Film Ireland talks modern love with producers Emma Carlsson and Aisling O’Halloran of The Randomer, which screens at the Underground Cinema Film Festival.
Produced by the Filmbase Masters in Digital Feature Film Production Programme, The Randomer introduces us to Meg, who is trying to find a way to be a mother on her own terms. Co-producer Emma Carlsson begins by explaining how the Filmbase Masters programme prepared the students for making a feature film. “Everyday you’d have a masterclass where professionals would come in and talk about their profession. Mix that in with a lot of practical assignments where you get to try different roles within the crew, and voilà – you’re as ready as you will be! With film you learn best by doing, so I’d say the best way to prepare yourself/teach yourself how to make a feature film is to make a feature film. Filmbase gave us that opportunity.”
Aisling adds that “there is no doubt at all that Filmbase is a practice-based course, with workshops taking place in lieu of traditional lecture-based masters. There are several practical shoots throughout the year so you are really thrown in the deep end. I was a producer on our first assignment – a three-day shoot, having never worked as a producer before. It was trial by fire, but this heavily influenced my decision to pursue producing on The Randomer.”
The film was directed by three of the students, Naji Bechara, Caoimhe Clancy and Iseult Imbert, and Aisling admits that it was a little daunting for everyone, both cast and crew, coming into the project. Fortunately, any nerves were soon calmed when they sat in a room with the three directors for the first time. “They presented a cohesive and singular vision from the get-go. Luckily this remained strong throughout the shoot, thanks to their extensive work in pre-production.” Emma seconds that approach: “Having a clear, cohesive idea from the beginning and working with one DoP who knew how the directors wanted the film to come out was key here.”
According to Aisling, “the process of dividing the script did not come until much later in the project, less than half a week before the shoot began. The directors worked as one the entirety of the shoot, with complete artistic cohesion across style, vision, etc. Any director could direct any scene, knowing the core of what was needed, falling into the shoot based on scheduling. Fairly enough, each director eventually directed a third of the film.”
The project was always on terra firme with a script from Gerard Stembridge, whose credits include Ordinary Decent Criminal and About Adam. “The script was a complete revelation,” says Aisling. “A feature film depicting a woman who is making her own choices about her life, and is unapologetic about them. That is totally refreshing in film. Dublin is portrayed as a vibrant, young city, which is rare in the gangland, grey landscape that has been the trend in the last few decades. Gerard made a script that was very easy for a young film crew to get behind, energy wise.”
On using Dublin as a location, Aisling recalls how one of the directors likened their vision to that of a French film: “you know that it’s set in Paris, yet you never see the Eiffel Tower. They wanted this for Dublin in The Randomer,and that was what sold their pitch to me personally and heavily influenced the project for me. We have a young, energetic team who have experienced Dublin in a different light to generations before – let’s try and get some of that energy to The Randomer. Where is the newest, best cafe? What are people listening to? Where are they drinking? That thread is something we hope shines through in the film.”
Looking back over the whole experience, Emma and Aisling talk about the challenges they faced and the lessons they learnt making a feature film. “When trying to get actor’s availability work with location’s availability you face a lot of scheduling difficulties,” Emma says. “I’m so proud of our crew for pushing through. While most of our crew were a part of our class, some of them did it just for the experience, and showed up everyday with a smile on their face! We were honestly so lucky to attract such an amazing group of people. Same goes for our actors, who did everything in their power to make sure we got the best film we possibly could. Something that I truly learnt throughout this project is to take one thing at a time, that problems will keep coming – but so will solutions.”
Aisling agrees on the challenges of scheduling. “Definitely with low-budget filming. You are at the mercy of people’s kind generosity with their time and availability, and working around this. This cafe can do this for free today, but this crew member has to work until 8pm. The make or break of a film is in pre-production. We had less than two months for pre-production and shot it, something I would definitely not recommend! Many lessons learned in such a short time period though.”
The 8th Underground Cinema Film Festival takes place in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire from August 31st to September 3rd.
This is an edited version of an original article published as part of our Galway Film Fleadh coverage.
- July 4, 2016 Interview: Emma Carlsson and Aisling O’Halloran, producers of ‘The Randomer’
- December 13, 2016 Review of Irish Film @ Cork Film Festival: The Randomer
- June 29, 2016 Filmbase @ the Fleadh
- August 29, 2017 Stephen Horgan: How We Made ‘Behind the Veil’
- August 29, 2017 Brian Stynes: How We Made ‘Penitent’
- August 30, 2017 Noel Brady, Director ‘Self Tape’
- September 1, 2017 Dave Svedberg, Writer of ‘Caper
- March 20, 2016 Filmbase Masters Table Quiz
- August 28, 2017 Sean Breathnach, Writer/Director ‘Beyond The Woods’
- March 2, 2016 Call For: Production Designer