Impact50 Phase 2… One writer’s perspective by Ben Marshall

Whilst most enjoyed the sun last Sunday, I spent it with the Create 50 team and other end of the world enthusiasts. Blue sky indoors. The plan, to help the team assess where the Impact film is, where it is going and suggest ideas about how a Phase 2, if adopted, could look. The group included a mix of those involved at day one to those newer to the project. We discussed how a Phase 1 film will look as it is; its strengths and weaknesses; where it could be added to and how viable is a Phase 2 vision.

Overwhelmingly, the consensus, was that we have great films, great scripts and a great product. It just doesn’t feel complete. It feels there is potential for more. There were numerous ideas suggested and a number of initiatives will be launched. Options to hopefully excite filmmakers and writers and, ultimately, thrill audiences.

The focus of this blog is to review what I saw as the most difficult discussion of the day. The bit I knew was coming and I had given much thought to in advance. The issue I expect everyone has a view on and has the potential to divide writers and filmmakers. Should Phase 2 be limited to just winning scripts; all submitted scripts or should anything be possible?

My brief background is that I submitted a total of 17 scripts during the writing phase.

Rock.Paper.Scissors was one of the winning 55 and I decided to produce it myself with help from great filmmakers. Nevertheless, I still feel attached to all the scripts I submitted.

When Phase 2 was first announced I immediately (and firmly) raised my own concern on the forum about the project being open to any new script or idea. I did likewise during our discussions. The initiative is to connect writers and filmmakers, right? The winning scripts went through a vigorous vetting process with winners picked for good reason. The writing phase was open to all filmmakers if they wanted to submit a script. The many great non-winning scripts were all developed and improved through peer review. I raised the risk that we could now have some amazing looking films with wonderful acting, possibly let down by an unseen and untested script.

These are points Chris and the team are acutely aware of but I became acutely aware that limiting films to only scripts submitted is not sustainable or in the interests of the final film. We know the films we have and we know where the gaps are. For me, it’s conflict (possible chaos); humour and diversity. We also now know more of the tone of this film. What the Impact50 world will feel like. There are many submitted scripts which will tick these boxes and, again, I will certainly shout about my own scripts which could add value and champion other writer’s scripts which stayed with me…some two years on.

My ideal world, writer’s perspective, was suggesting to keen filmmakers to ignore their own ideas and invest their time and money where their heart may not be.  Into an idea which might not make best use of the resources available to them. It was an impossible task to persuade the team this is best for the end film and I now have to agree.  Fixed rules on ideas and passion can’t work.

The beauty about Impact50 and the community is that it evolves. It is unpredictable. I think Chris and the team accept that the winning scripts have not generated enough films to meet its potential. For whatever reason. That gaps are only now clear to see. Phase 2 is about enhancing the existing films and writing and adding to it with fresh ideas and fresh perspective.

The agreement* is therefore a two pronged attack which I will leave the team to provide specifics about. Essentially, prong one, is to prioritise the and platform the unproduced winning scripts (details to follow) while prong two, leaves it open for filmmakers to choose the films they wish to make, whether winning scripts, any submitted script or an original idea of their own. To give filmmakers more freedom to do what they do.

*Note, details and wording are still being nailed down.

New initiatives will be introduced to add further layers and spice to the more traditional short film format. The drone shot challenge for instance (plus several challenges more to be revealed).

Personally, this proposed balance feels the right and exciting way to go.

It will, I hope, engage the whole community. Where will this take us exactly and exactly what film will we have in several months time? We just do not know and, for me, this is the awesome part.

Ben Marshall


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