TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE The Podcast Episode #28 now presenting Glenn McQuaid’s “Trawler” , the Tale that got him started on his journey. Glenn reflects:
Looking back through my emails I see that the first correspondence about Trawler is to my friend and talented filmmaker Alan Rowe Kelly, I wrote: “I have too many ideas!! But most excited about a little story about three drunk fishermen on a trawler, of course they drag something up that baffles them!”. Days later I wrote to Larry Fessenden: “I’ve been chipping away at TRAWLER, an idea that seems resilient through my moments of self deprecation. It’s about three drunken fishermen that come across some giant fish eggs after a storm. Not sure if it’s a Scareflick but I’ll get you a treatment, would love your thoughts.”
It’s fun to look back on the first mentions of this particular story but I still sense the anxiety I was feeling back then, because at the time I was, or at least had been, suffering from a pretty severe case of writer’s block. There are folks out there who say there’s no such thing as writer’s block, that it’s a romantic notion people use as a crutch or an excuse not to just push through and get stuck in, and while I agree it’s not actually a medical condition, I could not, as a matter of fact, write. And so if the hat fits…
The ideas were flowing I just couldn’t follow any one of them long enough to get it on paper because another, even more alluring, idea would pop into my skull and I’d want to concentrate on that until I’d be interrupted yet again by something even more enticing, and so on times infinity or so it seemed. It was not a fun time.
And then along came Tales from Beyond the Pale.
Truth be told Tales from Beyond the Pale grew out of a desire to get stories out to audiences in a way that would circumnavigate some of the politics, business, strife and toil that can be associated with filmmaking; “Tales”, Larry and I realized, could be a precious shortcut to reaching an audience, with Tales we could go anywhere, do anything and feature any “thing” our imagination would allow, budgets be damned!
Environment has always been important to my writing and, keen to sink my teeth into the sounds of a life at sea, and of-course shift it ever so slightly beyond the pale, I got to work on my first radio play. Writing the thirty page script felt liberating, writing something that I knew, for a fact, would be produced gave me the confidence to have a little fun. I was also writing what I knew, Trawler is a continuation of the themes of I Sell the Dead, here again we have working class comrades finding themselves caught up in a strange new world and becoming, well, monster hunters.
Happy enough with the script, I passed it to Larry, he was enthusiastic about the adventure and agreed to play the ship’s captain Hackett. Christopher Denham and AJ Bowen were two actors I really wanted to work with and was delighted when they both signed on.
My memories of recording Trawler are warm but not without their edge. On the way into the studio with AJ Bowen, I threw my back out and had to direct the entire show from the floor. Not the best of circumstances but we made it though the day with pain-killers and the sheer joy of making a radio play set on the high seas.
Looking back on it all, Trawler, as light and broad as it is, was the script where I started to break ground as a writer, it lead to The Crush which led to The Ripple at Cedar Lake and so on and so forth. I’ve written a lot of content since then, some of which has yet to see the light of day but but that day is coming and I’m excited to share what I’ve got. Through Tales from Beyond the Pale I found my confidence as a writer and director and it started with this scrappy, mad caper that came to me when I really needed it. I hope you enjoy what it is and what it lead to.
—Glenn McQuaid, April 15, 2020