Last Sunday, my cinematographer, Jack, and I caught a train up to the Hawkesbury. I'd already been, about six weeks back, but it was just so great to go back with Jack, having now written the script for the places we visited. We took a lot of photos, but this one particularly struck me. It looks so much like one of my reference images—but better!
I first came across the work of British photographer, Simon Annand, back in 2010 due to the publication of his book, The Half. The book documents the 25+ years he has spent photographing theatre actors in the 30 minutes before they go onstage (a period of time known as "the half"). As a poor university student then, I leafed longingly through its pages in bookstores, admiring the insightful and intriguing view he gave us of the backstage world and actors' processes.
Years later, his black-and-white photos are a key reference when thinking about the visual style and approach of TOMORROW. I'm particularly intrigued by the way he talks about exploring the relationship actors have to themselves, rather than the camera; in TOMORROW, one of the things I'm keen to explore are those transitional moments as an actor moves between self and character.
Unfortunately, the book appears to now be out of print (oh how I wish I'd bought it when it first came out!) but I continue to be drawn to his work, a lot of which can be found scattered across the web.
I was also interested to watch him at work, and hear him talk about his approach in this video.
Last week we launched TOMORROW online with news of the project and our tax-deductible crowdfunding campaign, which is being run in conjunction with the Australian Cultural Fund (if you haven't yet had the chance to check it out, please do).
This week I'm diving into the masses of research I have to do in preparation for directing the film. While I am planning on re-drafting the script this week, I'm now thinking about the project much more as a director, than as the screenwriter.
With my last film, MEAT, it seemed more straightforward. I think this was, in part, because I didn't quite realise what I was getting myself into... But also because I knew the world of the film implicitly, having been inspired by my time at boarding school. And as the screenplay was adapted from a monologue I'd written at the Australian Theatre for Young People the previous year, the project had been in development for a considerable period of time.
This time I'm far more aware of the challenges of directing a film of this scale and, in the case of this particular project, the challenges I've set for myself in terms of style and form and tone. It all fills me with great excitement (and a healthy degree of fear). I think this film is going to be something quite special, but there's still a lot of research to do first.
At the moment, my to-watch list is growing at an ever increasing rate with recommendations from various heads of department and collaborators... These are some of the films I'll be watching or re-watching over the coming weeks:
- Opening Night (1977) directed by John Cassavetes
- The Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) directed by Olivier Assayas
- Throne of Blood (1957) directed by Akira Kurosawa
- The Dresser (2015) directed by Richard Eyre
- My Brilliant Career (1979) directed by Gillian Armstrong
- The Insider (1999) directed by Michael Mann
- Requiem for a Dream (2000) directed by Darren Aronofsky
- The Piano Teacher (2001) directed by Michael Haneke
- Black Swan (2010) directed by Darren Aronofsky
- Network (1976) directed by Sidney Lumet
- Topsy Turvy (1999) directed by Mike Leigh
Plus a whole heap of other different productions of Macbeth in its various forms! Lots to do...