The team behind PEOPLE WHO PRETEND TO BE CROWS IN THEIR SPARE TIME speak to TenEighty.
The film follows the story of a father, Rich, who attends a bereavement support group where instead of talking, everyone dresses up as crows for the hour. When Rich invites his son Sam along in a bonding attempt, tensions arise due to the unorthodox method of grieving.
Speaking to TenEighty, Will Priddis explains how “the idea for the crow-people came first!”
“We went through a lot of ideas as to why the crows do what they do,” he says. “Having a really grounded story but linking it to something completely insane definitely intrigued us. Life is brilliantly insane for hilariously ordinary reasons sometimes.”
Director of Photography Mike Ferris adds: “By introducing a more down to earth club, it connects it to reality, to ground – the insane idea of 100 crow-people when dealing with a genuinely serious subject.”
Once bereavement was chosen as the motivation for the crows, a number of different stories were drafted. “The one about a father and son relationship encountering grief definitely interested and moved us the most,” Will says.
We learn throughout the film that Rich, Sam, and the mother Janet are grieving the loss of their second son Harrison.
“In our heads, [the loss is] still fresh, maybe about a year,” Will explains. “Long enough that Sam hasn’t had a chance to process it yet.
“It was really fun to experiment with a story which lets you wonder what happened before you met the characters.”
Producer Brendan White comments, “Sometimes it’s best not to tell the audience every detail, when they can create their own better ideas!”
“Sam and Rich’s relationship. That’s what the film is really about,” Will adds.
When asked about Janet’s grief and whether she is hiding her own coping mechanism from the family, Will replies, “You never know! I think she definitely trusts Rich more than he does for her – judging by how much more she shares with him.
“There could be so much behind the curtain that we didn’t explore.”
So why crows? “They’re absolute characters,” says Will. “I feel like they could fall into the same categories as charismatic villains and anti-heroes. The perfect bird for a horde of people to impersonate.”
here's something new! a short film I wrote and directed is out now!
PEOPLE WHO PRETEND TO BE CROWS IN THEIR SPARE TIME
— kraaaaa (@willpriddis) August 10, 2019
For Will, the process of making this latest film differed from previous projects in one main way. “It was much more collaborative,” he says.
“On Crows, I was directing again, but we were a team of six all the way through and they were super helpful with everything,” Will explains. “We brainstormed plot points, reviewed script drafts from co-writer Harry and I, helped our producer Brendan bring it to life – we all had our individual roles but we really mucked in for everything.
“I could trust our DP Mike would do his own thing and it would look brilliant,” he continues. “Our sound recordist Morgan ensured everything sounded great, and Tom made sure everything ran smoothly.
“Our production designer Jordan even made all the amazing crow costumes. Apparently her flat was covered in feathers for ages. Whoops.”
“This isn’t my film,” Will stresses, “it’s all of ours.”
PEOPLE WHO PRETEND TO BE CROWS IN THEIR SPARE TIME is now available to watch on Will’s YouTube channel.
Why not check out what took place on the Online Productions panel at Summer in the City 2019, or check out the latest news of Joe Sugg’s casting in Waitress: The Musical.