The following interview was conducted for/is included in the Binary Truths press book.
Interview date: 28/05/2020
Interviewer: How did the project come about?
BC: It started as a comedy.
BC: I've always written these dark psychological character pieces so I wanted to do something different. It didn’t happen [laughs]. It was supposed to be a funny love story but what’s interesting about that? I like to make films that ask more questions than it answers. I want to make a film about something I don’t understand and with characters I don't fully understand.
OR: Do you remember the door wasn’t in the first draft you showed me?
BC: That’s right actually, I forgot about that. The original narrative was more linear than it is now. I like that she disappears into her own mind and relieves these experiences in this fashion. She is recounting this story and her memories and in that sense she’s an unreliable narrator and we can’t really trust anything we see in the film.
OR: The door almost became another character in the film.
Interviewer: What was Pre-Production like for you both?
BC: We started by talking about what the overall goal was and how we could achieve that. Then we talked about specific scenes. But mainly we identified what would be challenging.
OR: Yeah the main challenge being the VFX shots and the door. It appears and disappears, we had dolly shots form one location to another.
BC: I think we have a really good understanding and once I start telling you my vision, you get it and deliver it even better than I hope.
OR: The film was essentially made before we started shooting through all the prep. Then we just had to capture it.
BC: We discussed that we wanted a handheld look, we also decided early on to shoot with long lenses and began developing colour schemes for the characters and lighting. We wanted the handheld so that it would give the film a sense of realism, even though it isn’t quite reality, and also the shakiness mirrors her unstable mind. But the biggest thing was definitely the lighting.
OR: Yeah we did tests a couple of days a week for a few weeks. I remember you stressed to me from the beginning how important the lighting would be in the film. So we spent a long time prepping and experimenting with lighting.
BC: Yeah we did. Mainly because I like to be flexible and am willing to discover or change a scene on the day. The VFX shots were very precisely planned but for the rest, although we had a shot list, it really just served as a safety net. I like to be free and be able to change a shot or set-up based on the actors but to do this you have to have a DP that can easily adapt. But for me, the key is the actor.
OR: Yeah the prep was key. Specifically for the shots of the door because if we got that wrong, the film wouldn’t work.
BC: Absolutely. We always work to serve the actor and create the right environment for them to work in.
OR: Speaking of environment, Dan (production designer) did such a great job with the set design and I wanted to really make that stand out too and do it justice.
BC: And Fran with the make-up.
OR: Oh the make up was amazing. It was a joy lighting the actors faces.
BC: But overall, all the aesthetic choices made in pre-production were made to serve the characters.
OR: Especially in the colours, we gave the warmer red colours to Anais and the greens to Siana. The green slowly creeps in throughout the film until it takes over.
Interviewer: What was the experience of working together like?
OR: Well this was the first time I worked as a DP, before I'd directed and worked as a camera assistant on Brad's last project The Golden Girl (2019). But it was a great experience, we work really well together and have a good understanding, one of things I really like is that Brad is open to change. A lot of directors have a set idea and follow the storyboards and that’s just boring.
BC: Well that’s why its a collaboration. I enjoy collaborating. The job of a director is to surround himself with talented people and then utilise their talents and let them suggest ideas. If I like the idea or decide to go with it is another thing but there should be a conversation.
OR: I think you’ll always attract people to work on your films because they know they’ll get the opportunity to bring something to it themselves. And that's exciting.
BC: An important thing is to work with like minded people. Making a film is hard and you’re essentially going to war so you need to know that the the people around you are invested and are will be willing to take a bullet for you if needed. I pick people, and I really emphasise the word people. I don’t care if you’ve never acted before, it doesn’t matter. I don't care if you've never held a boom, you can learn all that. I mean I saw Oliver more than my own fiancee for a weeks.
OR: It's true.
Interviewer: What was the shoot like?
BC: It was a tough. We shot six days and they were long, sometimes twenty hours, ten of which we'd be shooting. The rest of the time would be set-up, dailies, discussing the work we'd done and the next day's work. It's all encompassing.
OR: It takes over your life. You have to stay mentally motivated. But physically it gets tough too, you have to want it.
BC: Especially on a low budget indie film, you do a lot of work.
OR: That's true but I think the scheduling was spot on. The shooting order and locations was perfect so that made it a little easier. And having Gabby was a big plus.
BC: Gabby was the production manager and really made sure we stayed on time, that the equipment was on set on time, that we ate.
OR: [laughs] Yeah we really needed that.
BC: I get caught up in the performance and fall in love with the acting so having someone hurrying me up is what I need.
Interviewer: What was the highlight of the shoot?
BC: The Underpass Scene.
OR: Underpass hands down.
BC: It was incredible. It was the second day of shooting and it was a really tough day. Storm Denis had hit that day and it was absolutely pouring and there was thunder and lightening. We were 2 hours behind schedule and it was 11pm at night but we knew we couldn’t re-shoot any other time in the underpass so we got there and shot and it was amazing. I think we could film that scene 100 times over and it would never be that good. We got the VFX shots first as they’re the most technically difficult and then filmed the running shots and the confrontation between them and it was unbelievable. It was one of the only scenes that I operated the camera on and the atmosphere was absolutely electric.
OR: By far the best moment for me and there were a lot of great moments like the bedroom scenes and the car crash. But that was jaw dropping. The atmosphere was electric in there and you feel that atmosphere when you watch the film. I remember you saying after that was the battle that would win us the war.
BC: Yeah I think it was, after that it got easier. I think it gave us the extra incentive we needed to finish the film.
OR: You were directing them and talking to them during the scenes while holding the camera and the performances were insane! It looked like you were in the scenes.
BC: The storm, the chaos of it, seeped into the scene and we captured a moment in time I think.
Interviewer: And what was the biggest challenge of the shoot?
BC: For me, anything that involved the door. I love working with the actors and blocking a scene but the door was so technically complex.
OR: Yeah the door was a pain. For my it was operating too. I love it but the camera, shoulder mount and follow focus aren't light. I enjoy being hands on and as DP a director communicates a vision to you and you have to understand that vision and get it on screen. So why would you then have another person operate? The communication and vision get lost. I like having a second, sometimes a focus puller but that’s it.
Interviewer: Were you happy with the finished film?
BC: I don't know. I'm too close to the film. After shooting, I edited the film and that took twelve weeks in total. I think I just wanted everyone that was involved in the film to be proud. After that I don’t care. I just wanted the cast and crew to say 'yeah I was apart of that'.
OR: I was really happy. I obviously wasn't involved in the editing so I had kind of forgotten what we shot which was great. When I saw it, it was even better than I'd hoped. I love Brad's editing and the whole tone and atmosphere of the film.