Short films tend to surprise us with a nice twist at the end. Some do it good, some do it better. And some make us think ‘hmm, there might actually be a feature film somewhere in there…’
Ricky J Payne is as South Londoner as one can get. Born and bred in Brixton he is a perfect example of a healthy ‘let’s make some films!’ filmmaker. Here’s how he answered our questions.
There is an ad in a newspaper with your photo in it. What does it say?
Lets play to find the story, and when we have found it, be unrelenting in its detail.
When it comes to complexity and difficulty of producing an art work filmmaking is very close to the top. What makes the whole journey, often unpleasant, worthwhile for you?
Seeing the story come to life; taking a shape through the love and craft of the cast and crew. Seeing it, sat down beside audiences (especially when they don't know me). Seeing their reactions whatever they are. (Though it made me tear up when the audience in L.A. laughed at my comedy RIGHTSWIPE. Seeing an audience understand what you're are conveying, is one of the best feelings ever). Then after that, is the understanding what worked and what didn't.Then taking that and pushing my love and craft in story telling further.
Why this film?
Opportunity combined with pre production planning on a larger project called SEED. 'Short' Version, a test a film for that larger project which has now it's own bigger story which we plan to do separate from SEED. I was filming with Director of Photography Diogo Atadini and Producer Victor Rios on another shoot, and then after, we were dropping off the equipment at Diogo's old studio. I was inspired by the industrial elevator leading to it. I said to Victor, "We need to use this before Diogo moves out!"
So I went away, sat down , thought about the elevator and the type of characters or situations it could give me and at the same time, I remember discussing about mobile film festivals and competitions. Opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. 1. Get my feet back into making scifi which I love and 2, test myself and the others who would join me, on using a mobile phone as the camera. After lots of Jammy Dodgers and Tea and great work from the cast and crew, Short Straw was born.
You have unlimited budget, green light for your dream project and can cast anyone you want...
One of my dream projects is an anthology scifi stories in the vein of X-Files / The Expanse / Night Flyers , Men in Black and Cloverfield. Using not just narrative, but also dance, music, paint, stop motion and practical effects. Practical Effects is a major thing or next step for me. I want to do a scifi film with majority of effects in camera, and three of the first major projects in that anthology has been drafted, however, funding is required to make them work.
What are your future goals regarding filmmaking?
I have five immediate goals which are scheduled throughout this year. SEED, STALKER, Faye Ray VMA Dance Season 2, SNAKES (Working Title) and RIGHTSWIPE. SEED is one of the official scifi stories of the anthology mentioned above. SEED requires a built set , a studio to film in and moments of stop motion. I don't want to do it run and gun, that wouldn't work for the vision I have for it. Where SHORTSTRAW shows what we can do run and gun, SEED's purpose is a next step to show what I can do with modest funding on a 'scifi' short film within a studio format, and give an idea of the the production value / style I want to achieve for the rest of the scifi stories that will follow that. STALKER I cannot discuss at the moment, however more news will follow once we begin festival submissions next month . Faye Ray VMA Season 2 is a series of dance videos in collaboration with Faye Reader, who is dancer, choreographer and poet. Our first season , A Time to Play, which is really us getting to know each other in reccee sessions is out now on Vimeo, Youtube and Instagram. Snakes (Working Title) is a Cyber Punk short film I'm developing and will be working with actor / fellow filmmaker Billie Vee. Rightswipe is a non-romantic comedy of the challenges with online dating, and shows my love for directing awkward / dark comedy. Currently touring Festivals, and thanks to an amazing cast & crew, has achieved Best International Film LA Short Film Festival and Best Comedy at London Independent Awards. I want to expand on it with Writers and Producers Max Warrick and Carina Birrell and we're currently in talks to do so. Scifi , Fantasy and Arkward / Dark Comedy is my love and direction for the next 10 years.
So come on down to Streatham Space Project this Tuesday, 14.5. at 19.30 and watch Short Straw among five other shorts and have a chat with Ricky!