It’s amazing what you can get into in just a minute and a half. In Ready, Lois Norman, Sarah McCourt and Dom Lee combine for a multi-layered story that explores time and love. We chatted to Lois to find out how it was made
D&CFilm: What inspired Ready – I’m thinking both story and visual style, and is the Man Ray image a clue?
Lois Norman: Time and love. The lockdown and all that is brought to the surface for Sarah McCourt, Dom Lee and I was a helpful factor. I wanted the metronome as a symbol and sound of music and timing being ‘off, distorted, suspended’ Man Ray’s image (of the part you can see) was of a younger woman’s body: a more free self for the both woman. Sarah’s character has OCD and my character has Aids, so it also is about being grateful and coming back to the body that held together through time too.
D&CFilm: What was the most enjoyable and / or most frustrating aspect of making Ready?
Lois Norman: Sarah and I were invited by Dom to create a 90 second story-remotely!
The challenges were firstly what was important for Sarah and I to say and then how we were going to say it, both artistically and practically. I think the fact that we both come from Theatre backgrounds really helped: we are character driven and both know how to get the best from less!
Once we decided on being ready to try at love again for two queer women in their 50s who never thought it was possible, we then shot the images and I storyboarded them and then Dom and I edited the film together on Zoom! Time and how to tell a complex story in 90 seconds was a massive challenge, working with Dom and Sarah and it being a West Country team was a joy!
D&CFilm: Where does Ready fit in with your other work?
Lois Norman: It builds on Inside, a 2 Minute short I made with the talented Devon filmmaker Jemma Cholawo about losing my father last year and about the power of love. Ready looks at a second chance of love and dreaming again.
D&CFilm: Your film Swivel has gone around the world winning plaudits and prizes – did you expect that?
Lois Norman: I hoped! It’s a gender fluid dance story, so no I didn’t, but I’m very heartened by the global acceptance and excitement around the film: it’s a great team, I was very lucky to have them. Who you work with and how you fit together is so important.
D&CFilm: What are the key ingredients to good film storytelling?
Lois Norman: For me, finding the heart of the story then deciding the best way to create the journey. I then take real time to find the people who I feel support that vision and how that vision supports them.
D&CFilm: What are you doing next?
Lois Norman: I was fortunate enough to win a 2021 Micro Film Commission from Exeter Phoenix which will be screened there at Two Short Nights in February 2022. It’s called Crave and has fabulous Exeter musician Lydia Kaye’s work supporting it! This time it’s 6 minutes! So the discipline of Ready has been a great run up!
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