Priceless in Uxbridge Introduction

Priceless in Uxbridge is a movie project that was started in late 2008, just before the sub-prime mortgage bubble burst and plunged the world into recession.

After the bubble burst

We, the authors, have regular jobs but no longer the opportunity to work together. From this situation the notion formed to develop a film. We agreed to write an original screenplay. It made sense at the time. Technology seems to have made the world more visual than ever and the internet provides many more outlets for content at all levels. In our view, film has become the art form of the 21st Century. The first thing we had to do was decide what our film was going to be about.

When you don't know what you don't know

Did you know that there was a time, before television and movies, when paintings were launched like blockbusters? The general public paid a penny to queue up to see a new artwork. It was spectacle. And it was big business for art entrepreneurs. They commissioned and then took new works on tour around the country. Hard to imagine art having that significance to ordinary people. We both enjoy art. So art became the catalyst for our movie project – our first big mistake! Art is generally regarded a disastrously bad subject for a film. We didn't know and so settled into reading about both the art world and screenwriting. By August 2009 we had an outline plot. We then worked through 31 drafts of the screenplay and sent it off.

The democratisation of art

One of several rejection letters we received said: "In our experience the art world is a hard sell to broadcasters, mainly because the perception is that it is a very niche, wealthy world and alienating to an audience. I understand that the collective in Priceless are democratising art and bringing it to the people but I'm afraid that, for us, the story itself doesn't feel quite big enough …"

We kept going

We like a challenge. So 24-months later with draft 32 of the script – a test animatic behind us – and 1000s of hours of work and words – we are still determined to try get it made. Three years into the recession and after last summer's riots – we feel Priceless In Uxbridge is more relevant than ever. To us, it never was about art anyway; it always was about people, money and values.

Finding a way into the industry

Direct access in to the film industry failed. Recently we came across Amazon Studios. It seems like a practical and pragmatic option, given our status as complete unknowns. We decide to throw our script into their competition arena but wanted to make a recording of the dialogue, as the first step towards producing a full length animatic . What Amazon Studios call a 'test movie'.

Is this a world first?

The first part of this process meant recording all the dialogue. That is now completed. We have a soundtrack – with original music and sound effects – for the whole movie. The way we have created the spoken dialogue might be regarded as a "world first". The entire audio production has been created using only synthesised voices. Can text-to-speech be used in a dramatic context to create a full 115-minute programme? Listen and judge for yourself …