Cannes Film Festival
Short Film Corner 2021
When Bryant is exposed by his high school tormentors, he decides to leave it all behind; except not without giving his two best friends something that will forever change the route of their lives.
Hi Conner, thanks for talking to TNC, how has this time been offering you any new creative opportunities or inspiration?
Being in the festival run for this film has brought some exciting opportunities. I have a feature in development that’s somewhat an inspired-by sequel that I’ve been able to bring forth to people interested.
Congratulations on having In The Meantime, With You part of this year's Short Film Corner, how does it feel to be able to present your short film at Cannes?
Thank you! It’s an honor most definitely — it’s a dream to premiere a film at Cannes, so having Meantime show at the SFC feels like we’re close.
What coming-of-age films have left an impact on you?
Andrea Arnold is a big inspiration of mine — her films like Fish Tank and American Honey are my all time go-to’s and were a big inspiration for this film. I’m also a fan of Xavier Dolan — all of his work but Mommy in that sense of coming-of-age. There’s something about the nitty gritty of discovering the world around you through a different lens as you get older, merging from childhood to… the reality, sometimes tragic reality of life that entices me. Things can be so good when you’re young for them suddenly to just end. You think life will be like that forever but then… everything changes.
How much has your background as a music video director helped prepare you for directing your short films?
I feel like I fell into the music video world because of my earlier short film work. The thing that’s different with music videos than short films, is of course they’re music videos, but with shorts I’d have full creative control in all areas, and music videos I have label reps hovering my shoulder and whispering sweet nothings into my ear — a lot of the time at the end of a music video once delivered, I’m like “is this really me? Or is this just… work?” Sometimes creative gets so out of my hand unfortunately. So many cooks in the kitchen!
But I love it. Sometimes. And to answer your question — they honestly just make me stronger. There’s been so many times we go into a music video with my creative idea but it completely changes. This inspires me to be even more creative with my work, staying true, and to let no one tell me shit. Because there’s a directing world where sometimes it feels like you’re just there to... be there. Deliver someone else’s vision. So it makes me appreciate my vision more and to even have a stronger one at that when I’m creating a film.
As a writer and director, how much flexibility do you allow yourself once you start shooting, do you like to stick to what you've written?
I like to think of the script as just a backbone to go off of. On the day I am all about what’s in the present. I encourage actors to go off the script, the DP to get inspired with ideas given our light and space, because when you’re in the moment anything can happen, and I don’t want to miss out on those magical opportunities.
How did In The Meantime, With You come about, what inspired your screenplay?
I had these two close friends when I was 14 — my girl BFF and our older friend who could drive. We had this trio of sorts and did everything together… but she didn’t know our little secret. What’s different than the film and reality is that… she still doesn’t know our secret. Perhaps this is TMI but, there you have it! (I doubt she’ll read this, but hey you never know).
Looking back is there anything you would do differently on this film?
Going back to an earlier question of flexibility, I wish I were even more flexible. We were shooting all natural light for the most part and there were times we spent so long on a scene while chasing the sunlight as the day was ending, that 95% of what we shot for those few hours just didn’t make the cut due to light continuity. (If you’re wondering, the car parking lot scene when they’re smoking out of the soda can) — that scene was originally much longer with a mini freak out from Shiloh, and we kept filming just because it was in the script. Wish I would’ve been more flex there! But overall no regrets, always a learning experience no matter what.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
I started acting in theatre when I was a child knowing I wanted to be in movies — that thought led to me exploring the world of movies, which led me to the world of filmmaking. I’ve been writing scripts and putting on plays for the neighbourhood since I was a kid.
"Remember the good and bad, remember the friends you once had."
What would you say are the biggest differences between directing a short film and directing a music video?
A music video is for the artist, a short film is where I can be the artist. Not that I’m not for music videos, but at the end of the day it’s about supporting the artist’s song more than my own vision.
Do you have any advice or tips you would offer anyone about making their own short film or music video?
Make videos and movies with your friends. Get mad creative. Don’t follow any rules. Keep doing this and someday, some big label or production company will reach out to you. But don’t stop doing this even after you get that opportunity.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from In The Meantime, With You?
I hope people look back on their youth and reminisce for 10 minutes. Remember the good and bad, remember the friends you once had. Perhaps those memories can spark some inspiration for where you’re at today.