A young girl aspires to be a singer in London's Edwardian music halls but after witnessing abuse and injustice, changes course to lead the fight against the all-powerful theatre owners, quickly gaining the support of performers, back-stage workers and audiences.

  • Helen Taylor
  • Project Type:
    Screenplay, Treatment
  • Genres:
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • European Cinematic Festival
    Madrid, Spain
    December 4, 2020
    Best screenplay
  • WRPN Women's International Film Festival
    Nassau, Delaware
    December 8, 2020
    Silver Award, Script Writing
  • Screenplay Festival
    Sherman Oaks, California
    October 6, 2020
  • Artemis Women In Action Film Festival
    Santa Monica, California
    January 15, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Vancouver International Women In Film Festival Screenplay Competition
    Vancouver, Canada
    January 31, 2021
    Semi finalist
  • Toronto Women's International Film Festival
    Toronto, Canada
    February 14, 2021
    Official Selection
Writer Biography - Helen Taylor

I've been script writing for several years, having previously built up over twenty years experience as a technical author and commercial writer. Warpaint is my first original script, although I have worked on several adaptations and also have several more original, feature length scripts in draft form.

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Writer Statement

The main themes of Warpaint are overcoming abuse and hardship and making a stand for what’s right. It was important to me to tell the story of a strong woman who is in control of her life and makes things happen, as these have always been important themes in my own life. I also feel strongly that in a world in which many women do not have the choices that others enjoy, stories of strong women who give hope and support to others are important to tell.
I wanted to tell the story of a woman who, in-spite of suffering hardship and cruelty, stands up for herself and goes out into the world to get what she wants. She has a dream and she pursues it, in-spite of setbacks that could easily overwhelm her. When she realises her dream, as is often the case, things don’t turn out to be quite what she expected, and so her path alters as a result of her experiences and she sees a need to take a stand for a better, fairer world.
The Edwardian era was a pivotal time for woman in this country; the suffragette movement was at its height and the emancipation of woman was gathering momentum. Woman were going out into the workplace more and it was a time of social change that set the scene for the complete upheaval of society that later resulted from the first world war.
The main theme is the abuse of young women in a theatrical environment by ‘the man in charge’, in this case, the all-powerful theatre owner. At that time, theatre owners could demand whatever they liked in terms of pay and working conditions for both performers and theatre workers, and many took full advantage, paying low wages, demanding long working hours and any number of performances, plus imposing restrictive contracts that tied performers. Taking what they could get from young female performers and chorus girls was probably seen as an additional right by unscrupulous owners, and the young women were at the mercy of these men, having very few rights themselves. They were perceived by many in society, including the police, as glorified prostitutes.
Unfortunately, in 100 years, it seems that we’ve made little progress in this area; in recent years, the revelations of young women working in the film industry have shown that this behaviour and mindset remains prevalent. Therefore, the relevance of these themes persists today, and often, an effective way to convey a message for the present is to use parallels from the past.