I wrote BOYFRIEND TROUBLE for a film-making course that I was on. The script was inspired by actual events. The dialog is true-to-life, and almost verbatim in certain parts(although much shortened!)
There have been some amusing interpretations of the film. Some think that the surprising changes that take place from shot to shot reflect Nikolai's mentally undressing of Cathy! Others think that Cathy is menatlly seducing Nikolai in order to replace her boyfriend! The reality is quite different. It is what it appears to be; a chat between two friends about a boyfriend problem.
After I decided on the subject matter and plot for my script, I still needed something extra; something that--in the extremely limited time available--could communicate the story in a very visual way. I found what I was looking for in (of all places) the opening moments of a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. That scene was set in a room with Jean-Claude sitting on a table. The continuity was ridiculous, because with every shot Jean-Claude was suddenly in a different position on the table. I got to thinking, "How might I actually be able to use that in a script?" BOYFRIEND TROUBLE is the result.
The changes from shot to shot reflect Cathy's growing discomfiture and loss of confidence. The same happens with the set, which is gradually rendered cold and bare. NIKOLAI(Greg Jeloudov) is in the meantime becoming increasingly pale, as Cathy's determination to hear only what she wants to hear begins to suck the life out of him. By the middle of the movie, Nikolai sees that there is no point in trying to give Cathy his true opinion, and shifts toward trying to give her instead the emotional support she needs. Things then begin to come right...more or less!
The organizational challenges in the actual making of the film were formidable, given especially the limitations in terms of crew experience, and time. We were aware from the beginning that continuity would be very hard to manage, and we knew the risks. All the different shots were listed and numbered, from the opening shot to the closing short. We then started by filming the opening shot, then the closing shot, then the second shot, then the penultimate shot, then the third shot, and so on.
In the end, continuity mistakes were made, centering on the decanter of red wine that dressed the set. After the first cut, the editor (Frank, who somehow is not included in the credits) pointed out that things had gone awry, with the decanter popping in and out of shot. It wasn't supposed to be like that! The problem was fixed by Frank, who showed truly great skill and no little ingenuity in cutting around the problem. A little bit of dialog had to be sacrificed. frank saved the film, as far as I am concerned. The result is not bad. It looks a little bit clunky, editing-wise, because of the compromises Frank was forced to make, but I think that serves to give the film a period feel. Nikolai, after all, was conceived of as a Russian émigré, and the action was set in the late 1930's-early 1940's. The costumes by Ella Daly were brilliant, especially for Vanessa, whose wardrobe requirements were necessarily complex. The music by Sheila Giles is great, and totally appropriate.
As for the real-life story, the real "Cathy" (not her real name, obviously!) called the boyfriend, and remains on friendly terms with him to this day, August 2010.
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