The interview series continues, today we bring you an interview with the director of the short film “The Bathtub” based on dialogues - Sergi Martí.
Is this film your personal story? What was your inspiration?
Yes, one day I was at home and they called me trying to sell me life insurance. And there was no way they would leave me alone. From there the idea of the telephone conversation and a first three-minute comedy script were born. But then I realized it was fun to think about what person would never want life insurance. And, answering this question, I began writing the final script for “The Bathtub.”
Why have you chosen two rooms and one phone call to tell the story? Have you had some limitations?
No, I didn't have any limitations because I didn't need anything else to tell this story. The same idea already led me to have two filming sets and a phone call. It couldn't be simpler.
Were your locations built on a soundstage?
At first we looked for real locations, but we quickly realized that it was impossible to find a large bathroom to be able to film easily. So, we decided to set up two scenarios on one set. And also expanding on the previous question, no, we did not have any limitations. By being able to shoot on a set we were able to do tracking shots and movements that would have been impossible on a real stage.
What was your budget and on what have you spent your money?
The filming cost us about 7,500 euros. Post-production with sound and music and image processing about 1,500. And I think we have spent approximately 1,000 euros on distribution (surely it must be double that now). But wow, in the end we had about 10,000 euros in the final budget. The most expensive, without a doubt, were the filming equipment and the sets and the construction of the sets. But I can say that for a short film with everything we needed, it was relatively cheap. And, furthermore, we have done very well at the festivals and we have recovered more than double what it cost us.
The movie, because of heavy dialogue, might also be suitable for a theatre play, have you thought of adapting it? What is your relationship with theatre?
We have talked about it jokingly with the main actor, Abel Folk. I have always said that the play would come after the story of the short film and would see the friendship that is established between the two protagonists when they set up the bookstore. Before the play the short film could be shown and then people would see the story of Ramon and Clara and some story related to books and love. Surely a neighbor would begin to make friends with Ramon and Clara would help him to be able to go out with her. And, at the same time, Clara would begin to study and carve out a career as a writer with the help of Ramon.
Have you had any trouble making the movie? What was your biggest obstacle?
The truth is, no. The main obstacle, as always for short films, is finding the dates that suit everyone for filming. Especially the actors. A week before, the same thing always happens and people start to leave the short film because it's too busy. But well, in the end everything always turns out well. Actually, my big concern before filming was that I could shoot the script as I had it in mind. Wow, what was on paper was transmitted in the images.
Which moments in the film do you consider the most significant or powerful?
I have always liked two very powerful moments that when I wrote them I already knew they were going to be liked a lot. One is when he is cheating on her with her book, telling her that he is fine, but he is really making it up. She doesn't know it, but we, the viewers, know that she is taking a bath and is not in the bookstore with the book. And the second, obviously, is when you discover, halfway through, why he is taking a bath. This second twist makes you rethink the entire story you have seen up to that point.
Do you ever plan to expand the story about a child who loses his shoe?
This is a good question to comment on. I wrote this story with a friend at a time when we were making video clips. And in the end we couldn't do the shoe video for various reasons and, when I was looking for a story for Clara to explain to Ramon, I remembered this one and it seemed perfect for the moment. I also hope to be able to shoot the video clip together with my friend Pau.
What have you learned from making this movie?
That the stories that motivate you when you write them and that get you excited every time you read the script to work on it, then work very well on the screen. The emotions of the words transcend the screen if you know how to do it well. I've learned that from now on I only want to shoot things I truly believe in. And in those that the viewer creates, they will be moved. Just because you make a short film, the viewer doesn't have to like it in itself. You need elements that motivate and excite you. And you have to look for those elements when you write and direct. If not, they do not exist.
Is there something else you are currently working on?
Yes, I have a script right now about an immigrant who collects scrap metal who helps a blind lady he meets on the street one night. It has certain points in common with “The Bathtub” but also a certain black humor with which it differs. I think it's a good complement because, if I manage to film it, people will think that they have a lot in common, but in the final twist they will realize that no, that it is another, much more complete story.
Thank you, Sergi, for your responses, and we wish you much success in your creative endeavors!