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Diary: Interview with Scott Ryan

Scott Ryan's debut feature film, The Magician (2005), is currently screening at a number of Australian cinemas, and has been gathering momentum over the last couple of months. It's a mock documentary which follows a hit man around on his daily business, and is directed, written by, and stars Ryan. The nofreelist gang threw a couple of questions Ryan's way via email, and this is what he had to say.

Screenshot from The Magician nofreelist: To begin with, give us a bit of background. What got you to the stage of making your debut film?
Scott: I had made a few shorts and decided it was time to make a feature.

What was your inspiration for The Magician? Why did you want to make this particular film?
I read a biography called Contract Killer years ago.

What was the timeline behind the production of the film? Was the project well planned, or more fly by the seat of your pants?
4.5 years.

How did you come to collaborate with the others involved in the film?
They were all fellow classmates at RMIT.

You had relatively few people working on the film... did that make things more difficult, or do you think it helped avoid having too many cooks?
Easier in some ways, more difficult in others.

Your character in The Magician is one scary fella. Is that a bit of yourself coming out? Or are you actually a big ol' cuddly teddy bear?
There is a bit of Ray in me but there is also a lot of him that isn't in me.

Funding for this film has obviously become a talking point. The figures being bandied about are that the film was made for $3,000. How the hell did you manage this?
3,000 is the shooting budget only. I didn't pay anybody up front, we shot on video, there was no crew.

What would be the first thing you'd have done differently if you'd had access to a bigger budget?
I would have remade Gone with the Wind (1939) instead.

What did you learn from putting together an independent film, and what recommendations would you have for others trying to break into the Australian film industry?
Schmooze.

What are your thoughts on the local response to The Magician? Are you pleased with how it's going?
I guess.

How did you manage to juggle all of your duties for the film? Would you want to direct, write, and star in another film, or did you find it to be a bit much?
With great difficulty but I'd do it all again.

Who or what are your influences? Are you a fan of Hong Kong triad films, and do you think Australians should consider these sorts of styles when creating films?
I hate Hong Kong films. I like Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese.

You got to say a little about the Australian film industry on your recent appearance on Insight. Is there anything you'd like to add about your thoughts on the way the industry is going?
Things seem to be changing for the better... let's see.

What's next for Scott Ryan?
A zombie film about an ex SAS soldier called Who cares who wins.

Anything else you think we should know about you?
I like to dance naked in my bedroom while listening to Britney Spears CDs.

by pearly on Wed 26 Oct 2005 at 16:34 PM

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