Spinning Threads: From Rockets Versus Gravity to Royal Blood

Spinning Threads: From Rockets Versus Gravity to Royal Blood

Posted on July 19 by Richard Scarsbrook in Events, News, Recent Releases
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If you’ve already read Rockets Versus Gravity (and if you haven’t, consider this a teaser), you know that its theme is the interconnected nature of seemingly different lives, and that the independent storylines in the book eventually all come together, like the threads of a spider’s web joining in the centre.

The transformation of a single storyline from the book into the short film Royal Blood happened in a similar, interconnected way.

The web began to spin itself when, literally right before the launch of Rockets Versus Gravity, when my partner Danielle and I discovered that she was pregnant with our daughter Vivienne, and my motivation to get into the screenwriting business was soon born along with our sweet, smart little girl. (Also, I should mention that the theme of Royal Blood itself was inspired by Danielle’s work as a Streets-to-Homes Social Worker.)

The next thread in the web began to spin itself when I hosted an installment of the Toronto Public Library’s Eh List reading series, featuring talented young author Chris Gilmore, who has also had success as a screenwriter. We became friends, and he soon introduced me to Director Benjamin Rouse.

And the next thread was spun! In addition to having great technical skills and a true artist’s eye, Benjamin is wonderfully collaborative in his approach to filmmaking. We immediately became friends, too, and we’ve been developing ideas for film and TV projects together ever since, including Royal Blood.

At about the same time, some other friends, fantasy novelist Ann Ewan and her husband Rob, had also become interested in making movies, and they wondered if I knew any filmmakers who would let them observe and participate in the movie production process, in exchange for them funding a short film… and suddenly Royal Blood had found its Executive Producers.

Then came the next key threads in the web… I’ve got many talented actors in my circle of friends, and I’ve always pictured the superb veteran actress Peggy Mahon playing The Queen. I also wanted rising stars Maarika Pinkney and Sidonie Wybourn, who had shared their talents during the “live readings” at my book launches, to play Tiffany Foley and The Server. The final piece in the casting puzzle, the wonderful Shannon Currie, was a student in one of my writing courses at the time, and as soon as I head her read in class, I knew she would be fantastic as Brandy Foley. At our first table read, Benjamin agreed that we had the perfect cast!

When writing a book, most authors work alone (at least until the editorial process begins), but making a film requires dozens of people with special skills and talents, and Benjamin assembled a terrific, reliable, professional film crew, who pulled off what many thought impossible: Royal Blood – a 14-minute film (that’s one-eighth the length of a feature film!) with four separate locations - was shot in ONE DAY.

Thanks to every single person involved on that day, all of those separate but equally important threads were pulled together, and it was an incredible experience to watch everyone’s collective talents and skills combine to bring this story to life.

It’s been equally enjoyable to see where everyone’s individual threads have taken them since then; Benjamin has since shot Transfer, a short film written by Ann and Rob Ewan; Maarika got her ACTRA card as a result of her performance in Royal Blood, and she and Peggy and Shannon and Sid are killing it on stages and in front of cameras all over the place; and the members of our amazing crew are all busy bringing other great stories to life.

 

Anyway, I hope that you will enjoy watching Royal Blood - and that you will want to read Rockets Versus Gravity, too, to see how its story fits into the bigger picture.

Every one of us is part of a bigger picture. Get out there and spin your thread.

Richard Scarsbrook

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014
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Richard Scarsbrook

Richard Scarsbrook is the author of The Indifference League. His short stories and poems have appeared in Descant, The Dalhousie Review, Prairie Fire, Matrix, Toronto Quarterly, and the NeWest Review. He teaches creative writing courses at George Brown and Humber Colleges, and is a mentor for the Humber School for Writers Correspondence Program. He lives in Toronto.