What was the impetus behind the film?
I’ve been looking to do more narrative and was trying to think of something I could film at my house. Somehow I came up with the idea of populating it with CGI characters. Even though I knew the post would be challenging, I knew the shoot would be pretty easy – a handful of rooms, some green screen and just one actor.
Was there a specific reason (brand funding for instance) for shooting or was it more a case of a good idea and a gap in your schedule?
It was something I wanted to do for a while. Once we set a date it all moved fairly quickly.
Where did the idea come from? It’s sort of Sims meets Major Lazor Pon De Floor!
In the last few years I’ve been doing a lot of animatics, and at a certain point thought it would be funny to take these rough, ugly characters and put them into the real world. A party seemed like a great setting. And the obscene ending was just me not knowing where to go with it and falling back on perverted shock value. (Next one I swear will be more clever and less smutty!)
Have you worked with the actor before?
I had never worked with Johnny Pemberton before; but was a fan of his work. He’s been in a bunch of movies and does a lot of Funny or Die stuff.
And what was the casting like?
There weren’t auditions; I just asked around and a friend of mine suggested him. Thankfully he was into it and we shot it all in one day.
Presumably you needed someone who could act with non-existent scene partners?
Yeah it’s a pretty odd thing to have to act. Though, he never quite connects with any of them – so he might as well be talking to a green screen.
Tell us about the CG elements – who lead your team in building out the avatar party crowd?
I had an amazing team of animators, lead by Rebecca Forrester, Lawrence Pearce, Cassandra Crouch and Steve Ramsey. Everything was composited by James Schulman and Eric Haverbrooks. Great, talented up-and-comers; I can’t recommend them enough.
In your mind was there any intention to nod towards the fact that most kids these days spend a substantial amount of time online with their virtual friends and interact to a large degree in this environment so it’s possible they might not recognise Facebook buddies if they saw them!
Yeah there was always the thought that this was the first time he was meeting his friend whom he never met up with. There’s something funny and depressing about showing up to a party before your friend who’s the connection – and then just wandering around trying to not look like a lonely weirdo.
What was the most enjoyable part of the shoot for you?
I really liked working with Johnny Pemberton – it wasn’t the deepest role in the world but I thought he really captured the character. My favorite shot is when he’s sitting on the couch just looking around.
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
I just wrapped a commercial shoot in Cape Town; otherwise just pitching.