“Do you know what it means to be alone?”
When I first introduced “Gaitway Brothers” I knew that these two youngsters had something very special to offer the world. With their award winning smiles, captivating charm, mischievous and adventurous spirit, coupled with their (brothers forever) care for each other, I instantly knew that this was the beginning of a great musical duo.
Of course in the beginning they were just starting to work on their singing voices. They sang all their songs in unison which was lovely, but required some harmonies to really make it come alive. It was not long after meeting their vocal coach that I learned that this was going to be the next step for the boys through their lessons. To my delight, the very next song they produced included harmonies which were surprisingly and remarkably done.
The boys sing and record songs which not only lighten your spirit but bring a touch of their homeland with every offering. Perhaps for some, their music may be a little foreign, but for most who enjoy young treble music it is very much in step to the kind of music made famous by the likes of Libera.
So what has happened since all this? Plenty! The boys are now on their way to a great and exciting future not only in the recording industry but also as young actors.
Last month after finding out about a new project which included both Steven and Peter, I contacted Matthew Todd their vocal coach, and also the author of the screenplay for a new film entitled “The Fable of Forsaken”. I asked Mr. Todd to tell us the full story behind the concept, creation, and making of this new film which is sure to bring winning reviews from all who love Independent Films.
The following was shared directly by the extremely talented Musician, Vocalist, Composer, and Author Matthew Todd.
“It all started in April 2014 when my brothers, Nathan and Philip, and I were having one of those rare late-night chats where inspiration flows like a waterfall! As an emerging actor and film-maker, nothing excites Phil more than making films. As a lover of stories and a working musician, I am never happier than when I can get my teeth into a creative project. And Nathan, with a host of technical skills, just loves to make things happen! We were raring to go. We had collaborated on many smaller projects in the past, but we all felt the time had come to embark on a true ‘passion project’: to make a film that we wanted to make. The risk was huge. Many have tried, many have failed miserably… Were we just being naive and foolish?
We are all avid Tolkien fans and are excited by epic adventures and heroic characters so the “Lord of the Rings” movies have always been a big inspiration. Also, recently we had the honor of meeting director, Roger Christian, at a screening of his short film ‘Black Angel’ which was set and shot in Scotland. We were hugely encouraged by his words to us and convinced that Scottish film could be so much more than it is now. We are all so sick of seeing visually brilliant films which are let down by weak story-lines and unconvincing characters. We hungered for something deeper, and something that showed that Scotland could produce films that were not dominated by drugs and thugs. So Phil set me a challenge that I could not turn down: ‘write me a story, and we will make it into a film’! The Fellowship had begun their quest!
The Birth of a Story
It was around 3am that same night, the story of ‘The Fable of Forsaken’ came to me and I swiftly wrote it down. All the writers out there will know that the euphoric early hours of the morning are a very dangerous time to write: ideas that seem gold in the starlight usually turn to dust in the cold light of day! Quite honestly, I cannot say that I set out to write a good story – rather I wrote the story that I would most love to see on film. It was a self-indulgent tale with gallant knights, evil villains, kidnapped children, and a good dose of mystery and hidden meaning. Some would say clichéd (though I must confess that the ‘daring’ films that set out to be fresh and original by pushing every available boundary are, for me, becoming a cliché in themselves) and yet, even after a few revisions and Phil converting the story into a screenplay, the original tale remained intact. I never could have imagined as I wrote down my indulgently fantastical fable that in a few weeks the characters and events that I saw so clearly in my mind would be coming to life before my eyes!
From Story to Production
Pre-production began and one miracle followed another. I cannot list them all (much as I would love to!) but as we worked it became clear that many people shared our bold vision. Our cousins John and Tom Walkinshaw joined the Fellowship and, with their considerable artistic and administrative skills, things really started to move. The team worked tirelessly developing the screenplay, sourcing – or making – costumes and props, sending out casting calls and working on the numerous tasks of pre-production. The majority of our micro budget was from the sales of my classical album or out of our own pockets and we were almost entirely reliant on people’s goodwill and imagination to make this project happen. I hate asking professionals to work for free, but I was amazed to see the willingness of so many who selflessly gave of their time and effort without question. I must confess, I was dubious at first. How could so many people be willing to take this enormous risk with us? Was this actually going to happen? Then, when Phil messaged us to say ‘we have a horse’ I knew there was no turning back!
