As you are no doubt aware, this blog was conceived, developed and maintained by a gentleman named Darcy Fitzpatrick.
<------ Yeah, that guy.
And as you no doubt surmised, Darcy Fitzpatrick put a whole lot of his time into this blog in order to keep it as fresh and frequent as it was.
But then the blogging stopped.
I caught up with Darcy to ask him what the heck happened to the Signal blog.
Darcy, what the heck happened to Signal?
What happened was twofold: I started a new job working full time for a television production company, which was okay – I was still finding time to post to Signal, but things definitely weren’t as frequent.
Then I was very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to write and direct a short film through NIFCO’s Picture Start program which gives you an incredible budget and incredible tools to get a short film made. So that took up whatever time I had left, and whatever energy and passion I had left, outside of work
As I much as I love Signal, and love blogging and writing and St. John’s – and those are all things that fed into my creating Signal and keeping it going for as long as I did – filmmaking is where I want to be. I want to be a filmmaker and I now call myself a filmmaker.
Is the film done? Are you going to take up the Signal reins again?
The film is called Meters, and it’s actually finished now, it screened at the Atlantic Film Festival, and it’s screening at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival on Thursday, October 20th, at 9:30 pm at the LSPU Hall.
As far as taking up Signal again, I’ve got to leave myself open for my next project. If you’re going to call yourself the St. John’s blog, you’ve got to be posting stuff more than once a week or once a month.
So tell me about your movie. Wait – short film. I mean short film.
I call it a movie all the time, it’s definitely the most cinematic thing I’ve ever done. It’s a movie, it’s definitely a movie.
Basically, it’s about an old man who is reaching the end of his life, and his wife has just passed away, and he’s alone in the world and he doesn’t have much of a purpose any more. So he starts feeding other people’s parking meters to give himself a sense of purpose. There’s a metaphor in there with the meters, where he’s trying to affect time and time running out, and then you have a parking attendant who doesn’t like him doing this and it kind of escalates.
That’s all I want to give away. It’s bittersweet.
Anyways, the old man is played by this gentleman, Mike Hayes. We had an extensive search for the old man. One of the things about him is that he doesn’t have a single line of dialogue, so he has to convey so much with, for example, his eyes. If you don’t have someone who is experienced, that can turn into pantomime very quick. Mike hasn’t spent a day infront of the camera, he’s actually a comedian. He does stand-up comedy in old age homes, so you’d think that he’d be the last person you’d want to do this, because you have to be so subtle. But in the end, seeing him in the frame, he was exactly who I had in mind.
How did you audition for a part with no lines?
It wasn’t an easy process at all. Hats off to Maggie Keiley, who helped us with our casting. It was really hard to do, and I know I wouldn’t have gotten there if it weren’t for Maggie.
I was trying to pull out all the old tricks from when I did theatre, and Maggie just kind of asked them questions – did they have any children, any grandchildren, that kind of thing – and took them back through their lives and asked them to remember certain occasions in their life, like the birth of their first child or their first grandchild, and we would just roll on that – we used that as the basis of how they could convey this stuff.
How many people did you audition?
It was hard even finding old men who look like they’re in their seventies and had experience in acting, and who were interested in acting. We audtitioned maybe ten and we narrowed it down to three, but in the end it was always Mike. He just jumped out at me, it was uncanny.
Sounds pretty great, Darcy. Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m just so excited for a local audience, and for my friends and family and everyone who worked on it, to see it. Even heading into the Atlantic Film Festival, I still wasn’t sure – it’s so hard to know after you’ve worked on this one thing for a year, and then when I saw it up there on the screen and I felt everyone going along with it and I saw it with the music, then I was really proud of it.
It’s such an insular process that you forget that it’s supposed to be out there for an audience, for more than just yourself. And then when it does get out there, in front of an audience, it’s like wow, this is where a film supposed to be. This is it, this is where it belongs.
Directed by Darcy Fitzpatrick and produced by Paula Gale, Meters is screening at the 22nd St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival on Thursday, October 20th, at 9:30pm at the LSPU Hall. Also screening that night: Rescue Wife, Ida, Mickey Bader, Us, The Wind Is Blowing On My Street, Evolucity, Faster!, and The Not So Subtle Subtext. For more information on each of these films, click here, and for the complete Women’s Film Festival schedule, click here.