Directors and writers Marcia Fields and Mike Spear recently discussed the creative processes behind their first short film, Moving On, which screened last week at the Whistler Film Festival. In this comedy, Ross (Mike Ivers) is awakened one morning by professional movers (Robin Lord Taylor and Ryan Farrell), who deliver the news of his breakup and are ready to move him out of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment.
Thank you for doing this interview with Blogcritics. How was your experience directing your first short film, given that you’ve already worked as writers and producers?
Marcia: I think we look at it differently now in terms of a “director’s eye.” As a writer, which we’ve spent a majority of our careers doing, it’s all about the words. It’s very precious about you’ve written. We went into production with a seventeen page script and only two days to shoot it, which is not a smart thing to do. If we had looked at it as a director, we could have cut things that we knew we probably wouldn’t use even though we thought they were cute. Or looking at production moves, we probably would have changed the script a little bit, but that’s the hindsight of it. That’s the thing where you realize, “Oh, we probably could have cut a piece there and saved ourselves two hours and a crew move.” But that’s how you learn.
What about as far as collaborating together on the project?
Mike: What a nightmare! [Laughs] We’ve been working together as a team for over five years now. It’s second nature and feels right. We never really had any issues and when we do, they’re quickly resolved.
Marcia: I think that one of the serious things the first time we started writing together was, “What if this doesn’t work?” When we were dating, I remember I read his writing and I thought, “Oh, my God, what if it’s not good? What if I don’t like it? How is that going to affect our relationship?”
Mike: We would have had to break up.
Marcia: We didn’t start working together until after we’d gotten married. We worked through any communication issues we might have had as a writing and directing team. It’s just an extension of being able to look and him and tell what he’s thinking. If he looks at how something was shot or performed, we have that shorthand.
Mike: We were also very careful to have one voice when we were talking to the actors. After each shot, we would powwow and get our thoughts together. We decided beforehand that only one of us would be dealing with the actors. Marcia would go and deliver-
Marcia: Any messages. I think that helps.
Mike: Absolutely, one vision, one voice. They know we are a team. It also works out where she can go talk to the actors and I can talk to the director of photography, the sound guy, or lighting guy. We can handle two things at once. It really added its—
Marcia: Benefits. It’s nice to have somebody else to sort of lean on, with the same amount of pressure on their shoulders.
Do you think we’ll start seeing services like “Moving On,” since we gravitate toward Apps and online conveniences these days?
Marcia: The funniest thing is when we play it at festivals, the first question we get is “Are we going to start it as a business?”
Mike: It’s the first question every single time!
Marcia: And if that doesn’t tell you there’s a demand, I don’t know what does.
Mike: There are little companies that we’ve seen that will send a breakup letter or a text.
Marcia: Or a breakup basket! When people see these companies, they’ll always send us articles to show us a version of the service that already exists. But most of them are kind of tongue-in-cheek: “Here’s a subscription to Netflix now that you no longer have me.”
Mike: None of them are the full-service: the breakup and the moving. I think if people become more Apps and dependent on being online … I feel like the less personal people get, the more these companies will pop up.
Marcia: It’s like that anonymous comment board on a website, where you can write somebody else and say, “Can you handle my dirty work for me?” It seems like something people are definitely looking to. You can send this in an email and a text, which is so impersonal, but so easy! How far of a step really is it to hire a company like this to do it? I think absolutely there’s a chance we’re going to see this in the future.
Mike: I hope people still continue to break up face-to-face. It’s character-building on both sides. You need to learn to break up with someone and to get broken up with.
This article was originally published on Blogcritics.org under the same title.