The Rabbit: From Rubber Duck to Rub-a-Duck

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To celebrate the fifth anniversary of my first SX:TV project, Rub-a-Duck, I thought it only appropriate to share this insight into how the film went from script to screen!

This article was originally published in the 2010-2011 academic year.

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And now for something completely different.

Rubber ducks, tigers, genies, and evil masterminds bent on world domination. Sound like an odd combination? Well, quite frankly, it is – but it sums up Rub-a-Duck, the new short comedy-drama film from our university’s very own SX:TV (get over to http://www.sxtvonline.com if you’re not familiar with them), in a nutshell. As the film’s writer, I’ve found it hard to explain the story to people without making it sound like I was high when I wrote the script (I assure you I wasn’t!).

But the film’s obscurity is actually its charm. It’s been described as “ridiculous in the most positive sense of the word possible”, which in essence means it’s so bonkers that you can’t help but raise a smile. Never could I have imagined that, upon being given the original brief of “write a short film about a rubber duck”, I would have ended up with something so crazy. While I can’t take the credit for all of the ideas (I can take the credit for all of the puns though!), it nevertheless goes to show what endless possibilities there are when you let your mind loose on something. And that’s the point of this article really – to revel in the wonder that is our imagination, for without it the world would be a far more boring place.

As I’ve said, Rub-a-Duck literally started out with a premise consisting of nothing more than the object itself (it actually became known as ‘the rubber duck drama’ between us). The concept of the duck functioning like a magic lamp was thought up first, which led to the genie’s inclusion (what’s a lamp without a genie?). We then needed a protagonist to use the duck, and then antagonists who would want to steal the duck for themselves… and so forth. The creative process is a very interesting one, and certainly doesn’t just consist of sitting down and typing out a script like some might think. Even when the foundations for the project are laid out, more ideas still come whizzing into your head all the time. You’ll be forever adding in new bits, drafting and re-drafting as you go. It’s a chain reaction effect where one good idea leads to another, until eventually you’ve crafted something that fits together perfectly. This doesn’t always mean it’s going to be well received (though, touch wood, reactions to Rub-a-Duck have been positive so far) but you will at least have constructed a robust, solid idea – and from a writer’s perspective, the moment where you finally manage to piece everything together is a real joy to behold because, at times, it can be quite painstaking.

As you may well have gathered by now, I’m rather passionate about this creative lark. Admittedly it’s not for everyone, but personally I find it to be an extremely enriching and rewarding experience. Being able to take an everyday object and think up fantastical stories revolving around it can be a lot of fun, and it’s worth noting that inspiration often lies in the smallest of things – you have to write what you know, after all! Indeed, I sometimes find myself analysing everything I see when going about my normal day, hoping that something might set off a spark of genius.

Now, apologies if this article has come across as a bit self-indulgent, but when you’ve taken the time and effort to create something, you begin to feel quite attached to it (and given the opportunity I could probably talk about Rub-a-Duck for pages on end, so you’ve been spared that at least). You’ve really got to have done it for yourself to understand what I’m talking about so, as a closing remark, I urge you to unleash your own creative side – whether it’s a script, a story, a poem, a piece of artwork… take the chance to get lost in the whimsical world of your imagination, and let it spill forth into the real world so that everyone else can enjoy what your mind conjures up too.

I want to end by extending a massive thanks to the film’s cast and crew, who helped bring my script to life with great enthusiasm. I can’t wait to delve back into my writing and see what I can come up with next! In the meantime, why not do yourself (and me!) a favour by checking out Rub-a-Duck – who knows, perhaps it could serve as the inspiration you need to get your own creative juices flowing.

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