Interview conducted by Leeds Beckett University Business School journalism student, Lauren Halligan. Leeds Beckett Universities Northern Film School is the official education partner of the Harrogate Film Festival.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you got into filmmaking?
I did creative writing as part of my degree and started writing scripts in my 20s. I’ve written three feature length scripts and directing came out of more of a frustration. I was writing a lot of scripts but obviously it’s hard to get features made so I ended up self-taught how to direct. This is my third short that I’ve put out in the public, which I definitely think is my strongest one. It’s the first time I’ve been in any festivals and this is the sixth one The Tip has been selected for so I’ve never had that before and I feel like I’m going in the right direction.
Can you tell me about The Tip and how it came about?
I’ve been doing this a while now so I know how to keep things simple. I knew I wanted to make a crime film, a Guy Ritchie, Tarantino style film. I wrote it in a couple of days and a bar near where I live was kind enough to let me shoot it there for free as the manager is a big supporter of local artists. I wanted to make something quite punchy, I always tend to have twist endings in short films as I think that always works quite well, kind of M. Night Shyamalan style stuff where it’s a nice, well executed story with a twist ending . I like pulling the rug from under the feet of the audience.
What was the journey like making the film?
All filmmaking is a challenge, it’s never easy. It was a one day shoot, we shot it in about 12 hours. We had to be done by the time the bar opened in the evening, so time was not on our side but we managed to get it wrapped just in time. Filmmaking is always quite stressful. You're under a lot of pressure all the time and there are always things that can go wrong with sound and other things as well. There's always something, you can plan and plan and plan and something will normally spring up on the day that you didn't plan for. We had a thing with a refrigeration noise in the bar, which we didn't really think about much. That posed a bit of an issue with sound but luckily our sound designer, Mark, was amazing and he managed to get rid of all the background noise so you'd never know.
What was your inspiration behind the film?
That’s a tough one really. It's a crime film so that's not really an area I’m too familiar with other than watching crime films. I think I just wanted to make something that had a bit of comedy in it. I love Guy Ritchie and I love those kind of crime comedy films like Get Shorty and those kind of things dealing with often quite despicable people sometimes, but sometimes you find some kind of lightness in it. I suppose my main inspiration is Inglourious Basterds, there's the scene in the bar, when they're all playing a game and it all goes crazy. At the end it goes from a load of people having a drink and having a laugh and chatting to just escalating really, really quickly. I think that's probably my main inspiration for the film was to create something like that.
How happy are you to be screening it at Harrogate film festival?
It’s the first UK festival that it’s screened at which is great. A lot of the festivals I’ve been in so far have been in the US so I’ve not been able to make it over there so it’s nice that I’ve actually been physically asked to attend. I’ve never been to Harrogate before so this has been a nice weekend trip to somewhere I’ve never been and it’s a lovely little town. I’m more than happy to be part of the festival and the quality of the films was really strong as well, it’s nice when you’re amongst other really high quality films from across the globe.
Journalism Student, Leeds Beckett University