What is the origin of the title - Time Code ?
Itís a reference to the time-code system on the digital equipment that allowed me to
stay in syncí over the long 93 minute period of the film.
How did the idea begin, and how did it develop?
It came out of my fascination with the new digital equipment. I was impressed with the
picture quality and the portability etc and that lead me to speculate on a "what
if?í basis. What if I could shoot an entire film in this way with one take. I planned
to shoot it in London just using friends and borrowing the cameras. To cut a long story
short this then was picked up by Sony Studios, mainly because they wished to show a small
interest in the new technology and show that they were hip to the Blair Witch thing. I
grabbed the opportunity and rewrote the story as a Hollywood film comedy. A story about
the film we were making in fact. Opportunities like that do not come by every day.
What was/were the major challenge/s?
A huge mountain of logic and timings and co-ordination. It was daunting at first and then
once we were up and running it became easier and then deeply enjoyable to be on top of all
of this timetable stuff.
What are some of the key reference points that ignited the outline given to the actors?
Much of it developed during the filming. The original outline was free of deep
significance and Art. It began to creep in later. For example Ė Saffronís
reference to blood in the opening scene is then echoed by Holly in her pitch for a script
called Botswana wanna Be. She refers to "lotta blood, whole lotta blood". Then
at the end Danny Huston (security guard) also says the same line when he sees Stellan on
the floor. This gave it some kind of traditional structural shape with premonition and
co-incidence and then closure. Itís a nice way to work, quite close to the way I used
to work in experimental theatre.
How does Time Code open the filmmaking process and what implications does it have
I can only speak for myself. Itís like a huge door opening for me. A completely
different way of dealing with imagery and plot and the dream state and the audience and so
on. The implications for me are therefore immense. Itís like arriving at a fork in
the road and deciding to take the unfamiliar road which arrives at an unexplored country.
How does this idea develop further - what are you thinking about that uses this
Iím working on a new film, full length, which goes further with the real time
stuff and split screen and improvisation. My head is spinning in fact, itís very
exciting. Itís hard to focus sometimes and Iím also having to spend a lot of
time promoting the films.
What were some of the more memorable responses to your idea before you made the film?
There was a day when I had to go into the studio at Sony and try to explain the whole
concept and everything to the top executives there. Iíd already been assured of the
finance so I wasnít thinking that it was important in a financial sense, but at the
same time one wants to be understood and endorsed. About ten minutes into the pitch I
became aware that my words were baffling the audience. I also understand why. I was
talking about string quartets and real time film making and four cameras and no rehearsal
and 27 actors improvising and the fact that there would never be a script to look at. One
guy was shaking head looking pissed off. Another guy was quietly chuckling to himself.
Elements of the scenario ended up in TimeCode.
(September 14, 2000)