interview with Director, Rick Hamilton
What inspired the concept for this film? Did you happen to know someone who has this particular behavioral quality?
The concept was inspired by a conversation I overheard. A woman was choosing between two grad school programs and a colleague told her to write the options down, shuffle them and then choose one. Either the decision would be made or at the moment she was about to open the paper, she’d know which one she was hoping it would be.
It was an interesting concept to start working with, but frankly wasn’t going anywhere in early treatments. It wasn’t until I gender-flipped the original idea (made the character a woman) that more possibilities opened up and the story fleshed out for me.
The film has no spoken dialogue. Did the original story begin this way or was it a decision made while filming?
I do like to see how far I can push the visual storytelling in my films. Even when using dialogue, it’s frequently pared down to an absolute minimum. In this case, it seemed very natural for Deborah to be going about her day alone and therefore silent. But I did have to make the conscious decision when writing the script to keep it that way throughout. Mostly, because if you’ve gone a substantial time without dialogue, the first words spoken would carry a tremendous amount of weight and I felt that would needlessly offset the balance of the film.
I really find that the “dialogue” in the film comes from the score. Craig Klonowski, the composer, did an excellent job, with different instruments representing various stages of her process and variations on the musical themes indicating her mindset. There are several times the music seems to have to wait for the character and that give it the feel of being an active participant in the story. It’s a complex score for a nine-minute short and feel lucky to have had that wonderful collaboration.
Have you yourself ever experimented with this way of decision making and go through a day at work making decisions based on writing two options on a piece of paper? How did that work out? Did it work out?
I have not—but that’s an interesting idea that I might have to try! I’m considering an expansion of the story. Probably not feature length, but a much longer short and that might give me some ideas of directions to take it. The character is engaging, thanks mostly to D’Vorah Bailey’s beautiful performance, and I find that people want to spend more time with her and know more about her. It would have a much different feel, of course—doubtfully be silent. I’d like to explore her background and how she developed this way; but also more ways that her decision-making process could get in her way. What happens when she hits snooze several times and that makes her late for work?!
This is not your first film in the Chain NYC Film Festival. Are you currently working on any upcoming projects? Is there a genre you have yet to tap and can't wait to put on the screen?
This is my third year with a film in the Chain NYC Film Festival! I’m thrilled to be back and look forward to many more in the future. I am currently editing my next short, “Seeing Glory,” which is a domestic drama centered on wine, dementia and Virginia Woolf.
I also have some small projects in the works, like cine-dance pieces and a music video that I hope will pave the way to a musical, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. That may still be a ways off, but it’s the direction I’m ultimately heading.