Inside Green With Envy: The Ballad of Frank and Mary Sue
Written by David Harris:
One of my favourite quotes in all of literature is from Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, which reads: “The only people for me are the mad ones.”
It’s a bit of a motto for us at LFD Collective. It’s also the essence of the Colchester 60 Hour Film Challenge. Sheer madness. And for one long weekend in October of last year, that was us… Bruised. Battered. Hungry. Sleep deprived. But mostly just mad.
To begin with, the idea of a 60 hour film challenge is mad enough. 60 hours to write, shoot, edit, grade and submit a five minute film. On top of that, the concept we were working with was entirely mad. Planes. Revolutions. Mimes. A cult of Charlie Chaplin look-a-likes. A man with no voice box. And Mary Sue; the perfect woman.
Luckily for us, the people who helped us bring it all to fruition were every bit as mad as we were. Two days of shooting. Rushed assembly edits. 39 straight hours with no sleep. And a final product which made the deadline with all of three minutes to spare.
To put it simply, Mary Sue is the greatest woman in the world.
In fiction, a Mary Sue is a term used to describe a character who is too good. An idealised character who is so perfect as to be annoying and unrealistic.
It was this concept which lay at the heart of our tale. We wanted to create an epic love story about the perfect woman and the man who needed her most.
Our style guide…
First of all, let me say that our cinematographer Joel Crane is an incredible talent. We knew there was no challenge that he couldn’t meet. So of course, we took horrible advantage of him.
Right from the start, we knew that the only way we could pull off our concept was to plant our tongue firmly in our cheek. We needed the finished product to be as weird and idiosyncratic as possible. If we took ourselves too seriously, it wouldn’t land.
We figured out very early that if we wanted to create something that was odd and whimsical and touching all at once, we only needed to look at two filmmakers. Tim Burton and Wes Anderson.
There’s a sense of vibrancy and cheek to their work and we wanted to bottle that. We didn’t have the time or the equipment we necessarily needed, but we had the madness to give it a red hot go! Whether or not we succeeded is another question, but the works of these master filmmakers served as our inspiration.
Over the weekend we often found ourselves asking; “What would Wes Anderson do?” Then, when we couldn’t find the symmetry, we’d say; “Well, what would Tim Burton do?”
The future… a life of its own.
Perhaps one of the more liberating things about making a film for a specific film challenge, is that it takes the question of release strategies out of the equation.
Which is why we feel incredibly blessed that Green With Envy: The Ballad of Frank and Mary Sue continues to receive opportunities to be viewed by people around the world.
After being shortlisted at Colchester (one of ten finalists from over 800 registered teams) the film screened to close the festival. Following that, we had a strong online debut on our LFD Collective channel, where the film continues to receive strong support.
But it’s the upcoming screening for the Revelation Film Festival series that perhaps has us most excited. Designed to be a showcase for new and classic Australian Feature Films, each of the screenings is preceded by a hand-picked short film. An honour to say the least.
What we learned…
Embrace the madness.
With a feature film and several other short form project in the works, our plans for 2015 already have every chance of exceeding our grasp. To follow along visit our LFD Collective YouTube channel or like our facebook page. You’d be mad not to!
Green With Envy: The Ballad of Frank and Mary Sue screens as part of this months Australian Revelations screening of Dogs in Space. Tickets are still available here: