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DOG DATE AFTERNOON

SHORT FILM

MY ROLES:

Writer, Director, Producer, Editor

PRODUCTION YEAR:

2020

DURATION:

9:30

SYNOPSIS:

Lachlan Ryan's heartfelt comedy for animal lovers of all ages. To date the girl of his dreams, a germaphobe must win over the most important loved one in her life… her dog. But he'll soon learn that man's best friend can become man's worst enemy!

PRODUCTION NOTES:

When my brother started a relationship with his now wife, her over-protective pooch sabotaged him at every turn. The dog simply loved his owner and didn’t want to lose her. But as my brother persisted, the dog came to realise he wasn’t losing anyone… he was gaining another life-long friend. There was something captivating and universal about their dog’s journey, which had echoes of Woody’s character arc in TOY STORY.

 

I decided to turn it into a fun, family-friendly short, which instantly filled me with trepidation. Having worked on the dog movie, ODDBALL, I was all-too-familiar with the unpredictability of animals on set.

 

So I enlisted the help of my childhood friend, Cassie Cole, who had single-handedly coached her border collie to be a national agility champion. Cassie had always dreamed of animal training for film, especially with her dog Scout, and was excited for the opportunity. But there was a catch… I wanted her to star alongside him.

 

My goal above all else was to craft a memorable, nuanced dog performance. From experience that’s tricky if the dog is being manipulated by an owner/trainer off-camera. I wanted the on-screen relationship to sizzle. So I made a conscious effort to keep everything as authentic as possible. Cassie would play Scout's owner and the film would take place in their actual house.

 

Stylistically, my biggest inspiration came from Pixar animated short films. Not only can they humanise anything (lamps included), they are modern day silent films; relying on visuals and music to convey meaning. Since the main character of my short is a dog who doesn’t speak, I felt encouraged to take Pixar’s approach — albeit with a live-action twist.

 

I shot-listed the film in great detail, ensuring each story beat could be understood visually. For this approach the dialogue is non-essential, so I copied CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM's process and empowered the actors to ad-lib their lines. This helped them find their natural chemistry and made the process more straightforward for 1st time actor, Cassie.

 

What I’m most proud of is that amidst the crazy, technically challenging shoot, I never lost sight of the real star, Scout, and for that reason his performance truly shines. 

FESTIVALS:

PRESENTED BY The Storyteller and Fetching Behaviour

WRITER / DIRECTOR Lachlan Ryan

PRODUCER Lachlan Ryan

CINEMATOGRAPHER Joel Famularo

ORIGINAL MUSIC COMPOSER Thomas E Rouch

DOG TRAINER Cassie Cole

1ST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Luke Goodall 

EDITOR Lachlan Ryan

RE-RECORDING MIXER Paul Shannahan

COLOURIST Chris Tomkins

SOUND DESIGNER Lachlan Ryan 

2ND UNIT CINEMATOGRAPHER Michael Urbanczyk

1ST ASSISTANT CAMERA Ben Davies

GAFFER Andrew Stasiak

VISUAL EFFECTS Chris Tomkins, Lachlan Ryan

CAST:

Sweeney Young

Cassie Cole

Scout