The Blank Page

Interview by Marie Dinolan with Director Lou Dubigeon

You mention in your director’s note that the inspiration behind this film was your journey to finding your own creative voice. Is the main character in the a characterization of yourself? How are you similar or different from this fictional character?

This film is literally inspired from a day of my life. I had been working on set a lot and had been very busy so I had no time to write or even think about new stories. Thanksgiving came around the corner so I was gonna have one day off, I decided that it was gonna be the day I save to write a short story. I woke up extra early, determined to spend my day writing. But of course it never works like that. When you force inspiration, it never comes and when you pressure yourself into “being creative” is when you are completely blank. So I came up with a tons of stories that did not look like me and made no sense. Everything was dramatic and ridiculous. It eventually became funny and I decided to write a light-hearted and non-ambitious comedy about this day I went through, in order to break the spell of the blank page and just have fun. I committed to it and made the film two weeks later!

You have an incredible cast of characters and actors who beautifully live these colorful people. What was the casting process like for you? As a storyteller, casting can be the greatest challenge. What do you do to ensure your projects have the strongest team possible?

Actually for this project I knew everyone. The people involved in the film are all my friends or friends with my lead actress Naomi Greene (my friend too). I wanted to have fun and surround myself with funny characters so I went through my contacts and called people who I thought could naturally match the characters. Most of them are not even actors but everyone was excited and wanted to play so we had a lot of fun. It was a very spontaneous and last minute project.

Generally speaking, to ensure that my projects have the strongest team possible I need to be really excited about every member of my cast. If I cast someone and I think “they’ll do”, or “yeah they understand the part”, that’s not good. Even though they’re not perfect and can be different from the original conception I had of the character in the script, I need to be eager to work with them and play with them. I need to trust them too on their excitement about the project and their willingness to bring as much as they can to it.

The Blank Page’s set and prop design stood out with its cute, feminine, vintage and captivating style. Tell us about the process in creating such a visually “yummy” film!

As I mentioned earlier, when I was first writing I was coming up with tons of dramatic stories that did not look like me. Everything was so heavy and deep, so serious. I decided to completely scratch all of that and do something fun and colorful, with which I could play with the visuals. The story became driven by that. I wanted the piece to bring a bit of sunshine, happiness and brightness to every viewer. I wanted it to be simple, like a little lollipop relief in the middle of so many serious movies. Every prop, location and piece of costume had to be part of that. I started to select a few random objects in my house and after I came up with the color palette with my costume designer I went to the prop house and completed with a few key objects. The whole process was actually very simple and genuine.

2018Kirk Gostkowski