‘The Result’ dir. Anthony Wilcox

9:00am. It’s time for Mr Tibbs to face the music.

Writer-Director: Anthony Wilcox
Producer: Anthony Wilcox
DOP: Simon Tindall
Key Cast: Sophie Thompson, Sam Spruell, Ines Wilcox

C8: Where did the idea for ‘The Result’ come from and how long did it take you to write?

AW: It was quick to write – the first draft I did in an afternoon and ran at six-seven pages. The hard work was editing it down to the required length for the Virgin Media Shorts competition. The whole process probably took three or four days, on and off.

The idea came from accidentally getting too engrossed in The X-Factor one year! All that ‘born-to-do-this’ raw emotion fascinated me - how much people felt being a pop-star was essential for a happy and fulfilled existence. We never reveal explicitly that ‘The Result’ is set in the near future but that’s the case – this is a futuristic clinic that provides a service for hopeful performers…

C8: You’ve written your other short ‘Hello Carter’. Can you take us inside your writing process? How do you develop your ideas?

AW: I often start with a strong sense of characters, tone and place – with a slightly looser idea of a story which will get firmed up as I move forward. With ‘The Result’ the process was slightly different. I needed to make a two-minute film, so the concept itself seemed like the best place to start.

C8: How did you cast the film? What were you looking for in your actors?

AW: I’d worked with Sam Spruell before. He’s a fantastic, thinking and caring actor who can sell an emotion with a twitch of the face – that was essential here. We discussed the Dr Sharp part together and he’d just finished a play with Sophie Thompson and suggested her. I’m a big fan of her work, so sent her the script and she said yes. The little girl at the end is my niece!

C8: Did you set aside time to rehearse with your actors?

AW: There wasn’t any rehearsal time before the shoot day but because we were shooting quite simply, we had time on the day to work through things, discuss ideas, change the odd line of dialogue. Generally, I’m not that keen on detailed rehearsals but because this film was quite precise in its execution, we allowed some time.

C8: You also produced the film. Was it difficult on set wearing many different hats?

AW: Yes! I think I was the 1st AD and location manager as well. The level of involvement I had in this film would be impossible to replicate on something bigger. But I am someone who has a production background and naturally wants to get involved in as much as possible. And take responsibility. That’s an underrated skill for a director I think, particularly when you so often have to work with limited time and resources.

C8: The location adds another element to the film. How did you find it and how did you finance ‘The Result’?

AW: Some visual references for the set came from ‘Birth’ the Jonathan Glazer film. I wanted a room with scale and a timeless quality. We ended up in the Georgian Group building in Fitzroy Square and it worked well. The management were extremely supportive and didn’t charge a high rate. The total budget of the film was about £800 which was all my own money. We had a tiny crew and paid everyone expenses and provided food. The equipment was generously lent by various places provided we had insurance. So the insurance ended up being the most expensive thing we paid for.

C8: What did you shoot on and what was the reasoning for this particular choice?

AW: The Canon 5D. We were able to borrow it for nothing from Michael Winterbottom’s company Revolution Films, who I’ve worked for a lot over the years. So I guess the camera was chosen for practical reasons rather than creative ones!

C8: What was the most challenging part of the production?

AW: We had some damaged, pixelated footage due to a corrupted card and the images weren’t recoverable. So the money spent on the insurance was invaluable actually we had to come back and reshoot the two shots of my niece, Ines, at the end. We were able to claim the costs of that on the insurance.

C8: What advice would you give to emerging filmmakers looking break into the industry?

AW: All the clichés are true. Hold your nerve at all times and keep going. If you want to be a writer – keep writing. If you want to be a director – keep shooting. Be prepared to fail and face criticism sometimes - but don’t let it put you off for too long. Learn from it. Balancing tenacity and patience is the key.

And when starting out, I’d always advise people to spend time on other people’s sets if you can too. Observe and learn. Being an AD has been brilliant for my directing. I know what everyone’s job involves and how they can contribute to the making of my films.

C8: What are the films, or filmmakers, that made you want to become a filmmaker?

AW: I’m influenced by a massive range, actually. It pleases me when directors are happy to try different methods and genres all the time – people like Stephen Frears and Stephen Soderbergh. David Mackenzie is the UK’s most underrated director at the moment and he does that. And I’m always drawn to directors who can conjure intense atmospheres: Haneke, David Lynch, Jonathan Glazer, Joanna Hogg.

I’ve been lucky to work alongside lots of people who’ve inspired me to direct too: Lars von Trier, Anthony Minghella - and especially Michael Winterbottom, who I’ve worked with on eight or nine films.

C8: What, in your opinion, is the essence of a good collaboration?

AW: I’m a big believer in creating an environment on set that the cast and crew look forward to experiencing every day. A place where you’re free to express and share ideas – and happy to work hard. Trust, respect, stamina and good humour are essential.

Film sets are tough places - people are often tired and stressed. Anthony Minghella worked in an entirely different way to Michael Winterbottom but they’re the best two directors I’ve worked with at harnessing an invigorating, collaborative atmosphere for people to work in. I worked harder for them than anyone else, often without even realising it at the time. That’s the trick…

C8: What is next for Anthony Wilcox? Any exciting projects on the horizon?

AW: My first feature film as writer and director, Hello Carter, is getting a UK release in September. So I’m looking forward to that…

And my next film, an ensemble comedy drama set in a European holiday resort, is due to shoot next year. We’re in the process of lining up a really exciting cast. So far John Hurt and Paul Schneider are attached.