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For Want of a Nail short film


Directed by: #LucyJoanBarnes

Written by: #NickThomson


For Want of a Nail short film
For Want of a Nail short film

Intimate and insightful, For Want of a Nail, is a powerful short film shining a light on OCD and its psychological impact. Written by Nick Thomson, who himself suffers from some OCD compulsions, the filmmakers worked with #OCDAction to draw out the psychological nuances of the protagonist Marty, who is aware of his obsessive nature, but who is trying to control it, aiming to achieve a ‘perfect’ day.

The editing here is excellent, with the use of flashforward and flashback exploring the sacrifices Marty has had to make to achieve some stability and to protect the people he loves from his behaviour. We see him lose his father, mother and brother, and his relationship with his fiancée, Sally, breakdown, while his twin sister continues to be around, trying to engage him, quietly and gently.

Complementing the editing is the use of voiceover – a running commentary of Marty’s thoughts which are at times almost comical, but which come with the inevitable sadness of the barriers this condition builds up inside the minds of its victims as Marty narrates his fears and phobias, his paranoia and the imaginary scenarios which he has to work hard to shut out if he is to ‘survive’ today, making it ‘perfect’. Despite the interruptions to his day: thoughts of Sally while brushing his teeth; frustrations caused by the small failures of his computer, a phone call from his sister, a visit from her, flashbacks to sitting with her in the cemetery, he makes it all the way until 11pm. All he has to do is turn off the light-switch. He has to stroke it seven times, but once that is done, he simply needs to walk away and go to sleep. With all his brain has thrown at him today, this trifling moment is surely to be overcome too, like the rest of today’s events?

The work done behind the scenes for For Want of a Nail in production and pre-production has combined to produce a tactful and thoughtful piece of film on a topic rarely explored so sensitively.



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