Interview with

David Willows and Dave Low

Directors of

David Willows & Dave Low

What was the inspiration behind making this short film?

In 2010, David Willows published ‘Fragments’, a collection of stories and reflections on modern family life. The collection contained two fictional short stories, one of which was entitled ‘The Couple in their Caravan’. The story is not rooted in historical events, but it is perhaps no coincidence that David’s parents once had a caravan. Dave Low first read ‘The Couple in their Caravan’ in 2017 and immediately had the idea to adapt the story into a short-form graphic novel. As is often the case, however, work and life took over and it was one of those ideas that ends up being shelved for a while. Fast forward to 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, and the opportunity to finally start work on ‘The Caravan’ presented itself. It was the perfect sanity-preserving illustration project! ‘The Caravan’ was first realised, during the course of the first lockdown, in the form of a graphic novel that Dave presented to David on the occasion of his 50th birthday. With the advent of a second lockdown, David and Dave then collaborated on a project to turn the story and the novel into a fully animated short film.

Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?

The biggest challenge, of course, was that neither of us had ever made a film before! We were just following our gut feeling, constantly sharing ideas, and working it out as we went along. It was also a proudly zero budget film, which meant that we had to improvise along the way. So, for example, when it came to recording the voiceover, we decided not to use the professional services of a recording studio. David simply went into his basement and found an old clothes horse, covered it in a large duvet and crawled underneath it with nothing but the script, a torch and an iPhone. Despite the steep learning curve and the challenges along the way, however, we kept on reminding one another that the moment this stops being fun is the moment we need to stop this project. And we had a lot of fun.

How has the short film been received?

We invested so much into a project for months on end and putting it out there for people to respond was nerve wracking to say the least. But we’ve been truly amazed at the feedback that we have received, not just from friends, neighbours and colleagues, but from people in the business who really know what it takes to make a short film worth watching. Of course, we’re proud if it becomes pick of the week on a website, but we are also touched to hear the way the film moves people and causes them to stop and reflect for a moment. Stories that are worth telling make a difference to our lives and our hope is that this story really does make a difference – in some small way – to people.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

We have already started talking about ‘The Caravan 2’ – and we have some great ideas for a sequel – but there is still plenty to do before this project is wrapped up. For example, we are starting to reach out to a number of charities to offer the film as a resource for various promotional campaigns and would love to find ways to promote the film for the benefit of people going through tough times. We don’t want to say too much, though, but if you watch the film, you’ll understand!

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?

I think the idea that we would be giving anyone advice still makes us laugh. Everything about this project has been so new and so different to what we do in our day jobs. But if we were pressed on giving advice, I think we’d suggest three things. First, make sure you have a good story. The short story format means every word matters. So make it matter. Second, find your own voice and style. From the beginning, I think we benefited from not trying to copy anyone else. We knew our limits and the style that was “us”. We never diverted from this path. Finally, don’t stop having fun. As we said ourselves, if it stops being fun, it’s time to stop.

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Interview with

David Willows and Dave Low

Directors of

David Willows & Dave Low

What was the inspiration behind making this short film?

In 2010, David Willows published ‘Fragments’, a collection of stories and reflections on modern family life. The collection contained two fictional short stories, one of which was entitled ‘The Couple in their Caravan’. The story is not rooted in historical events, but it is perhaps no coincidence that David’s parents once had a caravan. Dave Low first read ‘The Couple in their Caravan’ in 2017 and immediately had the idea to adapt the story into a short-form graphic novel. As is often the case, however, work and life took over and it was one of those ideas that ends up being shelved for a while. Fast forward to 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, and the opportunity to finally start work on ‘The Caravan’ presented itself. It was the perfect sanity-preserving illustration project! ‘The Caravan’ was first realised, during the course of the first lockdown, in the form of a graphic novel that Dave presented to David on the occasion of his 50th birthday. With the advent of a second lockdown, David and Dave then collaborated on a project to turn the story and the novel into a fully animated short film.

Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?

The biggest challenge, of course, was that neither of us had ever made a film before! We were just following our gut feeling, constantly sharing ideas, and working it out as we went along. It was also a proudly zero budget film, which meant that we had to improvise along the way. So, for example, when it came to recording the voiceover, we decided not to use the professional services of a recording studio. David simply went into his basement and found an old clothes horse, covered it in a large duvet and crawled underneath it with nothing but the script, a torch and an iPhone. Despite the steep learning curve and the challenges along the way, however, we kept on reminding one another that the moment this stops being fun is the moment we need to stop this project. And we had a lot of fun.

How has the short film been received?

We invested so much into a project for months on end and putting it out there for people to respond was nerve wracking to say the least. But we’ve been truly amazed at the feedback that we have received, not just from friends, neighbours and colleagues, but from people in the business who really know what it takes to make a short film worth watching. Of course, we’re proud if it becomes pick of the week on a website, but we are also touched to hear the way the film moves people and causes them to stop and reflect for a moment. Stories that are worth telling make a difference to our lives and our hope is that this story really does make a difference – in some small way – to people.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

We have already started talking about ‘The Caravan 2’ – and we have some great ideas for a sequel – but there is still plenty to do before this project is wrapped up. For example, we are starting to reach out to a number of charities to offer the film as a resource for various promotional campaigns and would love to find ways to promote the film for the benefit of people going through tough times. We don’t want to say too much, though, but if you watch the film, you’ll understand!

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?

I think the idea that we would be giving anyone advice still makes us laugh. Everything about this project has been so new and so different to what we do in our day jobs. But if we were pressed on giving advice, I think we’d suggest three things. First, make sure you have a good story. The short story format means every word matters. So make it matter. Second, find your own voice and style. From the beginning, I think we benefited from not trying to copy anyone else. We knew our limits and the style that was “us”. We never diverted from this path. Finally, don’t stop having fun. As we said ourselves, if it stops being fun, it’s time to stop.

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