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Filmmakers Christopher Barrett + Luke Taylor Talk Cautionary Tales

Bench scene from Cautionary Tales

Have you ever thrown caution to the wind? What was the result? Filmmakers Christopher Barrett and Luke Taylor explore this idea with hilarious results in their short film Cautionary Tales screening March 24 at the Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival.

Barrett and Taylor met while studying at Kingston in the BA Graphic Design course. In the last 12 months they have shot a Super Bowl spot for Comcast, created a film for Nike, and completed their short film Cautionary Tales about a young man who seeks comfort in the friendship and understanding of an unexpected (and rather unusual) support group.

If you’re planning on coming to the festival, know that mild spoilers follow for Cautionary Tales.

What attracts you to science fiction and fantasy as genres?

We have always loved standing with one foot in the world of the surreal / heighten reality. There is something so special about worlds that have been designed and created from someone’s imagination. There is a playground for you to go as wild as you like; there are no rules. There is something about seeing the world through the eyes of a child, where you believe anything is possible. I feel we hold that very close to us still. 

Why do you think sci-fi and fantasy continue to be so popular for storytellers? 

Cinema and film act as an escape from reality so why not be something that no one has ever seen before. 

What inspired you to create Cautionary Tales?

The whole idea stemmed from the lies parents tell their children. We found it fascinating that parents tell their children not to lie, but they constantly do just that.

We focused on the somewhat dark cautionary tales parents use to scare their children into behaving. "If the wind changes your face will stay like that forever," and "If you stay in the bath too long you'll turn into a prune," to name a few.

Just imagine what a child is thinking when these tales are told to them! Of course, we now know they are not true, but the reality of these lies to a child’s imagination is a very horrific experience. "My face will stay like that forever!!!!!" We loved the idea of imagining a world in which these tales had come true and these kids have lived their whole lives with these disfigurements. 

How did you two begin making films together?

We met at university, where we both studied graphic design. It was a very open course where we dabbled in everything from perforce art to adverting.

We used to collaborate on many projects together, but it wasn’t until our final year where we made a film. We made a music promo for Them Yorke for the D&AD Student Awards; we actually went on to win first place.

After graduating university, we set up our own design studio where we connoted to dabble in various projects for brands until a few years later where we ended up purely focusing on directing. We are now signed directors at Academy films in the UK and Reset Content is the USA. 

What’s next for you as filmmakers and artists?

We are currently in development on a few scrips and pitching on music video and commercials. 

You Can see more work by Barrett and Taylor on their site. Cautionary Tales will screen at the Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival on March 24.


About the author

Adrienne is a writer and editor from Seattle and is MoPOP's Content Wizard (patent pending).