Bruno Collins – Interview

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Bruno Collins - Interview

Yesterday I shared The Morning After, a sexy short film about desire and discovering what you truly want from talented new filmmaker Bruno Collins.

Following the recent success he’s had with his short film, currently having over 81,000 views on Vimeo and thousands more on YouTube, recent Masters graduate Bruno Collins agreed to answer a few questions about movies, filmmaking, and future projects.

Dan: Was there anything in particular, any influences or otherwise, that inspired you to get into Filmmaking?

Bruno: I kind of stumbled into film making, its not something that I have always wanted to do, one of my early ambitions was to be a painter or graphic designer. It was actually through studying art and photography and using digital media that I discovered that I loved story telling.

It was experimenting with stop-motion animation that ignited my passion for film. Though I had grown up on Disney and watched cartoons when I was younger I had stopped watching them as a teenager.  So instead of pursuing art I went and studied 3D animation, which I love and it taught me so much about visual story telling but it also taught me that I am not an animator.  Then I knew that film was where I wanted to be.

As for inspirations (although its a little cliché) I would say that Tim Burton is probably one of my main inspirations, it was films like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands and Big Fish that made me want to make films.

D: I understand The Morning After was the final project for your Masters degree, and that it was also your first live action film. How was the transition from animation to live action?

B: It was a lot of hard work; I studied animation for three years and then started a Masters Film, an area that I had no technical background in. But I took a lot of what I had learnt in animation in regards to composition, semiotics’ and screen economy and applied it to this new medium and I think (hope) it shows.

Though the Transition was hard it seemed natural, I feel a lot more at home with what I do now, I loved the creative process in animation but the actual production side did not excite me. Where as being on a set, working with actors and crew to collaboratively bring one idea to life gives me more of a buzz. I especially love working with actors to create living characters form words on a page.

D: You were Writer, Director and Producer on this project. Firstly, how did you come up with the story – is it based on some reality, an overheard story, or did it just come to you?

B: The story was actually a small part of a different project I was working on, which was a small web series based on the pre and post coital moments of passing lovers. It was meant to explore the causes and consequences of one-night stands and drunken sex. For some reason it wasn’t working. The only episode which was working in my mind was the one that eventually became the first scene of The Morning After. As it seemed to work, I took it forward and developed it further.

Although none of the events in the film are based directly on my own experience, the emotional journey taken by Harry in the film is highly representative of my own personal journey over the past 12 years. From the moment when you realize you are different from those around you to fully accepting of who you are and being proud of it. And it’s that emotional journey that I think people have connected with more than the actual events.

D: Secondly, the film looks great, with nice production values; you presumably had a good team of people working with you to achieve that?

B: Yeah, my team was amazing; because this was my first film I was very particular about working with talented trustworthy people. I needed people who knew what they were doing so I could rely on their expertise so I could focus on my own role without worrying about sound or camera etc not being right.

D: I think I’m right in saying you used one of the Canon 5D mkII’s to shoot this, how did you find it to work with? And what are your thoughts on the recent technology that brings cinema-like production capabilities to a lot more people?

B: I love the Canon 5DmkII; I love its look, its feel, picture quality and its versatility. But like any camera it has its pros and cons. Certainly for us using the steady cam for it was quite difficult, being so small and light (though one of its charms) means it’s hard to counter balance effectively.

I think that the way that digital technology has enabled more people to be able to make good-looking films is good. On a low budget you can create something that is cinema quality.

But many of the qualities that make it so useful are also its weak points. Because you can see instant playback, have endless stock and fix colour and lighting problems in post the skill in filmmaking is being forgotten because of laziness.

Because the next generation of film-makers (including myself) are being taught on digital cameras they are not being forced to think about how and what they are making. When using film you have to trust that focus, lighting etc are right and you don’t get to see what you have shot until it has been developed mistakes will cost you money and potentially your film. Digital cameras allow people the extravagance of not knowing how to get it right first time and to be wasteful with what they shoot. Having studied animation I did have a better understanding than some of my contemporaries of the importance or preplanning and screen economy as when creating an animation if you cut a scene or shots you have wasted a lot of time and effort that could have gone into something else.

This is not to say that I am an expert on lighting or cameras because I’m not, but I know the importance of working with people that understand their tools and craft.

D: You crowd sourced the funding for this project, which has become a fairly standard model for creative projects now thanks largely to the Internet. Were you ever concerned that you wouldn’t meet your goal?

B: Constantly! Crowd funding is not an easy thing to do it is all about publicity and being able to persuade people that your project is worthy of their money and their belief. When you’re early in production, the less material you have to pitch your idea, the harder it is to convince people.

D: The Morning After has a really attractive cast – Joshua Berg, Luke Striffler, Juliet Lundholm, and Jane Alice – was it a long process to find the right people for the roles?

B: Casting was a completely new process for me. I had never worked with actors in this sense and it was quite a long process. It is something that I really enjoyed because it was really interesting to see my characters come to life. How different actors interpreted them was really interesting to see. I considered many different people for each role and allowed them to do their own interpretation of the character before I gave them any direction. Seeing the different interpretations really made me consider who my characters were and what I really wanted them to be like. I was incredibly lucky to end up with such a talented cast. And I suppose they are pretty good looking, which is always a bonus!

D: What movies are you into currently, anything you’ve seen recently that really impressed you?

B: I thoroughly enjoyed Hugo it had great cinematography and the story was enchanting. I especially like that even though it’s a family film it didn’t seem dumbed down or condescending to its audience. I also loved The Muppets, it had everything that a Muppets movie should be, good humor good music and entertaining story.

D: Are you working on any projects at the moment?

B: I am working on several projects at the moment at various levels of development. One project that is quite exciting and almost complete is a collaborative work for the Straight 8 competition at Cannes Film Festival. I am working with Chris Young and Raquel Haber who were my DOP and AD respectively on TMA and Katie Hogan who is an equally talented filmmaker. The rules are quite simple; we get a single cartridge of Super 8 film – which is 3 minutes and 20 seconds long. We then have to edit in camera to produce a short film and then create a soundtrack to play over the top. Our project is called “Iterum” –which is Latin for “Again”, and it’s a film about re-incarnation in the digital age. What we have attempted to do is quite technically difficult and quite risky considering the constraints of the competition. Having completed filming I am confident that taking those risks will have paid off.

D: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

B: I’ve been really surprised and touched by the way TMA has been received. Reading some of the blogs about it and the emails I have received from it have taken me aback because of how much people relate to the film. I had no idea when I wrote it just how many people would be able to relate to this film in this way and I’m really pleased that its managed to represent such a big emotional journey in this way.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to Bruno for being gracious enough to take time from his busy schedule to answer my questions, and we look forward to seeing more of your work in the future. You can find out more about The Morning After here: or in yesterday’s post HERE.

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