Carmel spent the next 8 months developing the plot lines and characters in the film whilst simultaneously researching her family history in more detail. As each new piece of information surfaced, new drafts of the screenplay felt more and more real. The idea that so many women in Britain fell in love with US servicemen during WWII fascinated the film’s writers. The notion of the ‘G.I. Bride” and also the stories of married women falling for another man felt like s thread to the story that needed investigation.
Alongside this love-triangle storyline, Carmel wanted to explore an aspect of life during and after WWII that was less discussed; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is an illness that effects veterans of all conflicts and has for the past 30-40 years become more widely recognised. However, in 1940, and for decades after the conflict, only terms like “battle fatigue” and “shell-shock” were used, often leading to misdiagnosis and little-to-no effective treatment for PTSD-sufferers. This was something that compelled the writers to investigate further and convey on-screen in the character of George.
In 2014 Paul & Carmel produced a zero-budget proof of concept pilot for Magpie, originally titled ‘Blackout.’ This was produced to support a crowdfunding campaign which was to launch later in the year. Unfortunately the project was unsuccessful in reaching it’s target first time around, but the passion to bring the story to the screen, along with interest from a number of external parties meant that this wasn’t the end for the film.
What was clear from the first attempt to get Magpie made was that their needed to be a more realistic approach. Rather than a 120+ page script that required a budget of hundreds of thousands, a more achievable script was written, rooted much more in the interpersonal drama between it’s three lead characters Lily, George and Charlie. The script became leaner and it’s writers became even more determined to bring the story to life.
From around March through to June in 2015, Paul devised a plan to pitch the film in a more unique and memorable way, one that would require some meticulous planning and a lot of rehearsal. He and Carmel wrote the pitch and began to piece together what they needed to achieve it. Carmel gathered up her contacts in the re-enactment community and Paul put together a team of colleagues and industry-professionals to shoot the pitch video.
The new idea was to deliver a one-take pitch-to-camera detailing the film they wanted to achieve and the story they wished to tell. But, rather than do this in a now overused and tired head-and-shoulder style, they had plans for something quite different. The pitch was to be delivered to camera by Carmel and Matt (one of the film’s leads) amidst an ambitious showcase of the military and technical assets they could muster (re-enactors, vehicles, weapons and state-of-the-art camera kit to name just a few.)
Post-production on Magpie is in full swing and pencilled for a mid-2018 release. The film will tour the film festival circuit initially, screen locally and nationally and the film’s producers will eventually pursue distribution and/or broadcast.