|WRITER’S WORKSHOP, 11min., USA, Comedy
Directed by Ryan Francis JohnsonAspiring writer, Jeremy, attends an exclusive writer’s workshop session. A dark, absurdist look at the world of peer review.
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A vivid storyteller and award winning filmmaker in the indie film community for over 10 years, Ryan has been making films since he was a child. He attended film school at the Colorado Film School in Denver, CO, where he met many of his current collaborators. He moved to Los Angeles in 2015, where he co-founded the production company Denver Hamlet with some of his fellow Colorado Film School alumni. Ryan is an indie film veteran with a wide variety of experience, having written and directed multiple short films, commercials, music videos, and produced all original content.
Being a writer/director, I’ve found myself in many situations similar to the one shown in this film. The painful/awkward position of sharing your work with a group of people and having them give you feedback. Most of the people in this film are my roommates. I live with a bunch of my friends from film school and everyone is a writer, director, or actor. We sometimes do these workshop sessions where we table read each other’s scripts/ideas/anything creative and give feedback. This film was mainly born out of that scenario. Those kinds of feedback sessions are really weird and vulnerable situations to be in and I felt it would be fertile ground for making something that was (hopefully) funny and relatable. I also don’t think it’s just for writers/artist types. Anybody that has ever been in a position where they have to share their work and ideas to a group of people — this is for them.
I also just really wanted to make something funny. I feel I have a strange and absurd sense of humor but I’ve never really let myself explore it in my previous films. I wanted to lean into that and make something that was totally absurd yet relatable. I didn’t worry too much about following rules or alienating an audience. I just committed to having fun with it and making something that my friends and I thought was funny. Hopefully others find it funny, too.
In terms of aesthetic and visual approach, I think something that I felt early on was that because the content and the dialogue is so heightened and absurd, the aesthetic of the film should be grounded. I didn’t want the film to look too wacky or have heightened camera work, crazy editing, loud color palette, etc. It felt right to have the film consist of mainly static shots or slight dolly moves and to let the pace sit a little longer. It didn’t feel right to be overly cutty and fast. Overall, I think it gives the film a good uncomfortable and funny yet grounded feel when everything is more still and you’re forced to just kind of sit in the room with them. That was my philosophy in terms of how to approach the shooting and atmosphere of the film.
Hopefully this all aids in making the film a funny, awkward, dark, and relatable experience for the audience.
-Ryan Francis Johnson