For Resolutions, writer / director Heidi Jones explored a real-life situation to see how her characters would react. We spoke to her about drama, music and Sally Potter
D&CFilm: You’ve said Resolutions is close to your heart, tell us about the story and how you came up with the idea.
Heidi Jones: The story is quite personal for me as the characters are based on myself and a girl I know; I find it easier to write when it’s coming from a place of truth.
The actual idea originated from a real situation that happened, myself and the girl were outside of a pub one night and we got heckled by a couple of guys. I didn’t react too well and kept quiet whereas she absolutely went for them, which I found really interesting. I thought a nice change would be to make the girls strangers and see how they’d deal with an interaction.
I had written the script for 2016/2017 new years, but we didn’t get the time to start putting it into pre production till 2017//2018 new years.
D&CFilm: What is it about the genre of Resolutions that attracts you?
Heidi Jones: Drama seems very stripped back and simplistic to me, which means people concentrate a lot more on the performances and the story which are my strength as a director. I also think it’s a genre I understand, I’ve always found myself curious about people and the way they interact with one another and how they adapt to situations. It’s the most relatable of genres and one I feel very connected to.
There’s always an element of LGBTQ in my films and that’s something I feel very strongly about as a gay woman.
D&CFilm: Where do you think your passion for filmmaking and storytelling comes from?
Heidi Jones: I’ve always been a very creative person. I grew up acting, writing and making music so storytelling has been prominent form a young age. Filmmaking sort of made sense for me, I was able to write my own films, I had a good understanding of actors and emotion and I loved any excuse to make music, and being a director gives me the opportunity to use all those elements.
I have to give my mother some credit too, we used to sit and watch the extended behind the scenes for the LOTR trilogy when I was young and that fascinated me.
It’s also endlessly motivating to work with amazing people who support my vision. Our DoP Dann Emmons was amazing to work with and it goes without saying our cast Verity Williams and Frankie Payne brought so much life into their roles.
D&CFilm: Resolutions was shot over one night – how did you prepare and how did you keep the energy levels up for the shoot?
Heidi Jones: We started at 9pm and went till about 5.30 the next morning. I don’t think any of us realised how cold and long it was going to be but no one complained we all powered through. I tend to do a detailed rehearsal with actors before we get onto set so they know exactly how I want it before we shoot.
The actresses were fantastic, we shot the film from 3 different angles a and ran the whole film through a fair few times and they didn’t mess up once, it was quite incredible actually. Lots of coffee and tea was provided during the shoot, it can’t have been much warmer than 3 degrees so we definitely needed it. Our production manager, Darta Vijgrieze, and runners really were the foundation of the production – without them we’d be frostbitten.
I like to pride myself on being quite a chilled director (especially in the cold), we always have a laugh on set too. We played a word game called ‘I have a business’ which gets people interacting in-between takes and it gets fairly competitive which kept people’s minds off the cold. Things never get too serious, we’re all there to have a good time too!
D&CFilm: You’ve mentioned Sally Potter and the the need to create trust and respect between the actor and director – how do you do that and how does that apply to crew?
Heidi Jones: Sally Potter is a real inspiration for me, so I try and use similar approaches when I work with actors. A lot of it just comes down to getting to know my actors. Me, Frankie and Verity met before the shoot – chatted and then rehearsed. It’s good to come onto set as friends rather than colleagues in my opinion. That goes for crew as well as cast.
I think that allows them to see me as a fairly down to earth person which creates a little bit more ease on set. All the crew interact with the actors too, there aren’t any role divides in terms of departments during down time, we all sit together on breaks and chat. Creating a friendly and comfortable environment for my actors is high on my priorities.
D&CFilm: You often do your own soundtracks. Did you create the soundtrack to Resolutions, and what’s your approach to making music – is it different to your approach to making movies?
Heidi Jones: I didn’t write any music for Resolutions, I don’t think the film needed it. We were lucky enough to use ‘The Flying Cages’ for our credit music, their song had a really nice sound when worked well to end the film with!
My approach to making music differs a lot depending on what I’m wanting to make. It often starts at 3am when a chord progression comes into my head when I’m asleep!
With soundtracks I often get a copy of the film along with references, a scene breakdown and some specific notes from the director. It’s then a case of me working things out for a few days till I really nail the style. I find it a lot like working with directors on scripts actually, you send them a draft they give you notes and you change it and this repeats until you’re both happy with the final product.
D&CFilm: Resolutions is hitting the festival circuit now – what’s next for you?
Heidi Jones: Resolutions will be put into summer festivals for next year so hopefully it will see the likes of Raindance and London short film festival.
In terms of me, I have a film called ‘The Connection’ which I just finished shooting yesterday actually that’s going into the edit next week. It follows a female comedian called Jodi he gets a stalker after flirting a bit too much with a member of the audience, it centers around miscommunication and I’m really excited to get it finished. There’s a lot in the pipeline
D&CFilm: Thanks Heidi!
Resolutions is at the Local Talent screening at the Exeter Phoenix during the Two Short Nights fest. (
Tickets for the local talent screening have sold out but you can be added to a wait list if you call the box office 01392 667080).