Synopsis: A talented young actress auditions for the role of Hamlet and not even Shakespeare could anticipate the result.
Where did the idea come from?
A few years ago, the film's co-writer, Kayla Strada, wanted to work with me on a piece she'd performed for her major work at school. I agreed to do it for two reasons. Kayla showed courage in subjecting herself to the writing process and she agreed that if I wanted to, I could adapt it into a film. We worked on it for over six months and through that process this story was born. Kayla won a bunch of awards, got top marks, and then went onto full time employment as actor overseas, straight out of school. She gets paid well now doing what she loves at an age where most are still working out what to do with their lives. She is an impressive human being and a total inspiration.
How many actresses auditioned for the lead role? More or less than 30?
None of the cast auditioned. We know them all personally and know how brilliant they are. Casting can often be hard, but this was so simple. Everyone in the cast has been in the position of the characters, so they were immediately and tribally connected to them and the story. It often takes time to build the relationship and trust between actors and director but that was already there with the entire cast, long before we made the film.
How did you audition and cast the lead actress, Jessica Vickers, and how did you find your own triple threat?
We didn't audition Jess. I was working with her on some monologues. I've had the privilege of watching Jess grow and develop as an actor, singer and dancer. She is the epitome of triple threat but has a beautiful humility and just enough self-doubt to constantly want to improve what she does whether it's on screen, stage or any other facet of her life.
As a director, have you ever been in a casting and had an actor surprise you as Number 30 did?
No, not like that. I am constantly impressed though by the tenacity and balls that actors have when it comes to what they do. There are so many actors and only so many roles. Any number of these artists could nail a role but there is so much rejection. It's just part of being a dramatic artist, I think, whether you act, write, sing, dance, whatever. You get rejected a hell of a lot more than accepted and that can really crush your spirit. You have to be crazy to want to that over and over again but what choice do you have? You do it because you love it and you can't do anything else. You literally cannot do anything else. I know I can't. That need to tell a story, and change people through it, makes what we do important. The stories we tell define who we are as human beings. They change us and therefore change the world. That's quite a responsibility so the question must always be asked of ourselves: “Why do I want to be this character/write this story/make this film?” I think the answer must always be for love; love of the characters, love of the story and love of the human experience.
What advice do you have for a filmmaker who is about to make their first short film? Is there a common pitfall to avoid?
Okay, two things. Firstly, don't sleep with the cast and crew, not while in production anyway. It makes things super awkward and nothing else should matter at that time except for the film. It may sound like a joke, but there are people like that. Don't make a film to be known as a film maker, make a film to change yourself and in turn the audience. Nothing else should matter. Be obsessive about it and don't settle for mediocrity. Secondly and most importantly as Billy Marshall Stoneking would say to me over and over while I was at film school... It's the character's, stupid!
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