Your new movie Invisible
- in a few words, what is it about?
is a short film that explores chronic illness in a personís life and the
small nuances that come with it.
being a chronic illness awareness movie, what kind of research have you
done on the subject? And is this something you've made personal
is based on my own personal experience with chronic pain &
mental health and how invalidated I felt over the last few years living
with it. Obviously chronic illness is a spectrum, so I showed the subject
matter that I dealt with personally. Most of the scenes in the short are
based on my own daily routine and particularly how I felt working jobs
that were more labor intensive. Chronic illness is often not taken
seriously in the medical community and I wanted to make sure we gave a
portrayal that felt raw and honest.
(Other) sources of inspiration when
I first started writing Invisible,
it came from a very bitter place.
Thatís something I can admit now. I was completely unhinged with my
emotions and realized that I was hurting myself and those around me - so I
took a risk and chose to get help. The original ending to Invisible
lot less hopeful and though in some ways I preferred it - it was the
people around me that didnít stop supporting me that helped me grow the
most. The ending is supposed to be those people embodied by the character
ďJackĒ. They are still my inspiration to be better. Even now.
can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?
the front of the script, I remember writing a letter that was addressed to
the actors. I told them my directorial style is a work in progress and I
asked them to be patient with me. I take a lot of B-roll. Probably too
much. But itís capturing the moments where the actors are vulnerable or
moments you wouldnít see unless you were alone somewhere. I really
wanted that for Invisible. Thatís really my approach to my projects. I
like making you feel like you're spying on these characterís lives. I
want you to empathize with them AND understand why they are the way they
Do talk about Invisible's
cast, and why exactly these people?
Madison Shmalo and I were in a dinner scene together. She was my scene
partner and had such a familiar presence. Like an old friend. After we
wrapped that night, I asked if she would ever be interested in working
together and she agreed. After that, I wanted to make a feature with her.
But I didnít have the money and I knew that I couldnít produce a
project that size at the time - so I decided a no budget short film would
be an easier way to go. I wanted to show people how amazing she was as an
actress, and Iím positive that I only skimmed the surface of her talent.
I knew I wanted her from the start and Iím glad it paid off.
I met Paul at a film showcase, and he approached me after he saw my work
on my short After The Beep. He wanted to collaborate with me and Iíd
never been approached before so - I wrote in a character for him and hoped
heíd be able to play it. He was kinda a blissfully ignorant ill-informed
type of character. But when we started shooting - I realized how nice he
was and I couldnít do that to him. So I rewrote his character and added
the scene in at the end. You donít waste talent. I definitely wasnít
gonna waste Paul.
A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
and fun. Sometimes frustrating. For the most part, we shot everything
without permits & no budget. It was a two man crew for a majority of
the days and a three man crew one of the days (thank you, Ted Omo). If
those two sentences give you anxiety, imagine us running around shooting
it. My college roommate and best friend, Nathanael Kelly, did sound. Which
he had never done before. I was the DP and did a lot of handheld shots.
Which obviously was hard for me at times because of my pain. Most
locations were suggestions, places we had seen driving by, or maybe a
favor. In the end, the most frustrating thing was lighting. We mostly used
natural lighting or whatever lighting we had available. But besides
technical stuff, I think we had a lot of fun. We even saw the Barbie
movie together one of the days & went kayaking.
$64-question of course, where can Invisible
Itís currently in festivals, but If you ask for
the link, Iíll gladly show you.
Anything you can tell us about audience and
critical reception of Invisible?
most in person screenings, itís usually people being very gracious
towards it. A lot of people who also suffer from depression or some
chronic illness enjoy it for the most part and I love speaking with them
about it. Especially towards those who feel validated by it. Critics seem
to enjoy it and acknowledge that its strength is the story and
acting, and thatís always the greatest compliment. Some people wanted
something more raw, so in my next project Iíll be leaning a bit more
towards that. Thatís my home anyway.
future projects you'd like to share?
playing with the idea of a project centered around ADHD. Showing it in a
more empathetic light, rather than demeaning in most public media. Each
project that I make takes place in the same universe and hopefully that
will lead up towards a feature one day.
entered the filmworld as an actor - so what can you tell us about that
aspect of your career, and did you receive any formal training on the
I love acting. I started acting when I was 15 years old, mainly with a focus
in childrenís theater. Did that up until my freshman year of college,
then junior year switched to mainly doing film. My first feature was
Richard Griffinís Flesh For The Inferno in RI [Richard
Griffin interview - click here]. I had a wonderful time.
