Oliver Goodrum's 'This Is Vanity'

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Oliver Goodrum, the highly accomplished & respected short film director behind the Magnolia Film Festival Drama Winning project: "This Is Vanity", takes a seat with Clark Kennedy, (HF® Curator) to discuss inspiration, his creative process & a bit about his history — that’s off the record. Exclusively for HYPEFRESH®Magazine.

Give us the backstory behind your history of being a movie director/filmmaker. The floor is yours — we’re all ears.

I always feel like you need this inevitable, chosen one, born to do it type of story you know? Unfortunately it wasn’t as romantic for me. I became obsessed with movies and started to realize just how shitty most of them are. I thought I could do better.  I was also studying multimedia and got introduced to editing, but at the time I didn’t even understand what a director or producer was. A couple of years later I started an MA in filmmaking (still thinking I wanted to be an editor), at the time I didn’t even know what 16mm was, I felt like a bit of a moron on the first day. My graduation film was a romantic comedy about a fat guy getting in to a pair of trousers (Breathing In) which didn’t quite work, stupidly I only entered it into one festival.

From this moment on, I wanted to make something better, something 'that worked’. I spent the next few years writing scripts and making music videos until one mystical night it came to me in a dream… I was actually watching a documentary on knife crime and it pissed me off so much I thought that was something I should explore, something that I felt strongly about. I spent about a year trying (and failing) to write a decent script and then I chanced upon an news article on the BBC website — which 'This Is Vanity' would eventually be based on. As soon as I read it I thought it would make a perfect short film.

My experience of reading it seemed like the perfect experience for the audience, that twist or reversal. I actually started working on something different at this point and ending up making ‘Consequences of the Kill’which was luckily a really good move, as it gave me a lot of confidence as a director. Then I made a couple of videos (which I was pretty disappointed with) but I did manage to get the scripts finished for 'TIV'. We shot it in August 2012 and started entering it in to festivals at Jan 2013. Since then I’ve been trying to work out what the next project is.

Your latest and most recent work —‘This is Vanity’— which is BAFTA 2013/14 Long Listed, as well as winning Best Drama at The Magnolia Independent Film Festival 2013 — Is absolutely incredible. What was your experience like creating such an in-depth piece of work?

Thank you very much! The reception has been amazing, a lot of really nice comments online and from people in the industry. The experience was amazing but it was a gruelling one! It took a long time to find the money and put it together. We lost the perfect location and then got it back again. Casting Tyler was difficult, and then working with her to create something honest and do us both justice was fucking impossible! It was a huge project and we were doing it with a small, young crew and a pretty small amount of money.

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When watching ‘This Is Vanity’, the first thought that came to mind was “what am i getting myself into by watching this..” 23 mins later, i was speechless at the events that had occurred in the film. What inspired you to create this film and what was the “purpose” behind it?

This is Vanity started when I came across an article on the BBC website, the headline read something like “Mother Kills herself and her disable teenage daughter in a horrifying act…..”. As soon I started to read the article, my initial opinion that the headline had lead me to make about the mother, started to change. What I experienced in reading the article was exactly what I wanted to achieve in the narrative and storytelling of a short film.

Lastly, we're curious to get a glimpse of your creative process.. Walk us through your mind during your creative process — prior to curating a new film.

The process usually starts with trying to understand a meaning, attitude or theme for the song (if it is a promo), and then creating an idea around that. Sometimes it comes instantly and sometimes it is a very long, painful process. If it is drama then it’s about exploring a very strong feeling you have about a subject or event. I’m obsessed with hoodies, knife crime, justice and socket.

Follow Oliver Goodrum on Twitter:@ollygoodTo see more of his work, visit: http://vimeo.com/user5738932