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Being a director: An Interview with Robin Bryan

May 4, 2016

Robin has been participating in film studies at Bus Stop Films since 2011 and over the last four years she has taken a keen interest in directing. She received first-hand experience of the directing process on The Interviewer, and was mentored by Genevieve throughout the making of the film. Robin took to the director’s chair again and directed the “Sisterhood” sequence of Bus Stop’s 2014 experimental film, Heartbreak & Beauty. She loves art and she continues her studies with Bus Stop through our Film Club.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, Robin?

I started learning about film about 5 years ago, by going to the course at Sydney Community College run by Genevieve and Bus Stop Films. I loved learning about how films were made. I especially liked using a drawing board to make up the scenes.  I now see films differently. When I watch them I wonder how they were made – not the special effects, but the little things like camera angles.

I first started directing when I was given that job for The Interviewer, and then I directed two segments of Heartbreak and Beauty – ‘Sisterhood’ and ‘Friendship’.

We were learning about all aspects of film, but I think I wanted to be a director because I was too shy to be in front of the camera, and also I find it interesting working out how to tell a story.

How was directing The Interviewer and Heartbreak and Beauty different?

In The Interviewer, we were working on how to tell a story in a way that was real and funny and simple. I found that every word and every movement had to make sense, and they had to be filmed just right.

In Heartbreak and Beauty, we could do it differently, and there was more emotion in the acting and the directing too. The piece on Sisterhood was about my sister leaving home, and how sad I was. I think it was a bit about my mum passing away too.  And I think when people leave, you also end up understanding a bit about friendship, so the two pieces were really linked.

If a person who has never directed before asked you for advice, what would you tell them?

If someone asked me about becoming a director, I’d say the thing you try to do in directing is to be your normal self, and to trust your imagination about how it might be to be the characters. Then you should do your best to make them real. So I think the best thing to do is to spend time thinking about how other people see the world.

And last but not least, what’s your favourite movie?

I think my favorite film is Jane Eyre. I like how she starts off in such a hard life, but is so generous despite her hardships.  She also doesn’t mind Mr. Rochester’s disability. And Bertha Mason always scares me! I like looking at the different versions to see how they do it differently, but I like all the versions.