“Working with Scope is never boring”

Guest post from Malt Films – the creative team behind our new shop stock appeal film – a spoof of the iconic Cadbury’s Milk Tray ads. We’re aiming to get one million items donated to our shops this July – and we hope you can help us!

Here Malt Films talk about how it came about, and how Scope have challenged their thinking towards disability. 

It was a hot spring day, which is lucky in England. Even at 7am as we unloaded equipment and explored the luxurious home that would be our workplace for the next 13 hours, the camera crew and director were discussing the best order of the day. The challenge was that although we were filming in strong sunlight, the film needed to look like it was nighttime, and the position of the sun and the shadows would be important.

Stunt man dressed in black standing on a high wallThe stunt man – a ridiculously talented 24-year-old called Pip, was being given makeup and everyone on set was excited for the moment he would jump (hopefully unharmed) from the upper floor balcony. We were rushing to get as much filmed as possible before our star, Adam Hills, arrived at 9.30am; and so we were pressing-on, filming stunts that would make even a hardened athlete envious – it would be a tight schedule!

There’s one thing we have come to learn working with Scope – it’s never boring. We’ve met loads of incredible people with stories that highlight why we Storyboard artwork sketches of different scenes for the filmneed to change society so that disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. We’ve also been helping out on Scope’s current End The Awkward campaign that’s challenging people about their attitudes towards disability with honest personal anecdotes from disabled people. So when we were asked to help Scope produce the 2015 Great Donate stock appeal film, there was a real buzz in the studio.

This year’s film would be a spoof of the classic Cadbury’s Milk Tray adverts and spoofs are not always easy. How similar can the films be for it to work?  Will the original advertisers mind? How do you turn a chocolate box into a Scope donation bag? These were all questions we had to answer as well as writing the script, producing a storyboard, and getting permission to use the iconic music from the original advert.

Holly Candy smiling, holding a donation bag and walking down a streetThe shoot would be split into two days. A full day in Buckinghamshire, where Adam Hill’s character would break into a stately home to leave a donation bag for a lucky woman. This sees him overcome a high perimeter wall, navigate some aggressive dogs (comically played by ‘sausage dogs’), and some laser beams (because all good films have laser beams). The second day would be a half day at a Scope shop in north London where we meet Holly Valance from Neighbours, as the lucky lady who learns (spoiler alert) that she may not have been the only person he visited that night.

Adam Hills standing next to the stuntman in a garden, both dressed in blackThis project proved to be as exciting as we’d expected. A healthy rivalry developed between Adam Hills and his “ridiculously good looking” stunt double, who had been drafted in for some of the more impossible moves.

Adam rivaled Pip with his own cartwheels in a battle of who could perform the most stunts. We had a classic ‘continuity blues’ moment when Adam arrived wearing a bright yellow and green prosthetic leg as opposed to his usual skin-coloured one. And to make it more dramatic, a swan decided to perform a series of excitable manoeuvres of its own, right in the middle of the dilemma.

Adam Hills sitting on a wooden bench and holding a sausage dog on his lapSuch is the nature of film-making, for all the best laid plans there are always challenges that need to be overcome and unexpected moments you might film that become unscripted nuances. There is one big unscripted gag in the final film – can you guess what it is?

If you’re interested to see some of this first hand, we also produced a behind-the-scenes film too:

All in all, we’re extremely proud to have been a part of such a dynamic, entertaining and challenging campaign.

What do you think? Has it inspired you to take a bag of donations to your nearest Scope shop

“My hearing aid isn’t an MP3 player!” #EndTheAwkward

Jo Verrent is the Senior Producer of Unlimited, a project which funds and gives mentoring support to disabled artists to produce ambitious work.

As part of our End the Awkward campaign, Jo shares some examples of people’s innocent ignorance when it comes to disability.

Woman smiling and standing next to a sign with Japanese characters
Jo Verrent is Senior Producer at disability arts organisation Unlimited

I was working in a restaurant as a waitress and a customer put in a complaint as I had been ignoring him.

I just hadn’t heard him try and get my attention as he’d been whistling and shouting at me, but all whilst I had been facing the other way. He thought I was being rude deliberately.

It all ended up with him accusing me of making up being deaf as he said I spoke perfectly fine and, on being shown my hearing aid (which is a bone anchored one) – saying that it was an MP3 player!

He just couldn’t accept he was wrong and so preferred to make up ludicrous reasons why I wasn’t deaf instead!

Err thanks… But I don’t use a wheelchair

One time I went to a big theatre to assess a piece of work by a company of disabled artists and the theatre had been told that I was coming and that I, too, was disabled. So they took out my seat so that a wheelchair could fit.

Only I don’t use a wheelchair, I have a hearing impairment, and also one that impacts on concentration and fatigue – which means I really need to sit down. Only I couldn’t, because I had no seat anymore!

Close-up of woman and small child smiling
Jo with her granddaughter

Reversing the awkward…

I also have been woken up a couple of times now on the train with people nudging me and saying ‘I hope you don’t mind me waking you, but I’m curious to know what’s in your head?’ etc.

To my shame I did once tell someone it was a mechanism I had installed after a failed lobotomy to control my aggression… they left me alone after that! That probably did make them feel a bit awkward!

Read more awkward storiesDo you have an awkward story to share? Submit your awkward stories, and we’ll publish our favourites on our blog and social media. 

Find out more about how Scope is ending the awkward this summer.