We’ve all waited for ‘the one’. The one who catches our eye, the one who keeps our interest, the one who won’t expect us to trudge down that conventional path. Annie Waits tells the story of lust and disappointment, as a twenty-something waits for her adult life to begin.
The original concept was a London-centric, female protagonist driven show, that explores the emotional and physical journey of a young woman having a second coming of age, as she embarks on creating her vision of life. To explore that period in your life when you have freedom, passion, energy and a creeping awareness of time passing.
Initially with the short film there was the challenge of working on a script that was predominantly narration, it meant there was a great opportunity to create visual moments and to explore the different characters through improvisation. We were outrageously lucky with our cast, every actor was completely open to improvising with dialogue and sexual positions!
I have always been inspired by the eclectic and quirky worlds created by Pedro Almodovar, alongside the raw and real realities of Jose Luis Cuerda, Pawel Pawlikoski, Andrea Arnold and Isabel Coixet. All these directors maintain the magic while dealing with genuine human emotions and that is what we want to explore with Annie Waits. We want to develop a show helps us feel connected, while not being too far-fetched, that deals with real issues while elevating them to a place that allows us to find the humour and the heart in them.
Our colour palette reflect’s Annie’s character; she is spirited, experimental and vibrant. The music also emulates the rhythm and pace of London and Annie’s life, adding another layer to the movement of the film.
The inspiration for the opening scene, where Annie is having a mild panic attack caused by the anxiety of the party, was taken from a very stylised piece of film about the world through the eyes of someone with agoraphobia. We then punctuated the short with moments like this to give it that same heightened feeling from Annie’s point of view. For the opening we enriched the hues and played with the camera speed. We also used the same slow-mo technique when the men are ‘getting serious’ and talking about ‘the future.’ For those moments we used extreme close ups and distorted the sounds to create the feeling of nervousness and increasing panic.
With regards the expansion of the character of Annie, we want to explore the life of a twenty-something living in London and attempting to follow her ambition to be a photographer. In the series we explore the themes of friendship through Annie’s flatmates, inspired by the American show ‘Girls’. Annie has a male friend from the town she grew up in, who grounds her reality and connects her to her family and he also introduces other emotional challenges. We also have a divorced mother-of-two who becomes her mentor in the ways of the world, she no longer photographs the beautiful and the damned, she takes pictures of their children. As well as a hapless male colleague, who pops up throughout the show, as he has a desire to be wherever Annie is.
Your twenties are a golden voyage of discovery, where you manage to fairly obliviously map out your future personality and environment. Annie is a dreamer, a functioning dreamer, who lives in reality. She wants what she wants and she isn’t prepared to take what she’s given if it doesn’t fit. To see the world through Annie’s eyes is to be present and aware whilst still holding up your dreams as the goal. In the words of Debbie Harry: “dreaming is free…” Annie is a gal who knows this and isn’t afraid of it.