Shoot! director, Anthony Green, talks about his short film The Dreaming and getting started in film.
Given the PlayStation stimulus word Challenge, Anthony opted to use the spectacular Canadian lakes as his setting - with help from Jerry Bruckheimer as Executive Producer.
Why did you want to become a director?
I've always been interested in media, whether in publishing, music or television. For me I think the way that film manages to bring together so many different elements, types of media, I just kind of see it in a way as being the ultimate art form, because it is such a hybrid of all these things. I like to think that I'm a pretty good collaborator and collaboration is certainly for me essential to the process. That is where it kind of began.
How did you get into directing?
In high school I just kind of started wherever I could, in social sciences classes or whatever, I would retro fit it into the class, if I had to do a presentation I would make a film. So it interested me then. At the same time I was editing the school newspapers and stuff; like I said I was interested in media, but then this idea of how film can transcend all these different mediums really excited me.
I set a goal for myself, that at the end of high school I would go to university, I set a goal for myself that I wanted to be at NYU. It has a good reputation as one of the better film schools in the United States. So I put together a short film that was based on a script I had written in drama class, and the rest is history.
I went to NYU, got there a week before 9/11 and that was my orientation to New York. It was a very interesting time in the city and as an artist as well. From there I guess, at that point, is where my present day filmmaker's voice began to emerge.
What are your major influences?
I think I'm more inspired by life than other films. That is not to say that there are not filmmakers I really admire and love, and their work inspires me. I don't necessarily see something in my work that I've taken from them. I'm sure I have taken from others but I don't think it happens consciously; I think it is more that I'm taking from life and perhaps I draw from the language nuisances that other directors use. I guess. I don't know; it is a hard question.
What is your short film The Dreaming about?
Of all the shorts I've done this is definitely the most difficult one to pitch. It is not as straightforward as the ones in the past where a relatively linear narrative takes us from A to B to C. The reason for this is it deals more with metaphor. It deals more with intangible emotions that I try to extrapolate without necessarily hitting the proverbial head of the nail. So in this case it is difficult to pitch what the story is about, but the idea behind the picture is that it comes down to the importance of dreams and passing on knowledge from generation to generation. How we might know more when we're born than we generally conceive of and, perhaps as a course of action by society and culture in life, we stray away from that knowledge but in the end we might return to it. So it is sort of a cycle of knowledge.
The story takes place primarily north of Toronto in a provincial park called Algonquin Park, where I've spent a lot of time. There are 3,000 preserved lakes in a very remote setting and that context will serve for this metaphor, the knowledge in this case, the knowledge the story will allude to, is our interaction with the environment and the way that has changed. The film looks to show the evolution of our dealings with the environment and how knowledge in our dreams plays into that.
So there is a strong message in this work?
My films have always had a message and I just finished my graduate program in Media and Communications; in my studies my research was mostly on the idea of social change through motion picture and as a catalyst to social movement.
My shorts have always done that; as I was saying my shorts used to go A to B to C, literally or not, I think they demanded less of the audience and in this case I don't want to underestimate the audience. I want to let them take an active role and interact with it afterwards; I want them to take away from the film something that they need to process and actively look for.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into film making?
It is a really cool time for filming; I am so happy to be in this generation where a handy cam is relatively inexpensive and home editing solutions are quiet easy to come by. I still remember the first time I put one image next to another and added sounds, and that one plus one plus one didn't equal three, it equalled five. As soon as I saw that synergy, I was so excited and that was done at home on a desktop PC. That has never been available before. For young film makers I would say the tools are out there and are accessible, and I would just start playing with them.
What is the most valuable thing you've learned as a director?
I would say for me, I always need to get a lot out of the people that surround me to make a successful picture and I've always found the best way of doing that is ensuring that every second they realise how much you appreciate what they're doing for you.
Download The Dreaming, as well as interviews and a behind the scenes video by signing into PlayStation Store on your PlayStation 3 or PSP.