When, at last, the two day shoot arrived, the cast and crew were nothing short of brilliant, and we could not have asked for more dedication and enthusiasm. Some traveled for hours to arrive in time for a 6.30am call time then trekked for miles in full armor to reach location; others were eaten alive by midges as they endured the Scottish equivalent of a tropical heatwave; all were consistently professional and uncomplaining. I was filled by an overwhelming sense of pride throughout the shoot. Not simply proud of our achievements, but rather proud to be part of such a diverse and dedicated army!
I have a special passion for supporting and encouraging young performers and the script gave several opportunities for introducing new talent. Peter and Steven Gait, (better known as Gaitway Brothers), are both featured heavily in the film as the voice and body of the mysterious ‘Forsaken’. You will also hear Peter singing in the film score. These incredible 13-year-old twins are natural screen actors and are undaunted by any challenge! Steven was especially tested in having to wear a full custom-made costume and a good deal of make-up to create his character. He bore all this – as well as the fake wounds that had to be applied to his body – with admirable patience. Though I have had the privilege to work with the boys intensely for a few years now, I never fail to be amazed by their energy and how they rise to meet each task head on. It is rather surreal to see them running around at the speed of sound one moment and standing stock-still immersed in their character the next! I love having children on set. Not only is it good for the kids to have role-models, its great for the adults to have aspiring young actors to pass on their skills to. In addition, it also provides a special ethos to the working environment: almost like a family.
One unbelievable event that cannot go without comment was the casting of the 11-year-old boy who played the character of Samuel, the kidnapped son of the crusader Knight, William. Casting William was proving difficult. Our first choice needed to pull out due to work commitments and we were doubtful that we would be able to find a replacement at such short notice. We needed an actor who could ride, fight for an extensive sequence and handle emotions ranging from the despair of losing a child and the joy of being re-united. Then we found Barry Irvine. He was in every way ideal for the role and, like all our actors, full of support for the project. As if this was not amazing enough, Barry then asked us if the part of Samuel had been cast as he had an 11-year old son with professional screen-acting experience who would perfectly fit the role. The name ‘Samuel’ had been a very deliberate choice for me in writing the story. Imagine, then, my surprise when I heard that Barry’s son fit the age and physical description as my character and, as if that was not enough, that his name was Samuel Irvine!
Needless to say, we cast Samuel as Samuel! He is a very special young actor with a completely professional attitude to his work. Like so many of our cast, Samuel had to endure some very challenging conditions and did so without a word of complaint. As the child supervisor on set, I had the privilege of getting to know him quite well over the intense two days. I can conclude that some people are born actors. It is as much a state of mind as a talent and we owe it to the future generations to support these people in doing what they were born to do. The closing scene with Samuel and his father is beautifully acted. I believe this was in part because it was real. Family has been a theme throughout this project and the Irvine family has renewed my faith that there is a bright future for my country.
As we progress with post production of ‘The Fable of Forsaken’ we are still trying to come to terms with all the potential that has been unleashed. Many Scottish people have a nasty habit of putting themselves down and an even nastier habit of putting other people down. So many children live their young lives in joyful anticipation of a career in the arts and are bitterly disappointed by the darkness and desperation they find when they get there. I was one of them. ‘The Fable of Forsaken’ is so much more than a film: it is proof that the childhood dream that most creative’s have buried deep down is not lost.
Yes, it is a fight; a struggle but, in the words of Galadriel: “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future…”
Needless to say, I’m very excited to see the final production of this film. In fact I would love to be in Scotland for the premiere, although that would only be a dream. The Todd Brothers have already received awards for their previous works in musical film and I have no doubt that this one will be any different in the award category. I wish them the very best and encourage each and every one to visit The Fable of Forsaken Website, and of course get behind them in sharing the news.
Also be sure to visit:
- Gaitway Brothers Website
- Gaitway Brothers YouTube Channel
- Fable of Forsaken Facebook Page
- Gaitway Brothers Facebook Page
Tell them Rivenmaster sent you!