Enter the world of what people with Asperger’s Syndrome go through, the way they see the world and how they think.
Interview with Director Nicholas Bayfield
Congratulations! Why did you make this film?
Asperger’s Syndrome is something that I had since a very young age, which is where one may struggle with social interaction, communication and sensory issues. The condition has brought challenges in my life, but it has also given me advantages with my work too.
With my third and final year at Brighton Film School (that I’ve recently finished), we were open to any role or film that we wanted to do or make in that year, which even included writing a 90-page script. So I decided to make an Experimental Short on Asperger’s Syndrome, which would be a simple idea to make without the risk of compromising.
I also wanted to make a film that would explain the world of Asperger’s Syndrome as a whole, but also in a Semi-Autobiographical way.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
With what I recently said earlier, it will give audiences the chance to understand the condition better and how people with Asperger’s Syndrome see the world.
In addition, I would see it as an immersive experience, which I think is ideal for the film to be seen on the big screen possible, especially as it’s film that looks into being overloaded with information, which is what people with Asperger’s Syndrome may also experience.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
My film looks into the idea of expertise, for example, people with Asperger’s Syndrome may have a special interest in a subject that they might become obsessed with. So the main protagonist in my film talks about his love for films, which is based on me being a film buff.
I also look at the ideas of being an outsider, senses, non-flexible and OCD. So it’s basically different ideas of what people with Asperger’s Syndrome (and myself) might be going through.
Additionally the film is meant to be presented like a programmed computer, as some autistic people may behave or act in that way, due to the way that their brain is wired.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
There actually wasn’t a script when I started making this film, which was intentional. This was because this was very much a visual piece and also it consists of different scenes and scenarios put together like a montage piece.
So I planned the film by creating a shot list/storyboard and used photos from Google Images and photos that I took by myself to help to explain my film idea better to the DoP and staff members, as oppose to explaining it in a script format.
However there were two criticisms that I received when making the film, as I wanted my piece to be three minutes but one staff member felt that there was more story to tell, feeling that it should be five minutes instead. However with an earlier cut at six minutes, it was too long and in the end it was condensed down to 4 minutes (including credits).
The other criticism was that it wasn’t clear on what the story was about, when explaining my idea to the class and staff members. Although when having a discussion about it later on, my shot list did actually have a suggestion of a story. Also a narrative was able to be put together during post-production.
Other ways that the film has evolved was casting and post-production. With Casting, I needed one actor to play the Asperger’s Syndrome Character, the main protagonist of the film.
I did manage to cast someone who I had in mind from the very start, but an injury when we were getting ready to do rehearsals was a setback. So it was decided that I would play the role myself, feeling that it would be ideal for someone with the condition to play the Asperger’s Syndrome character. Another reason why I cast myself was because of the limited time we had left to find someone else to audition and rehearse before filming happened.
With post-production, because we didn’t use a clapperboard during filming, my DoP/Editor Nick Corpe had problems editing my film, which made it difficult for him to find the right clips and sound files. What also made it challenging was that he was editing three other shorts.
So I decided to sync the sound and video files for myself and did a rough edit towards late April. Suddenly the reaction I got was amazing from Nick and a staff member, and I then I took over editing duties, which I think was a very happy accident (and casting) in the end. However Nick still graded and sound mixed the final cut, which I was glad to let him do as online editing is not my profession.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
With earlier rough cuts/footage that was shown to my Degree Class and the staff member who was supervising my film, I’m not sure it was the best positive reception that we got during that stage.
But when I took over editing duties and showed my cut to classes and people, it suddenly became something that people admired, as people found it really intense, well edited and rhythmic. Also the message was strong and impactful. Even the other staff members accepted it as a strong piece overall.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
One criticism that one or two people have said that the bright flashing and possibly colours may irritate people, but I take that more as a compliment than a criticism. This is because the idea behind it is that some people with Asperger’s Syndrome may not be fond of bright colours and lights. So the fact that those people didn’t like it, they now understand the world of Asperger’s Syndrome better.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Simply sharing my film out to the world and hopefully people who see it may understand the world of Asperger’s Syndrome better. Also because of the reaction so far, the film could be a potential calling card, which could lead to possible interest in my short documentary that I’m in the works of.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
For now I’m currently taking the film out to festivals and hopefully it could provide opportunities of what’s to come in my filmmaking career.
Anything is possible of where this film can take me. I’d be amazed if it got picked up for distribution and the film will be forever preserved. Who knows?
When I set out to make this film, I don’t think my DoP Nick Corpe and I expected that this film would get international recognitions by Barcelona Planet Film Festival and Los Angeles CineFest so far. We would probably think it would get shown at least to our local festival, but it goes to show that there is an audience out there internationally.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I’d like to think it will be a film that people will appreciate and understand better within the world of Asperger’s Syndrome, and a film that people will hopefully be immersed in. Plus as I said earlier, people will hopefully find the message very impactful.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
I’d like to think that people might look up and research on Asperger’s Syndrome and discover that well-known historical figures/celebrities may have been on the spectrum. Legendary filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick are lead to believe to be on the spectrum, suggesting that maybe, just maybe that their suspected condition made them who they are by their personality and work.
So people might wonder if the world of filmmaking itself would be the same today without Asperger’s Syndrome. If Asperger’s Syndrome didn’t exist, then filmmaking might be inferior and maybe less good without Hitchcock or Kubrick’s technical skills and talent that made an impact with filmmaking.
Would you like to add anything else?
It’s a pleasure to discuss ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’ for We Are Moving Stories. Hopefully this film is only the beginning. Thank you very much.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m in the works of a short documentary called ‘September Sky’, which basically gives an exploration and insight into how our date of birth could play a factor with our destiny and how people born on similar days of the year may share common characteristics.
It partly focuses on 26th September (my birthday). The documentary idea was inspired by UK news articles back in December 2015, stating that 26th September was the most popular birthday in England and Wales during the last two decades, which really intrigued me.
Also The Daily Telegraph stated that September babies are perhaps more likely to be successful in education, sports and careers, which has led me to think about my education experiences so far. Furthermore coming across news articles like how our birthday month could play a factor with our jobs and health.
I’ve also received support from celebrities who share my birthday, as UK Celebrity Megan McKenna (Ex On The Beach, Celebrity Big Brother, The Only Way Is Essex) recently gave a shout out about my film on social media. Also Jane Smiley, Nicki French, Marty Casey and Carrington Durham have been supportive about the project too.
You can find out more about the film and latest updates on the film’s Facebook and Twitter Page below.
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Length: 4 minutes and 2 seconds
Director: Nicholas Bayfield
Producer: Nicholas Bayfield
About the writer, director and producer:
Nicholas Bayfield is a British Filmmaker based in the South East of the United Kingdom and is about to graduate from Brighton Film School. He’s currently in development for his short documentary ‘September Sky’.
Key cast: Nicholas Bayfield
Looking for: producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists
Made in association with: Brighton Film School
Release date: Film is now complete and is currently being submitted to film festivals.
When and where will it screen in the next month?
Check out the film’s Facebook Page to see the latest updates on the latest screenings and festival acceptances.