We interview Stanley Thompson on the short film ‘Why Did You Break My Bird’s?”
Film Description: Frank isn’t sure why he broke those birds but he’s trying to figure it out. Follow Frank as he uses the medium of a short film to attempt to understand have things have gone so south for him and gotten, frankly, out of control in this irreverent comedy.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Stanley Vialli Thompson (named after the former Chelsea FC no.9 Gianluca Vialli – who played in the ’90s) I am from Cornwall but now live in East London. I am a filmmaker and I like to make irreverent comedies that have a life-affirming touch to them which will leave you feeling either happily contempt or decidedly unsatisfied depending on whether you liked the film or not.
What inspired you to do what you do?
I was inspired to make films because they are just so cool. When a great piece of music plays over some moving images – what is better than that? I like every aspect of making a film and telling stories. There are no limits and nothing you do can be wrong (no matter what people tell you). It’s a great way to express myself and subtly commentate on the world we live in.
What was the biggest challenge when creating this film?
The biggest challenge regarding this film was shooting on a limited amount of 16mm filmstock. We could only afford 44 minutes of filmstock so this did not allow for many takes and also meant we couldn’t watch playback of what was just shot. It was a very nerve-racking wait for the film to be developed by Kodak and see if we even had a film to edit! Thankfully it all came back looking great and the only shot we lost was because I had forgotten to take the lens cap off on one of the few shots where I operated the camera. My career as a cameraperson was rightfully shortlived.
What was the funniest thing that happened on set?
The funniest moment on set was probably our attempts to avoid triggering the motion sensor lights when we shot in the corridors of Ashlyns school. It took ten minutes of complete stillness to avoid triggering them and then we could get ready for our shot so it turned into a very time consuming and giggle-stifling game of musical statues with no music, just an eerily quiet school that was prone to making unusual and unidentifiable noises!
What are some of the highlights/successes you’ve had most recently?
A recent highlight for me was getting our film accepted for the Malarky film festival in Brooklyn which is being held virtually on the 25th of July. There are some great, diverse young filmmakers showcasing their films and it’s an honour to be picked alongside them.
What’s next for you on your journey?
My next film is about a young stand-up comedian who is questioning whether they are funny or not funny. I was inspired to write it after hearing a performer say that failure for a stand-up comedian is different because you have no art to shield yourself behind like a painter, filmmaker or musician. If you don’t like someone’s photograph, painting or movie there is a sense of detachment that the artist can use to defer any personal feelings being hurt. With a stand-up comedian, your entire psyche and personality are on display – if they don’t like your set, they don’t like you! So it’s almost an existential crisis every time you ‘bomb’. The film follows the lead character as they grapple with this and the ‘pandora’s box’ of creating new, original material in a world that desperately want’s artists to conform and sell out.
What would be your advice to other young film makers?
My advice to other young filmmakers would be to do whatever you feel! There are no rules with art no matter how many people will try to push them on you. The 180 rule, the two-shot, natural dialogue, unnatural dialogue – it’s all a load of rubbish! Nothing is wrong so everything is right. And remember to take the lens cap off.
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