Our Storyhive funded short film I Phub You is officially complete and sent in to Telus. We are one week away from the February 6th release, so we are going to be posting a series of interviews with the people that made this film happen (cast, crew, etc!) so you can get to know us a little better. We are going to be asking about their process and their take on the film.
Today we have the director of the film, Shannon Hunt joining us for an interview. Shannon has a degree in music composition and is also an experienced actor and aspiring screenwriter. Shannon has studied/performed music her whole life (Voice, Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Percussion) and has a BMus in Composition. She takes a special interest in Film Scoring, recently interned under Hans Zimmer, and has written music for over 10 ads/commercials and 2 independent films in Edmonton. She has acted in over 20 live shows and musicals in Kelowna and Edmonton. She has also recently acted in a few local ads/commercials and 1 independent film. Shannon is also an aspiring screen/script writer, producing content here and there over the course of her life. Currently she is working on a feature-length script entitled "Turnaround" and her most recent work is a 20-minute period piece that's performed weekly at F.E.P.
This is the Storyhive Female Director edition. What does it mean to you being selected in the top 15?
It’s an honor. Getting the votes means we’ve got a good story, and a good team. There are two types of people who vote on Storyhive. There’s the family/friend person, or the person who has worked with you before; they vote to support you. And there’s the fan person, the stranger who just happens upon your pitch video; they vote because the story appeals to them—they genuinely want to see the film get made. A good team gets the family/friend votes, and a good story gets the fan votes. I’m excited and honored that we were able to inspire both!
What made this project stand out to you as something you wanted to direct?
I would have directed anything. When you’re just getting started in this industry, you always say yes. That being said, this project does stand out. In this technology-driven world, who doesn’t long for a simpler time? Harnessing that nostalgia for the silent-film era, and then stamping it with a powerful and contemporary message about communication—it’s a win.
Is there any unique approach you have taken with this project? Explain your process.
The distinction between the real world and the silent world is most important to me. Not only do I want the worlds to look and sound different, I want them to feel different. So, the biggest thing I impress upon my actors is stylization. Contemporary film acting is subtle, naturalistic; it is meant to represent the way most people act in real life, where emotions and inner thoughts are not apparent from the outside. Silent-film era acting is the opposite. All the characters emotions and thoughts ARE apparent from the outside; they are made big, and obvious, like in theatre. What the actors are not given in dialogue has to be made up for in physical expressivity. I have to admit, it’s been fun inciting my cast to do exactly what they’ve always been told NOT to do in film acting—be melodramatic and campy.
Something pretty unique I got to do on set was actually direct in the style of silent-film. With no sound being recorded, I was actually able to shout instructions and give verbal cues while we were shooting. Sometimes my actors would break character and start laughing, because often I would just end up just melodramatically narrating the scene.
What has been your most memorable experience or story working on set?
Shooting in that damned bathroom! All of us shoved into a corner behind the camera; it turned out to be a great way to make friends, and fast.
The biggest challenge we faced on set was weather. From our first weekend of shooting to our second the temperature outdoors had changed quite drastically, and our actors ended up having to brave the cold in the minimal costumes we had started with. Our last day was spent in and out of cars to warm up after every scene. It was a gruelling, but great learning experience for all of us. It was after that day that I really knew we had a great group of people—no one complained, no one faltered; everyone kept a positive and supportive attitude. I can’t imagine finding a better group of people to work with.