Short Film of the Week: One Word

What inspired you to make this short film?

As most films are, it was a very collaborative process. Ariadne Zanella, the multimedia editor of The Sunday Times, had the inspired idea to produce a short film to promote The Sunday Time Short Story Award.

She come up with the tagline ‘If one word can change your world…imagine what could happen with 6,000’ and asked me to write a story that we could film.

My immediate thought was the ‘autocorrect’ function of the iPhone and how it could have a comedic value in the film.

What were the joys and pitfalls of creating it?

It was a complete joy creating the film from beginning to end. It was a fantastic experience working with the extremely talented DoP Bruno Centofanti and with wonderful actors like Rebecca Keatley and Jonny Owen. Jonny was also a tremendous help in getting the cast together.

There were a few challenges but, to me, that’s all part of the creative process that I love.

After I wrote the treatment and storyboarded the film, I had to switch into producer and location scout mode. I’m from Cardiff and don’t really know London that well so I used Google Street view to find the pub and the chip shop. They needed to be in a specific area and preferably on the same street as we had very limited time with our actors.

The locations also proved an issue in regard to sound. We didn’t have a budget to lock down a location so the jukebox/natural sound in the pub and the television in the flat would have posed royalty/clearance issues so I decided upon using a song. This gave the film a music video feel and also heightened the effect on the ‘one word’ element. The only language in the film is the texting back and for between the couple.

You refer to yourself as a ‘digital storyteller’… nice phrase! What does it specifically mean to you?

For me it’s utilising the many number of digital tools to creatively tell a story using images (moving and still), words, sounds and music.

It may sound pretentious but it’s a title that I feel encompasses what I do both in my day job and my spare time, which is pretty much the same thing. I’m fortunate enough to be able to have a job that is also my hobby.

Any projects in the pipeline?

I’ve recently gone part time in my job to spend more time on my own projects which include writing a feature film screenplay, polishing a few short film ideas and researching a documentary idea that I have had for a while. This film has had a tremendous response so far and will hopefully give me the opportunity to make more films that can make people happy

If we wanted to stalk you, how would we go about it?

I’m very active on Twitter (@jamescuff) and try to update my website ( with links to my work.

Are you a short film maker?

If you have a short film on YouTube, get in touch at [email protected] or nominate it below. We’d love to hear from you – maybe your film short could become our next Short Film of the Week!

Spread the word…

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