Interview with filmmaker Sam Brewster (Misstep)

Sam Brewster’s MISSTEP played at the best of Under 5min. Film Festival in January 2016. I was fortunate enough to ask him a few questions about the film and his reactions to the audience’s reactions to his short film.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The film started out as just an idea that I had; a steadicam shot waltzing around an alienated couple, as they go through their methodological morning routines, moving around each other with indifference. This grew into a mini-fable; a short tale of morality set in modern London.

As I’d only made a couple of 1 minute shorts before, from a technical point of view, I wanted to challenge myself by shooting in some varied locations (a train station, a moving car) and to practice using green screen.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

I wrote the short and held the auditions for the banker within a month, then shot the film over three days. The post-production was less efficient; as I was learning on-the-go, using basic techniques such as chroma keying etc. was a messy process and resulted in some compromised final shots.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Modern fable
 
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Money & people. Well, you can always hire more people when you have more money, so money. Just like most fledgling independent filmmakers, I financed this myself in an expensive city on a meagre salary.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I really appreciated the empathy that the audience had with the morality of the tale, so I’m glad that I got that across in the film. It’s by far my least divisive story, so I think it is more palatable than some of my other shorts, where the protagonist rarely learns a lesson.

6. Great locations in this short. How were you able to lock them down?

I used a friend (and co-producer’s) student status to shoot at Liverpool Street Station in London for a hugely discounted price (£50!) for 2 hours on an empty platform. The Health & Safety steward appointed to us was not happy about the liberties we were taking, (running a magliner down the platform to get the tracking shot, erecting a 10x20ft green screen) but I’m glad that I pushed the allowances to get the scene shot as I had imagined it.

For the Banker’s home, I wanted somewhere that would work well with a meticulously choreographed steadicam shot, so it had to be relatively open plan. I found the apartment via an Airbnb-like site, and luckily the owner was an arts lover and was very keen to support us in the production.

The car was rented through Zipcar (the hourly rental car service), and was also used to ferry some of the cast and crew to and from locations. Everyone else had to take the bus..

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

It’s difficult to say, but perhaps A Clockwork Orange. Good question! Better than what’s your favourite film, which no-one can truthfully answer.

8. What is next for you? A new film?

Hopefully. I’ve made a few shorts since this one, and I plan on making another film this year. There’s a chance it’ll grow into a zero budget neo-noir feature, but that all depends on the script (and money!).

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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