All About Town

Behind the Scenes - Production Notes

Notes | Images | Video | Locations

About The Production

Once writer Samuel Marlow made the decision to tell multiple stories set in different locations in and around his home, it was then only a short step to decide to use local actors and crew members to bring those stories to life. Far more complex was finding a way to link them together so that they told a single, satisfactory story.

After various aborted attempts to write a number of unconnected shorts, Sam hit on the idea of using ancient story-telling techniques to find the themes of each chapter of the story and adapt them for the modern age. He took the twelve classic steps of the Hero's Journey and took each step as the jumping-off point for the chapters. In this way he hopes to avoid the narrative fatigue often associated with anthology films where the cumulative effect of watching several self-contained stories one after another becomes emotionally exhausting for the audience. While each chapter of All About Town can be taken on its own, they build on and lead into the stories either side of them, making the experience feel far more natural.

Director's Statement

I've wanted to produce a film about shared space for some time and, after thinking about where to set it, I realised all the sorts of places I had in my head were either from or inspired by places in my home town. Location-specific anthology films are nothing new, whether set in a city (New York Stories, Paris, Je T'aime, 7 Days in Havana, or a specific place like Tube Tales or Four Rooms, but I wanted to go further than simply setting a movie in a place - I wanted to make the movie in that place. As a result, the cast and crew are local people, local companies will act as the production's suppliers and manufacturers. If I can get something locally, I will!

But All About Town is different in other ways, too. Most anthology films are made up of distinct, stand-alone stories which, I find, can be hard to watch in one sitting, as the cumulative effect of consecutive narrative climaxes can become emotionally exhausting. I took to trying to solve this problem, experimenting with ideas such as cross-cutting parallel stories as in Love, Actually or Scenes of a Sexual Nature, and setting up a framing device of stories stemming from the snapshots of a reportage photographer, before settling on the solution that is in the final draft.

The story contains some elements of a framing device, in that it is set during a punishing heatwave, but I found that as drafts progressed the prominence of this aspect of the story diminished from centre-stage to only being mentioned on a few occasions. The solution came from trying to structure the emotional flow of the movie to correspond with what is ordinarily thought of as feature-film structure - that is to say it starts small and builds. Now, watched in isolation, each chapter of the story feels like a scene from a larger work, rather than a short story in its own right - it needs the stories either side of it for its impact.

In this way I hope the story will be a more satisfying experience for the viewer, and leave them with a feeling of connection, both to their own home, but also to the people around them.