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The Magician Q&A

  The Spinning Image (TSI): Is this your first film?

Scott Ryan (SR): First feature, I've made some shorts and stuff like that.

TSI: How did you fund the film, and how much was it?

SR: The film cost $400,000 Australian, which is about £200,000. The shoot didn't cost that much, and I financed it myself using my student grant money so I basically produced the film entirely myself during the shoot and the edit. Once the film was completed I approached other producers to come in and market it and get it distributed, and we took it from there.

TSI: What did your lecturers at film school make of the film?

The MagicianSR: Well some of them told me that I wasn't going to be able to direct as well as act in a movie, that it would be a mess and that I couldn't act anyway and so on. I showed it to some of the people who were supportive of me at the time and they loved it and were very pleased. I haven’t stayed in contact with those people that were negative. If those negative opinions had come from Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen I might have taken notes, but…

TSI: Have you seen the film Man Bites Dog, and did it influence you?

SR: I’ve seen it, and I hated it. I thought it was terrible. I was influenced more by books about the lives of hitmen.

TSI: Why was the character of Ray portrayed sympathetically?

SR: To show that these guys are essentially still human. You get to know them and realise that in fact they're real people and some of these guys I wouldn't mind going for a drink with. You know, they're normal interesting guys. I wanted to make sure that in the film you see that although they do this stuff, they're still human beings.

TSI: How did you find acting in the movie?

SR: It was good, but what they don't tell you about getting in character is that you also have to get out of character. You have to talk yourself down from 'being Ray' into being your normal self again. Like I was at a party and some guy was rude to me and I seriously thought about smashing him over the head with a champagne bottle. But I stopped myself I was like "woah - is this me or is this Ray talking here?"

TSI: Have you acted before?

SR: Yeah, but I don't like acting for other people. I was making a film for a buddy of mine and he basically sent me the script and then moved the shoot forward so I had no chance to learn my lines. So he basically stood behind the camera with some white boards with my lines on and in this situation I'm trying my best to be in the scene and read the lines over people's shoulders and so on. After the first day he came up to me and he says "mate....your acting....it was a little bit wooden." So pretty much from that point on I decided that I wasn't going to act for other people.

TSI: Is this a movie for men? There aren't even any women in it are there?

SR: Oh I made it as a chick flick. Just kidding, but really it's not a film that women aren't going to enjoy because it's like a window into what blokes are like when there aren't any women around, you know?

TSI: What's next for you?

SR: My next film is going to be a zombie film.

TSI: Will that also be shot in a documentary style?

SR: No, but I want to keep the realism side of things rather than any close-ups of heads exploding and so on, because violence has more of an impact when it's presented realistically. I favour shooting on handheld because it's like being there.

TSI: I’ve heard that you have written a romantic comedy.

SR: Yeah, I’ve written a whole bunch of stuff - a rom com, sci-fi, a vampire movie you name it. I’ve written something covering pretty much every genre.

TSI: How do you think the independent movie scene in Australia is doing at the moment?

SR: It's doing alright. You know we've got some good films coming out, and some good films that didn't cost a lot. Look at Wolf Creek, I mean there was a film that cost about Aus$1.4 Mil! That's nothing. And that's right up there competing with the blockbusters at the box office. It shows that you don't need to have a big budget you just need to have ideas.

TSI: So are you going to stay with low-budget?

SR: Yeah. The thing with low budget is that it gives you total creative control. The moment you get a big budget, you don't get to decide anything anymore. You get some executive coming in saying "this is how we're going to shoot it, cut this scene, cut that scene" so with low-budget you get to do what you want. It's not up to someone else.

Click here for The Magician trailer.
Official The Magician Homepage.
Read The Spinning Image review of The Magician.
Author: Ted Forsyth.


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