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Exclusive Interview With CUT! Competition 2008 Winner Paul Shrimpton
By James Whittington, Saturday 22nd November 2008

Paul Shrimpton won The Zone Horror CUT! Short Film Competition 2008. Here he lets us in on how the story came about, what he’s going to do with the £5000 that he won an his plans for the future.

ZH: Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?

PS: Yeah. I remember being about seven and staying up late to watch the BBC horror double bills, things like ‘The Reincarnation of Peter Proud’, ‘Horror at 37,000 Feet’, all the Hammer stuff and some of the Roger Corman ‘Poe’ adaptations. The first video I ever rented was ‘The Deadly Spawn’ in the early eighties, then the next week it was ‘Night Beast’, ‘The Exterminator’ . . .all the classics, ahem.

ZH: What’s your daytime profession?

PS: I’m a Postman, and it’s pants. Really, really, really pants.

ZH: How did you learn about the Cut! Competition?

PS: I’d seen the previous comp (2006) advertised on the net and missed out on that one, but swore I’d enter the next, and so I did.

ZH: How long did it take you to come up with the idea for Hung Up?

PS: It took a while actually because it was originally going to be a bit different. It was going to be called ‘Bully’ and be about some kids at school that had bullied this bloke and it led into the whole suicide note and twist that’s in ‘Hung Up’. But the shoot was postponed a couple of months and that gave the story time to change/evolve into what it is now.

ZH: Was it a difficult shoot?

PS: No, it was a breeze. When we were shooting outdoors it was early Feb, so really cold. Jen (the girlfriend that bites the dust) didn’t appreciate having to be drenched in fake blood for a two – three hour stretch. Half frozen but, everyone seemed to have fun and it went without a hitch.

ZH: Is it true you made it for £40?

PS: Yes it is. I shot it all on my old kit which was a PD-150. I paid Ozan £10 for petrol money for the driving around he did. £10 for two DVcam tapes bought from eBay and £20 to Graham Taylor to build me a fake head.

ZH: Is Hung Up the first horror short that you’ve made?

PS: No, I started messing about with a video camera when I was about 14. Then two years later we made a 50min post-apocalyptic superhero film called ‘The Return of the Paper Bag Man and Friends’. This film featured such Thirsk-ish delights as cocaine snorting in a phone box, a car crash, a Neanderthal man, a kung fu waster, feet drilled to a skateboard, a notorious mass murderer turned vigilante anti-hero, mopeds from the future, etc etc . …all done pretty badly but it got us a bit of recognition in some of the horror fanzines kicking about at the time and it led on to some other shorts until I did ‘Slow Rot’ in 1994. That got shown on Channel 4 through ‘Take Over TV’ but in a cut down version. And then after a couple of aborted shorts I got into being in bands. Did the Punk/Ska UK circuit in different bands (currently play bass for ‘Deadbeat At Dawn’) and it was a good laugh. But film fever got me again in 2005 and we attempted to do a feature version of ‘Slow Rot’, but it went disastrously t**s up. Sold my DVD collection in 2006 to buy my own kit (the PD-150) and made a few no budget music videos and a twenty three minute short entitled ‘Dear Diary’ which was about a crazy loner whose dead mother torments him from beyond the grave, forcing him to dig her remains up and grant her, her final wish. A game of bingo. . . that’s had mixed reactions.

ZH: What was your reaction when you learned that you had come first?

PS: Gob smacked, in a bit of a daze, it’s not every day you win £5,000. But every week would be nice.

ZH: What did you think of the other entries, were there others you really liked?

PS: I honestly thought that ‘Quarry’ was going to win it. The way it looked was fantastic, it was great! I really liked Karl Holts ‘Halfway’ too, was a freaky one with some awesome visuals.

ZH: What are you going to do with the money?

PS: What have I done with the money? A lot went on paying off some debts I incurred when I upgraded to a Hi-Def cam, which was about three weeks before I heard I’d won, so the timing of the win was good. The rest is going on my next project.

ZH: What advice would you give to people who wish to enter the next CUT! Competition?

PS: Hmm, I’d say try to develop a story that you can do cheaply. Spend a lot of time planning. Try to put a twist in there and if you can’t be good, be different.

ZH: Will you be entering again?

PS: Umm, yeah, why not.

ZH: What’s next for you?

PS: Well I’m prepping a short (75-80 min) feature entitled ‘Basement Beast’. It’s homage to monster films of the early eighties. We’re doing everything old school on this. No CGI, but plenty of mattes, miniatures and latex monster madness. It’ll be the first ever Yorkshire monster film, we’ll be shooting over the best part of 2009 and it’s gonna be absolutely wild. I’m also in post with a twenty five minute version of ‘Hung Up’ called ‘Suffer’ which has more violence and rude words. That should be ready for Jan 2009. Also got a few music vids lined up so it’s all good.

ZH: Paul Shrimpton, thank you very much.


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