Director’s Commentary

There are so many reasons why it was important to us to make ‘TAM’: As a relatable cultural reference; as a piece of poetry in it’s own right; as a chance to experiment with visual filmmaking; but above all to entertain. Not just as an amusing short-film, but as a humble homage to Rabbie Burns himself, whose original poem was always intended to provide some dark humour and pathos within gathered groups of friends, pub patrons or merrymakers. Although many are familiar with the poem ‘Tam O’Shanter‘, it’s mainstream support among the non-literati has since become lacklustre; confined largely to Scottish classrooms and annual recitations at Burns Suppers each 25th January. ‘TAM’ aims to recapture the same accessible vigour, spirit and enthusiasm as when ‘Tam O’Shanter’ was first performed in 1791 (it was written in 1790). We heartily encourage everyone who watches ‘TAM’ to read the original poem again; whether for the first time, or after many years, with a renewed enthusiasm for Burns’ incredible gift for storytelling.

It is also worth noting that, like the old Scots dialect, many people will struggle to fully understand the vocabulary of colloquial Glaswegian; it’s turns of phrase, it’s strange word uses and derivations and the use of the ‘F’ word to fulfil almost any purpose with appropriate delivery. In time, this dialect will evolve and much will be lost, just like old Scots, so it is important to preserve it in context. Language is expressed at its emotional finest in poetry – to be heard rather than read, and to be illustrated enough to expand the imagination and inspire the listener. ‘TAM’ provides both a cultural reference for those interested in modern Scottish language and culture, and as an archive for the future, preserving a snippet of early 21st century Scottish language, storytelling and humour.

Lastly, ‘TAM’ is intended to be enjoyed, rather than analysed – so gather your pals, pour a dram and watch in good company.