"We’re here for a good time, not a long time" Behind the story

by Keith AlvendiaLeave a Comment

When Kerry Harrison (Director, DOP, Camera, Producer) got in touch with me thru the planet5D chat (which sometimes appears at the bottom of the blog when I'm online) and talked about this film he's been working on called “We're here for a good time, not a long time,” I was very excited to be able to share it with the planet5D readers.

He and his team look to have created something really amazing and we've got enough material to make 3-4 blog posts!

Kerry said:

As well as the whole budget film making aspect, and filming on Canon EOS 5D Mark IIIs we also have a strong back story and, I guess you could say, PR angle due to the real life nature of the story and filming.

So here's the first – the motivation behind the story – Writer/ Producer David Gledhill talks about the true life origins of the script. Look for several more articles in this series this week.

The story so far

From David Gledhill:

In January 2012, I sat down at my computer one day and started to write a film script. Ten days later, I’d finished it. The inspiration behind my story was my partner, Tracey Wilkinson.

I met Tracey in the Spring of 1997; 18 months after she’d had a double lung transplant. Tracey was born with Cystic Fibrosis, which amongst other things, slowly destroys the lungs, usually leading to death before one reaches 30. A horrible disease.

But Tracey was one of the lucky ones; she’d got a transplant. And when I met her, she was the healthiest she had been in years.

We spent 15 wonderful years together. Her health slowly but surely deteriorated as her body attacked the lungs several times (organ rejection), and this led to many other complications. I think in our 15 years together, we actually spent a whole year in total in hospitals.

It’s hard to explain to people just what an extraordinary human being Tracey was. She was the most spontaneous, sociable and happy person I have ever met. What she had to go through physically and mentally was immense, but she was a true fighter, and she never, ever gave in.

We're here for a good time

To be perfectly honest, I think I wrote the script as a way of coping. Having to watch her slowly deteriorate over the 15 years eventually took its toll on me.

But in those final few years we spent together, as she began to get weaker, Tracey rather remarkably spent a lot of time talking to me about her death and what it would be like and what I should do in the year after it happened.

For example, I remember once she was in hospital with a nasty chest infection which she had picked up after breaking her foot in a fall. She wasn’t very well, but still wanted to make a list of eligible single women we knew that might be appropriate for me to go out with once she was gone.

Even in her darkest hour, she was more concerned for my welfare and how I would cope after her death.

So I wrote ‘We’re Here For A Good Time, Not A Long Time’. A script about a bloke called ‘David’ and what happens to him in the year after he loses his soul mate. The title of the film was Tracey’s mantra for life. 

The problem was, I had a script, but didn’t know what the hell to do with it.

However, I had recently got back in touch with an old friend who I used to play in bands with, Kerry Harrison. Kerry was now a very successful photographer. But he’d also branched out into video work, and a particularly wonderful short piece he’d filmed on Sculptor Dean Kemp, which really caught my eye.

So I thought what the hell, and sent over my script to Kerry with a message of ‘I don’t know if you are crazy enough to make a film, but I’m looking for someone to direct and make this with me’.

Within an hour Kerry called me. He loved the script. He loved the story and immediately wanted to meet to discuss. So we met up at Bretton Hall Sculpture Park in February 2012.

And the first thing I said to Kerry was ‘well from what little I know, we are gonna need at least £50,000 to make this film’.

And Kerry – with no doubt or hesitation – instantly replied; ‘why?’

From that moment, Kerry was relentless in his approach. He didn’t care how other people made films. He didn’t care how much other people spent on films. He had a very modest but incredibly skilled and intuitive way of working, which suited him and ultimately resulted in us being able to shoot this film for a tiny amount of money. This film could not have been made without him.

And in March 2012, I finally plucked up the courage to show the script to Tracey, who had been quite poorly for the previous 6 months. She read it, and thankfully she loved it. But she also pointed out, in her usual demonstrative way, that I had completely messed up the final scene, which she soon rectified for me !

And then a few weeks later, quite suddenly on the 6th of April, one day before her birthday, Tracey became very ill.

She was rushed into A&E in Sheffield. And then onto the Cystic Fibrosis Ward in Leeds.

We're here for a good time 2

And then finally onto the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, where she had had her double lung transplant 16 years earlier.

They attempted a very risky but hopefully life saving operation on the morning of Friday 13th of April. But her little body had been so ravaged by organ rejection and various infections over the previous 15 years, that it finally gave in. She died peacefully with me at her side at 11.26 am, on April 17th.

For me, this was hell. She had tried to prepare me the best she could, but nothing could have prepared for those final 11 days of her life. I had lost my soul mate.

We always knew she wouldn’t live forever. And there were many times she had come close to the edge during our time together. But I had almost become accustomed to Tracey surviving everything that was thrown at her. Like one of those old Black & White TV Shows where you see someone drive off a cliff at the end of one episode and then the following week you are shown them leaping out just before the car goes over the edge.

After the funeral, I realised that if I carried on making the film with Kerry, I was going to be making it, whilst living the script for real. But I knew Tracey loved the script and I needed something to keep myself occupied.

So Kerry and I decided to continue.

Here's the Official Trailer of the film

[tentblogger-youtube mo0byV9j3wU]

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

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