In the previous blog post, I talked about the casting process of “The Proposal Complex” at length. Because most of the characters in the film didn’t have a ton of dialogue, one thing I did then and usually do is for the actors to act out an improv scenario. It was the one way I could truly see if the actors could “act” and work on their feet.
The two actors I didn’t have improv were Robin Andrews (who I cast without thinking twice) and Justin Kimball (because unfortunately there was no one there for him to play off of). Having worked with Robin previously, I knew she excelled at improv and while on the set of “The Proposal Complex” I learned that despite it only being his first film, Justin did have a lot of experience in improv.
Where am I going with this? Well, I got to thinking after “The Proposal Complex” that I wished there was more improv involved, even though it wasn’t feasible due to the high technical demands of doing a 4 minute one shot take. I also thought back with the auditions and knowing Justin’s experience that I really wanted to do a film where basically everything was improvised.
Josh (dp/Clerestory Productions co-founder) and I took about a week off after shooting “The Proposal Complex” when I brought up the idea and he was all for it. Initially this improv short was going to be shot in September before we did “Don’t Be Scared.” I got a reading on a variety of the actors I’ve worked with as well as JD Scruggs (gaffer/key grip) and everyone was on board. However, between schedules and everything else, it didn’t work out.
Fast forward to a week after “Don’t Be Scared”, Josh and I met and the improv short was brought up again. Due to the holidays coming, I wanted this to get done soon and I immediately approached Robin and Justin again about the idea to do an improv short the three of us would collaborate on and if they’d be available the weekend of November 23. When they said yes, I started pulling crew together to make sure we “could ” film it.
Once the feeling out period was a success, I met with Robin and Justin to collaborate on the story. Needless to say, it was a fantastic meeting. I came in with a few general ideas and throughout the 90 minute session we got a solid outline of story that I’m very excited about.
So what is the story? That I am not going to elaborate on yet. Just think: dysfunctional family Christmas. That’s right; the next Clerestory Productions film will be an entirely improvised Christmas short comedy.
– Simon Mounsey, Director/Writer/Producer for Clerestory Productions