The Wild Couple

SAINT MICHAELS ALLEY – THE WILD COUPLE (16 Min)

(Click The Title To Watch Film)

Writer/Director: Damien Giglietta
Producer: Johnny Ma
Starring: Luke Ledger, Nick Britton, Andrea Addison and Jeremy Levi

Synopsis: Saint Michaels Alley, a placed named after a saint but filled with sin. On any given night you can witness anything here, a lack of authority has cursed this place from what it once was. A place run by a drug dealing gun slinging king pin and filled with gangs, prostitutes and violence. A place that has given birth to The Wild Couple (Leo and Mya) a couple of hired guns that get paid to spill blood.  This is just another night in the Alley.

A Director’s Job

What do you actually do?

Good question! I get asked a lot.

What does the person at the helm actually do. It is their vision10477881_10205319474966185_6902693597797514264_n after all, how do they achieve it?

Can’t talk for them all, boy they’d hate that. Director’s have the biggest ego’s of all! (Trust me!)

Who does a Director work for? The EP? The Producer? The Studio/Production Company? My answer, it is the audience.

As a Director I need to make sure I use all the tools at my disposal to tell a story that the viewer who has decided to watch will understand and enjoy.

Let us start with the tools.

Camera424583_4587471644632_535428623_n
How are we going to shoot it? Well in my experience find a cinematographer who is on the same page as you. One who reads/understands the script and trusts you and your vision and takes it upon themselves to help it come alive. Working with the same DOP for years has allowed me to understand angles and sizes and just how big a role they play. What is the feel of the scene? More importantly how do we want the audience to feel? Do we shoot on the tripod do we go hand held or loose head? Let’s get that right!

Lighting
Another important one. This is where the scene can really get set for tone. Harsh lighting sets us off in one way. Soft lighting in the complete opposite direction. What temperature do we want it? Cold, warm? Some of these are subtle touches but next time you watch a horror film then a comedy right after you’ll see how much lighting has a say in that tone.

Sound/Music
I hate combining these, I really do! Between them they are more than just a necessity. I can go into bulk detail but I assume the majority that read this will skim over the technical stuff. But let me just say watch a film on mute and it doesn’t have much affect at all. Am I right? I’ve been lucky enough to have came up with an exceptional sound designer over the years who has shown me that with different effects and subtle noises that we can really help drive audiences closer to seat’s edge. I was also lucky enough to be introduced to a team of composers and to really see that the work they put in behind closed doors to help achieve the vision is incredible. A good composer has a lot of questions for you, answer them right and they won’t let you down!

Art Direction
“How am I suppose to see blood splat on a red door!” A classic quote! The color scheme plays a huge role in a lot of films. As a director you need to know your palette and more importantly you better stick with it! Film has so many subtleties that the Production Designer and Art Director are in charge of. From the props on the set. The pictures on the wall that may or may not reflect some important detail to the story. These things need to be in your head and you need to translate that going in.

The Editing Process
Oh boy. The fun part (Sarcasm intended). The biggest challenge of the edit suite is the fact you have been glued to this project for sometime already. It is easy to make mistakes and common to refuse to compromise. The first cut is always the longest. You need to decide wh1382157_10202060445452484_1700116009_nat can go and what can stay. The most important thing you have to do here is accept criticism from fresh eyes. Fresh eyes are the ones that need to be able to understand the story and make sure it is coherent. Trust their judgement but don’t over extend that trust, there is a balance that needs to be maintained.

 

These are just a number of the things that I need to think about in Pre-Production, On Set and Post- Production. (Note: There are plenty more!)

Let’s talk the script. I’m lucky that I’m a writer and do get to direct my own content. But there is occasions you do not. You need to understand the script back to front. You need to understand every plot, sub1510748_10205319478086263_8480045593067044926_n-plot and every character arc. Then you need to show them using all the tools mentioned previously. If you are a writer it is easier. If not, work closely with the writer, you won’t always agree but at days end you are trying to tell the same story.

Now the ACTOR/S

They are the face/s of this project. The ones who have decided to take on the responsibility to help tell this story. The biggest challenge for an actor is walking the line between what is in your head and following their gut instinct. Which one is right? Sometimes both or neither, more times than not it is what is in the directors head.1925020_10203218120473636_1774904317_n

Actors put themselves on the line for every job. When a film gets critiqued the first thing judged is normally the performance of the actor. So they are well in their rights to express thoughts, opinions and concerns. But the one thing that sometimes is forgotten? ALL OF THE ABOVE.

A director is telling a story that surpasses the actions of one character. Again I stress the rights to express all said above. But also remember there is method to madness. Things are put in or left out of the script for important reasons.

So what is the most important thing about directing?

In my opinion. TRUST. In both you and I.

Trust my vision. I trust you to help me execute it.

Film making is a team sport, as a Director you are the coach in the coaches box formulating the plays and trying to steer your team to the premiership.

So what do I do? Hopefully that sheds some light!

The Trilogy Nears

In 2011 we started a journey to something that was always going to lead to something much bigger. In this case it was a short film trilogy based on the concept project Saint Michaels Alley. The trilogy is meant to set up the world that the project takes place, constantly recognizing the key characters without ever showing them. Even when the movers and shakers of the Alley aren’t present they are still making an impact on others as the trilogy will show you.

The first film shot in 2011 was ‘The Hooker and the Henchman’ which featured the talents of Lauren Lovelace and Matt Zappala. Shot on a rainy and cold night in November 2011 the story follows Zappala’s ‘Beck’ as he attempts to recruit a young ‘Lucia’ (Lovelace) to turn against the self proclaimed queen of the Alley.

In 2012 we began on the second project ‘The Wild Couple’ which included the amazing ensemble of Luke Ledger, Andrea Addison, Nick Britton and Jeremy Levi. Ledger and Addison play the Wild Couple, a pair of guns for hire who walk into the wrong bar looking for the next pay day.

It took until 2015 before we were able to hit the final straight with the last installment ‘The Kingpins Daughter’. Ethan Tomas, Jared De Har and Shannon Timms lead the talents in this cat and mouse game about a young girl on the run. This film changes the pace of the first two installments with less dialogue and heavier action.

This trilogy has kept us on our toes with constant obstacles and set backs along the way. From a cast member having last minute pre-shoot surgery, to constant recasting and even a location delaying the third installment by four months. It’s been a ride.

No challenges are ever overcome without having a sensational team behind you.

Producer Johnny Ma who lead from the front in all three films. He got everything sorted from locations to crew, from meals to almost controlling the weather, No John Ma, No SMA trilogy.

Cinematographer George Davis who once again uses his trademark shooting style on all three films. He has truly defined the look of Saint Michaels Alley in a way no one else could.

Alana Starcevich, our awesome Production Designer who still to this day has blown my mind with what she did on ‘The Hooker and The Henchman’. Hands down amazing!

Composer Damien Greenwood. His score speaks for itself, he has helped create an atmosphere for this project that is unrivaled in my mind.

There are so many more names who are and have been a massive part of this trilogy. Peter McIntosh, Rachel Markus, Michelle Barber to name a few more who have had a part in multiple films in the trilogy.

It’s been a long ride, but in a few months the trilogy will be released and we’ll leave the last five years of work out there for the public eyes. Stay tuned folks!

TKD ETHAN TOMAS0 The Kingpins Daughter TKD Assembly 201504300TWC1The Wild CoupleTWC2 HH1The Hooker and the HenchmanHH2