Trevor's Story

Addiction. Prison. Mental health.

This is a short film based on the life experiences of Trevor - an Opportunity Nottingham Expert Citizen. It documents his experiences with drug abuse, criminality, homelessness, mental health and his difficulties accessing support. Our aim was to dramatise his life in a truthful and emotive way.


Concept Development Film Production Motion Graphics

The Finished Result


Behind the Scenes

Following on from the success of our Stigma film with Opportunity Nottingham, we were commissioned to bring Trevor's story life. Trevor was an Expert Citizen with the service, who had recently passed away. He was passionate about helping others who had been through similar circumstances, and wanted his story to be shared as a means of raising awareness and offering hope to others like him.

There was a lot of development work involved with this production. We worked closely with Opportunity Nottingham to identify the themes that Trevor had touched upon through his experiences, and how we might best represent these themes in an original, artistic way. We understood that literal, documentary style representation of certain scenes would feel disingenuous. We wanted a more personal, organic account - and using artistic licence would allow us to explore themes more deeply and allude to the less visible scars that people with complex needs have.

The 'live journal' idea (featuring an animated written memoir, and tracked text within certain shots) was developed as a way of creating a visual connection between the scene and Trevor's latter reflection upon it. We combined this with voiceover and various actors, representing Trevor at different stages of his life. Aesthetically, we wanted to show that these thoughts and experiences are chapters, and like chapters, they don't disappear simply when then the page is turned.

Incorporating elements of the text within the scene forms a correlation between the environment, the experiences and the feelings of Trevor during difficult periods of his life. Many people, like Trevor, are burdened with the past and it's their past which has had a negative impact on how forthcoming people are with their support.

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Above: Three various stages of the 'paper scrunch effect', which was achieved through stop motion (left); a section of handwritten text which was written on a tablet, composited and animated in post (right). We used various motion graphic techniques like this to achieve the style of the film. In addition to the visual effects involved, casting and location scouting helped create an accurate portrayal of Trevor and his story.

The final result of the film was extremely well received and has since encouraged other organisations to approach us with new enquiries. We are immensely proud to have shared Trevor's story and help raise awareness to the challenges faced by those with multiple and complex needs.

"Reel always go above and beyond to get the job done. Their ability to respond to a brief and really portray the subject matter, is truly excellent. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them."

Stacey Murton

Communications Lead, Opportunity Nottingham

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