The Green Room is becoming a very busy place at the moment and we are always happy to welcome new creatives to join us. Noel Brady- Welcome.
Let's jump straight in with your feature film 'Full Circle'! Firstly a huge congratulations with the success of the film. Right now seeking 'light at the end of the tunnel' and looking to overcome an unprecedented situation is a very common theme. Tell me about the development of this idea and how you came to begin the process?
Thanks for that and let’s hope that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t too far away and until then we’ll all keep soldiering on, and big congrats to you guys for continuing on with the fest despite these very strange times. And to answer your question, I began writing notes on what would become Full Circle way back in 2014. And to be honest I had no real idea of what sort of film I was writing or even what it was going to be about. By 2015 I had filled up loads of note books with little ideas, scenes and even some dialog. Eventually I wrote one particular scene that involved the two main characters, and it was this little scene that really set the tone of the film and what would become Full Circle. And to demonstrate this I thought the best way was to out-line the scene below.
Full Circle concept scene.
The scene took place on a rooftop at night. The main character Malcolm, was standing perilously on the edge of the roof with the intent to step off to his mortal end. The second character Travis, was present there too, and they had just met. Malcolm thinking that Travis was about to talk him down protested saying not to bother. While all along Travis, ignoring Malcolm was transfixed by a washing line that was on the roof. On the washing line was a variety of laundry, including a pillowcase with the number “1” in big bold red letters. And it was this pillow case that held Travis’ gaze so intently. All the while Malcolm continued protesting saying not to save him. Realising that Travis was not even listening, Malcolm held his arms out to his side, closed his eyes, leaned forward and was destined to let gravity take its course.
Just as Malcolm leaned forward he was jerked to a sudden halt. Perplexed, Malcolm looked around to see what had stopped him. He looked down his body to see a rope holding him firm. But it wasn’t a rope at all, it was the washing line that Travis had fashioned into a lasso. And Travis was holding on for dear life. With a mighty heave Travis pulled Malcolm to safety. Malcolm landed with a bump on the roof, safe and alive. He looked up at Travis and asked. “Why did you do that”?
Travis took the pillowcase from the washing line, held it up to Malcolm and showed him the Number One written large on it, and he replied. “Because you’re the One, you’re the chosen One”! And that was start of what became Full Circle. Ironically this scene never made it into the final script. But it helped to set the tone for the film and the relationship of the two main characters. In the end Full Circle was about loss, and the value of friendship.
You cast Michael Bates & Mark Schrier in the leading roles, having worked with them previously was this a no brainer for you? Did you feel they would give the characters the life you had envisaged?
Yes, it was a no brainer. I had made a short film called ‘True-D’ back in 2012 with both Michael and Mark. The film went on to win two awards picking Best Irish Short and Best Director so I was confident that I had quality actors to work with. And it’s more than that, having really good actors is very important. But I think equally you need a great cast, and that element is about chemistry and how the actors blend and work together. And I think Full Circle certainly has benefited from not just good actors but also a wonderful cast.
Let's go back to the start in 1996 you picked up your first camera, tell me what you can remember about this and going forward who and what has inspired your personal development?
Inspiration goes way back to the 80s when I was a just a boy, and a little know movie called Star Wars, yes I’m one of those guys! The first real eye-opener to cinema for me was through Star Wars, or to be more precise through a Star Wars magazine that I was gifted. This was a cheaply produced magazine and the toy shop seemed to have thousands of them. But here’s the thing, in the magazine it wasn’t just about Star Wars, it was about cinema, the history of Cinema, the technical aspects of camera and editing and of course the special effects of Star Wars. The magazine had articles on Hitchcock, Laurel and Hardy, Hammer-Horror and all types of films down through the ages. And it was here that my imagination fired, and I thought if I could learn how to make a film, then I could make my own Star Wars! And that’s where it all began. The magazine itself was lost to time, but I managed to find a copy on Ebay. If the seller had known how much it meant to me I’m sure it would have being that little bit more expensive.
And as for my first camera, we fast-forward to 1994. And bare in mind that 1994 was pre-digital, so no digital cameras and no Final Cut Pro. Consumer Video cameras had being around since the late 70s and early 80s, but I could never afford one. So again 1994, cameras had come down in price and I got my first camera. This camera was a Video-8 camera, for the Millennials out there you guys can google it.
I had gotten my camera as a Christmas present off my parents. And the very first film I made starred both my Mum and Dad, and suffice to say that on Christmas day we had a lot of fun making this silly little film. And all these years later when I had finished Full Circle, I would dedicate my film to their memory, so thanks guys I know you were looking down on me.
And then there was editing (yes there was editing before computers). Editing Video-8 was achieved through a process called ‘Crash-Editing! A what-editing you may ask? Crash editing is when you rig up your Video-8 camera to your VCR, and you press play on the camera and record on the VCR to assemble your edit. Of course this was very crude by todays standards but it got the job done. And if you had an extra VCR you could even add a soundtrack to your masterpiece.
And so for the next six years I bothered all my friends by making loads of short films, and even some stop motion too. In a way I’d like to go back to those days, they were simpler times and without any pressure, it was all about just having fun. And I actually learned an awful lot through making all those short films.
At the same time in 94 I was in college where I started off studying acting and theatre and it was here where I had first attempt at writing and directing. I had written and then directed a short play called ‘Trust’. And many years later I would make it into a short film. From there further studies took me to CGI and finally to film and TV production. And it was here that my eyes where opened to the language of cinema, and use of semiotics to tell story. And this started me on a whole new journey with new eyes and ears to see and appreciate how good films were made.
Often filmmakers work part time on film and are involved in other industries, for you life is full time creativity. Your main focus is on corporate, promo and advertising projects. Do you ever find that your creativity is restricted when working to a clients brief?
When it comes to clients and corporate/promotional work, I think it’s a case of you pay the piper so you call the tune. I think there is always some opportunity to have creative flair, even in the most mundane of productions. And what I love most about this type of work is the variety of people you get to work with and productions you get to work on. Often you meet people who have such a deep passion for something that you may have never have given a second thought too. From productions on Special Needs to health and safety to Tai-Chi instructional videos over the years I have had the privilege to work with amazing people on a huge variety of productions.
Coupled with this, I’m also a tutor at the Gaiety School of Acting, where I teach acting to camera and filmmaking. And this I love, it’s wonderful to work with people and see their confidence grow and to think that I may have had a little hand in doing that.
I always like to ask this question so let's get creative and make up a new film. If budget wasn't an issue- tell us your next film, who would be the leading actors, tagline and if you fancy it the title too?
Well, and this may be a little obvious given my earlier answers, but I think I’d re-make the sequel trilogy to Star Wars. I’d use de-ageing technology on the remaining original cast members, and tell a slightly different story to Disney. What would that story be? Well that answer may be just a little too long for this segment.
So that was the hypothetical project now let's talk about 'Witch', what can you tell us?
Witch is my new feature that I’m writing right now. It’s a thriller set in present times where we follow a woman who believes that she is a Witch. And through her beliefs all manner of odd instances take place in the film. But the question is this. When you cast a spell, is it the spell that works, or is it just a type of self-hypnosis or self-programming that causes a set of circumstance to happen that creates an event. Or is this what Witchcraft really is/was all along? I’ll have the first draft finished by Christmas and looking to next year I plan to go into production around April/May 2021.
Noel, thanks so much for taking the time to join us. We hope we will get to see you in person soon at one of our Fusion festivals. The door is open and you can now leave The Green Room.
Thanks for all the questions guys, stay safe and hopefully we’ll all meet up in sometime soon and
celebrate this wonderful world of filmmaking.