EUTCO, known best as a theatre company, are producing their first film. I recently had the opportunity to find out more about the filming project, and have a sneak peek at some of the final scenes they were shooting. I managed to grab a few quick words with Ryan, the director of ‘Intimacy’ (previously titled ‘Private Lives’) and Amelia, EUTCO’s publicity officer to find out more about this exciting first launch into film for the society.
Without giving away too much about the film, could you give us an overview of what ‘Intimacy’ is about?
Amelia: Sure, It’s set in the uni and is a relationship between a first year called Kate and a second year called Sam- basically the scene that you’re watching tomorrow is their first meeting. The whole idea behind it is that the girl Kate is protecting her secrets and is struggling with letting someone into her life, especially because she has a tricky family life. Essentially, it is a romance.
What challenges did you face when filming ‘Intimacy’? How did you overcome these challenges?
Ryan: Dealing with technology has been one of our biggest challenges. I have directed plays before and it is easier to correct things on stage and control the actors but with technology it raises issues such as whether the sound has been filtered correctly or whether the right cables are plugged in! Fortunately, we are a good team and we just work through the technology issues and just carry on.
What skills have you learnt/gained from doing this project?
A: Before doing this project I had no filming skills whatsoever. There are a few in the team who do have experience. For example Lottie, who is in charge of cinematography had been to New York Film Academy but most of us were unfamiliar with working on film. Thankfully, we teamed up with XTV (Exeter University’s TV station) and they had given us training as to how to use the equipment. Also it was nice to work behind the scenes as crew, as previously I have done a lot of acting, so it was a good experience to gain.
What inspired you to write ‘Intimacy’?
R: I had been interested in break-up scenes and the fact that a break-up can often be very emotional and intense due to the romantic and personal feelings that you share with one another. I was also interested as to how they have reached the conclusion of breaking up and the difficulty of sometimes hiding your emotions from a previous love once you have departed ways.
‘Intimacy’ is a romance but we also explore some of the secrets from the characters’ pasts. Is there an underlying message that you want to get across to the audience?
R: I don’t like films which are trying to get some secret message across; the purpose of this film is just to be a story. In fact, I originally saw this as a play.
It could be argued that university students doing a play/film about university has been overdone and is clichéd. What makes your film stand out from the rest?
R: There is no script as such, I just developed the idea and the characters and then I wanted the actors to improvise when it came to dialogue as I felt it was important that the dialogue was natural and believable whereas with a script there is a tendency to come across as a bit false. I want this film to feel gritty and honest. This is about two ordinary people and so it is not some schmaltzy, candy-coated love story. There are times where there is awkwardness and uncomfortableness.
Are there any film directors or styles that you admire?
R: I particularly liked the film ‘Like Crazy’ and it was an influence on this film I am directing, as they also used improvised dialogue which worked beautifully and the lighting in certain shots were amazing. In this film we were slightly limited as to getting good light in the settings but when we shot pieces outside we tried to make the most of the sunlight to get those perfect shots.
When will Exeter University students and the general public expect to see the finished piece?
A: The aim is to show the piece on the 25th March. At the moment we are just reshooting some scenes to ensure the sound is right and then we hope to create a Facebook page where we will have cast interviews and trailers so as to get people really interested in this project as this is the first time that EUTCO have done a film.
Can we expect to see more of these projects in the future?
A: I hope so, as I have found the experience really worthwhile and it will be nice to see that EUTCO isn’t just limited to stage work. In fact, Ollie, who is working on sound in this project has thought about doing a film, so there is potential for more in the pipeline!
How important do you think it is that young people get involved in student projects such as this?
A: I think it is really important that you make the most of the opportunities available to you at university. I have had the opportunity to work with all kinds of equipment and if it wasn’t for the university society I would never have the chance to work with the equipment and build up these skills. Also, most of us involved in this project do all different types of degrees so we are all here because we enjoy it not because we need to get credits for a course. It is also an opportunity to get to know people and try something you might not necessarily get the chance to do again.
For those readers who would like to get involved with EUTCO, how can they do this?
A: At the beginning of the year I joined at the Squash event but you can still join in all the fun at EUTCO by signing up online. The film project isn’t something the society normally do but there are always lots of opportunities to perform and the society are good at keeping you up to date with auditions etc. through emails.
Despite mentioning their lack of experience in film the group, whilst watching them prepare and perform scenes, they showed professionalism and determination to get their collective vision into film and create an interesting piece that an audience will enjoy and I wish them the best of luck in their final production stages.
This interview can also be viewed at: http://razzmag.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/eutcos-first-film-private-lives/