’2:20′ dir. Jason Wingard

A man sat outside a shisha bar gets given a pair of glasses that allow him to see something quite strange.

Director: Jason Wingard
Producer: Lucy Lincoln
DOP: Martin Waine
Key Cast: Brad Roberts

C8: Where did you come up with the concept for ‘2:20’? What inspired you?

JW: I made the film deliberately for Virgin Media Shorts.   After the awards ceremony the previous year (when we were shortlisted with Bus Baby)  I noted that the structure for the winning shorts in VMS followed a similar pattern and that love stories did particularly well.   I was not  too confident of pulling off a love story so we started to discuss the possibility of a death story and one that ran in real time.  That was a basic idea I’d had for the best part of a year that eventually came to fruition when a visiting a friend in London and he said that some 3D glasses that I’d brought back to his house from the cinema would make for a good device for the death film.   I wrote the first draft on the train home.

C8: How did you work with Director of Photography Martin Waine to achieve the look of the film?

JW: We decided quite quickly that we wanted to shoot it in a well lit location and we liked the atmosphere at night in Rusholme.  Lots of neon/ well lit etc so a few weeks before we did some test shooting and test FX and it was all working well so we shot the week after.    We knew that we had no money to shoot it with but using a location like Rusholme really worked and helped it look like a well lit film set, maximising the bokeh effect and shallow depth at night on the DSLR cameras.  So we’d then place actors next to pink signs, flashing lights etc… it was a deliberate look but we improvised with what we had.

C8: Did you receive funding for the film or did you have to call in a lot of favours?

JW: I pulled favours from mates and borrowed kit from a local college. I bought all food for crew and cast out of my pocket and we shot really unsociable hours 11pm – 4am over four nights.   The shisha bars were really helpful too and let us use the bars as a base for kit (they didn’t want their names on the credits) but they were genuinely helpful though.  I re-shot an entire sequence too and had to pull the crew out an extra night.  I knew it would be a worth it.  Convincing the cast and crew of this was a different matter.  We only lost one person during the shoot so not bad really and I don’t think those that stuck it out regretted the outcome.

C8: Visual effects can be daunting for filmmakers who haven’t used them before. Do you have any advice to help get people started?

JW: It is beneficial to learn something about visual FX so you can construct how things can be made possible even if you can’t do then yourself.  There are tons of people who can do great things with FX these days so networking with them is a good idea, or teach yourself at home on packages such as after effects etc with tons of support and tutorials online.

C8: From start to finish what was the most difficult part of the process?

JW: I think every film is the same, getting the initial motivation to get out there and make it happen can be difficult. I actually made 2:20 as a result of losing another film competition and I used the disappointment of losing that specific competition as a motivation to make a film that I hoped would win.

C8: You both directed and edited the film. How did you manage to keep these roles separate or did the lines blur somewhat?

JW: I like to improvise when I shoot quite a bit so being the editor as well can help dealing with footage that isn’t in the script.   Having said I really appreciate how the pro editors can really bring an edit to life and so I’m on the look out for someone to work with.   It’s all about building trust and relationships, it is great when you find people you just click with.

C8: In hindsight is there anything you would do differently?

JW: There’s always little things here and there that could have been better but overall it worked how I wanted it to.  It’s a bit like Chinese whispers making a film, it comes out something like you said it would but also somehow different.  On this occasion I was pretty happy and after all it won.

C8: You co-directed another Virgin Media Shorts entry in 2010 with Gino Evans called ‘Bus Baby’. What have you found to be the main differences in directing as part of a duo?

JW: Gino is a good friend and a great director in his own right (His short “Blind Faith” won Liverpool lift off recently) I think we learnt a lot from working with each other and as co-directors you take in little things from the other and implement into your own work. We certainly influenced each other.   I think it only works if you compliment each other though and have a good working relationship.   Gino and I were working together on many educational and corporate projects and we always used these projects as film making platforms to try out ideas and develop a way to work with actors/improvisation around the script.  It was fun but I think we both wanted to be known as directors and make projects where we had total creative control. I’d happily co-direct again on the right project.

C8: Where does ‘2:20’ sit in your career? What have you done since?

JW: Winning Virgin Media Shorts was a great feeling and as we’d been there the year before I think it whetted my appetite for more regarding competitions.   The win raises your profile and is certainly helps in getting ideas heard.   Since winning in 2011 I have made four non-broadcast comedy pilots for the BBC and two studio based panel shows.   I have also just finished the short film I made for the BFI and Virgin with the VMS prize money a comedy called ‘Going To Mecca’ starring 14 year old comedian Jack Carroll (runner up in Britains Got Talent)  and Aqib Khan (West is West) on a journey to Blackpool to find Aqib’s absent father.

C8: What piece of advice would you give to emerging filmmakers?

JW: As an emerging filmmaker myself I don’t feel well positioned to give advice.  I’d just say surround yourself with people you enjoy working with and enjoy making films.

C8: What would you define as the essence of a good collaboration?

JW: I’ve always enjoyed myself working with people I get along with.  There is nothing better than to make films with your friends.   As for collaboration I think it’s important to listen to other people’s ideas and involve them in the creative process too.   I always want the people working on our films to feel co-ownership of the project.

C8: What’s next on the slate for Jason Wingard?

JW: I’m writing at the minute.  I want to make a feature and two new shorts this year.