The Black Scholes Conspiracy

During the global banking crisis in the city of London we meet Sam Walziak, a financial genius with a grudge against the giant banking corporation Stein Corporate Intelligence and its owner and founder Phil. After losing his wife in a fatal car crash Sam becomes obsessed with bringing down what he claims is an out of control maverick organisation who he believes are responsible for his wife’s death;  but is his genius truly strong enough to prevail over the forces that are amassing against him?

The Black Scholes Conspiracy written and directed by Tim Bassford, 2011.

The making of “The Black Scholes Conspiracy”

Q&A session with Tim Bassford

Tim Bassford

Name

Tim Bassford

Age

40

Location

Nottingham City

Spinning Clock Creative Agency who offer a full range of graphic design, video animation, interactive media and events services for SMEs to global brands.  

How would you define yourself now?

• Creative Director at Spinning Clock
• Dad to 3 awesome and ‘lively’kids
• Married to Kate

What stage of your career were you at when you applied to The Pitch?

I was Head of Video production at Spinning Clock

I believe you entered The Pitch a couple of times and won the second time. (2010 and 2011). What would you say you learnt from the first year that stood you in good stead for the second?

After losing the first time David Oyelowo, sat me down and explained that, (in his experience of pitching himself at numerous auditions), and in order to succeed I had to :-

  • be more prepared
  • have thought through my creative solution more thoroughly
  • be more hungry than anyone else in the running

He taught me a valuable lesson about making sure that my creative idea is as robust as it can be, as unique as I can make it and that I should deliver it with as much enthusiasm and passion as I can muster!

How would you say The Pitch team helped you with production of ‘The Black Scholes Conspiracy’

They were like a second family throughout the production from numerous late night calls, setting me up with key crew members, bringing in huge favours from friends and professional contacts, encouraging me when I was finding things hard. I can’t speak highly enough of Luke and Jackie in particular.

How much development was involved from what you pitched in the boardroom to what we see as the final short film?  E.g. how many drafts did you produce?

Wow! That’s a good question. We must have been through at least 6 or 7 drafts, maybe more! The biggest thing that changed from the boardroom was the fact Beth Shoulder (co-writer) and I had set it in the 1980’s and we had this great 80’s aesthetic that we wanted to use but following the boardroom it was brought right up to the present age. This was to include more digital technology to harness the kind of massive impact digital tech can enforce on the world now. This seems quite pertinent given present world concerns with mass cyber warfare and inference with global politics and economies.

How important is the title of a short film?  E.g. yours started out as Samson and landed up as ‘The Black Scholes Conspiracy’. Can you explain?

Yeah, Samson was a working title that I think I got too comfortable with. Most of my friends wouldn’t have had much of a clue who Samson was in The Bible so I didn’tmind that it was an eponymous title. If anything, I thought it set it up for comparison with the biblical take - if you knew that - which I thought was intriguing. When we went to LA I had a lot of feedback that the title was too neutral and didn’t really convey the fact this was a thriller and a short based on a real noble prize winning theory. So that’s how The Black Scholes Conspiracy came about to satisfy that issue. Next time round I think I’ll sort the title of a significant short before it becomes too developed. A lot of the cast and crew I worked with still refer to it as ‘that Samson movie’you made!

How has being involved in The Pitch developed you as a filmmaker/person?

It has sky-rocketed my confidence, self-belief and technical abilities. It’s also made me trust my gut instinct more and be less swayed by other people’s concerns – that often come with other agendas. It has also provided me with a great network of cast and crew who I have used repeatedly since the Pitch.  I have worked with Phil Wood (DoP) 3 times since the pitch and one of those was a corporate film shoot in San Francisco (which was a lot of fun!)

What would be your over riding tip for anyone considering applying this year?

I would make sure you are extremely passionate about your idea, that you have rigorously tested and challenged your plot and you have plenty of good answers for any potential flaws or contentious areas of your idea as these will be tested to breaking point in the boardroom.

Above all I would say go for it!

This is an incredible opportunity with phenomenal potential.

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