Getting There (Ireland | 2015, 15 min)
Directed by: Tim Hanan
Written by: Tim Hanan, Shane Larkin
Cast: Cal Kenealy, Carla McGlynn, Mark Schrier, Charleigh Bailey
Harry is a young man who has developed an obsession with a girl he has seen in college. Originally planning to strike up a conversation with her, he now simply shows up in the places he knows she will be. With the help of his psychiatrist, Dr Marlowe, he is trying to get over this infatuation, while at the same time, keeping it, and much of his life, a secret from his sister Alice, who is trying to help him open up while coping with problems of her own.
Interview:I’m from Dublin, Ireland, and graduated from a Masters course in Digital Feature Film Production here in 2013. I’ve been writing since I was a child, and started acting in my teens, when I also started to fall in love with movies. I’ve written a number of screenplays, one of which has been optioned, but none produced so far. I made a lot of shorts over the last decade or so, but decided that I needed to make something more ambitious, and decided to put my own money into making Getting There. Currently, I’m working on a documentary about the Irish Burlesque scene and developing a micro-budget feature script, and I have recently completed two other shorts. I do other, non-film things, but they have momentarily slipped my mind...
NYCIFF: This is such an amazing film. How did you come up with this concept of voyeurism and manipulation being intertwined?
TH: It can be hard to pinpoint exactly where an idea comes from. Generally, I find that a story concept comes first and gradually thematic ideas start to pop up. I think the connection was present in the story and evolved with it, especially as we explored the relationship, and similarities, between Harry and Dr. Marlowe. Romantic obsession can be quite selfish, especially if you don’t act on the desire. Then your view of the other person becomes increasingly disconnected from the reality of that person. They’re no longer themselves, but what you want them to be. Hitchcock’s Vertigo is a classic example of this, and somewhat of an influence.
NYCIFF: Did you film on all locations or were some of the locations on a stage?
TH: We used actual locations: two apartments (one rented, one borrowed), the Third Space café in Dublin’s Smithfield Square, and a street nearby. We spent so long trying to find the perfect location for Dr. Marlowe’s office that we ended up getting a room at the last minute, which was actually an upstairs lounge in a pub in Dublin, which had no door. The DoP and Art Director did a heroic job with it. It’s quite different from the original plan, but I think there’s a nice oddness to it with its dark walls and little shown of the room itself. I think (or hope) it suits the claustrophobic, highly subjective feel of the story.
NYCIFF: What camera did you use?
TH: We shot on a Red One MX with Red Primes. The stalking stuff was shot with a Canon 5d mkIII with Canon L Lenses.
NYCIFF: You are the writer and director. Did all of your scenes come out as you pictured them when shooting?
TH: I originally wrote the script a decade earlier, and it was rewritten with Shane Larkin. We spent a lot of time talking over the script and changing things, and occasionally changing them back, especially the ending, which kept changing until the edit (we shot another scene that was going to go at the end, but ultimately felt the ending we had worked—although I do miss the original last shot). The rewriting process really helped to expand on the characters and to give the story more
detail. The original script was quite sparse. For all the work we did, and the changes that had to be made for one reason or another, it came out surprisingly close to the original script. Certainly nothing major was lost, and some things were improved
NYCIFF: All of the characters have such depth and interact well with each other. how did you prepare them for great chemistry even when most of them didn’t have scenes together.
TH: I held a few rehearsals, mostly with two actors at a time. We talked a lot about the characters, the script, their relationships, reference points (of particular note were The Conversation and A Short Film About Love), and read through the scenes quite a few times. It also helped that the actors were very good, and three of them already knew each other, so there was some built-in chemistry.
NYCIFF: Did this story come from personal experiences? What drew you to this story?
TH: It didn’t really come from experience, except to the extent that I have had crushes that I didn’t have the nerve to act on, and I can be obsessive when I fall for someone, and OK maybe it did come from experience! At least to some extent... The original idea was very different, but evolved over time into the story with the psychiatrist. It’s hard to say exactly what drew me to it. In terms of the idea, I was interested in the concept of romantic obsession and voyeurism, and where you draw the line—when does it become creepy or amoral? Harry is a decent enough person, but played differently, or by a different actor, he could have been a creep from the first shot. In terms of the story, by the time I’ve written a script, I’m usually embarrassed by it, and what then excites me is seeing what it brings out in other people, from the actors to the crew to the audience.