A Family Finds Entertainment: An Ongoing Discussion with Ryan
by Joe Swanberg
that somewhere, there is something worth dying for, and I think
it's amazing." This
is a line from the film A FAMILY FINDS ENTERTAINMENT, by Ryan
Trecatin, and it's just one of the
great things Skippy says while locked in the bathroom playing
with a knife and taking Polaroid pictures. I believe that films
like AFFE are worth dying for (totally unique visions, existing
on their own terms) and I'm encouraged that Ryan is out there
making them. Here's an interview / conversation with Ryan that
will be updated periodically with more questions and more answers.
Cameras: Digital Hi8, VX 2000,
Consumer mini DV handy cam.
Software: iMovie, After Effects, Photoshop,
Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro, Reason
The shoot started in December of 2003
and went off and on until the video
was finished May 2004. I started editing and
animating the day I started shooting, and they both ended
in May, same time, same day.
Joe Swanberg: Did you work from a well developed script, or was the
production more free-form? How much changed on set?
Ryan Trecartin: I worked from a script extremely…But It wasn’t
a line: process out of order and everything changed all the time.
(Actors changed things and freedom happened) It was really malleable
like playing football on
circle field. Like all nasty. It was a script
JS: Was the production design and art directions something that
was Drawn out of paper and planned, or did you work within
the space to develop the look?
RT: I worked all places and spaces, and just felt the vibe (you know)and responded
to Thought, luck, and quincedence with reason and intellect / naivety and mirror.
But for the most part I’m just easily affected like retarded people are
JS: As abstract as the film is, it still feels very personal.
How much is drawn from your own experience, and how much
RT: It’s very personal. I get nervous.
JS: How does acting in your own film make the process easier/more
RT: It makes it more like nature, I don’t feel like there’s
a script even though there is,(ok) I don’t feel like there’s
a director or and actor or a cast just an event time. It makes
me feel weird and weirder.
JS: Do you enjoy working in an environment surrounded by friends
RT: Yes! Passionate.
JS: Do you feel that there is a particular RISD aesthetic, and
how do you fit into that?
RT: I think RISD is almost an absolutely amazing place. The
students are a good idea and it’s so tight you make incest.
The stuff people see from RISD kids creates an aesthetic
just like anything, but more than there being a RISD aesthetic,
there’s a bunch of highly motivated, inspired, contemporary people
who are really dorky with a dialogue. I think there’s a language
being developed to talk a bout art that’s different than the
ones used right now to contextualize young art. I see it in RISD students
(not the teachers), and many other American
art youth people bubbles. I like art people from Ohio, always. It’s
Like ,”yo, I think for myself www.girl”. I fit into that
because I lived in the Pink House and made out with almost all of my
friends, played music and
JS: Are the animated sequences created separately from the narrative
sequences, or are they meticulously planned out as part of the larger
RT: The animations are like painting time I take while thinking of
scripts and sets and ideas and character and people/places. They
I make tons
of them, and then certain ones create a talk that transitions and
relates to there loopy…And then they place themselves.
JS: I notice a web (.gif) quality to a lot of the image in the
animated sequences. How has the Internet shaped your work?
RT: I love the net, always and I’m highly influenced and
affected by the ways in which people communicate and talk. Phones?