Award of Excellence – “The Naughty List” (UK)

Title: The Naughty List
Runtime: 9 min
Country: UK
Director: Paul Campion
Placement: Award of Excellence
Competition: January, 2017

Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, two mobsters, Tony Genova and Vince Napoli, come face to face with Santa Claus, and discover what it really takes to get on the Naughty or Nice List.


OR: What was the inspiration for your film?

PC: It’s based on a short story “The Siqquism Who Stole Christmas” by horror author Brian Keene.  Brian and I have been friends for years now after I first approached him to try and adapt one of his novels into a feature film. He sent me a collection of his short stories and I thought that particular story might make a great short film.

OR: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

PC: I wrote the first draft of the script back in 2008 back when I was trying to get a feature film adaptation of Brian Keene’s Dark Hollow novel off the ground. Then I ended up making my first feature The Devil’s Rock, and went back again to try and get Dark Hollow financed. After a while trying unsuccessfully to get it funded,  I went back to Brian and said “Lets just make a short film together, something that we can afford to make and so that we’ve actually got a finished film we can use to help get our names up on the film industry radar to help get Dark Hollow financed.” That was in April 2015. Then we spend the next 9 months putting together a Kickstarter campaign, and finally we shot The Naughty List in March 2016.

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

PC: I think the financial side. Short films generally aren’t a commercial proposition, so you’re never going to have enough money to pay your cast and crew and you have to be very respectful that they’re giving their time for free, and you’re in a constant struggle trying to give the film the best production values you can on a limited budget.

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

PC: Building the set was quite a challenge, but I’m very pleased what we managed to build with limited time and resources. Also the post-production took a long time, mainly due to the number of visual effect shots.  When everyone’s working for free it can become tough trying to keep the momentum and enthusiasm level going for months on end, but we had a great post production team who pulled together and did an amazing job.

OR: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

PC: Go out and make something. You’re not a filmmaker until you’ve got a finished film you can show people. Spend time getting the script as good as it can be and get as much feedback on it as you can. The better the script, the more people will want to work on the film. And surround yourself with the most experienced people you can and listen to them.