IFP Chicago sat down with local filmmaker Robert Bruce Carter to discuss his short film script "The Deadline" which was a part of the Screenwriter's Workshop.
Robert's script will start production in early 2016.
IFP Chi: Hi Robert! Can you tell us about your script "The Deadline?"
RBC: It's a short comedic film about a playwright that goes to a cafe to write but finds himself beset by a series of strange characters and bizarre obstacles that he has to overcome. On one level, it's a pure comedy and on another level, it works as a sort of metaphor for the difficulties and fears that arise when you try to undertake something difficult and worthwhile. I adapted it from a feature-length screenplay that I wrote earlier this year; I was looking for material for a short film and that scene stuck out to me as a good starting point, so here we are.
IFP Chi: What inspires you as a writer?
RBC: Well I don't know how inspirational this is but I start to feel crazy when I don't write, so I just do it. On a less athological note, I'm inspired b my own difficulty in clarifying and expressing what exactly is going on with this absurd situation that we find ourselves in as humans (I swear, I'm a fun person!). And I draw inspiration from the great films and plays and books and TV that I read or watch. The Deadline was heavily influenced by After Hours, The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie, and Roy Andersson's Living Trilogy.
IFP Chi: What did you want to communicate to your audience with your script?
RBC: While the film does have a point of view in the sense that I'm trying to say something, I'm also hesitant to come out and say it verbatim because I think it's interesting to let the audience respond in their own way, without being nudged. It's like looking at a painting and seeing what you feel about it vs. a tour guide telling you what the artist was trying to say. But I will say that it's about a writer but not just about writers in general -- that the stuff we face in life that's difficult and hard is fraught with all kinds of emotional risks and dangers and how you face them is pretty important. Also, unexplained kissing is funny.
IFP Chi: What are your future goals for this script?
RBC: ight now we're in the process of putting a cast and crew together to film it in Chicago in March 2016. From there, we'll submit it to festivals. In a perfect world, it comes out really well and gets into some good festivals and makes everyone involved look good so that we can move on to bigger things in the near future.
IFP Chi: Can you tell us about your experience in the Screenwriter's Workshop so we can share it with future writers?
RBC: he main thing I think is that it's important to get feedback on your writing, from other writers and from live audiences that are off the street. The workshop was an opportunity to do both of those in the best environment imaginable -- the feedback was from a professional working screenwriter (and four other really talented up and coming writers) and the staged reading was superbly organized and acted by a bunch of really talented Chicago actors, in front of a big live audience. Basically, it was an amazing learning experience and I wish I could do it for every script I write! I took tons of notes and discovered some issues with the script that I was blind to, which is invaluable. Plus, I got to meet a lot of great actors, writers, and other industry people -- one of the people I met from the audience has signed on to be the production designer for the film.
IFP Chi: What is next for you?
BC: 'm making this film! If people want to know more about that, they can visit the website at thedeadlineshortfilm.com and sign up for my super-friendly newsletter. And we'll be posting more updates and pictures on the site as we move closer to production. If they just want to know more about me and see some of the other stuff I've done, they can check out my personal website (robertbrucecarter.org), where I've been posting a podcast about the production process for the short.
The Screenwriter's Workshop was made in partnership with Chicago Screenwriters Network, Trellis Series at Greenhouse Theater, and the School at Steppenwolf. You can learn more about the Screenwriter's Workshop and IFP Chicago's new screenplay workshop member service at www.ifpchicago.org