Danny Sangra talks about The Story of Tobias Medallion
After finishing Goldbricks In Bloom I went on a run of making films for various brands. Luckily most of them let me continue writing slightly surreal scripts and they were a lot of fun to make (Balenciaga, Mercedes-Benz, Diesel). However, it’s in my personal work I get to do whatever I want and continue adding to the world of characters I’ve been creating for the past few years (see Voltaville for a detailed explanation of this).
Wherever I am working or whatever I’m working on, I usually have friends that want to help make a film. So I end up writing constantly and have a backlog of scripts and stories I want to tell. Just in case I’m in a city with people ready to roll.
We generally work in a very fluid manner as everyone knows each other. I keep my teams small on personal projects. This time we had a crew of five (I was doing sound, not my forte). The best thing about these films is that everyone is there because they want to be there. Because I still paint and draw I treat film the same way. I constantly need to experiment with no pressure. If something goes wrong, you keep working at it until you get something you want. It can evolve into something you didn’t expect.
One of the big reasons I wrote this film was because originally I wanted to do this idea for something else, but they destroyed my script turning it into a watered-down version of itself and it never got made. So I wrote this film exactly how I wanted, kept it simple and made it with friends.
I brought in Margaret Clunie who is in many of my films. Her character was always called Polly in my early films, however I changed her name to Jess in Goldbricks as Zosia (Mamet) was supposed to have her role until I switched them around. This film was agood way for me to change the character’s name mid-film by an external force.
Rory DCS also got involved as I’ve used his voice before, but always felt he would be an interesting character on camera.
I love narration in films (mainly films from the 50s and 60s). I have a ‘thing’ for interesting voices. Usually, it’s people who aren’t actors and I hear them and immediately want to write a story for them to tell. This happened with Tabetha who I was working with on another shoot a few months before. I knew I had to have hernarrate something.
Often, if I can’t afford to film it, I’ll just tell you what happened through narration or titles. This film is a version of that, the girl is doing absolutely nothing of interest but I made her the focus of the film and left it to the narrator to try to make it exciting. And she does her best.
To see the film in full go to NOWNESS