ONE NIGHT STAND, fathom events, Rachel Dratch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Richard Kind, Cheyenne Jackson
BWW: So, Trish, when did you first become involved with this project?
TRISH: As she mentioned, Elizabeth heard about the project from her brother, and decided that she wanted to do it, and she came to me and was looking for somebody to do it with her. At the time...I thought that there was no way that I was going to accept a project that had no money, where I'd have to pull 20 favours and have a team of 5 camera people available to work 24 hours...I thought 'that's crazy', and then she told me the calibre of talent that was involved and I just thought I would be really interested to be in the room with those people and to see this happen and I was interested in [the topic of] creative process for a documentary, and like Elisabeth said, it is a rare opportunity to be in the room with [any of] these people while they're creating-never mind fifty of them and to be that fly on the wall. During the overnight, it was just too exciting to even get tired...Even our crew, who were volunteers, came and said 'I never thought I would thank someone for shooting for free for crazy hours, but I have to thank you, that was an awesome thing to watch.' I think that speaks to the event and how good it is to be there.
When we started editing, and we had broadcasters interested, but that was 2008 and by late 2008 [due to the economic collapse] the broadcasters had pulled out, so we re-invented the wheel of how to fundraise and both of us believed so much in the project that we just stuck with it until we made it! It took us 3.5 years before we started the festival circuit and then [another] a year and a half before we got to our theatrical. So you know, it's kind of a process and that's kind of the nature of independent film making I think, but we both are thrilled that it's finding an audience finally in a bigger way!
BWW: Well congratulations! It sounds like a long journey that was well worth it!
TRISH: Thank you!
BWW: As you were filming and editing, did you have to be conscious of the fact that the focus of your film was of a different medium than film (live theatre)-was that something that influenced how you filmed and edited?
ELISABETH: It's really amazing how many layers there are to performance, because when you go see our film in a movie theatre, it is kind of like going to see a live performance, because so much of it is verite, and it's like seeing a live performance, and then there is the actual audience and they are usually laughing, and clapping and cheering, and so...somebody said to me recently, 'you're filming people who are acting like themselves so that they can 'act'-it's funny. There are many levels going on there. It can be very 'meta' [laughter].
BWW: Absolutely! That would be very neat! So I guess it would be kind of 'fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants' while you are filming it, but while you were editing it, was there anything you were trying to keep in mind, or did it seem to just happen naturally?
TRISH: In the edit, the big challenge is that you're almost recreating a different story. There was the story of the night, and then there was [the question of] 'how do we turn 60 plus hours of footage into a one hour show?'-and convey what each of the stories are, and also convey the personal dramas of all of the people. There are lots of directions that we could have gone, and we really wanted to keep it true to the event and true to people's experiences and also convey the emotion of what was going on.
There is a challenge in filming live theatre, I'm sure you've seen other films about live theatre, and its challenging to re-create that experience. This is also the behind-the-scenes drama, but a third of the film is the performances and I think you definitely feel enough like you're there, and that you can be involved with the characters and feel like you're with them on stage at that point. So, I don't know, you'll have to see it to see if we could pull it off, but that was the big challenge and like I said earlier, to make it a celebration of theatre and that thing that we could only see once-it's not going to be re-created and so you have to see it live. We wanted to maintain that energy and that excitement, even though [it's on film]. There were definitely people who wanted to re-watch it like 5 times [laughter] because they wanted to catch all the little moments -and then, we had other people who were like 'whoa what a roller coaster' and they didn't feel like they just watched a show! That was the idea and a lot of people responded.
BWW: So it just puts a person right in the middle of the chaos and brilliance that is that process!
BWW: So was the 24 Hour Musical a first experience for the cast? Had any of them done anything like it before?
TRISH: For most of them it was their first experience, but there were several who had done the 24 Hour Musical the year before, and there were also a few who had done the 24 Hour Play-which is a very big deal in New York and has been a huge fundraiser.
BWW: You get to boast quite a cast for your documentary here!
ELISABETH: Yes! You don't get that often-those people all in the same place, but you can do it for 24 hours! And they were all volunteering, it was amazing. Richard Kind said it's 'for the love of it'.
BWW: Obviously that universal process of creating is a theme not only of the topic of the documentary, but also in the story of how the documentary itself got made! And this process was a speedy one!
TRISH: One of the writers, Jonathan Marc Sherman said 'usually it takes me a day to think of a word, and then it takes me a week to realize that it was the wrong word!' And when doing the 24 hour musical, you don't have time..by four o'clock in the morning your inner editor just turns off...you just write, you just do it-you have no options, and I think-one of our first titles that we wanted to call it, that we realized was too long and wouldn't make sense, was "This is why we do this, I forgot" because a lot of times, you are slaving over an article, or a play, or a book, or whatever it is that you do-film editing for us. It's not fun! Yet it's for those moments, where you're just sitting, you're thinking of a funny idea and you're bringing it to life-one of the actors says he likes to 'birth a musical once a year just to have that birthing process'! They are in a rush and there is a high that he gets out doing this creative thing. That's what we feel the film celebrates. There's a joy in just making something.
ELISABETH: Just to add, the actor who said that is Jesse Tyler Ferguson! There are a couple people in LA who fly to NYC to volunteer for the "24 Hour Musical". Tracie Thoms flies to NYC every year to do it.
BWW: That's incredible. It shows how much they love the craft and the cause, and how unique the experience is! And now that unique experience gets to be shared through your film, so I'm sure many different people will get to appreciate it!
Is there anything else that you wanted filmgoers to know about 'One Night Stand'?
ELISABETH: I would just say that, it's winter, it's dark, and everybody is having a hard time in different ways-and this is a 'feel good movie'...and so we encourage them to go for that reason!
Following the screenings tonight and tomorrow, in Toronto, the next stop for 'One Night Stand' are screenings in Vancouver and Victoria on Feb. 20th and 21st. Trish noted that she is very excited about this because she is Canadian and loves being able to share her film with friends and family here in Canada!
For more information about ONE NIGHT STAND, check out the website http://onenightstandthemovie.com/
For more information about 'The Exchange', go to http://www.exchangenyc.org/
To learn more about 'The 24 Hour Company', visit http://24hourplays.com/
Photo credit: Kerry Long
Lauren has been an avid theatre-goer since childhood. The first theatrical performance she ever saw was the touring production of "Beauty and the Beast" for her 9th birthday. Since then, her love of theatre has blossomed and she takes the opportunity to see both new and classic shows whenever she has the opportunity. Lauren is a young professional who recently relocated to Goderich, Ontario. Throughout her university Undergraduate and Masters degrees, Lauren took every opportunity she could to engage in electives and extra-curriculars that focused on analyzing and discussing the Arts and Humanities. As much as she loves to perform (she is a saxophone player in her local concert band, and has work history as a mascot), she also takes great pleasure in sitting back and enjoying a good performance. Lauren loves to talk theatre, and is very excited to be a contributor to Broadwayworld Toronto. |