Prompted by the Utah International Film Festival, I wanted to share a closer look into the short film I wrote and directed among other things. With a small but amazing crew in a small town in Northern Utah, I'm really proud that we went ahead and made it. A lot was going on at the time. My world seemed to be crumbling all around me, however, I've used filmmaking as a way to escape. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes when it comes to creating;
“I was waiting for something extraordinary to happen but as the years wasted on nothing ever did unless I caused it.”
The longer I'm away from it, the sadder I become. It's inevitable really. This experience reminded me why I started and why I kept going. It makes me happy. It just really makes me happy.
Where did the story originate?
The story has evolved over several years. I was inspired by the movie 'Stranger Than Fiction.' Initially, I employed a voice-over where characters mouthed the words of the narrator. However, the script underwent numerous changes until I realized my true ambition: to create a film in my favorite genre, dark comedy.
Consequently, I envisioned a kick-ass, somewhat anxiety-ridden protagonist with dramatic mood swings, loosely based on the anxiety I constantly deal with. I aimed to depict the themes of miscommunication and isolation without any dialogue, relying solely on facial expressions, music, and text.
And of course, make it funny, in an almost uncomfortable or unrecognizable way. I like the absurdity of drama and comedy together like that. It's the kind of humor where someone should be asking, 'Is this a comedy?' because they want to laugh but don't know why.
What was your favorite part of production?
My favorite part of production was the first day when the crew and cast all came together. I quickly realized how incredible the next two days would be.
Not only was everyone extremely talented, but they were also easy-going, fun, and great to collaborate with.
It was therapeutic for me as well. I had been suddenly laid off from work and needed to move before my lease expired in two months. I was determined to prove that I could make this film, which had been in the works for a few weeks. I decided to be the Director of Photography (DP) myself, a role I don't usually assume. However, with a bit of a chip on my shoulder, I wanted to channel my feelings into the creation of the film and showcase my knowledge of cinematography.
What was the most difficult part about production?
The most challenging aspect was undoubtedly the fight scenes on the second day. We had limited time for rehearsals and a lot to accomplish before sunset. True to my nature, I was keen to capture the twilight hour for a specific part of the script, which meant we had to expedite towards the end.
The rapidly changing sunlight forced me to make some cuts to stay on schedule. Fight scenes invariably take longer to shoot, even seemingly simple ones like mine that don't necessarily look very elaborate. Our goal was to achieve a realistic feel as if the characters had never been in a fight before, which actually worked in our favor. Nonetheless, having a dedicated rehearsal day or an extra day to perfect the second fight scene would have been ideal.
Is there anything you would have done differently if you could go back in time and do it again?
I would have greatly appreciated an additional day to capture the fight scenes in the lighting I had envisioned. I was prepared to absorb the cost of another day to ensure we got all the shots I wanted.
Eventually, I reshot those cut scenes with some variations the following week. Having a little more rehearsal time would have likely made the end of production smoother and alleviated my stress.
Nevertheless, I'm delighted that I proceeded with the shoot. I kept reminding myself, 'It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to get done.
If you had advice for someone interested in getting into the production space, what would you tell them?
Over-preparation is key. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety throughout my life, I'm familiar with feelings of helplessness and imposter syndrome. What I've found incredibly helpful is dedicating time to meticulously plan every detail – from the script, shot list, and storyboard, to call sheets and ensuring everyone has quality food on set.
I take immense pride in my sets and strive for everyone to be as enthusiastic as I am while we bring my vision to life. People are drawn to those who demonstrate commitment to their creative pursuits.
This mindset has not only helped me through tough times but has also kept me motivated, even when I doubted my abilities. Always over-prepare, and don't let the fear of failure hold you back. Failure is a universal experience. If you're not failing, you're not growing, and consequently, not improving. Fail forward and don't look back.
How can audiences find out more about future projects you are all working on?
I'm quite active on social media, where I share my filmmaking journey! You can find me under the handle @wittyfilmgirl on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
I enjoy posting about my work, offering behind-the-scenes looks, and interacting with fellow cinema enthusiasts. Also, for a collection of my larger projects, visit my website at wittyfilmgirl.com. It's a great resource for anyone interested in the scope of my work in film.
Title: Out to Lunch
Synopsis: A wild and unpredictable woman unleashes chaos when her ex-fling suddenly ghosts her, sparking a darkly comedic and violent mission of self-discovery, love, and vigilante justice.
Lindsey Hawkes, Mark Gaudette, Yvonne Bass
Writer/Director/Cinematographer: Whitney Ingram
Gaffer: Weston Woodbury
2nd AC: William Bultez
Location Sound Mixer: Dominic Bohne
Location Sound Recordist: Jackson Bohne
Set Designer/Wardrobe: Sam Wangberg
Grip: Mateo Forman
Grip: Wei Kang Loo
Post-Production Audio Engineer: Nathan Thrills
Editor: Whitney Ingram