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Interview with Time Lapse Director Bradley King
I recently stumbled upon a film and then completely obsessed over said film… and then over obsessed… and then OCD’d about said film and then abruptly went to counseling. While in counseling about this totally out of character obsession of mine it was suggested that I purge the obsession through extensive (and by extensive, I literally mean, EXTENSIVE) writing about the film in order to finally unburden myself. hehe. Well I did that… And you can read about this unburdening over here. But you will have needed to have seen the film first – WHICH, as luck would have it… is now available TODAY. Get it. Watch it. Talk to me about it – because I have been waiting for way to long for you all to get your hands on it!
Here is a great [amazon text=place&asin=B00XR39WKQ] to watch it without even leaving your browser!
Regardless, to finish my story. After purging my system at the behest of my counselor (you remember her, the purge advocate? Pay attention) and deluging an unsuspecting readership with my insanity about a movie you couldn’t even watch yet I got one comment. Go check. I kid you not. One comment – FROM THE WRITER AND DIRECTOR Bradley King. Here’s what he said…
“Sup. Saw you dug my movie. Can we be best friends?”
No. He didn’t say that at all. Nothing like it. But that’s what I heard him say anyway. Let’s see if my cut and paste will work this time…
“Mr. Holmes! Bradley King here, writer / director of Time Lapse. I just wanted to say I stumbled on your page while seeing how our results in Google were looking, and I was very impressed! It’s really gratifying to see someone accurately analyze and break down the movie. Our outlining board looked very similar to your dry erase boards. Great work!”
At which point my counselor absolutely flipped out because I totally regressed along my therapy outline and plan. Because after that I couldn’t stop watching the movie, and telling even more people about it – all of whom weren’t able to watch it as well – it was literally down hill from there.
But besides the insanity of my obsession and the fragility of my psyche, at the end of the day, we are still left with the awesomeness that is Time Lapse… that and this fantastic little conversation with Bradley King apparently. Please note though – that there are definitely spoilers in this interview – like big ones. So do yourself a favor and watch the movie [amazon text=here&asin=B00XR39WKQ] then come enjoy the conversation, then read my tear down of the movie, and THEN? Comment on your thoughts about the movie. Great? Good, so here we go…
Interview with Time Lapse Director Bradley King
Taylor – “Timelapse’s editing was integral I thought – in lesser hands this story could have gone all kinds of wonky. What did Tom Cross (who won an Oscar for best editing last year for Whiplash) bring to the table that you hadn’t seen or more clearly elaborated upon from his seat as Editor?”
Bradley – “Tom was definitely a creative force on Time Lapse. One of his many talents is the ability to find overlooked snippets and glue them together to craft emotional moments you didn’t even realize you had available. He’s also very musically inclined, and has great instincts for cue placement and arrangement. We had the luck to have composer Andrew Kaiser providing pieces of temp score during the actual editing process, which Tom capitalized on in spectacular ways. He’s incredibly organized, passionate and knowledgeable about cinema history, and all around just a really pleasant guy to work with. I can’t say enough good things.”
Taylor – “One of the central themes of Time Lapse is the concept of predestination, it seems like very early on the characters are pretty convinced they have to do the photo’s bidding regardless. Could the characters have just walked away? I asked this same question of Nacho Vigalondo regarding his classic time travel movie Timecrimes and his answer? ‘The question is much more interesting than any possible answer!'”
Bradley – “Damn, there goes Nacho Vigalondo stealing the best possible answer for this question! It’s very true though – when I get asked this at Q&A sessions my usual answer is, “I don’t know, is it possible?”. It’s clear that by the end, the characters themselves are split on this. In spite of Heidecker’s explanation, Jasper obviously believes there is no way to alter the photos. Finn seems to have come around to the possibility that things can be altered, but only out of desperation, and it seems to me that when he packs that suitcase he’s still not 100% sure what might happen. And then of course (spoiler here) Callie obviously is convinced that things can be changed, which probably came out of her experience of doing things behind the scenes and feeling a sense of empowerment from that. But who’s right? I think the question is definitely more interesting than any answer I could give. In my own imagination I have definitely explored both ways, and both are interesting.”
Taylor – “This movie has a really clever one two punch ending. It is very very tight and extremely well thought out. Reminds me of M. Night’s Sixth Sense. Everything is heading towards this inevitable ending, and the distinctive reveals and dissolution of the ending. How did this 8am photo come to you? Was it at the 70th edit like M. Night? Or did you guys have this idea from day one?” [Editorial note, the movie was co-written by Bradley King and B.P. Cooper.]
