Exit Chip: An Interview With Director Joshua Thornton-Allan - Raindance

A love story which transcends the genre and offers its audience something unique, Exit Chip follows the journey of Edward. A once charismatic man who has now retreated into solitude, Edward learns of a controversial microchip that can be implanted into the back of the head and allows the recipient to die in secret. Offering him a way out of his crumbling existence, the Exit Chip provides Edward with a means of escape without leaving his recently widowed mother behind.

The team are currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to fund Exit Chip – to find out more about the film and how you can get involved, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/exit-chip

A thought provoking and interesting project, Exit Chip is set to begin shooting in late January. In the meantime, read on for an interview with the film’s director, Joshua Thornton-Allan.

What was the first film that you saw that made you want to make movies?

I think the first films I saw which gave me a love for movies were the Spielberg films; Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones in particular. The pure escapism and fantastical nature of these films is something I’ve always loved about cinema, and I think that’s what initially captured my imagination. However, I think the first film that really made me realise the power of cinema and want to make movies was Alan Parker’s Angel Heart. The film’s incredible cinematography, and it’s haunting motifs and symbols made me understand films as a multi-lingual device in which a story is told through every artistic medium; visually, linguistically and audibly. As a lover of stories, that multi-lingual capacity makes cinema, for me, the greatest way to tell them.

What is it that made you want to become a director, and not say a producer or DOP?

As I said I’ve always been a prolific reader and when I read stories I always hold a strong visual idea in my head. I briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a screenwriter. However, I soon realised I wouldn’t be able to relinquish the vision I’d created in the narrative. When I write or read I always have a clear understanding of how the narrative unfolds in my head, right down to the intricate details, something as simple as how someone is sitting is incredibly important to me. So it became clear that if I wanted to visualise these narratives I’d have to direct. However, I’ve also always enjoyed artistic collaboration, and for me the director is the heart of the collaborative process on set, so in this respect directing has always appealed to me.

What experiences in your film career do you feel have made you ready to take on Exit Chip?

As I’ve said collaboration is one of my favourite aspects of filmmaking and so I’ve tried to gather as much experience about each aspect of the filmmaking process. I’ve worked for Studio Canal seeing the distribution side, Vertigo Film helping with the pre-production side, and finally Marshal Street Studios who edit major TV adverts. Creating a foundation of knowledge on many aspects of the filming process has helped to grow my confidence. However, I think the thing that really prepared me to take on Exit Chip was producing and directing my last short, Journeys.

Exit Chip

What have you learnt from your most recent short, Journeys?

I think when you shoot a low budget film you learn a lot of simple things that can make filming a lot easier. Things such as: giving yourself more time than you need, listing possible difficulties, and being prepared for them and shooting more than you need. I think the most crucial thing that I learnt was the importance of the team you have. I was lucky to work with some incredible people who helped me from falling into some of the common pitfalls for directors. Having a team whose decisions you can trust but who also respect your vision and work with you to achieve it is incredibly important. Quite often on set you realise you cannot get the exact shot or look you initially wanted, especially on a small budget, and having a team who can work through that in a creative way is crucial. Lastly, knowing the script, knowing the characters; when you’re on set you need to be completely immersed in the script so that when you cut you have something to say about that take, know if you’ve achieved what you wanted, or have something to work on.

What do you think is going to be the biggest challenge on your path to becoming a feature film director?

I think it’s carving out your own route in the industry. At times it can seem so incredibly daunting and unachievable but you have to keep going, and continue to learn and adapt. I think one of the things is to continue to find great stories, for me that’s what filmmaking is about. To continue to search for new narratives and stories, which you believe, need to be told.

Where do you picture your film career in 5 years time?

I think Exit Chip is my main focus at the moment – once that is done we’ll do the film festivals run so hopefully we’ll be attending those. I’d also like to progress into making music videos and corporate videos. I think the ability to tell stories through these mediums has changed and people have begun taking them more seriously. A lot of new directors are creating incredible material in this area. Ultimately though after I’ve done Exit Chip I’ll be working towards a feature, I’ll just have to find a story that I believe in enough.



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