Nick's bad day makes a good script

Last updated 05:00 07/02/2014
SELF STARTERS: Nick Garrett and Laura Putnam’s short film Lock and Key has made it into the finals of Tropfest New Zealand.

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They say life imitates art but in Nick Garrett's case the reverse is true.

A comedy of errors inspired his short film Lock and Key which has earned him a place in the finals of Tropfest 2014.

The event takes place in New Plymouth on February 16 and is the New Zealand edition of the largest short film festival in the world.

In Mr Garrett's action comedy Lock and Key a man locks his girlfriend's keys in her car in a Mt Eden car park and tensions flare.

In reality Mr Garrett locked the keys inside the car he owned with his girlfriend Laura Putnam during his first shift at a new job.

When he rang Miss Putnam she suggested he call a locksmith but when he went to get cash out of an ATM, it wouldn't return his card.

To top it off his phone battery was almost flat. Luckily the locksmith saw the funny side of it, he says.

This film has a quite different mood to last year's entry Stop, not that he planned it that way.

"Ideas just come. You don't think what genre it is, you just write it," he says.

The idea for the dark drama came to him after seeing two strangers talking on the bus.

In the short film two people meet and start chatting at a rural bus stop.

A shock ending follows an argument about first impressions.

Actress Hayley Robertson won best actress for her efforts in Stop.

As well as directing the film, Mr Garrett composed the music and co-wrote it with his friend Jono Potton.

Showing it to a large audience was amazing, he says.

"That's the main reason why we entered. It was the first year of the New Zealand version of the festival. They did really well to get a lot of people along.

"We were beside an old couple and they jumped at the end but then they laughed so I think they enjoyed it," he says.

The 24-year-old has been making films since his early teens.

He completed most of a bachelor of arts in film, television and media studies at the Auckland University before leaving to start the video production company Chillbox Creative with Miss Putnam.

The couple moved from Orewa to Mt Eden six months ago.

She is also involved in making the films, often taking on the role of assistant camera operator.

"There are only five of us so everyone does everything," the 23-year-old says.

At the moment they are working on a script for a web series but in the future Mr Garrett would like to work on large productions.

"I think a lot of people at the moment are holding on to the way things used to be. There's no work in film any more. But if you're motivated you can make things happen," he says.

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After February 16, you can watch Lock and Key at

- © Fairfax NZ News

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