Filmmaker/Photographer Aleksandra Kingo’s debut short film An Ode To Procrastination is a fun and playful look at the art of doing nothing. The film explores procrastination in all its forms, opening up the conversation around fundamental fears that every artist has experienced at one point or another. On a visual level, Kingo’s background in photography and commercial filmmaking comes through in the whimsical cinematography, diorama-like production design and soft colour palette. It’s a film DN was delighted by when we first saw it at Conero Film + Adv last year and are now excited to present to audiences through its online premiere. You can also learn more about the making of An Ode to Procrastination through our conversation with Kingo below where she delves into working with trusted collaborators, her exacting approach to set design, and the process of using her phone to shoot an entire rehearsal prior to production.

What was the genesis of An Ode To Procrastination?

An Ode To Procrastination is a highly personal project to me because it was my very first short film. I come from photography and advertising backgrounds and have shot so many commercial projects in the past but Ode was the first film project that was purely personal. And perhaps for that exact reason, I wrote Ode while procrastinating trying to write a script for another film.

Procrastination often stems from fear, and the very thing the protagonist Sarah talks about in a movie about overthinking the process and the result, being equally terrified of your art being not good enough or, vice versa being overwhelmed by the last of potential is all very valid for me as well as a director. The film was an attempt to become friends with my own procrastination and to learn to perceive it as part of the process of creation or perhaps even as art itself. To create a piece that is relatable in a lighthearted way.

Given that it was your first short, how did you find the challenge of getting it off the ground?

The film was self-funded which meant I had to pull all the favours and involve everyone I worked with in the past. Throughout my career I have been lucky to have cultivated friendships with so many talented people, we work together, we make fun stuff together and we always uplift each other. Still, it felt wonderfully overwhelming to realise how many wonderful people have stepped up to help. It felt like surfing a giant wave at times, terrifying but thrilling.

The film was an attempt to become friends with my own procrastination and to learn to perceive it as part of the process of creation or perhaps even as art itself.

What do you think was the benefit of working with collaborators whom you’d already developed a relationship with?

Working with friends meant I could take time to really figure things out and learn from them which was very beneficial for the process with this being my first film. The main actress Sarah is a dear friend of mine, we met at a casting for a Nespresso commercial years ago and instantly became close which was very important for the film as I was writing Ode with Sarah already in mind and having unlimited access to her was very precious to really figure out the character. We have the whole movie rehearsal shot on my phone in her living room with her cavapoo Ziggy in the background.

There’s a heavily stylised ambience to the short, which comes through in the location. Where was your set? And how did you find it?

The location was crucial to get right as it has to be equal amounts of retro and art directed, but at the same time real and tactile so we ended up renting this 1930s Art Deco house in South London. It came about from the pre-existing scout that my location manager Luke did for a Marilyn Monroe movie and was full of cats and Damien Hirst art that we had to hide to avoid poking it with a c-stand by accident, haha.

What equipment did you use for the shoot?

I was extremely lucky as most of the equipment was provided at absolutely no cost from both Panavision and Palalux, they are so so so great at supporting young talent and I won’t ever stop giving them shout-outs. Beyond that, I genuinely wouldn’t know the fine details, I am always ideas first, technicalities second. My Director of Photography Matthew Smith and I were so in sync during the whole process that I trusted him wholeheartedly to achieve my vision, and to also challenge me to think outside the box sometimes! And he did so beautifully.

How long were you conceiving the film and how many days were you on location?

The actual shoot took one day of preflight and one shoot day, so fairly quick. The writing of it… well, about a year? Because, you know. Procrastination.

I am always ideas first, technicalities second.

What was your screenwriting process like? I’m keen to know how you developed each of the scenarios/shots Sarah finds herself in.

I’d say it was a mix of personal experiences, like getting carried away in memes and silly TikTok videos when trying to do ‘research’ and notoriously cleaning the house to avoid doing work that scares you Write about what you know they say, right? But also a bunch of self-help advice research, think cheesy articles like ‘Top 5 Tips to Stop Procrastinating’. A lot of ideas like Sarah wanting to go on a brisk walk or her wanting to get rid of all distractions, while creating extra distractions in the process, stemmed from that.

How do you feel your experience as a photographer has carried into your filmmaking? Do you find yourself attracted to certain aspects of production? For example, camera framing or costuming?

My favourite thing in the world is coming up with ideas and crafting them always comes first and I tend to figure out the rest later. It is something that got me into photography in the first place and therefore expanding into filmmaking was a very natural progression for me, as there are so many more opportunities to communicate those ideas. I’d say I am a bit of a micro-manager and I tend to be heavily involved in all aspects of production whether it’s camera work or hair and makeup. It’s all very exciting.

Do you plan on making another short at some point? What else are you working on?

Absolutely! Ode did quite well at film festivals and won me a couple of awards, so naturally just like the main character Sarah I am low key worried that, “I will not do anything better after that”, haha. But a new short is in fact on the way, I have teamed up with the comedy Writer Rachel Giddens this time. I have been working with children quite a lot recently, including my own eight year old son Leon, and really enjoyed that, so a new film is set during a children’s school play. It’s funny and wholesome and I can’t wait to share.

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