STORYHIVE

Interview with Geoff Manchester | Composer & Sound Designer | I Phub You | STORYHIVE | Edmonton Film Production

Our Storyhive funded short film I Phub You is officially complete and sent in to Telus. In the weeks leading up to the February release 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 composer and sound designer, Geoff Manchester joining us for an interview. Geoff Manchester is an award winning film and television composer and post-audio mixer based in Toronto who is thrilled to be working again with Sam Reid and Justin Kueber. Since beginning his career as a film composer he has created original music for numerous projects including Marriage: Shattered Vows (2016), which won best documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival this year. He has recently completed work on his first feature film On the Rocks (2016), and is currently completing post-production audio and an original score for the forthcoming feature film The Protege (2016). Geoff holds a diploma in audio engineering and music production from Recording Arts Canada. He also runs a successful Youtube Channel under the moniker Manchester Music for which he creates educational content for emerging composers.

When you first received the film what were your initial thoughts? In terms of music, did you have any ideas right from the beginning?

My first impression was just how delightful it was to see a black and white film that actually followed the speed and cropping specs of that era. As far as music was concerned I had a completely different vision of what the film should sound like, compared to how it sounds now. My original idea was to use a wholly digital/synthesized soundscape. I wanted to surprise people who may have expected a ragtime piano or a chamber orchestra. In the end though, I found it so difficult to convey the character’s emotion on a micro level and the totality of the emotion in Phub on a macro level using only digital sounds. Folly, whimsy, delight; these things really come across with orchestral tools, so I threw in the towel!

Geoff Manchester Composer

Your music really is the driving point of the film. What was your overall goal with the music? How did you develop it?

The goal was to compliment the action of the characters on screen and to simultaneously create a character with music. I imagine this character as someone who might almost be cheering Kurtis on as he sought to truly connect with someone, whether or not I actually achieved this will be up to the audience, ha.

Geoff explaining the cue from I Phub You

What were your influences (if any) for composing the score?

There were two main influences for this film’s score. The first was Adrian Belew’s work in Disney’s Piper. The second was Christophe Beck’s work in Disney’s Paperman, a black and white film incidentally. Both films had the tone and feel I was trying to get across with my music for Phub, and both films also used very tight, tiny orchestras (to my ears anyway) which is what I was aiming for.: something personal and intimate.

I Phub You Music Edmonton

What types of instruments/sounds did you use and why?

Oh boy. A ton. There’s everything from choral choirs, to woodwinds to chamber orchestras to solo violins. My proudest moment was getting to use a Marxophone, which is a fretless zither instrument. It sounds a bit like a mandolin but it’s got a much more ‘old fashion tone’; it’s difficult to explain. You can hear examples of it from when Kurtis first comes-to in the bathroom and also when he’s wandering around in the park.

Edmonton Film Community

 How was this different from other films you have scored?

I’ve never used so many symphonic tools in one score. I mean, not a single synthesizer was harmed in the marking of this movie. To me, it’s a real challenge to convince people they’re listening to a real orchestra when they’re not. Everything was programmed on a computer by someone (me) who couldn’t get through ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’ on viola. If I’m being honest I was never technically trained in music composition and I can’t read it very well, so the idea of having to make something authentic and believable from a computer was a huge challenge.

ManchesterMusic

Interview with Skylar Radzion | Actress | I Phub You | STORYHIVE | Edmonton Film Production

Our Storyhive funded short film I Phub You is officially complete and sent in to Telus. In the weeks leading up to the February release 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 multi-talented, Skylar Radzion. Skylar is an actor, a singer and sometime model. In addition to her IMDB credited roles she has appeared in many short films, videos and commercials. Her first major role was for cult classic Director Ulli Lommel. She was just 16 years old, and was cast as the lead for Boogyeman: Reincarnation, out of 100s of applicants. Her second film, a thriller, Breaking Spirits is due for release in 2017. She loves to sing and is working on her first EP. Skylar plays the role of Tabatha in I Phub You.

 When you first read the script what were your thoughts?

I loved the idea of the silent film aspect. I've never seen an idea like this in a plot. I wanted to be apart of something not only different but funny too. It also reminded me that we are too dependent on our cellphones and such. We've lost touch with the art of being able to sit down and have a face to face conversation.

Skylar Radzion Actress Edmonton
I Phub You Film

What made you want to pursue acting in this film?

A big part of it was that this years’ Storyhive was all about women directing. Shannon was so awesome to work with. Another part was reading the sides and laughing about how self absorbed Tabatha is.

Skylar Radzion
Storyhive Telus Optik

Describe your character. Were there any influences to how you portrayed it?

One word. Kardashians.

My character is self centred and only cares about herself, she is the epitome of today's rich kids. It's all about looks and what you have. Tabatha really doesn't care about Kurtis, what she really cares about is the latest trends and getting a free meal

Skylar Radzion Actress

Do you have any memorable stories from being on set?

