This short, made by Tim Hanan, is about Harry and his infatuation, or perhaps obsession, with a girl from college. We watch him talking about his problems with his psychiatrist Dr. Marlowe. The short really makes you question at what point infatuation becomes an issue and who we should talk about this issue with.
Hanan funded this short himself with his own money and the risk paid off. It has been screened at eight festivals all over the world, from Raindance to the NYC Independent Film Festival.
Your short had us thinking about the people we confide in and who we choose to tell the intimate details of our life to. Where did the idea for Getting There stem from? I think it came from a conversation with a friend. We were just talking about talking, which is kind of strange. It’s hard to say. It came partly from these two people who were more similar than they realised, and one makes the other realise that he is doing something really unhealthy, although not in the way he is supposed to. Early on he says that he's “trying not to see her as an object,” but he doesn't really do that until the end.
How did you go about structuring your scripts? Usually I will start by writing a load of random notes and then, with that, you kind of get a sense of what works. I wanted it to not be totally clear what was happening with her, like maybe she was under surveillance or something, and then gradually he is revealed. I thought of holding off both seeing him and the doctor for quite a long time. Also, with that, it was at a time where I had started doing editing so I was interested in how you could intercut within two different scenes or more, to bring another meaning.
It did feel like it was an editing decision to do that. Did you write with the editing in mind? Yeah, though there still were some changes in the editing. Towards the end, there was a couple of scenes that I decided to cut because I decided I could bring the meaning across. There is a brief moment where Dr. Marlow finds the film at the end, that was actually improvised for the actor. It gave us a resolution for the Dr. Marlow side of the story.
Are you the kind of director that lets the actors improvise, or are you strict to the script? I don’t think that I’m very strict. We had a few rehearsals with the actors. Most of them were with Cal, who plays the main character, and we would have him do scenes with each of the other actors. I ask a lot of questions about the story and their impressions of it, and give them a lot of references like films or actors. I let them build the characters themselves. On the shoot, I think generally I’m fairly laid back with it all. I'll ask for extra takes, but I won't always be clear of what exactly I want them to do differently, which I thought I could do better at. I find if I'm tired I tend to overexplain things, which just confuses people. I think it’s good to get to a point where it's near enough their character and they know more or less what to do. I think if you give them enough information, talk to them enough, they can take it at that point into their own direction.
The main character's performance was incredibly believable: we believed his anxiety around people and worries about talking to people. Was this something that you talked about a lot in rehearsals? Yeah, we talked a fair bit about the script. I think one thing that helped was that I told him to watch a short film about love by Kryzsztof Kieslowski. I happened to realise how much of an influence it was when I watched it again after making the short. I think that helped a lot, but Cal is just a very subtle and very expressive actor: you can see a lot of what he is thinking. All the actors had really expressive eyes.
In your short you mention The Day of the Dolphin film twice. Is there significance behind this film? It came from something we were going to do a bit more of, having the main character be really into these obscure paranoid thrillers, because we wanted to play off that style a little bit. It was nice to have a little character detail: he was this guy that watched these odd ball movies. Although it’s not really that obscure, the movie was directed by Mick Nickles.
That was one of the things that made us identify with the character a bit more, even though it was just this small throwaway moment. Yeah, it's nice when you get a little throwaway moment like that. A line or an action, and it gives you a sense of the world outside of the film I think. It makes it feel a little bit more real.
Tim Hanan is a writer, director, and has even acted. He has written several screenplays and directed many short films over the past ten years. He resides in Dublin, Ireland and is a Master’s graduate in Digital Feature Film Production.