part) uploaded – in 27 instalments, with one shorter film for each stop on the Circle/Line.

This not only will provide a space for visitors to browse far more of the footage than I can ‘reasonably’ include in a single film (unless watching six and a half hour films is your thing), but I would also like to make the footage available for download, so that visitors can then use the footage potentially to edit a completely different film to the one that I put together.

Finally, more ambitiously and more unlikely, I’d love to find a space where I could mount 27 screens, one for each station, and then allow visitors to come and browse the films at their leisure – for as long or as little as they would like, with each monitor (as per the website) screening footage from that particular station.

Obviously, a yellow theme as per the Circle Line’s appearance on the standard London Tube map, perhaps with a ‘yellow brick path’ around the space, might also be good.

Now, I am editing both the 27 short films and the feature film simultaneously – and what is quickly apparent is that it is very tough to know what to include and what to exclude, in the feature film at least.

It is clear that various themes emerge over and over again: the weather, sport, comparisons between London and other cities – both in the UK and abroad, and so on. I shan’t be able to include all of these, and it becomes clear to me that I am editing a more ‘political’ film, in which issues like the cost of living, work, religion, housing problems and other issues are explored, than I am necessarily editing a ‘feel good’ film (although I hope that the film conveys a lot of the optimism of the people that we interviewed).

Tom Maine – with his customary elegance and sensitivity – has captured absolutely beautiful portraits of the people whom we have interviewed, and so I generally feel happy with the look of the film and in a sense edit more to what people say.

However, sometimes one also edits not only because of what the interviewee does in terms of gesture or facial expression, but sometimes one also edits because of chance events that occur in the background.

I am still undecided as to whether it will make the final cut, but Tom has done shots for example through a taxi that pulled up between him and me/an interviewee at Cannon Street – and which look absolutely fantastic.

In addition, small things like a moving crane also can provide visual attractions that do not necessarily belong to the interview. The vertical framing does, in my humble opinion, work very well – and so the point is that while Circle/Line is a vox pop film, in that it features people talking, it is also – I believe – a very visual film.

Indeed, we set out to create a portrait of London – or at least of London’s Circle Line, the people that pass through and/or inhabit it, and a sense of the relationship between the two by staging the interviews in the street, near public transport, and with an emphasis on the vertical in order to see the human figure in relation to the giant buildings that surround her.

I hope that others consider the film to be successful in presenting not just a series of portraits of people interviewed in London, therefore, but also in many respects a portrait of the city. In the spirit of Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s film from which Circle/Line draws inspiration, I hope also that the film is a ‘chronicle of the summer’ of 2015 in one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

The next time I post, I hope that it will be to announce that a cut of the film is ready. But everything continues enjoyably and hopefully with the result of producing a watchable and engaging piece of work.

Below are some stills – from interviews at (clockwise, starting top left) Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Embankment, Edgware Road, Notting Hill and Bayswater.

And also keep an eye out for a trailer and a poster somewhere in the pipeline, too!

Ur screened in China

Beg Steal Borrow News, Press and Blog Mentions, Screenings, Uncategorized, Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux

We are pleased to report that Ur: The End of Civilization in 90 Tableaux enjoyed a screening at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China (UNNC).

The screening took place on 17 December 2015, and was attended by an enthusiastic gathering of UNNC staff and students alike, with a Q&A led by Dr David H. Fleming.

Director William Brown also led a couple of masterclasses in micro-budget ‘guerrilla’ filmmaking while at UNNC.

His visit received coverage in Ningbo Guide, a local English-language cultural journal.

We hope to be able to announce more screenings of Ur and other Beg Steal Borrow films in the coming months.


William Brown’s visit to China, which included a screening of Ur, was covered in local journal, Ningbo Guide.