The filmmaking process can be tough, especially when you’re a (no disrespect intended) small time indie filmmaker with no real financial backing to catapult you into the movie making big time. When you don’t have money you need to have very good, but workable, ideas to get yourself noticed and make the big impression that will send your career on to the next level. Of course, good ideas don’t always come easy and Irish filmmaker Diarmuid Hayes has plenty to say on that topic in his latest short film Creativity Requires Courage.
Diarmuid plays an exaggerated version of himself; an aspiring writer/director with lofty ambitions of winning a film festival award and kick starting his movie making career, if only he wasn’t suffering from writer’s block! Of course, films written by screenwriters about screenwriters aren’t exactly considered post-modern anymore. From Nicolas Cage in Adaptation to Colin Farrell in Seven Psychopaths, Hollywood has a penchant for weaving yarns about people struggling to weave yarns. When done well, such ‘meta films’ can be highly rewarding experiences, but when poorly executed they end up feeling self-indulgent, with the people behind them trying to bribe their way to the success they think the world owes them (I like me, ergo everyone should like me!).
Thankfully, in Creativity Requires Courage, Mr. Hayes is well clued in to how egotistical such pet projects can quite easily become, so goes out of his way to portray the on screen version of himself as being something of a pretentious dick who lacks both the talent and the discipline required to succeed in the movie business. When gifted with a miracle drug that will allow him to come up with stories to rival the greats, he squanders this precious resource by attempting to cast himself in a threesome fantasy with two beautiful women. To underpin just how much of a hack he truly is, the whole set up behind his doomed to fail ‘vision quest’ is ripped right out of The Matrix.
It is refreshing to see a filmmaker speak so openly about the fear of failure so openly through the medium of film, especially for one who is as of yet quite far off being a household name (after all, it’s easy to write such a story when you’ve already hit the big time – not so much when the threat of not ‘making it’ is a very real possibility). It is all too common for rookie filmmakers to take themselves all too seriously and consider themselves beyond the reach of satire, much less criticism (and yes, I am referring to those directors who leave angry comments under negative reviews – you know who you are and I know you’re still reading, waiting to point out my tyypos), despite having achieved precious little in their careers, so Hayes embracing his own vulnerability so willingly is an act worthy of commendation.
That is not to say Diarmuid Hayes has been unsuccessful in his pursuit of the filmmaking dream. Having already written and directed the hilarious comedic short Senior Infants and worked on some really big productions including The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the guy is clearly on the right track. If he can hang on to his ability to display himself warts n’ all he should go far in this business (so long as he watches out for dodgy audio – that shit will kill a movie).
Creativity Requires Courage will be shown alongside seven other short films at The Lighthouse Cinema on Monday the 28th of September (more details here).
[Image: Diarmuid Hayes]