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Confetti - Do It For Real

We Hear From Notts Director Liam Dexter on the Inspiration for His Short Film Bums: A Day in the Life

11 January 22 interview: George White
photos: Grayson Moody

We speak to Liam Dexter, writer, director and star of the entertaining yet emotional mockumentary Bums: A Day in the Life - which follows three down-on-their-luck lads who spend their days roaming the streets of Nottingham… 

What were some of your inspirations for this film? With it being a mockumentary, The Office certainly comes to mind…
Definitely The Office. I've watched it so many times - probably too many times. It's got that really dry, deadpan sense of humour that I love. I really like the mockumentary style of shooting because it offers a chance to get to know the characters better, and there are so many opportunities for comedy, especially when you have awkward characters like we do here.

Your friends, local actors Jak Truswell and Sean Radford, star as these characters, alongside yourself. What was it like working with them?
It was awesome. There were times in rehearsal where I forgot I was directing them because we were just messing around. It made making the film so much easier because I know them so well. I knew what would make them laugh. And because they knew each other already there was a great chemistry between them from the off. I was really impressed with how it came out on screen.

Despite the humour, this is a surprisingly introspective film. Why was it important for you to underpin the entertainment with emotion?
I don't know if I could write a film that is straight drama or straight comedy, because it's not true to life. I have tried, but it just doesn’t work for me. So, for this, it was always important that there was a mix of comedy and drama because that makes the film far more real, and these characters far more real.

The people of Nottingham were a big inspiration for the film - all of the characters are based on the type of people you’re likely to see walking around town

This is a short with Nottingham very much at its core. Why was that important for you?
I just love Nottingham. It’s my city. I spend four or five days a week in the town centre and I just love walking around. I love the coffee shops. I love the little parks. I love the history. I just get a sense of pride that I'm from Nottingham. I don't know why, but I just think I'm really lucky to live here.

And has Notts had an influence on you as a filmmaker?
Definitely. I was part of The Television Workshop, and I was surrounded by that naturalistic, improv style of acting and I learnt so much from that. This sort of approach really worked for Bums because it had a limited budget, so it had to be small-scale and character-driven. The people of Nottingham were a big inspiration for the film too - all of the characters are based on the type of people you’re likely to see walking around town.

The film has been released on YouTube and has already gone to several festivals. How have you found the response so far?
It's been really nice. A lot of people have given me good feedback. I've not heard anything bad - yet. There's still time for that. But I'm really happy with the film. It turned out a lot better than I imagined. I was really worried about it not working and that it'd be a failure. Especially because of COVID - it was a nightmare to organise. I’m just relieved it all came through in the end.

Bums: A Day in the Life is now available to watch on the Smelly Werewolf Films YouTube channel.

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