Director Jimmy Keegan talks about "Capsule"

Posted on 27 jun 2013 by Julia Sparks   |   Filed under Articles  

Capsule is a short film about a man who loses all will to live until he starts getting messages from his dead wife through his dryer. Director Jimmy Keegan speaks about the conception of the idea, to the final edit in this brief online interview.

Julia: First of all, thank you for taking the time to speak with us about your project. I guess, lets start at the beginning. Where did you come up with the idea for this film?

Jimmy: It's not all that interesting of a story actually (chuckles). I get bored very easily, and when I get bored my mind races, sometimes not so cleverly to come up with something to entertain myself. A lot of stupid shit comes outta my mouth, but sometimes I run with it. In this case, I was taking laundry out of the basket and I was missing a sock. So as the old cliche goes, I'm thinking..."Where do all these socks go?". Cliche's don't sit well with me, so I thought, what if instead of things going missing from the dryer, what if something arrived there instead? Like a letter from another universe?

Julia: Or from your dead wife?

Jimmy: Exactly. I had to make it more real, something as far out as it was, a bit grounded and personal.

Julia: Not all Directors fancy themselves writers. It's quite rare. How do you find the process of writing.

Jimmy: I don't know how rare it is, but it's vital for me. Making a movie is so much work. Especially on a smaller indie scale. You wear allot of hats. producing, directing and writing and a slew of other hats if you want to get your movie made at all. Especially at the quality level that I expect. So I have to believe whole heartedly in what I'm doing. Writing the script makes that easy. But to answer your question, I absolutely love the process of writing. If I had to choose between writing or directing. I'd have to say writing. Thank God I don't have to choose, cause I love both. Writing for me is pure creativity and flow. I don't know if I'm any good (I'll let the audience decide that), but it just flows for me with almost no effort. Everything is script. Everything derives from script in a movie. The sets, the characters, what happens, how it happens, the cost to make it. It's all script. So the real movie makers out there are writers.

Julia: So getting the movie made. Can you tell us a little bit about your process?

Jimmy: Sure. So, we have a script, then we have to break it down into the elements. Locations, props, characters etc. We do casting, build a shot list, shooting schedule, put together a crew, secure locations and start shooting. That's the short version.

Julia: Out of those, what was the biggest challenge on this film?

Jimmy: The most work has been post production. Which I didn't mention. But, as far as getting the film "in the can" so to speak, I'd say at the beginning, locations was our nightmare.

Julia: Really? Is it hard to get locations to shoot?

Jimmy: Without a locations manager? Yes. I've grown to respect the locations managers role. Actually I have tried to put myself into every role over the past several years, I think it makes me a better director. Anyway, ya, we had a lot of locations fall through or we found that the locations we could get just didn't work for what I was after. At the end, I modified the script a little and shot the majority of this in my home. It was more important that we could control the location and have time to focus on getting the performances and shots we wanted.

Julia: Where did you find your actors?

Jimmy: This is an independent short film with a micro budget. So, I didn't actually go through an agency or use a casting director. We held a couple of casting calls at a local community centre in Toronto. One day for the female lead part and another for the male part. We landed on Kathleen Pollard for Anna and Martin Malinski for the part of Sam.

Julia: What made you choose them?

Jimmy: Well they were the best actors for the part. No, actually with Anna's part I was a bit on the fence, but in hind sight, I have no idea why. Kathleen was definitely the right person for the job, an absolute pro. It was a look thing. She looked different than what I had originally envisioned. I think if you're going to be a strong director, you need to be able to flex and flow with things. Intercept things as they come at you and go with it, as long as it still works and doesn't deviate from your overall vision of what you're trying to say. The story you're trying to tell.

Julia: And for the part of Sam?

Jimmy: Martin was 100% committed to getting it right. It was more about the enthusiasm he brought as an actor than his cold reading. That being said, he has talent and I exploited that in this film. One thing I have to say though is how different these two actors were to work with. Martin was a bit method in his approach at least for certain scenes, so I tried to give him as much space as possible to really get where he needed to be, and he did that well. Kathleen made everything look easy. Neither is better than the other, it's just so interesting to me to see the different approaches to the same kind of quality work.

Julia: That is interesting. Would you say that you're "an actor's director"?

Jimmy: (chuckles) I actually know what you're saying. Cause ya, I've noticed there are directors that bang out shots and don't have a lot of patience for their actors, and then there are ones who seem to work well with actors. Ya, I'd say that's me. I guess it's just because I'm intrigued and I admire the work actors do. I get it. At least, I think I do.

Julia: Editing. Once you have the picture "in the can" as you say. How long does it take to get it edited.

Jimmy: There's the actual effort and then there's the duration. Unfortunately I'm on a few other projects, so my time has been split many ways. Everything is very hands on for me on this project. We shot for 10 days, but that was spread over a couple of months due to everyone's schedule. So that's 10 days of footage to log and edit. And the editing is really broken down into separate stages. There's the basic logging and batch conversions of the source files to a format we can edit in. Then there's the cutting (what most people think about as editing), then there's dialog editing and mixing, foley (putting in the individual sounds of footsteps, doors closing, etc.) and the music score and finally color grading. So I've spend maybe 4 to 6 weeks effort on the edit, but it's been spread across a few months.

Julia: What other projects have you been working on?

Jimmy: I've helped out a few colleagues with their short films, doing various roles, but most of my time has been doing behind the scenes B-roll footage for a few major motion pictures.

Julia: Really, which ones?

Jimmy: The most recent is Pompeii staring Kit Harington, Emily Browning and Kiefer Sutherland and before that The Mortal Instruments - City of Bones and Resident Evil Retribution.

Julia: Jon Snow! I love Game of Thrones! That's so cool, it must be a lot of fun.?

Jimmy: It is, it's fun, but for me I guess, I'm always thinking, I can't wait to be shooting my feature film, and there's a lot of standing around waiting for the next shot. I'm not good at standing still.

Julia: I bet. Well if you are used to directing you're own films, I'm sure you'd rather be doing that.

Jimmy: Yes, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to work on those big sets and I have learned a lot.

Julia: What's next for you then?

Jimmy: Well, I'll put "Capsule" through the festival circuit and see how it does, but other than that I'm working on an idea for a feature film and still doing behind the scenes work. There's a new project coming up in late August early September.

Julia:Ya, what's that?

Jimmy: Unfortunately I can't say, but I will say that it's a sequel.

Julia: (chuckles) Awee, ok. Well, what about your feature film idea? What's that about?

Jimmy: It's in the very early stages right now, but it's about a man who has Amusia. Amusia is an actual condition where a person cannot decearn music. They can hear perfectly but the patterns of music are not recognized, it mostly sounds like clanging metal to them.

Julia: Wow! That really exists? I can't wait to see it!

Jimmy: Ya, thanks I hope to get shooting by early next year, we'll see.

Julia: Well, thank you so much for you time today Jimmy. I wish you luck in the festival circuit and your feature.

Jimmy: Thank you. My pleasure. Anytime.

Julia: I'll hold you to that (chuckles).