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An Interview with Joseph McGovern, Director of Is This the Bed We Lie in?

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2024

Films directed by Joseph McGovern on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Is This the Bed we Lie In? - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Is This the Bed we Lie In? portrays the personal and intimate conversations which are spoken behind closed doors between two partners in a relationship, within the bedroom - in this particular case, a married couple.

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing Is This the Bed we Lie In?, and is any of it based on personal experience?

 

This particular conversation isnít based off my wife and my personal conversations; however, over the years between dating before we met each other, weíve had conversations with other people who have allowed us into their personal worlds and a glimpse with issues and conflicts within their relationship with their partners to give insight from our perspectives and experiences.

 

You've written Is This the Bed we Lie In? together with Andrew Mahana and your stars Constance Reshey [Constance Reshey interview - click here] and Joel Blanco [Joel Blanco interview - click here] - so what was your collaboration like, and what can you tell us about the writing process as such?

 

Is This the Bed we Lie In? really took form when I was working at my second job with my buddy Andrew Mahana who was also a co-writer for this screenplay. I wanted to create a strong oriented dialogue between two characters for a short. I enjoy dialogue-oriented films where you can build tension through conversation with music composition and a little action. Itís a very different approach to storytelling.

 

Andrew and I discussed different scenarios and we stumbled across the idea of a married couple who are having no issues within the bedroom physically but emotionally one partner is unfulfilled. When we realized it should be the wife experiencing the issues and the reason, we were ready to go. Constance and Joel participated writing the screenplay after I drafted the piece and went through a solid twenty plus versions. There were still issues though.

 

My language can run a little poetic due to Iím a poet, first and foremost always, and during rehearsals between Joel and Constance running lines and performing the actions they suggested we go back to editing the actions which were taking place along with the subtext, and dialogue needed work. Every rehearsal for the next several months we tried new ways of conveying the story along with removing, adding, and spicing the dialogue up. I brought suggestions and notes back to Andrew and ran them by him when adjustments were needed. We would have our screenplay precisely where we wanted it a couple weeks from the shoot.

 

Is This the Bed we Lie In? entirely takes place in one room - so what were your techniques of keeping your film visually interesting?

 

I had specific reasons for shooting in one room - helped craft the story with no interruptions between Robert and Jennifer. I wanted little camera movement but genuine movement between the actors when they touched each otherís hand or hugged one another and I wanted to hold the moments to provide empathy to the conversation because itís a difficult one.

 

In reference to the producing end - I knew if the film was shot in a one room location, the moment being captured would allow all focus to be on the dialogue being presented. I could craft my shots around the characters with minimal actions and anything that might come up in the moment too - which there always is. Time is the biggest issue with filmmaking and when renting equipment and paying for others' time. At the time, I didnít have much money to spend on a production, I believe all said and done it came out to a total of $10K, out of pocket, for the entire production through sound design and scoring.

 

This is an error I found and it cost me dearly with time: Iím used to working with RED and ARRI cameras, when I rented out Daniel, Joseph, and Yves services and equipment along with using my lighting and grip equipment we shot on a Sony FS5 with Shogun Inferno, so the camera shot 4K which is fine for resolution and what I needed to achieve DCP for festival runs, but the color depth was 10-bit with the Shogun attachment.

 

When it comes to filmmaking, I extensively work in color management on DaVinci Resolve and I craft and stylize the picture with skin tones to clothing where necessary. An error of under exposing skin tones while on set, along with the color depth being less than what I usually shoot between 12-bit and 14-bit and maintain the best dynamic range I can within the situation I was completing vfx frame by frame work on the film for five years. I refused to let the film go in the can - I couldnít do that to Constance and Joel or my producers who entrusted me. I took it upon myself and completed all the vfx rotoscoping work for the film entirely, including the trailer youíre looking at roughly 100,000+ frames/pictures I completed overall to bring this film to the finish line. I learned a very valuable lesson, and internally I was determined and wouldnít let anything get in the way of completing this film.

 

What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

In the film Is This the Bed we Lie In? I wanted to capture the intimate moments between a couple whoís been together for a long-term relationship - focusing on a married couple provided a different dynamic, too. I wanted the conversation to involve more the desires from the female perspective, which sometimes within a relationship the male perspective displays dominance. It was a good exploration to see the roles reversed in that manner.

 

I wanted to make sure the audience knew this is Jenniferís story; her desires and interactions with Robert will be difficult at times for the audience to empathize with but an important conversation to have. The story might translate off screen to assist in intimate moments and conversations with the audience.

 

The focus of this film is the dialogue exchange: sound is very important, basic shot composition so there is little distraction and very little movement for the characters to remain grounded. The music composition and sound design was subtle which translated very well to the screen. I was able to keep the shot selection to a majority of close ups and extreme close ups to create a point of discomfort and almost suffocation between the dialogue and actors for the audience. There are many reactions to Jenniferís desires which could have been portrayed but the reaction Robert gave is just as important as the entire conversation as a whole and makes for a very interesting ending.

 

Do talk about Is This the Bed we Lie In?'s cast, and why exactly these two?

 

Constance has been acting in my work for many years now, along with actively participating in the writing, producing and crew aspects too. Joel has always helped me on set to complete projects from a crew standpoint but wanted to try his hand at acting in front of the camera too. When this screenplay was drafted, I knew they would be perfect together and I could guide their chemistry to work seamlessly with conveying the message. They did a wonderful job together working off each otherís energy and emotions through the dialogue and together gave a phenomenal performance.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

The on-set atmosphere went very well during production. Yves Armand Albaret did a wonderful job recording sound, my sound designer Matthew Amadio complemented this being the best sound heís worked with from my productions. Daniel Graham, Joseph Lorimer, and myself were working to craft the image along with my direction working with the actors conveying emotions for each part of the scene. Overall, everyone had a great time shooting during production and the Is This the Bed we Lie In? set was one of the more efficient and comfortable atmosphere productions Iíve had the pleasure of running than past projects Iíve been involved in.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Is This the Bed we Lie In? be seen?

