A film by AnnVerrall

SHORTWORKS PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS A SHORT FILM BY ANN VERRALL “ THE WAIT”
FEATURING SEAMUS MORRISON, LEAH MACDONALD, NATHAN MACINTOSH, SIMON HOWELL SOUND ARAM KOUYOUMDJIAN,
RENÉ BEAUDRY MUSIC SUPERVISOR COLIN MACKENZIE EDITOR THORBEN BIEGER ART DIRECTION DAVE CROFT DIRECTOR OF
PHOTOGRAPHY JAY FERGUSON CO-PRODUCERS ARAM KOUYOUMDJIAN, JAY FERGUSON WRITER, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER ANN VERRALL
WITH MUSIC BY: CONTROLLER.CONTROLLER, THE WEAKERTHANS, RAISING THE FAWN,
MATT MAYS & EL TORPEDO, SIMPLY SAUCER, THE UNICORNS, UNIVERSAL SOUL, THE
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“never under estimate the profundity of
plain cheese pizza” Tom (The Wait)
High school is over, summer is ending and
Jake’s best friend is leaving. To avoid the
inevitable heartache, he seeks out escape
by any means possible. Somewhere,
between now and forever is a moment where
plain cheese pizza is profound, freaking out
is ordinary, and saying goodbye is just the
beginning.
FORMAT: Drama
ORIGINAL SOURCE: DVCPRO50
SCREENING SOURCE: DigiBeta, Beta SP, DVD
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 23:50 minutes
DEVELOPED THROUGH THE SHORTWORKS STORY
INTENSIVE WITH: Angela Clarke, Josh Hatt,
Simon Howell, Leah MacDonald, Nathan
MacIntosh, Seamus Morrison, Melissa
Murphy and Grace Smith
Shot on location in Nova Scotia
WITH MUSIC BY
Controller.Controller
The Weakerthans
Raising the Fawn
Matt Mays & El Torpedo
Simply Saucer
The Unicorns
Universal Soul
The Vees
shortworksproducti ons.ca
averral l @sympati co.ca
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PRO D U CTI O N S
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“you’re up for mass distraction,
you’re up for gut reaction”
from History by Controller.Controller
SYNOPSIS
High school is over, summer is ending and Jake’s future awaits him.
Right now his Dad is on his case to go to university and his best friend
Sarah is moving to Montreal. His buddy Charles dreams of driving
to Toronto to become a stand-up comic, and Jake just wants to not
be stuck where he is. In his mind Sarah whisks him away. In reality
his confession of love and the desire to go with her, is spurned with
laughter. The sting turns Jake’s world upside down and he searches
for an escape from saying goodbye. As he slaps endless amounts of
pepperoni on pizza in his dead-end job even Charles’ foolish dreams
start to have appeal. But Jake’s real escape route leads not along the
open road but in the direction of a morose stranger, whose daily ritual
of picking pepperoni off his pizza slice sends Jake over the edge.
CAST
Jake Seamus Morrison
Sarah Leah MacDonald
Charles Nathan MacIntosh
Tom Simon Howell
Pizza Joint Girlfriend Gillian Wesley
CREW
Writer, Director & Producer Ann Verrall
Co-Producers Jay Ferguson
Aram Kouyoumdjian
Director of Photography Jay Ferguson
Art Director Dave Croft
Editor Thorben Bieger
Sound Aram Kouyoumdjian/René Beaudry
Music Supervisor Colin MacKenzie
Stills Photographer Julé Malet-Veale
Post-Production PowerPost, Halifax, Nova Scotia
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ANN VERRALL
Writer, Director, Producer
Born in Orillia, Ontario, Ann Verrall has spent most of her life in
Halifax. A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design,
Ann discovered her love of moving images in her fnal term after
studying sculpture and textiles. As she moved from the experimental
genre into drama, she began studying acting to strengthen her ability
to direct actors. She attended the National Voice Intensive at UBC
and has taken numerous workshops at Equity Showcase Theatre in
Toronto. Ann’s flms combine a visually rich cinematic style with
genuine performances from young actors.
The Water’s Tale (1996, 45 min.) received a Special Jury award from
New York Exposition of Short Film and Video, Experimental Drama
Bronze Award from Worldfest in Houston, Texas and three awards
from the Atlantic Film Festival including the Margaret Perry award for
Best Produced Film. Rain (2000, 19 min.) won Best Atlantic Short at
Atlantic Film Festival and was curated into a Best of the Canadian
Film Centre’s WorldWide Short Film Festival which toured Australia
in 2002. The Wait (2006, 24 min.), Ann’s most recent flm, was devel-
oped through a two-year workshop process with the teenage cast.
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FILMOGRAPHY
The Wait (23:40 min.) writer, director, producer 2006

