Blast from the past: Sign Language Q&A3 July, 2012 2:53pm
ABOUT YOUR FILM
What inspired you to make your film?
When I first came to London I worked as a runner in Soho, so I spent a lot of my time pelting along Oxford Street balancing frappachinos on a stack of film cans. I was always heartbroken to see the stream of Londoners striding grimly by, brows furrowed and staring at the ground. I’d just arrived, so I was still full of wonder for all the incredible buildings and activity and energy and life – but, years later, I remember catching myself doing the same thing.
I’ve always loved stories that try to wake us up – to bring back a bit of amazingness – remind us ordinary things aren’t ordinary at all. So almost a decade later, when Stephen suggested a film about an Oxford Street Golf-Sign-holder-guy in love with his ‘office’, I began to get excited.
How long did it take to make?
About a month, all in: A week or two knocking ideas and drafts back and forth between myself and Stephen; about three/four days for Tiernan to pull cast and crew and permissions together; a six hour shoot on a drizzly winter Oxford Street; a week or two to cut and grade – all worked around normal life.
How much did you spend on it?
236 pounds and 42 pence.
Did you have to cut back on anything in order to save money during filming?
We wanted to take the cast and crew for lunch on the shoot day, so found a pub that had a £5 ‘lunch-and-a-drink’ deal.
Was the 2 minutes, 20 seconds time limit easy to stick to?
Hell no. But that was a good thing.
What was the best bit about making your film?
The matching gloves. Pure luck. Gave me a big morale boost in the morning to think the film gods were smiling on us.
What was your biggest worry during filming?
Take your pick: Losing the light, trouble from police, rain so hard the signs fell apart, the signs falling apart for any other reason, freezing actors, getting trouble from angry tourists who couldn’t find the Golf Sale (that actually happened) , trouble from Air Traffic Control, the list goes on.
If you win, how will you spend the £30k film funding?
On a short film called Airtime about a middle-aged housewife who loses her grip on the floor. Think of the floating scenes in Mary Poppins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, done by Ken Loach.
When did you realise you were interested in film making?
City of Lost Children at my Dad’s film club when I was little, because it was the first film I’d seen that had a whole imaginary world like nothing I’d ever seen before. A universe invented by one guy and made totally real in my head. Amazing. Then The Neverending Story. Then at a party at university, when I played with a camera someone had lying around, made a little in-camera film about a guy seeing himself in a chair across the room, and got an amazing reaction from someone I thought had good taste.
Who or what are your biggest film influences?
Jeunet, Gilliam, Douglas Adams, Haneke, Propp.
If you could make a film with anyone, dead or alive, unknown or famous, who would it be?
Douglas Adams. The king of turning the ordinary inside out – and inventing a million new ideas before breakfast.
If there was a film of your life, who would play you and what would it be called?
I’d get everyone to take turns, a different actor in every shot. It would be called ‘Everyone is Everyone’.
What’s the most watched DVD in your collection?
The drive cleaner disk. I love that Japanese presenter guy, he makes me feel so clean. Seriously though, I have no DVDs.
Which decade of film would you most like to have been a part of and why?
The next one.
Popcorn or ice cream?
Front or back row?
OCD need for exact middle of the middle row, middle front if there’s a decent throw to the screen, middle back at the IMAX.
Early for trailers or late for start?
Try to be early, usually late.
Stay for credits or shoot off?
Stay. Might be a gag after. And sometimes they close the curtains. Mmm, closure.
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