Life’s anxieties which to some may seem small and insignificant can, in the right mind, flourish into a debilitating riot of emotions which rampage through a person’s brain, distorting their perceptions of the world around them. In Molly McGlynn’s short I Am Not a Weird Person, an altercation on the street forces Emmy to retreat to the confines of her apartment, where her contrasting fear of and desire for connection bleeds out to the viewer to great comic effect. McGlynn joins us to discuss why filmmakers shouldn’t wait to be greenlit and the high importance of guarding your production’s craft services.
As this was my first short out of film school (and experiments I hope to God do not see the light of day…), I was nervous. Marni Van Dyk (co-producer, writer & star) and I were friends first (roommates who met on Craigslist, but had shared a common ex-bf/man friend – lol) and I respected her tremendously and didn’t want to fuck it up. Because she wrote this at a particular time in her life in a living space we shared, I felt I had an implicit sense of what this would look like. Emmy’s space needed to be warm and eclectic, filled with things that she’d accrued along the way, things that made her happy. The house is a friend of Marni’s whose taste was more or less perfect for Emmy. We really didn’t have to set deck very much.
A good short, I think, just gives the audience a short and precise glimpse into another life.
Marni and I raised the very small funds successfully on Indiegogo and we produced the short ourselves, even down to craft services and making food. Marni stayed up all night the night prior making sure our van didn’t get broken into, after we read a horror story in Christine Vachon’s Shooting to Kill. I loved the script. A good short, I think, just gives the audience a short and precise glimpse into another life. Marni is so specific in her style and script, so it was quite easy to envision it. There’s a little bit of agoraphobic weirdo in all of us. Sometimes the task of leaving the house IS daunting, for toothpaste or otherwise. It’s relatable and charming without falling into a Manic Pixie Dream Girl category.
This was a very collaborative run and gun shoot. We worked with awesome Cinematographer Ian MacMillan (shooting on a Canon 5D) who was instrumental in getting this warm, rose gold look right. Emmy is a rich, imaginative character and we wanted the warm, pinkish tones of her apartment to contrast against the bright, blown out exterior world. We had no permits and shot in downtown Toronto. The creepy guy in the street was played by Michael Worthman, a very well known actor/man about town Newfoundlander who basically just showed up, asked me if he should wear a pink or a blue shirt, and off we went.
It was steaming hot, we only had the location at the house for a day, and had little time for perfecting takes. Marni has a sketch performance background so we just played around with a bunch of things. For example the horse scene came up very much organically from that process. Looking back, there are a bunch of things we would’ve done differently (like shooting with live animals/Marni’s cat allergy), but we’re proud that we threw ourselves into making something with a clear voice and vision. In the case of this film, trying was doing. And also, we had FUN. It’s good to know what you want and what you’re doing, but to also enjoy the (sometimes obstacle ridden) filmmaking process.
We’re proud that we threw ourselves into making something with a clear voice and vision.
The edit took a few weeks. Kyle Wilson was our Editor and he was incredibly patient as Marni and I really fine-tuned it…just as much comedic value is in the cut as it is in the performance. The music for the dance sequence was also very important. I realise that you should never get too attached to a temp track which is the entire budget of your film. Fortunately, in the end The Dirty Tees whipped us up the spazzy, 80s-esque, upbeat track that we wanted.
IANAWP very much stemmed from Marni’s and my friendship, her trust in my ability to capture her script, and a desire to just skip the waiting for people to give you the green light on a project – we gave it to ourselves! And here we are. Hopefully more from us soon.