There’s an authenticity to this film that feels like it was created spontaneously. Was it or was it meticulously planned in pre-production?
It was written very spontaneously, but the actual scenes in accordance with the music and the overall execution was well planned.
I learnt that from my last video for Rhye, the Open video, where we completely over-shot and had to “find the story” and trim down in the edit.
So as soon as the locations were set for Washed Out I sat down and basically played the film in my head and planned what scenes went where, and how the main character would develop in the film.
That was one of my big concerns: That Victor didn’t seem to develop throughout the film. It’s all happening inside of him.
Victor is played superbly. Where and how did you cast him?
I was really nervous starting out, because I didn’t know a lot of young actors in Los Angeles. So first we started to do street casting, but it proved that the great faces we found couldn’t lift the story. Weren’t strong enough actors…
I have a friend named Carter who’s a young actor in Los Angeles, and he knew Ridge Canipe because they had taken acting lessons together as children.
Ridge hasn’t acted that much the last couple of years, but when he was about 10 he played Johnny Cash as a kid in “Walk the Line”.
I had just seen the film only days before Carter suggested him, which was very odd.
Anyways – I saw some photos of Ridge, and I just feel in love with him. He came into an audition, and actually wanted to play the friend in the film, but we tried him out as Victor and he just blew my mind… I feel in love with him. And that’s the best way to cast..
Masam Holden who plays his friend is actually Ridges best friend in real life. That dynamic seemed perfect to me.
What did you shoot it on – and please tell us about the shoot, did you go on a road trip even a mini one?
We shot on Alexa, Panasonic dvx100 and the Canon handycam you see in the video.
The Panasonic was such a wonderful camera to shot on again. I shot my first short on that 10 years ago, and I just carried it around during our whole shot filming b-roll. Shooting out the window and trying to catch moments with Ridge and Masam.
A funny surprise in the edit was the Canon handycam footage. I had given that camera to Ridge and Masam, and when I looked at the material I found a lot of great surprises. For instance the moment where Victor is trying to wake up his friend. That was all improvised without me..
So we did go on a road trip, because that was the only way we could produce the film for our budget. My producer Courtney set up this amazing route with all our scouted locations along the way.
We shot the final scene in LA as the first thing on Saturday morning, and then sprinted into the desert ending up at the Salton Sea where we all slept at the Motel you see in the video. The next day we travelled pack, picking up stuff we had left on our route.
So the shoot was literally a 48 hour affaire, which only is possibly if you have a stellar team who actually want to make film and not money…
And we certainly had that!
The editing is also key to this narrative – you don’t linger too long or fast cut too quickly. Was there a lot of footage that ended up in the trash can? Was the edit an easy process?
First of all thank you for the compliment, that means a lot… But there is a very clear explanation, and I don’t think it’s about me.
It took me forever to try and find an editor in Los Angeles, and then finally I gave up. Instead my editor Carla, who has edited everything for me the last two years flew to Los Angeles to cut the film with me.
So no, the edit certainly wasn’t easy, but that made it a lot easier. It also made it easier that I had planned this one. I knew where I wanted what material.
But yes… There certainly were very beautiful things that was shot, which had to be cut to make way for the story.
Is this your graduation film? And now that you’ve graduated from the American Film Institute what are your plans now?
This is not my graduation film, but it is the first film I’ve made after graduating this summer.
My graduation film Turtle will premiere in February. We are hoping that it will make some festivals, and then later we will put it online.
As for future plans – I’ve just moved from Los Angeles back to Copenhagen. My plan is to try and finish the feature script I’ve been working on the past year. It is a film set in Europe – a road trip film going from Copenhagen to London.
Another possibility is mimicking the script, and actually moving to London. But time will tell.
Writer and Director: Daniel Kragh-Jacobsen [http://danielkraghjacobsen.com]
Exec Prod: Oualid Mouaness
Exec Prod: Coleen Haynes & Svana Gisla.
Production Company: Tricycle Logic & Black Dog Films
Producer: Courtney Davies
Prod Manager Mark McCune
Prod Coord: Kylie Ferguson
DP: Tom Banks
Editor: Carla Luffe.
Colorist: Sofie Borup at Company 3.
Sound Designer: Brent Kiser at Unbridled Sound.
Casting director: Darya Balyura.
1st AC: Ezra Riley
2nd AC: Blair Neighbors
Gaffer/ Key Grip: Greg Cotten
Sound: John Rampey
Prod Design: Christian Snell
Victor: Ridge Canipe
Laslo: Masam Holden
Faye: Sidney Allison.
New Boyfriend: Tomas Pais
Aley: Aley Underwood
Ayla: Ayla Parker.
Special thanks: Carter Jenkins, Natalie Johns, Liza Kerlin and Ryan Dale at Company 3, Ski-Inn Bombay Beach, BeKind Agency and Kasper Notlev, Thor Brammer Jacobsen, Chris Clavadetscher.