Seeing the bright Hollywood lights and George Clooney in my short film - Ian McMillan

I’m sitting in the office of a TV producer sometime in the early 1990s. The producer has seen me doing some daft things on local telly and he thinks he’d like to make a film with me.

I’m getting very excited about having my name up in lights and striding down a red carpet in my best suit (well, let’s face it, my only suit) at the world premiere.

But then he says that he’s just looking to make a short film that he can put up for film festivals.

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There are often no red carpets involved with these kinds of short films, unless the film itself is a film about a red carpet.

George Clooney - a dead ringer for Ian McMillan?  (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)George Clooney - a dead ringer for Ian McMillan?  (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
George Clooney - a dead ringer for Ian McMillan? (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

He stares at me across his desk and I notice that his eyes are piercing and indeed are so piercing that you could probably open tins with them.

‘Do you have any ideas for a short film?’ he asks. Well, as it happens, I do. I’ve even got the title: I’m going to call it McMillan’s Symphony of Light’ and it’s about me walking down our street and through my village on a late evening in autumn and setting off security lights as I go.

The whole film would be about different kinds of light, the different kinds of light that you get at that time of night at that time of year.

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In the film I set off from my house and I’m holding a torch; somebody walks past me and they’re carrying a torch. A double decker bus passes, lighting up the street. A car passes and the headlights sweep across the road, sweeping the darkness away.

Someone stands in their doorway smoking a cigarette. Then there’s a moment of darkness and then, as I walk and I lift my torch into the air thus holding a beam of light a million miles long, the security light kick in. They illuminate me as I walk down the street.

An aeroplane passes overhead, lit like a flying Christmas tree. The remains of an old bonfire smoulder in a garden. My glasses glint in the light from the security lights, almost making their own light.

When I’m in tiny periods between security light brilliance, I can see the stars sending us their light from the deep past. I get to the end of the street and sit down on a bench.

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I finish my pitch and look at the TV producer. ‘I love it!’ he says. He claps his hands so enthusiastically I think they might catch fire. ‘Who do you see as playing you?’ he asks. There is no edge or cynicism to his voice, and I realise that it’s a genuine question.

I try to hide the fact that I’m disappointed that I won’t actually be playing myself. I pretend to think for a moment and then I say, jokingly, ‘How about George Clooney?’ The TV producer doesn’t laugh. ‘I’ll try him’ he says. ‘But he might be busy.’

Seeing the surprise on my face he says ‘I’ve got him on speed dial, you know.’

Then he says ‘I love what you’ve given me here but there’s not enough jeopardy.’

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Now I’m puzzled; how can there be any jeopardy in a short film about a bloke walking to the end of his street and causing security lights to come on? Unless some of them don’t come on, of course. Is that enough jeopardy?

‘Bring me another treatment’ he says, with an air of finality, ‘and don’t forget: I need jeopardy…’

As I left I heard him dialling someone on his phone. George Clooney? Hope so!