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By 2018, Daniel Hutchings found himself at a crossroads. His trusty camcorder that he had used since 2013 to make Django Away! and Freelance Giggle-oh had developed capturing faults too frequent to ignore. Unable to take professional filmmaking commissions and without funds to buy another camcorder, daily life sunk to a series of penny counting experiences. Feeling the writing was on the wall, Hutchings decided it was time to consider budgeted filmmaking methods for his next feature-length project. With what he considered a 'mainstream' idea, he set about trying to find funding for Happy Returns with the aim of casting Gemma Arterton and Mathew Baynton in the lead roles. It was not long before his high aims were lowered and the methods that make a Thingy called him back like a siren to a sailor. 
In 2018, Czech-born Markéta Brundova found herself far from home at Cardiff Univserity to study Drama as part of the Erasmas Programme. Looking for projects outside university that would mirror her own ambitions, she saw a casting call for "someone to play a bored wife and mum in a zero-budget film" who had "enthusiasm for the freedom working on an Art Film can offer". 
Neither Hutchings nor Brundova would know at the time, but this listing would be the start of a collaboration that would affect their lives in ways they could never have expected. 

Hutchings' production diary of Happy Returns follows his journey from giving up on Thingymaking to “trying to do things properly”, through giving up on “trying to do things properly” and, again, taking up Thingymaking to follow his daydreams and inspirations. 
From Start to Thingy is the story of how a passion project can offer you shelter from hard times, experiences that lighten your day and support from people you would never have met otherwise. 

"Hutchings has found a cinematic star in Brundova."

 Leo Travis



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