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Brendan Cleaves p2

The director of short comedy film Roger, Brendan Cleaves, mentions an interesting book on writing character development in stories...

READERSVOICE.COM: They say that people who’ve made commercials are very good at making films because they know how to get things done quickly and in an interesting way. How has your music video and commercial directing experience influenced the way you work and shoot films?

BRENDAN CLEAVES: I cut my teeth shooting £5 music videos. It does teach you do get things done with little money, but soon you learn that when you end up doing everything you can’t focus on the most important thing: the direction. Having a great crew to support you is essential when shooting anything now. Film making is a collaborative art so communication and trust are massive factors that affect my work now. Even with writing, two heads are better than one.

RV: Did you have a storyboard that you stuck to for each day’s filming of Roger, and did you stick to it or did you make up a lot of shots on the fly?

BC: Roger was a fairly simple shoot. I didn’t want to try anything outside the box since we had to shoot the whole film in a day. It was also February, so we didn’t have much light. The whole film was boarded but it was a fairly short process. My main aim with Roger was to showcase the characters and situation. We had faith in the script, so it was just a case of our actors nailing it, which they both did incredibly well.

RV: Were there any complications when you were filming Roger, with weather or anything else?

BC: Like I said before, we lost light at four pm that day, so that was not ideal. We also had to shoot the GV’s of the car another day, and, annoyingly, the owner of the red car crashed a day into the shoot. We then had to track down another vintage Volvo and shoot it in a different city. It was pretty stressful. It also started raining the second I called wrap, so we got super lucky with that.

RV: What are some of your favorite books, whether fiction or non-fiction, biographies, anything?

BC: I have read my fair share of screenwriting books. I also like to have one on the go at a time. Currently reading Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Weiland.

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– copyright Simon Sandall.