MICHAEL GOSDEN – ACTOR/WRITER/DIRECTOR “WATCH THE SUNSET”
Watch the Sunset is a terrific new Australian movie – release date TBC – about a young man struggling to escape his past life of crime and drugs. On the cusp of announcing their new crowdfunding campaign (to help fuel post-production costs), I caught up with co-director and actor Michael Gosden – also one of the writers on the project – to get the 411 on how it all came together.
Can you give a quick rundown on how this movie came to be?
Tristan, Damien and myself knew that we wanted to make a film by the middle of 2015 but we weren’t exactly sure what it would be. So we threw around a few ideas that didn’t exactly stick and Tristan brought to the table the idea of a one-shot feature film that followed the life of bikie gang member. We were hooked. After that, Tristan and I collaborated in every aspect of the writing and Directing, molding the story through research and other inspirations. Damien secured his hometown of Kerang as the location of the film and from that point onwards, the film really started to find its shape.
Have you guys grown up together?
No, we all grew up in different states. Qld, NSW and VIC. Tristan and I met while both studying full time the full timing Acting course at VCA. Damien met Tristan on a feature film they were working on in 2012 and have been working together ever since.
Did you want to be filmmakers from a young age?
Yes, ever since watching ‘Hook’ by Steven Spielberg I knew that was what I wanted to do. But unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera growing up, so writing all the random little stories that came to me down in a notebook was all I had. In high school I had a drama assessment, where I chose to make a film about an over-eager postal deliveryman. It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to be a storytelling.
Most screenwriters pen many scripts before they’re able to turn one into a feature. Was that the case with you?
Damien, Tristan and I have all written films in the past. Damien and Tristan have previous feature films under their belt already and I also have a few short films to my name. So there was a pretty healthy dose of experience in the lead up to this collaboration. But we all had to go back to the start with the sheer size and uniqueness of this project. Focusing a lot on the successes and failures of films that have attempted the long haul shots in the past, looking closely at why they worked and more importantly why they didn’t. We also hadn’t attempted this kind of darkness in a genre, which forced us to dive into a much deeper place than we were originally used to.
Any screenwriting influences?
Being self-taught at screenwriting, I’ve never followed any strict screenwriting influence.
What did you write or type your screenplay on?
We were using the program Final draft for the final product. A lot of the lead up notes, scenes and alterations occurred on the good old note pad.
Any favorite screenwriters? Anyone inspire you on this particular project?
There are so many that I’ll always been a big fan. But to name a few Aaron Sorkin, Tina fey, Rona Munro, Quentin Tarintino, Alex Garland, The Coen Brothers, Mark Boal, Lena Dunham and so many more. All of them have such an amazing ability to pen a story and do so in a brilliant way. For this project in particular, though, I think a major influence for me on this project was Shaun Grant’s ‘Snow Town’ and David Michod’s ‘Animal Kingdom’.
Did you go through many drafts?
A lot. All the way up to the last day of shooting things were being altered. We obviously had the integral sections of the stories arc locked in, but along the way the Actors or Directors would see something that could be added or taken away. It was a forever-shifting thing, as we never wanted the cast to feel too locked down in the script.
What do you want audiences to take away from the movie?
I understand that its always going to be completely different for each audience member as to what exactly they will or won’t take from this film. The raw realism that this film exists in is what stands out the most for me. That there is always a story lying underneath every person, a unique version of this story is happening every day.
And how can people help see the film come to fruition?
We’re excited to announce that our fundraising campaign for post production support has launched and is being supported at https://australianculturalfund.org.au
If you were curious to find out more you can visit the official website of the film at www.watchthesunsetfilm.com
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