Last week, I had the pleasure to interview independent film maker James Mulholland about his life and work. This weeks showcase is his latest short film ‘Forgiving Amy’.
During our interview he opened up about the creative process behind the film and was very candid about it.
‘Forgiving Amy’ was in my head since I started writing. But I never wanted it to be my first film, I wanted to grow as a writer and a filmmaker before tackling this film, as it meant a lot to me. It originated from a single moment, that it near the end of the film (I won’t spoil it). It was basically, Quigs, does something horrible to Amy, towards the end of the film, that moment is what the film grew out from. After making ‘What If?’ and ‘My Father’s Son’, I felt confident enough that I was ready to write this film and tackle it in a good way, with next to no budget.
Shooting was extremely hard for this film, It took 8 shooting days to do (I’ve shot 20 minute films in 2 days). But that was to do with location problems and mainly the weather for exterior shots. It was Ireland after all, so the weather was not my friend. One day, we literally had Sun shine, a couple minutes later it was cold and cloudy, a couple of minutes later rain, then finally we had hail stones. The sun eventually came back out but there was no way that scene could cut together due to the ground being soaked and then dry, so we shot another day to get it right.
Editing on this was easy enough, I write, storyboard, direct and shoot my own films, so when it came down to me editing this, I had a solid idea in my head. But, I did have to make two big changes. The film was 25 minutes long, so I cut two scenes out of it. 1. A scene where Quigs comes home and is angry because he didn’t get his ‘supply’, and 2. A scene where Quigs and Amy go to a ‘Cash for Gold’ shop to pawn off a piece of jewelry for money. I needed to get the running time down, for festivals etc.
I asked James what he learned about his own creative process and what worked for him about ‘Forgiving Amy’ and perhaps, what didn’t work so well;
I learned a great deal. The biggest thing I take from the film is what I learned about ‘music scores’. I made the decision early on that this film would have no score. I wanted the tension to come from the fact that I was not manipulating an audience from music, I wanted it to feel real, I wrote the characters to be that way and luckily the actors pull it off. I’m a big fan of music scores and they can enhance a scene to another level, but there is also something about not having music in a scene, that can heighten it to something more.
James was very candid about the run time of the short which is just under twenty minutes which is considered quite long for a short film.
I wanted the film to be 13-14 minutes, but it’s touching 20. So, that’s what really doesn’t work for me. Also, the location that Amy and Quigs, sleep in? It wasn’t the original location (that fell through), so we had to work with what we had, and though it does a decent job, it just wasn’t the disgusting, rotten location that I originally had. Last, Production design, we have no production designer on the film (no budget for it), so we done it all ourselves. It’s ok, but I know that a production designer would have heightened it even more.
After only being publicly released last week, you can watch the film right here. Watch, enjoy and feel free to give feedback.