Me & You | Project Approach
Who needs enemies when you have self-loathing? As Amelia tries to figure out how to be ‘okay’, she can always rely on the voice in her head to remind her what a bellend she truly is.
Ever wondered what would happen if your mind let you be happy? Like, if all of your dark, gnawing thoughts and agonising self-loathing suddenly just disappeared, what would be left?
Amelia wants to be ‘okay’ (whatever the heck that means). She is a 30-year-old white cis-gendered woman trying to navigate her life through coffee shops, tube encounters, identity crises, potential relationship breakdowns, climate angst, and a crippling variety of mental health struggles including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression and undiagnosed bulimia.
At least she is always accompanied by Head Voice – a personified manifestation of her internal angst who is, let’s face it, a bit of a twat. Desperate to be ‘fine’, Amelia is in a constant battle against herself, and must learn that whilst her Head Voice will always be a part of her, it doesn’t have to be the enemy, even if it feels like it a lot of the time. Perhaps making friends with the voices in our heads is the answer. Perhaps it’s not. But either way, Amelia will learn that tomorrow there’s a chance (an unrealistic, small, but still very possible chance) that it might be a little bit better than today.
In an attempt to break the stigma against mental health, I’m always open about talking about my battles with anxiety and depression. However, besides a chosen few, no one would know that I’ve struggled with bulimia for over ten years now, and had a destructive relationship with food for as long as I can remember. It is a secretive and misunderstood illness shrouded in disgust and shame, “I can’t be bulimic – I’m not underweight”. It is an attempt to gain some form of control in a chaotic world where we feel we have none.
As a woman from a working-class-on-benefits background in Consett. Co. Durham, I always feel out of place amidst the London rat race. The voice in my head can be my best friend or worst enemy, with no warning to which is going to speak loudest. Through conversations with others, many of whom are involved in this project, I’ve realised the universality of experience, and the complex relationships we have with ourselves. Although the world tells us the key to battling our demons is to ‘be kind to ourselves’, it’s a lot easier said than done.
If we don’t laugh, we’ll cry, right? This is why comedy plays such an integral role in telling Amelia’s story – it’s not only a coping mechanism, but a means of illustrating how humour and joy can permeate through the bleakness, which is why I feel this dark comedy will resonate deeply with many others desperately trying to navigate life hand-in-hand with their own inner voice.
Amelia represents many millennial women suffering from mental illness – although to an extent aware of their struggles who (given the lack of support readily available due to an underfunded NHS and a still-present social stigma) are unable to process them in a healthy, sustainable way. Her battle with bulimia is a realistic representation of the ongoing, secretive nature of what people who struggle with this illness go through. Of course, there is no one-way in which this disorder operates, but for Amelia, it is something that would not be immediately evident to those who meet her. She is in denial about its severity, but for her it becomes a form of control.
Her Head Voice serves to amplify this, revealing how mental health issues are always present, and feature so prominently in one’s internal narrative that it becomes almost inextricable from who we feel like we ‘are’. Amelia’s reflection at the end of the piece shows that many mental health issues are an inevitable part of who we are, but how even though we are frequently told by memes and society that it’s ‘okay not to be okay’, it still doesn’t feel okay. But maybe that’s okay?
Amelia doesn’t feel like she really knows who she is, because her mind often tells her she’s an imposter, constantly telling her that she is trying to be someone she is not. So if your mind is constantly making you feel like you have to question your every move, how can you ever know who you are? We see this manifest in her attempts to project a particular persona, and her ignorance in her interaction with the cashier, as she seems unaware that she is, in many ways, in a very privileged social position,and her inability to communicate her struggles to anyone she knows well.
The scale of production that we’re aiming to achieve will present many challenges and will rely on maximising the potential from our talent and budget.
Our team is composed of ambitious talent, excited about both the project as a whole and what can be achieved from their individual role. We have purposefully chosen a team of people who have experience in their chosen field, yet will use this project to enable them to progress within it. For example, our DP has experience shooting promos and assisting on large-scale drama, but this project is an opportunity to develop her portfolio and establish her own team. Applying this approach to all roles will ensure that the entire team is hungry to achieve top results.
Our budget and schedule allows us enough time and space for considered and comfortable shooting days. Experience in animation has taught our director that a solid shooting plan is essential, which must be worked through with the team before being on set. Although inevitable adaptations may have to be made on set, this preparation will allow us to maximise time and achieve a confident and purposeful shooting style that achieves as much of the story-telling as the dialogue.
As a team, we are incredibly passionate about making an environmentally responsible film. Having read the BFI’s Green Matters Report, and as we continue to follow the developments that are being made alongside BAFTA to ensure the screen industry can eliminate waste and carbon emissions from productions, we are determined that Me & You will have as little environmental impact as possible.
One of our key crew members who works for Bloomberg’s The Climate Group will be acting in a supervisory position to ensure our daily production waste is limited, and help us in pre-production to send out a ‘green memo’ to all involved so that all involved are aware of our environmental goals from the outset. Our plans include forward planning local vegan catering, creating a ‘single-use-plastic-free’ set, and ensuring that all costumes and props are sourced from second-hand shops and through other sustainable means.
We will be filming Me & You in just one localised locations (South London), with the intention of minimising the environmental impact of the shoot, as the proximity of each location will mean driving isn’t required. We will also be locally hiring kit. Moreover, through utilising local talent, we will again me minimising carbon emissions, and any transport used will be either public or cycling wherever possible (when not, we will be using car schemes such as ZipCar).
Furthermore, climate consciousness permeates the script itself, reflecting its ever-necessary presence in our lives.