SDIFF 2018 ‘Degenerates’: Write in the irony!

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A struggling script writer seizes upon a desperate and dangerous measure to help generate ideas for his new project.

So Casey Vaughn (Callum Crawford, both directs and stars) has a problem – no one wants to hire him to write movie and/or television scripts as any kind of actual job. It turns out Casey’s writing is actually pretty good, but his familiar agent just wants to pay him surreptitiously for tweaking-work and that’s all. So when Casey comes up with an idea that finally stirs the pants of his agent, Casey decides to take steps to ensure that his on-the-fly idea bears money-making fruit.

The pitch is about a drug-mule girl who goes missing, so for Casey to seize on the story of missing Nancy Moore isn’t too far a stretch. But then, Casey devotes every last effort into having a real-life script written for him, live-action no direction given style. Introducing the foul-mouthed pleasant granny type who dabbles in all sorts of drug concoctions you’re better off not knowing about, Maureen Costello (Annette Badland) aka the Medic; the tough-as-nails thief and bruiser Naomi (Lauren Douglin) aka the Bad Egg; and finally the odd little Boy Scout savant, Peter Finnigan (James Sanbrook) aka the Mascot. With this motley crew Casey will attempt to find Nancy, and hopefully rediscover his writing inspiration along the way.

The movie itself is a cute little romp through the mind of a desperate if not talented writer and his disaffected friends, the pitfalls of doing a bunch of stuff you know damn well is illegal, and how reality can sometimes be way more of a farce than anything a writer could dream up.