The People Behind The Film
The moment Flashbulb confidently opens with no music soundtrack, and only the unmistakeable sound of a ratchet spanner accompanying the still shots of pertinent items around the workshop, you relax. You know that you are in the hands of someone who knows their craft. Kieran Gosney is that man. An avid film watcher since he was a child, he didn’t actually start making films himself until realising that psychology and politics wasn’t what he was interested in. So he started a different degree, and hasn’t looked back since. ‘Flashbulb’ is his graduate film and it won the 2012 Royal Television Society of Scotland Student Award for best short fiction. Already the recipient of a scholarship from the Andrew Grant Bequest and the winner of the Popular Photography contest, Kieran is beginning to stack up the trophies on his mantelpiece. It’s kept him busy. Since graduating he has directed, interned, edited, filmed, and animated twelve projects. Oh, and he’s a prolific blogger too.
Money is always an object
If money were no object, Kieran would be making his own films all the time. As he needs to make a living he chose to specialise in editing, because he doesn’t like being on set doing anything else. As an editor he has the creative freedom second only to the directors choices. And he can play with narrative. Isn’t it interesting that creative types are able to cross disciplines and still be taken seriously? We wondered if creatives are just generally brilliant or if it is the perception of them that allows them this freedom. Kieran thinks that unlike engineering or journalism being a filmmaker/photographer/writer is considered to be a viable, if broader, career path. Perhaps it is just that a creative career is more difficult and diversification is a necessary function to maintain any kind of quality lifestyle.
I’m a bit extreme on it. If you can cut the dialogue out… do it
‘Flashbulb’ has almost no dialogue, relying on the film-maker’s skill to the tell the story. For the father (Alan Ireby), he used improvisation to discover the character for the scenes. For the main character, Daniel (Tony Sehgal), he wanted someone who was a physical performer, yet able to convey subtle emotion. All of this was quite ambitious for a student film, but Kieran believes that films are primarily a visual medium and if you need dialogue it’s because you’ve not told the story well enough (or it’s such a complicated one, like a political thriller, that, of course, you need to have a bit of chat). Another nice touch though, is that in the real world (and Chekov), you can also have dialogue that has absolutely nothing to do with the plot.
People shouldn’t be afraid to speak to the people above them with an idea if it’s going to help the film
The casting was a chance for Kieran to find his way into the role of director, as well as a job to find the actors, since it was his first time working with them. He had however done some workshops so that he would be able to, at least, give them the kind of instructions that would help rather than hinder them. Sadly this isn’t a skill all directors possess. Often new directors aren’t very confident when approaching actors and giving direction, and these workshops help massively. Even more unusually, and perhaps because of his focus on narrative films, Kieran actually took some acting courses, so that he would have a deeper understanding of how actors work. On set, he likes to have a friendly but professional atmosphere. There isn’t time for arguments and anyway he wants “to make sure that people want to come back the next day.” The production crew where all from the Edinburgh College of Art, apart from the DP (Garry Torrance), and the production designers for the chair. Because the film was to have such a strong visual ethic, Kieran wanted a cinematographer who was familiar with set lighting. You can check out Kieran’s website to keep up with what he’s up to. His website also contains the director’s notes to ‘Flashbulb’, which is an interesting read. You can get in touch with Kieran via Twitter or email.
It’s good in Scotland for film making at the moment, but it could be really great soon
Within the UK, Scotland punches well above its weight. Culturally, politically and scientifically Scotland prides itself on the quality of its output. Within the country poets and writers are venerated beyond mere kings, queens and generals. The most sacred night isn’t Christmas but Burns Night, when a poor, unsuspecting haggis is brought into a room, forced to listen to bagpipes, and then ritually sacrificed, it’s warm stomach ripped open with a dirk, whisky poured over the wound and all while Rabbie Burns’ poem is howled over it… brutal. I mention this because we wondered whether Scotland is a good place to be a filmmaker at the moment. There is a proposed £250m ($375m) construction of production houses and studios just outside Glasgow, which would put the country (whose whole population is 2/3 that of London) on the film map. It was probably a bit stung by the filming of ‘Game of Thrones’, which was shot in Ireland. Kieran’s latest project is called ‘How Far is That Island’, but he has to be a little discreet to protect the idea. All we know is that it has something to do with injustice, conscience and skyjackings at the end of the Soviet era. After that? Who knows, but hopefully those studios will be helping Kieran and the legions of talent in the north to fulfil their ambitions and compete with Hollywood’s best.