5 questions with Flushed director, Grace June Cleere at the half-way mark.
Thursday, June 15th, 2017
1Hey Grace! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make Flushed? Hey guys, thank you for having us! The initial seed came from a desire to write about the 'mundane' or 'every day' that isn't often portrayed on screen. I don't remember where the original kick-off really came from though, I was in the middle of an entirely different script, got bored (never did like it much) switched tabs and just found myself writing it! I have always wanted to write some form of commentary on social media too, so that flowed nicely into the setting.
2You wrote the script as well. How long did it take you to write and how important is the script to you? Thankfully it only took a few hours, as the whole thing formulated as I was going along, which I wish would happen more often!!! The on-screen social conversation wasn't fully written to begin with, that we played around with and the final version of that was decided in post. The script is important to me as it felt like rounded, honest and short piece, which is something I'd wanted to create for a long time. I really struggle with being succinct (can you tell?) so I was really proud even just for that once I'd finished it. The film as a whole I'm more proud of than the script alone, as a lot went on during the time we made it, so there's a lot of love for all the people both directly and in-directly involved in making it!!
3Besides the quick establishing shot, the entire short is done in one take. What made you decide to do that and how many takes did you end up doing in order to get it right? Yes! That is how I had it in my head pretty much from the off. As I was writing it, I always intended it to be something that unfolded in real time, with the audience never seeing Brit, so that they would feel a sense of being 'in it' with Cassie. With that decision made it would have felt unnatural to ever cut away from her, to risk the audience disconnecting in that moment. I had my last minute worries before shooting where I questioned whether it was the right way to shoot - but once we'd cast the film and shot some tests in rehearsals, Olivia's physical performance with Emma's voice performance just complimented the style perfectly.
We shot 17 takes (of the long shot) and it was take number 14 that was used!
4You seem to have a gift for comedy, which many say is one of the toughest genres to tackle. What's the most difficult part of making a comedy for you and what advice to you have for any filmmakers trying to make one? Hahaha that's going on my gravestone because my family & friends would definitely disagree. You're far too kind! The biggest difficulty was definitely working out whether or not it would actually be funny, as I was really worried that no one would think it was. First step is definitely showing to someone you trust, who has a similar sense of humour either to you and/or your target audience. [Though if you're targeting an audience that doesn't have your sense of humour you might want to rethink why you're doing it..]. Reading aloud is also really helpful, as usually something that doesn't work sticks out like a sore thumb.
Finally, in terms of making the film, the absolutely crucial part for me was the casting process. We ended up running through the script with 6 really great actresses in the auditions - seeing and hearing the script performed by people with great comic timing brought everything together. What's great as well is that you'll find yourself laughing at parts you didn't think were that great... Bottom line (pun intended) with any film is the script won't work without the right cast (and vice versa!).
5What's next? Ooh! There's a question. I've just moved jobs so I've been neglecting writing for the past couple of weeks sadly!
I'm working on two feature scripts with my sister (who produced Flushed) as well as converting one short into a feature, though I expect those three will take some time! In terms of more near-term goals/projects, we're working on a series of shorts but next up will hopefully be filming a comedy short revolving around a household item in the middle of a city...which is as much as I'm going to say hahaha!
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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