 

At the moment, in preparation for our festival run, Is This the Bed we Lie In? completed film is in a private Vimeo link. If you would like to watch the short, reach out, and I will send it. My team loves constructive criticism, reflections, and feedback!

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Is This the Bed we Lie In? yet?

 

In regards to audience and critical reception, people I personally know from different backgrounds of what they consume visually have really enjoyed the short film, and for critical reception, all the critics so far have enjoyed the film and have explained within their reviews they want more.

 

The common response from men is typically: ďMan I feel bad for the husband,Ē or theyíre completely shocked and angry with the situation and want to see how the story works out for the characters. Iíve had various responses from women where they can relate: ďI didnít see that coming,Ē or ďYou told a really good story, is there more?Ē When I hear the response ďI want to see more,Ē I know my job was completed well.

 

I typically leave it at that within the discussion and explain I want to know your thoughts as the viewer on the matter, give me your insight and letís personally have an interaction and discussion about the theme. I will pose questions but never answer them. As a storyteller that defeats the purpose to creating.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Future projects coming from JAM Productions - we just finished a music film/video from our original film All Over Again. We will be submitting this project to the festival circuit including the Grammys. Inside Jonathan Fox is in post-production working through the vfx workflow and awaiting the last bit of work on sound design to be completed for it. Overall, my team is very happy with how Inside Jonathan Fox is shaping up and extremely excited to make a push for Is This the Bed we Lie In? and All Over Again music film/video and see where we land with these upcoming projects.

 


If anyone would like to view the projects even unfinished cuts, I would be more than happy to send and receive feedback for them. Also, we plan to go back into production to complete an erotic thriller short film titled Wild Hearts, and for one of our producers, Christine J. Noble, new concept short for a series she wrote titled The Farm.

 

On a personal note, I have a poetry collection published on April 26, 2024 titled Words Left Unspoken. Iíve been writing this 134-page collection for the past fifteen years and was announced a finalist for The Amity Literary Prize for the collection. Words Left Unspoken has been submitted to The National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Awards, Pulitzer Prize and The Griffin Poetry Prize for consideration along with many other top tier competitions. If interested, below is the link to more details on Anamcara Press website and Amazon page. If you have a chance to read Words Left Unspoken, I truly appreciate your time, energy, love and support! If you could leave an honest rating and review on the Amazon page, much love and appreciation from Anamcara Press and myself for believing in our work together! Also, keep a look out over the next couple years, my sound designer for my films, Matthew Amadio and I will be completing a spoken word album for Words Left Unspoken Ė Constance Reshey will be voicing several of the poems along with myself and possibly a couple other poets.

 

Anamcara Press website link: https://anamcara-press.com/product/words-left-unspoken/

Amazon page link: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1960462385/

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Everything in regards to my creative endeavors can be located within my Facebook fanpage and Twitter page:

https://www.facebook.com/josephamcgovern/

https://twitter.com/joseph_mcgovern

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Working in the artistic industry for sixteen years now between acting in theater productions, producing films, and publishing books. Iíve seen many creative artists enter and exit the artistic world, each with different reasons and purposes. I would like to provide insight; most importantly ďÖbe the last person standingĒ per Mel Brooks.

 

I live by internal determination to never give up pursuing my artistic goals and I donít allow any of my dreams to become side-tracked, I remain steadfast. There are many aspects to paving your way through artistic endeavors, these few I find to be most helpful and I hope it helps the next upcoming creator.

 

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First, never stop learning and trying new methods, complacency is not where you want to end up because the journey is less fruitful. Artistic endeavors are not supposed to be easy; itís work just like any other job and itís supposed to be even more difficult which is why itís so fulfilling at the end of the said creation the artist is working on.

 

Next, excuse the overly used expression: ďBe the only cook in the kitchen.Ē This is extremely important, and complete one project with another person as a creator from start to finish and you will see why co-partnerships (unless both parties have the exact same expectations and goals is the only exception) rarely work out. You as the artist or creator have a vision and you need to shape and protect this vision the best you can, others will try to craft it how they want to see it, you will lose control and end up being dissatisfied and possibly abandon the project. This is not a fruitful environment. Donít forget, no one can tell the story you want to tell better than yourself - originally setting out in the beginning, theyíre following your vision for a reason, keep to it.

 

Finally, create for yourself first, always - not solely for the entertainment of others. The question of whether the product will be entertaining to some extent is not present, you wouldnít be creating the project if it wasnít entertaining. Create for yourself first so youíre happy with the product in the end, your name will be first seen, and last to blame if negative criticism comes - which you should not take personal and laugh off anyway because not everyone will understand your work and thatís ok. Every artist experiences this at some point in their journey but with all your heart you push through. When you create for yourself first, no matter how it comes out in the end, no matter whether positive or negative feedback is given, you will be happy and proud of the product, and thatís what counts. Nothing else matters. Then you improve and grow with the next project and continue pushing forward and never give up.

 

I hope these points help provide guidance and perseverance to artists who read this interview. Thank you to anyone who took time out of their day to read this interview, I really appreciate it!

 

Thank you so much Michael for taking the time to interview Constance, Joel, and myself! We really appreciate all your love and support through the years with our work! We canít wait to show you the next line of projects!

 

Thannks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

Amazon UK

Vimeo

 

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!