• Toronto International Film Festival, World Premiere 2006
Awards
• Joy Post Award from Linda Joy Media Arts Society
Rain (19 min.) writer, director, co-producer 2000
• Broadcast: CBC, Canadian Refections & 2002-4
Atlantic Region
• ViewFinders International Film Festival for Youth, 2003
Halifax, NS
• FlickerFest, Sydney & Melbourne Australia 2002
(Best of Canadian Film Centre’s WorldWild Short Film Festival)
• Canadian Film Centre’s WorldWild Short Film 2001
Festival, Toronto
• Reel World Film Festival, Toronto 2001
• Local Heros, Winnipeg, Edmonton 2001
• Raindance, London, England 2000
• Atlantic Film Festival, Halifax 2000
Awards
• Best Atlantic Short, Atlantic Film Festival
• Linda Joy Media Arts Society
The Water’s Tale (45 min.) writer, director, editor, producer 1996

• Atlantic Film Festival 1996
• Worldfest, Houston, Texas 1996
• New York Exposition of Short Film 1996
Awards
• Atlantic Film Festival:
Margaret Perry Award for Best Produced Film
Best Editing
Best Cinematography
• New York Exposition of Short Film: Special Jury Award
• Worldfest, Houston Texas: Experimental Drama Bronze Award
• Linda Joy Media Arts Society
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PRODUCTIONS
shortworksproductions.ca
CO-PRODUCERS
JAY FERGUSON & ARAM KOUYOUMDJIAN (Roomtone Productions)

Jay got involved with The Wait two years before shooting. He
and Ann spent a year discussing the story, characters and script
before a camera was even mentioned. They met by chance in Halifax
in 2003.
Jay: “We just started talking about it and it was such an amazing idea,
I was immediately drawn to it. Because of my acting background the
idea of working with the cast to create the script had a huge appeal. I
think it is every cinematographer’s dream to work on a project in the
early stages of script development. That way the cinematography is
something that gets integrated into the story.”
Aram got involved a few months prior to shooting. He began with
location scouting and production management and flled in all the
gaps along the way - focus pulling, driver, sound recordist.
Aram: “The frst time I meet Ann she told me stories from her youth
most people wouldn’t tell. I decided on the way home that I would
help her make this flm.”
“Ann knew the cast inside out. I think it might have surprised her how
well they knew her too. They were like a big family.”

JAY FERGUSON: Director of Photography + Script Consultant
Jay (Toronto) worked as an actor, producer and director for the stage
in Ottawa before studying flm at Concordia University. He has shot
12 feature flms, various commercials and music videos, as well as
television episodic and life-style programming. He was won a best
Cinematography Award at the Atlantic Film Festival (Animals) and
received nominations from Le Rendez-vous de cinema quebecois
(Les Mules et les emeraude), The Gemini Awards (Animals), and the
Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards (Alter Egos). As a
Director in his own rite, he has produced a feature Posthumus and
just fnished production on a pilot Ten to Go.
“Working with the kids, with their energy. It was so amazing the
energy of that shoot.”
ARAM KOUYOUMDJIAN: Production Manager; Sound Recordist
Raised in Moncton, NB, Aram’s sound recording career has run the
gauntlet of flm and television production from big budget feature
flms and television series’, to MOWs, docs, commercials, shorts,
independents and art flms. He now travels the planet recording
sound for documentaries. He has produced/co-produced short flms
and music videos including Decoding the Undertow (Canadian/
German co-pro 1/2 hour dance flm). He is this year’s recipient of
the CBC/NSFDC’s Bridge Award Program for a 1/2 hour drama The
Lullaby of Mike Bossy. The Wait was Aram’s frst experience wearing
both his producing and sound recording hats due to lack of available
crew – a situation he would not want to repeat.
Ann: “I know it was diffcult for Aram doing 2 divergent jobs but it
was perfect for me. He was such a big part of the project I felt very
fortunate to have him at my side on the day.”
Aram: “It was a busy summer in Halifax so our crew was made up
mostly of graduates from the local screen arts program and eager
recruits looking for on-set experience. What we lacked in technical
skill we made up for in soul. I don’t think we could have made this flm
without that soul.”
THORBEN BIEGER: Editor
Originally from Newfoundland, Thorben’s editing credits include
Camelia Frieberg’s feature flm A Stone’s Throw, Paul Donovan’s
co-production The Conclave, the television comedies Rabbittown
and The Gavin Crawford Show, as well as Andrea Dorfman’s award
winning short flm There’s a Flower in My Pedal. His work on the
political satire Snakes & Ladders earned him a nomination in the
2004 DGC Craft Award for Picture Editing.
Ann: “We had such intense discussions about this piece, specifcally
the ending. There was a time I thought we were not going to be able
to agree on how to end the flm. But then suddenly it clicked for both
of us.”
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SEAMUS MORRISON: “Jake” + Story Contributor