Bradley – “Great question! I’m not sure we’ve been asked this before. Fairly early in the writing process we realized it would be fascinating and chilling if one of the characters was getting information that the others were deprived of. Callie quickly became the obvious player here, and although we probably did have to go back at the end of the script and re-write a few of her photo moments to better suit the turns in the story, many of them became clear as we went along. During shooting the big trick was keeping track of all of Callie’s secret wardrobe changes and which painting was supposed to be on the easel during which photo, etc. Continuity is always a challenge on a movie but on this one in particular it involved an incredible amount of time and energy.
Taylor – “Timelapse feels almost like a play the dialogue is so integral and there are so few characters. I think we have like 3 sets in the whole movie? And yet the movie feels much larger than it is because the writing is so good (I promise you I am not kissing your butt). Sometimes when watching an indie film I find myself thinking, how is this writer going to keep us on this stage, or keep us boxed in. But that thought never went through my mind. You made choices to keep the scope of the movie tightly wound… for what purpose and to what end?”
Bradley – “Honestly the initial motive for keeping it all at one location was a financial one. We knew the budget was going to be low, and locations moves are expensive and time consuming. In hindsight however, this rule ended up being a great creative limitation that made the writing easier. Particularly with science fiction or fantasy, the sky is the limit in terms of what can happen – are the characters riding a spaceship or a dragon? Are they battling over a planet made of ice or ice cream? Are there 50 ships involved or 10 million? Having one location forced us to really hone in on the characters, and what kinds of dramatic and emotional turns they could take in such a confined space. Another limitation that helped here was making the camera huge, and keeping it bolted down. Had the device been mobile, the story could have shot off in a zillion directions, and it would have gotten expensive and potentially narratively scattered very quickly. Of course a hidden motive behind all this is that I love movies like Rear Window where our feelings of claustrophobia and voyeurism are heightened by the confined space.”
Taylor – “Time Lapse sort of has the feel and aesthetic of Shane Carruth’s Primer – (I mean that as the best possible compliment). And I’m sure that it will appeal to the same demographic, and even more widely even. Did Time Lapse get funded and created on a shoe string like Carruth’s primer? Were you backed by anyone? I went looking and just didn’t see anything other than you were picked up by XLrator Media for distribution rights.”
Bradley – “Thanks for the compliment! Time Lapse was certainly produced for way less than most movies today, but I can’t say it was quite as thin of a shoestring as Primer (which I love). We actually self funded the movie, just saved up for a few years and then went for it. It was great because it allowed us total creative freedom, but I think on the next one we’d like to find backers of one form or another. Our next project is also likely to be slightly more expensive, so it might not be possible to self fund again if it came to that. But with the lower costs of technology and production these days, the prospect of writing something small and funding it yourself is a very comforting thing to be able to have as a last resort. ”
Taylor – “What movies were inspirational to you in your writing of Time Lapse? Believe it or not, the movie I personally think is closest to Time Lapse in heritage isn’t a time travel movie at all, but rather the movie Tape, with Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Robert Sean Leonard. Basically because of the tight writing, confined locations, and expansive mind job of a script (by Linklater of course).”
Bradley – “Linklater is amazing, but I’m guilty of not having seen Tape yet; I need to. On a very basic surface level, we were initially inspired by Timecrimes in the sense that it was a confined indie sci-fi project that was of high quality. We had many scripts lying around that were beyond our ability to fund, and we knew we needed something small but mighty. The second bit of inspiration came when Cooper brought up the idea of a camera that is combined with a time machine – which he found inspiration for in the movie Timeline, in which they send an actual camera back in time to take a picture of something. That provided a basic immediate framework in our minds, and from there we made the jump over to stories like Shallow Grave and A Simple Plan, where you have a small group of friends who find something valuable and then their relationships are torn apart as a result. And again personally I am a huge Hitchcock fan, and a voyeur, and Rear Window is an ongoing influence on me as a director and a writer. Also Antonioni’s Blowup came into play somewhat, in regards to characters obsessing over photographs and trying to puzzle together their meanings.”
Taylor – “I saw on Twitter that you are beginning (began, middling, finishing?) work on another script? Would you mind sharing anything at all about that script?”
Bradley – “Alas I won’t be able to give a fun answer to this question. While we’re in the writing process we tend not to talk about things too much. I liken it to opening the petri dish and accidentally killing or contaminating whatever culture you’re trying to grow by prematurely exposing it to the world. I can say we’re working on 2 scripts, both of which are science fiction crime stories. I like to think if someone enjoyed Time Lapse, they will also like what we have coming next!”
Taylor – “You can be certain that I will definitely be watching out for your next film with earnest. And not only that, we’ll be crossing our fingers that your May 15th launch of this film will be stellar and provide you with enough financial support to do the next thing you guys are wanting to do. Kudos Mr. King!”
Until next time guys! Thanks for reading.