Last week, A Quarter Young was invited once again for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Look Again, a crowd-funded, independent film. As an official ambassador of the film, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting numerous members of the cast and crew and have seen, first-hand, the hard work and dedication that goes from transferring an idea onto the big screen.
On Monday, July 28, Tristan and I visited Sense Appeal Coffee Roasters, a newly opened café at Lakeshore Blvd W and Islington Ave in Etobicoke, the location of that day’s shoots. Despite the flurry of activities inside partnered with stormy, wet weather outside, the cast and crew welcomed us warmly.
Moe Rai, Line-Producer for Look Again, walked us through the shoot agenda and explained some of the challenges associated with making an independent film. Unsurprisingly, balancing the books is one of the most difficult aspects, especially since Look Again is being filmed during the summer months.
“Since we are producing this film during peak season, equipment, transportation, wardrobe and locations can cost a fortune,” Rai says. For this reason, the crew has called in some favours from their networks. They have also become creative in terms of finding locations, hence their collaboration with Sense Appeal.
Regardless of the challenges, Rai describes production of the indie film as an incredibly rewarding process, adding that the cast and crew have become like family. Rai and Ryan Port, First Assistant Director, who have worked together on previous projects, were some of the firsts to sign onto the Look Again project, after which the crew came through word of mouth.
Rai calls the crew a mix of seasoned veterans and new graduates, which has allowed for a type of train-the-trainer experience across the board. “Being listed in the credits of a film is a big deal,” Rai explains. He also says it can be difficult for new faces in the film indstruy to make that first step and break through.
Lindsay Murray, the Director’s Assistant, joined Look Again through her connection with Daniel O’Conner, the Director. Murray has one more year in the Film and Media Production degree program at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (ITAL) and is hoping be a film director one day.
“The film atmosphere is more creative than the television industry,” Murray says. “In television, the producers have more creative control, whereas in film, the directors are given that control.”
Emily O’Quinn, who is in charge of hair and makeup on the set of Look Again, also highlighted the team dynamic amongst crew. While O’Quinn was busy glamming up the cast between takes, we had a chance to sit down with her.
“The crew is great,” says O’Quinn. “We have lots of laughs, but are still hitting our days.” O’Quinn, who had worked with her assistant Ashley Vieira in the past, highlights the benefits of working with more experienced members, while still offering learning opportunities for newcomers.
For newbies hoping to make a name for themselves in the film production industry, Rai mentions things like planning, organization and budgeting as important, but he also emphasizes the importance of a happy crew!
“Keeping your cast and crew happy is one of the most important parts of creating a film,” he says, adding, “it can be as simple as asking what meals they would like throughout the day.”
O’Quinn echoes the importance of a happy crew, as she explains that while filming, teammates are spending time together for intensive 14 hours days for a period of about three weeks.
“You need to put your social life on hold,” jokes O’Quinn.
Look Again is expected to release this fall. O’Connor hopes the Toronto International Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival will showcase the film later this year.