“I have gone places I never thought I could.”
Seamus (Sydney, Cape Breton) has always dreamed of being an
actor. At age 12, he was cast as the lead in Ann Verrall’s previous
flm Rain. Around the same time, Seamus was also cast as one of
the miner boys in the CBC Television family series, Pit Pony. At 16,
Seamus got the call from Verrall to be involved in her next project.
Now at 20, Seamus writes:
“I didn’t do very well in high school. During those years this project
was the only thing I really focused on…the most important thing this
experience has given me is the drive to be something that I truly want
to be. I couldn’t have asked for three better summers than the ones
I spent with Ann and those other crazy teenagers. It was the hardest
work I have ever done in my entire life but it is probably the best thing
I have done in my entire life.”
Seamus has acted as Lead in Jay Ferguson’s Ten to Go and a principal
in Homeless to Harvard, MOW for Hard Rock. He is currently a student
in the acting conservatory at York University, Toronto.
“I wait in 4/4 time – count yellow highway lines”
from Left and Leaving by The Weakerthans (Seamus’ song pick)

LEAH MACDONALD: “Sarah” + Story Contributor

“We knew these characters like the back of our hands because we
grew up with them.”
Leah (Annapolis Valley, NS) began acting in plays when she was 10
years old at Centre Stage, the local community theatre in Kentville.
Over the next eight years, she acted in 10 plays. After high school,
Leah went to York University in Toronto to study theatre. Since
then, she has decided that comedy is where her heart is and she is
currently enrolled at Humber College. Her aspiration is to perform at
Second City in Chicago.
“During that time I had to face a lot of challenges. I had and still have
a lot of walls up when it comes to intimacy. It was challenging to let
my guard down and let people into my personal space. My favorite
thing about shooting the flm was how real it all felt, the emotions
brought forth by all the actors.”
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SIMON HOWELL: “Tom” + Story Contributor + Music Advisor
“there are still many traces of my younger self in Tom”
Simon (Halifax, NS) had studied theatre but it had never occurred to him
to get involved in flm until he saw the notice for this project at school.
“My experience with the project has largely been in sync with the
growth and confusion of my teenage life…unsure of myself, feeling
depressed or dejected… As we got closer to fnalizing the story, my life had
mellowed considerably….It was a unique and engaging process that,
even as it frustrated me, helped me to grow as a person.”
Simon is currently studying Electroacoustics at Concordia University
in Montreal, hoping to fnd a career in sound design/engineering.
“…see right through, right through you…”
from Tuff Ghost by The Unicorns (Simon’s Song Pick)
NATHAN MACINTOSH: “Charles” + Story Contributor
Nathan (Halifax) was interested in being a stand up comedic from
an early age but wasn’t ready to pursue it as a career. He thought
he would take the more practical route and study a trade at college.
When Ann introduced the idea of Nathan’s character Charles going
to Humber College (Toronto) to study comedy performance, she sent
him information on the program. In the year that followed high school,
Nathan worked a variety of “boring” jobs and began making his own
plans to apply to Humber. Nathan is now living in Toronto where he
does stand-up comedy all over the city.

