The People Behind The Film
It’s the face to camera. Being seemingly addressed by the actor directly. Eye contact held. Checking every nuance and facial tick. It immediately pulls in the viewer. Establishes a direct link. ‘You There?’ is not just very funny, it is also brilliantly executed with a deftly surreal opening that quickly resolves itself so that we understand we have entered the world of online chat. The repartee between the characters is itself charming but the feeling that you’re ‘getting’ it as they vocalise or act out acronyms and emoticons left this viewer tingling with delight even before the wonderful pause as she tells him to “hang-on”.
The film came about after Stanley and Jessalyn found themselves with time and access to a lot of equipment. A moment of inspiration during a stroll in the street and Stanley had the outline already worked out before he got back to the flat. The script was written and parts of the opening were shot for a teaser, which was used to raise money.
We both fell in love with making films… We love that it’s the marriage of technical and story telling.
Stanley and Jessalyn have a background in theatre and met in London while attending the same course at the British American Drama Academy. They now run a film and theatre production company in New York called ‘Assemblage of Nouns’ and it is worth looking at their website to see their early web series, ‘Fights You’ve Had’. Being producers, they have a pretty slick fund raising plan for every project. They swung into action, filmed the teaser and crowd-funded for six weeks. The filming was pretty quick but post-production was where the work really began.
Sometimes you have to cut the stuff that you love the most because it’s not servicing your story.
So they pretty much write as a team. When one of them has a script they sound out text and ideas against the other. And it seems to work. ‘You There?’ has good dialogue, interesting ideas and great execution. Like a lot of great modern films it is based on a classic – Cyrano de Bergerac. Unlike in the original we leave the story at the point where Lance, with utter disregard for Brad, happily bangs Annie in the next bedroom. In the original Annie (except she’s called Roxane) discovers the true identity of the writer only when Brad (Cyrano) is dying in her arms. Cue floods of tears. Were they tempted to reveal the secret to Annie?
We played with a lot of different endings, we think this one felt the most realistic
These two seem to have a lot of fortune surrounding them. Not only have they been almost constantly together since they shared a scene at BADA, but Stanley proposed to Jessalyn after winning a $10,000 diamond engagement ring in a ball-pit ruck. Not only that – the ring fit! Stanley must have invented penicillin in a previous life. Perhaps part of their secret to joy and happiness is that they are honest with each other, even about being dishonest. Makes you sick doesn’t it?
We all identify with not being yourself in front of other people. We do it every day.
What they didn’t mention is that they are going to be shooting their first feature called ‘Maggie Black’ this summer. It is about a woman with a history of mental instability that gets pregnant. The story is loosely based on ‘Hedda Gabler’. It is looking to be a powerful psychological drama, so keep an eye out for that one.
Follow Stanley via @sbrode on Twitter to find out about future productions. Also keep an eye on the Assemblage of Nouns website to find out more about their other productions. It features a nice teaser video of their upcoming film ‘Maggie Black’. If you like what you see, go ahead and support the production of this film here.
Neal Bledsoe, who played Lance is also on Twitter. You can keep up with Ian Merrigan, who played Brad, via IMDB.