 It sounds cliché but really everybody was so great to work with. I always love how kind and supportive the people in the Edmonton industry are. One of my favourite moments is playing game pigeon with Sabrina while waiting for us to be called on set. (She kicked my butt).

Skylar Radzion Edmonton Film
Edmonton Actor Crew Production

What is your favorite silent film?

I'm sure a lot of people would say the same but I really like Chaplin films. One of my favourites is The Champion. The actual scene in the ring always made me wonder how much was ad-lib and how much was choreographed. Charlie was an incredible actor.

Charlie Chaplin The Champion Poster
Charlie Chaplin Champion

Interview with Heidi Ellen | Actress | I Phub You | STORYHIVE | Edmonton Film Production

As we are putting the final touches on our Storyhive funded short film I Phub You, we want you guys at home to get to know us, the filmmakers, a little better. In the weeks leading up to the February release we are going to be posting a series of interviews with the people that made this film happen (cast, crew, etc!). We are going to be asking about their process and their take on the film.

Today, we are lucky enough to have Heidi Ellen answer a few questions about working on the film. Heidi is the lead actress who plays the role of Janet in I Phub You.

When you first read the script what were your thoughts?

The first thing I thought after reading the script? How relevant the story is! I became hyper-aware after the reading I Phub You of how involved people (and myself) are with their cell phones. Walking through a mall, sitting at a table with a group of friends, waiting in line at the grocery store - those around me were consistently on their phones and ignoring their surroundings. At first it seemed like the I Phub You script was over-exaggerating how much time we as a society spend on our phones, but it actually wasn't! And it makes sense, especially if you take into consideration how important social media has become. It is used for marketing, finding jobs, staying in touch with friends and family, MAKING friends, etc. As an actress I rely a great deal on social media - and my phone keeps me connected to it. However, after reading IPY I began to pay more attention to the attention I gave to those in my physical presence.

Edmonton Video Production
Edmonton Videography

 

What made you want to pursue acting in this film?

 I first heard about the casting call that Guerrilla Motion Pictures sent out from a friend of mine who was on the crew. He had tagged me and a few other actors on a post on facebook. After reading the character descriptions I immediately felt a connection to Janet. I think that I share a lot of her personality traits. So that was certainly a part of why I wanted to audition for I Phub You. I always make a point to research production companies I am auditioning for, so after asking around I learned that Guerilla Motion Pictures had a good reputation among others in Edmonton's film industry. In fact, one of my best friends went to film school with Sam Reid! After submitting myself to audition I was incredibly excited to learn that I was 1 of 6 actresses to be selected to audition for the part. I was thrilled!

edmonton drone videography
edmonton video companies

 

Silent film acting is much different than talkie films. How did you prepare for acting in a silent film?

Shannon (our director) really helped with my character development of Janet. She made it clear that she was looking for theatre acting more so than film acting. The two acting styles are quite different. Acting in a silent film is a lot like clowning. All of your actions and emotions are over the top. So I prepared for my role much the same way I prepare for a role in theatre. There is this practice theatre actors do called 'verbing a script'. Each line is assigned a verb to describe what the character may be feeling and what the scene may feel like. I also used Pinterest and pinned anything and everything that gave me inspiration for my character. And then I watched silent film online. I studied the way actresses held themselves, their facial expressions, and their acting styles.

Silent Film Hollywood

Describe your character. Were there any influences to how you portrayed it?

Like I had mentioned, I felt a connection with my character. She is bubbly, sensitive, full of expression, and wears her heart on her sleeve. I am a lot like her. So I put a lot of myself into Janet. As an actor I am what I have to offer my roles, so I feel quite fortunate to have gotten to play Janet. I also pulled different characteristics from other actresses in other silent films. Justin Kueber had told me that when he wrote IPY he had named my character after a character in his favourite silent film, Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans. I tried to pull from that character as well.

best silent movie

 

Do you have any memorable stories from being on set?

Yes! I do! On our last day of shooting it was very cold. For continuity's sake I needed to wear the same outfit as I had on the other days of shooting. Janet's wardrobe consisted of a red summer dress and black flats. So not exactly the greatest clothing for -3, plus windchill weather. I had brought pocket warmers which I stuffed into my flats, and hid under a blanket in between takes. The crew was fantastic and understanding, so a vehicle was pulled close to set for me to hop into when it got too cold. I would warm up, then hop out of the car and run back to set to film the next take. Although it was a very cold shoot day, it was still a fun experience. It's funny what artists will do for their passion.

actors edmonton

 

What is your favorite silent film?

I haven't seen many, but after watching Justin's recommendation of Sunrise, I would have to say that would be the one! It's incredible the amount that goes into telling a story without dialogue. It's an entirely different approach to story telling. It's an art, really. I hadn't expected Sunrise to be such a long movie, but it was! And even though it is a silent film, it held my attention right until the end. I definitely want to see more films that are silent.

sunrise janet gaynor