“My goal is to one day get paid for it, and maybe end up in a pepsi
commercial. Ah what the hell, lets shoot big here, a series of pepsi
commercials.”
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PRODUCTION NOTES: the extraordinary journey of creating The Wait
Simon: “the plot…changed a million times more then any normal flm ever
could. Old scripts would have absolutely nothing to do with this one.”
Melissa: “It was like starting from scratch and that was really
exciting because then I knew that anything we wanted to do was
defnitely a possibility.”
The story of The Wait began in 2002 with the selection of eight
teenagers from across Nova Scotia. I did not have a story, just a
theme – the idea of teenagers waiting. I wanted to develop a story
through a workshop process using improvisation. I had never done
anything like this before. I looked up improv exercises on the internet
and began. I told them it was an experiment and invited them to take
part. The door was always there if they wanted to leave. There was
no money involved.
It was to be a summer project to create a 10-minute piece. But over
15 days of workshops throughout that frst summer, I realized there
was too much material, too many possibilities, so I decided to write a
feature script. By the end of the summer I gave the teens the option
to continue on or leave the project. I told them I could not guarantee
that the flm would ever be made. They all stayed.

We met on sporadic weekends, Christmas Holidays and March Break.
In between the workshops, I would write. Much of the frst year was
spent developing characters, exploring relationships, getting to know
each other and always searching for the elusive story. There were
many, many versions and many, many tangents.
THE CRISIS OF SPRING 2003
It became clear that we were not ready to go into production and
I had to tell them I was postponing until summer 2004. It was the
worst moment for me in the whole process. I again gave them the
option of leaving. After emails and phone calls and tears and talks with
parents, they all decided to stay.
Leah: “I couldn’t say goodbye. It is something that you put so much
time into.…We’ve raised the script. It’s a baby. She wrote it but it is
part of us.”
SUMMER 2003 YEAR 2
Summer 2003 focused on performance. I brought in two acting
instructors to do week-long intensives with the teens. I needed to see
what they were capable of as actors. This would impact the direction
the script took and help me prepare for directing.
Grace Smith
Angela Clarke
Josh Hatt, Melissa Murphy,
Seamus Morrison
Leah MacDonald
Nathan MacIntosh
Simon Howell
(year 1 – 2002)
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In the year that followed we saw less and less of each other. They
went on with their lives and I battled it out with the script. I realized I
needed to shift my focus away from them and on to the characters to
fnd the story that would work. I postponed again.
Early in the process Nathan joked with me about only staying for 5 years.
Nathan (2004): “It’s past the point of no return – no turning back. I’ll
be 38 and still coming to Ann’s backyard, bringing my kids”
Leah: “There were times I would read scenes that Sarah would have
to go through and I would feel really uncomfortable with it.”
Seamus: “When I read it I was like what the hell is this. Has Ann been
hanging outside my window for the last couple of months.”
The most special thing for me in the process was seeing them grow
up, seeing how art and life mixed. I was writing their characters older
then they actually were. So I was writing about things that they had
never experienced, like being in love, breaking up, having sex, leaving
home. Months later we would get back together and inevitably there
would be someone who had had a new experience. Suddenly they
knew about what their character was doing. They would be excited
and more open to taking risks.
PLAIN CHEESE In a meeting with Grace and Simon I ask them what
kind of pizza Tom would order. I felt it should be something unusual.
They both said immediately Plain Cheese. From that seed came the
Plain Cheese story line.
FEBRUARY 2005
Although I felt the script was fnally ready, the producing side of the
project was rife with problems. It was becoming clear that I would
not be able to raise the funds for a low-budget feature. The “kids”
were getting old and I couldn’t go through another year with them
waiting for me. So I made the decision to say goodbye to 4 of the
characters, write a short version and shoot something that summer
with my Canada Council Grant. Ironically, in writing the short, I feel I
have fnally found the story.
I was drawn to this subject because there is something very profound
and mysterious that we go through as we navigate this transitionary
time of life. We no longer feel at home with where we have been but
have not fgured out what’s coming next. My own experience was full
of turmoil, intense crazy times, restless boredom, and waiting for life
to begin. It still haunts and inspires me.
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I did not set out to tell my own story - and in many ways I have not.
But somewhere over the three years I spent interacting with these
teenagers (now young adults), our stories have merged to become a
work of fction. As a story, it belongs to none of us and all of us.
FINALLY ON SET
Simon: “Holy crap they’ve actually got one of those scene cutter
things. That’s amazing.”
“I was fully prepared to come back here and have Ann with a little
handy cam and just wing it.”

“It goes from like us in this dark room seemingly just wanking around
for 2 years and then suddenly it’s like…did I miss a meeting?”
Melissa: “I’m so excited. I can’t believe this is happening.”

