Adam Tindall: “Finding a Job is an Art” - Screening at Goldsmiths Curzon, March 17th
“I think it might be a little premature to call me a film director,” laughs Adam Tindall when asked what inspired him to become a film director. On the contrary, I must say I disagree and I am sure so do most who have viewed the award-winning film, Pre-Occupation. Directing a film comes with many challenges, but from Tindall’s perspective “perhaps the most difficult aspect of directing is getting people to be as enthused about things as I am.” Nonetheless, having won special mentions in London-Worldwide Comedy Short Film Festival, as well as Official Selection of 2018 for Exit 6 Film Festival and for Screentest, you can say Pre-Occupation has been and will continue to be a success. Furthermore, to achieve a piece relatable to such a large demographic and especially to Londoners is an incredible achievement.
Selected to screen at the Gold On Film Festival this weekend, March 17th, at Goldsmiths’ Curzon. Pre-Occupation, comical yet soul-stirring, encapsulates the issues surrounding unpaid internships and the exhaustive reality of job searching. Despite its accurate representation of many youth’s realities, “Pre-Occupation is no social realist Ken Loach imitator; it’s a comedy.” Twenty-one-year-old Angela, a recent Fine Art graduate, finds herself hiding unpaid bills, deep into her overdraft and in desperation for a job. Landing a trial run working under Sylvia, the dictatorial curator of a gallery; Angela hopes to successfully complete a month of unpaid work in order to secure a paid position. Unfortunately, to Angela’s distress, Sylvia proves to be extremely demanding and to make matters worse, orders Angela to arrange a meeting with Pippa Newman - an artist who had overheard Angela’s criticism on her work. Her anxiety only to intensify when an eviction letter arrives in the post as a result of the stash of unpaid bills she had been hiding from her flatmate. To prevent myself from spilling any spoilers, I will conclude the synopsis as it is and the rest is for you to find out.
A Little Bit About Adam Tindall
Born in Bedford, “a town little north of London,” Tindall has recently turned 24. He started his higher education journey studying Film & Literature at the University of Warwick; however, he describes “after graduating I soon realized that nobody cares about how many times I have read Anna Karenina (it’s twice, by the way). Lacking the kind of filmmaking experience a more practical degree would provide, I found it near-impossible to find film-related jobs I was qualified for.” As a result, Tindall studied MA Filmmaking at Goldsmiths and during the past year he claims; “was the best year of my life. Getting to spend a year making movies?! It was great.”
Tindall's interest in filmmaking first sparked at the age of ten, making of short films, “it was something my eldest brother also did; it was a cool way to pass the time.” It wasn’t until a couple of years later after having watched Kevin Smith’s Clerks that Adam decided he really wanted to make films. “Clerks was pretty much the first indie movie I saw, and before then I didn’t really know that films could be like that: small-scale, personal, intimate, about relatable people with relatable problems. It was only then that I saw in a film, a way for me to express myself.”
As previously mentioned, Tindall draws inspiration from Kevin Smith, but “Edgar Wright is a big one too - particularly Spaced”. Tindall continues, “for a long time, I tried to imitate Wright’s hyper-visual style, and maybe to some extent, I still do so.” Other writers/directors who affect his work, include Woody Allen (for his wit), Richard Linklater (for his naturalism, and Charlie Kaufman (for his introspective weirdness and stylistic experimentation. “But yeah, big question.”
The Creation of Pre-Occupation
“So I directed Pre-Occupation as my final project for my MA at Goldsmiths.” The process consisted of ideas pitched from all the writers, directors and producers of MA filmmaking which were then voted on by director and producers. “My friend Moira’s pitch - then titled The Working Life of Angela Atkinson - was one of the projects that was selected and I threw myself at the opportunity.” Having gone through a quite depressing year between his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, “and a lot of that typical kind of post-uni struggles underlines the story in Pre-Occupation - so it is something I really connected with.”
The process from developing the script until the film was finished, took about three to four months. These months carried certain challenges, but more than anything Tindall says, “the biggest challenge was working out some kinks in the script to get it into the best possible shape; it was only when Mora had an eleventh-hour stroke-of-genius that we came to an ending that I was really happy with.”
His inspiration behind the movie, in addition to his personal connection to the story, was his aspiration to make a good film. “I just wanted to make a good film- something well- constructed and funny that hits a bit of an emotional chord.” Which it sure did.
The Joy of Directing
When asked what is the best part of directing, Tindall can’t decide. “I love having ideas and bringing them to life; like, these things once existed solely inside my head, but now they’re there, on a screen, for everyone to see! It is the most exhilarating feeling! What surpasses this feeling,” he mentions, to being a contribution in making the film is, “things that I would never have thought in a million years, things that make the film better, some ideas can really elevate a piece beyond whatever ‘vision’ was cooked up in my tiny pea-brain.”
After Goldsmiths, Adam has found himself exiled back to his hometown due to struggles in finding paid work. Fortunately, Adam is now “gainfully employed and once again living in London;” able to focus more on his filmmaking. Which I am sure we are all looking forward to his next masterpiece. “I have been writing some super-short and small-scale scripts, but now Elena, my producer, has moved back to her home country. I need to find myself a new producer before I can shoot any of them. That’s a task for the near future, as I can’t bear going another six months without making a film.” After that, Adam says, “Who knows?”
Interview by Olivia Mello