Did a few films up until 2018 and took a break because I didnít get the
roles I wanted. I was dealing with a lot of self hatred and simply thought
I wasnít good enough. So I came back in 2021 with a feature called Above
Arkham, and then after that I decided to write my own material to show off
my acting chops in my short film After The Beep - which helped me get
a few roles in other creative projects and Iíve made some wonderful
friends because of it.
What made you take up directing eventually, and
which side of the camera do you actually prefer, and why?
problem I have now is that my memory isnít great - which sounds
ridiculous because I just turned 30. But my health problems arenít
exactly helping - because I have cognitive issues too. I think a lot of
people forget that is a factor with me & often write it off as
anxiety. Which is disheartening because Iím already balancing physical
pain. But itís my fault for accepting roles that require a certain
amount of dialogue - so Iím more upfront about it now. Which is the
reason I enjoy short films or small parts. So I have to do acting in
spurts, rather than long periods of time now. So directing is a lot more
manageable for me in a lot of ways - but more hectic. Itís heartbreaking
- but itís a reality that Iím coming to terms with. I can give the
lines I want to the people I trust with them, but I'll always give them an
option to improvise too.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Invisible?
2020, I made a very short film called Many Faces which stars Shandy
Monte-Raposa which highlighted depression and how we often see it one way,
but it can affect every person differently. It was a PSA for Mental Health
Awareness Month. Recently this year Iíve started going to festivals to
highlight Shandy. Sheís recovering from long Covid and deserves to be
appreciated. I hope she has a speedy recovery.
In 2022, I created After The Beep, a microshort focusing on
generational trauma about a manís estranged relationship with his
father. It was also showcased at The Music Room and I starred in it. It
was the first short that I had ever publicly shown to a live audience and
I think it was received decently well at the time. It definitely gave me
the self esteem to write more realistic dialogue and I decided that I
wanted to make films that touched on more personal topics because of the
reception to it.
How would you describe yourself as a director?
I hate letting anyone down and I want to make sure you get what you need
out of the project. Iím there to highlight the actors & the story -
not highlight myself. But itís the same reason why I donít direct a
lot of peopleís personal projects. I donít wanna give you something
that feels disingenuous.
actors, whoever else who inspire you?
Filmmakers are definitely Michel Gondry, Mark Duplass, Greta Gerwig, Charlie Kaufman,
& more recently the ďDanielsĒ. Love the whole mumblecore film
Actors are Mark Duplass, Jim Carrey, Greta Gerwig, Ben Stiller, Steve Carell,
Brendan Fraser, & soft spot for Key Hey Quan.
Your favourite movies?
The Puffy Chair, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind,
All At Once, The Year Between and A Good Person.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
donít really hate too many films. I think every film has a place for
someone. When you watched it, where you watched it, who you watched it
with - that stuff is important. Obviously I can critique films, but I
donít hate them. But there is one - kinda. Itís Dragon Ball: Evolution. Itís the
first movie I ever walked out of as a teenager. Close runner-up would be Return to Halloweentown. If you know - you know.
website, social media, whatever else?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
My YouTube channel is youtube.com/@ryannuneschannel,
and if for some reason you wanna collaborate with me, my
film email is email@example.com
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Listen to the people who are in pain. We all ask for attention in different ways.
No one is perfect. Half of us are walking an uphill battle that never
feels like it's over. Seek resources, seek help, and more importantly
communicate. No one should have to go through life blaming themselves for how their brain
works. Youíre more than valid in your feelings and if no oneís told
ďIím proud of you and Iím glad youíre still here with us.Ē
for the interview!