An award-winning short film created by a lawyer in his spare time has been picked up by Amazon and is also being turned into a series.
Laurence Relton, a consultant solicitor at Kestone Law, wrote and directed Reel Life. The 12 minute film follows a young man as he embarks on a relationship with a stranger he meets in a bar. The only problem is, his life is edited like a movie, and he doesn't know whether the encounter will prove to be a romance, comedy, thriller or horror. Playfully skewering movie conventions, the characters battle with continuity errors, montages and, most problematically, a restrictive PG 13 rating.
In a shock twist, it's really rather splendid. Even the moment everyone pauses to note that the hero is a solicitor at Keystone Law fits into the film's meta-preoccupations as an example of overt product placement.
Not only has Amazon picked up Relton's film for its Prime video service, it is also being turned into a series in which Reel Life serves as the pilot episode. Set to shoot this Spring, Relton told RollOnFriday the show "follows the travails of an actor caught in film, as he attempts to escape from his Reel Life and get back to his Real Life".
A successful professional screenwriter and playwright as a well as a lawyer, Relton has written on several TV shows including My Family and School of Comedy. He said it was "definitely tricky" fitting film work around law. "Out of office helps", he said, while Keystone "has gone above and beyond in their support of my writing and film-making. Not something you would expect from a traditional law firm. And you will have noticed the product placement gag in the film."
Reel Life features an LA-based cast, so rehearsals were done over Skype. "Budget meant we could only fly them over on Economy. And we started the three day shoot the morning after they arrived." The celebrity cameos proved difficult, too. "I had also written a part for 'Famous Person'", said Relton. "The idea being that the Famous Person would have the smallest role in the film. Problem is, we had no Famous Person. Not until 12 hours before we started shooting. When [No Spoilers - ROF] came to the rescue. And it turns out that [No Spoilers - ROF] is a master of physical comedy".
You can catch it here.