Born and raised in Glasgow, Bryan O’Neil has long been passionate about film-making and began writing scripts in 2004. Inspired equally by his love of graphic novels and indie cinema, Booked Out was the perfect vehicle for Bryan’s first outing as director, particularly as it draws on his own experience as a computer programmer by day and screenwriter by night.
What training have you received?
I have had no training other than watching endless films. I haven’t made a short either, and the thought of doing so never crossed my mind. I believe the only way to really know how to direct a feature film is to do it.
What kind of projects attract you?
When I originally started writing Booked Out I wanted to make a British take on an American indie but it has ended up with its own unique voice. I believe you have to pour your heart into a project, as that will be reflected in the end product. I tend to focus on stories which are more character driven as its the internal workings of the characters that I want to explore.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a director?
At every point in making my feature there was lots of advice, but I think the most important one for me was ‘make the film that you want to make’. If something doesn’t sit well, then you have the power to choose not to do it. The funniest advice I received was when I was in two minds whether I wanted another take of a scene, and I was told ‘Could you see the actors lips moving and were they saying the right words? If so, let’s move on’. Obviously that prompted me to ask for another take!
Tell us the most significant moment in your career so far
In late 2008 I started writing the screenplay for Booked Out, and sat down and decided that I was going to make the film within a year. From that moment my life has been about making films, rather than talking about making films. It also is interesting to hear peoples’ reactions when you tell them you are making a film; it polarises people into two camps—enthusiastic supporters and doom bringers.
You’ll die happy when…
I can make films full time without holding down a day job at the same time, which will hopefully be soon.
www.bookedoutfilm.com Photo credit: Chris Burgess