TOM’S DANCE
“It was pretty clear from the beginning that I was going to have an
outsider role.” Simon Howell (Tom)

When I frst began working with the teens I thought that in the story
they would all be a group of friends. But even after all of the relationship
building exercises we did, they all said that their character would not
be friends with “Tom”. I was mortifed. I started to doubt the ethics
of what I was doing. I had set up a situation that enabled a kid to be
shunned by his peers. So Simon/Tom was destined to be an outsider
and the story developed in another direction.
I was using dance as part of our warm up. Some of them would barely
move, some would dance a bit but Simon, who was always serious
and subdued, suddenly came to life. He would go all out 100 percent
in his own frenetic, free-form style that shocked the others. I started
to incorporate Simon’s dancing and the reaction of the group into
the story. As Simon’s character “Tom” developed, his humanity was
revealed. The others started to admire “Tom” and warm up to Simon.
Simon: “Tom isolates himself because he is different from everybody
else and that was clear from the frst day I was there and I don’t mind
because I think Tom brings something interesting to the story.”
THE TIE-UP SCENE
“I scared myself. As soon as we wrapped I was out the door…I
couldn’t stop shaking” Seamus Morrison (Jake)

This was the scene that both Seamus and I feared the most,
although we did not confess this until later. It was a scene we could not
rehearse. I knew he had the ability to go to very dark places in a work-
shop situation with help from teachers and enough time. But whether
he could go there on set, with crew, equipment and time constraints,
was unknown. We just let the camera roll for 30 minutes and let him
fnd his way. As he went along, I mostly just asked him questions and
encouraged him to keep going.
It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had as a
director, to witness the journey he went through in that 30 minutes.
I could tell he was resisting it and then there was a moment when
he suddenly freaked out and he was there. It was electric. I think we
were all deeply affected by it.
(from an interview after wrapping)
Interviewer: “During this whole shoot, did you ever feel like you just
wanted to quit?”
Seamus: “Fuck Yes, yes yes yes yes yes.…Well stop it, not quit but
stop. When I was taping myself up I wasn’t into it at all at frst, I got this
feeling like - I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this - and then
I just started using it and...I just went so crazy. I got so depressed,
I just snapped….But that’s what’s great because those really hard
moments are the best things ever you can do as an actor”
WHERE’S THE SEX?
In the early versions of the script there was no sex. I knew it was
going to be added in at some point but I did not want to push it
on them because they were so young. I did not know what kind of
experiences they had. We talked about the subject and started to
explore attractions through improvisation. It was clear they felt awkward
about it, so I knew they weren’t ready. Maybe I wasn’t either.

Ann: “Every time the subject of sex came up they would give me
weird looks.”
Nathan: “We were little.” (Summer 2004)
In March 2003, I brought in a script editor from Toronto, Carrie Paupst
Shaughnessy of the Development House, to do a script consultation
session. She asked us, “Where’s the sex?” That’s what started it.
Given permission to really talk about it, they all said there should be
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sex in the script. So then the next stage was to fgure out who would
do what with whom and why. Writing it was one thing but knowing that
they could perform it was another.

In the summer of 2003 we began our 3-week session by exploring
sexual relationships in the studio. Then armed with 2 video cameras,
we all traipsed over to a friend’s house to do fully clothed improvisations
on her pull-out couch. The improvisations focused on before and
after sex but not sex. In the fnal version of The Wait, I added a new
character and therefore a new actor, who would become the sex
partner – a stranger. It was the only way to go there.
THE KISS
“You know what boning is?” Leah asks Ann (June 2004)
June 2004 I met with Sarah and Josh in the Annapolis Valley to
discuss the new script. I was still trying to fgure out what the
relationship should be between Jake and Sarah. Are they in love?
Are they just friends? I felt it existed somewhere in-between.
Leah: “I see something pure…you watch those movies and kids are
just boning. You know what boning is?…You know they are doing
the old niss nass but I think Jake and Sarah are just back to the old
fashioned way, so what ever happens with them it should be special.
Something as pure as she kisses him.”
In the fnal version Jake and Sarah do not really kiss - only in Jake’s
imagination - but the kiss is a big moment. In all the improvisations
they did, no one actually kissed anyone. After three years of living
with the idea that their characters were the ‘love couple’, they had
become awkward with each other. I brought in a coach, Anne-Marie
Kerr, to work with them the day before we shot the scene. When I
returned a few hours later, they performed the scene and I almost
cried. We had overcome a big hurdle.

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