Production Commentary

ag-cc-twoshotWriter/director Annie Grosshans writes: In this second act, “End of the Male Narrative, So Sorry,” Daughter finds herself immersed in this intense intellectual tit for tat.  Here I am trying, in as amusing and sympathetic a fashion as I can muster, to lay out my case that our world is ready for new meanings from our stories: that the entrenched and ancient way of meaning in the stories (the “male narrative”) that have brought us here (out of the cave) can no longer give us emotional or spiritual sustenance. The way of seeing and portraying our earthly life that we have  inherited from the male narrative has been emptied of meaning. We are at this moment ready and in the process of creating a narrative otherways.  In this, truly an act of creation, we need everyone to pitch in, including the bright young men!

It is in the action of this second act that Daughter, although she perceives clearly Madison’s situation – he is a young man trying to establish himself in the literary lineup – cannot help but passionately express herself.  Daughter is as much a creature of her upbringing as Madison portrays himself to be.  And so she cannot do what he asks of her, to be simply his listener.  She is impelled to express her ideas out of a deep emotional loyalty to her father, a man of great faith in the change he perceived to be coming, a faith that allowed him to risk raising a thinking daughter.  Among intellectuals, certainly an act of love.  And revolution.

Cinematographer Caryn Cline writes:  In “The End of the Male Narrative, So Sorry,” we plan to make visual how Daughter’s discussion with Madison changes as she refuses to take the typical position–that of the listener, the sounding board, the attaché.  We hope to shoot the Daughter-Madison discussion so that initially Daughter is “off center” in her close-ups, so that the framing looks “wrong” from a traditional perspective.  Daughter will appear at the edge of the frame, or off-center, while in Madison’s close-ups, he will command the frame.  Gradually, as the conversation advances and Daughter gains some verbal purchase, she will gain visual purchase as well, while Madison will slide “off center.”

Any time filmmakers violate the traditional lexicon of visual techniques, they risk losing the audience.  We hope that we will gain enough trust to take the audience with us on this journey.


Post Production Commentary: 

Turns out the physical dimensions of the 4 Spoons location we chose for the exchange between Daughter and Madison dictated an almost “classical” shooting strategy.   On our initial scout, the long and narrow back space of the cafe immediately struck us as the perfect hiding place for Madison.  This long & narrow space then became the organizing principle for designing our shots for this piece of action of in the story.

More like a hallway with tables, this isolated realm is recognizably too tight for dancing and, while separated from the social sphere of all the other party guests, it still provides Madison the perfect roost from which he can observe but not be expected to participate in the life happening around him.  That life, if it wants to interact, will have to come to him.  And so it does in the form of Sarah, Daughter and Kimberly.

Film still of Madison in his realm.

Film still of Madison in his realm.

The length and narrowness of Madison’s space dictated a shot and counter shot composition all on one side of the “line” (which was literally the wall of the cafe) to build the arch of emotional exchange between Daughter and Madison.  This was constructed on a primary level, of course, through the increasing intensity of performance by our talented actors.  We enforced this in our shot composition by creating a sequence of ever tighter shots until the moment Madison becomes offended by Daughter’s intellectual audacity.  Then, when the connective thread of their shared love-of-discourse breaks, we pull out to the more alienating long shot for Madison and set this shot against the almost claustrophobic, old style halo lit tight shot for Daughter as she delivers her line of self-defense, “I have lived my life surrounded by stories that do not speak for me.”