Patrick Murphy is a recently graduated film student from New York University’s Tische School of the Arts. His main areas of concentration were writing and directing, as well as mastering the nuances of storyboarding. A transfer from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, he is also a classically trained artist, with a specific concentration on abstract painting and the human figure. He currently resides in New York City. PrideIndex recently had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Murphy regarding his affirming short film, “Animal Drill.”
PRIDEINDEX: From an early age boys are encouraged to be “physical,” some parents would prefer their sons to excel in sports over the arts. Tell us about your own experience were you encouraged to participate in sports?
PATRICK MURPHY: I was encouraged to participate, and overall, I’d say I had a very positive experience. I grew up in a house with two other brothers, and I think playing sports as a youth provided me with some valuable tools, most notably the concept of practice. Going from a mostly sports-environment straight into film school, I was amazed at how little people who did not participate in sports understood about the concept of practice. You can’t be a great filmmaker in one day, not with one script, not with just the tools you entered the school with. It takes a little bit of practice each day, on a regimen, and hopefully you end up with a great film.
PI: Do you participate in any sports now, if so which ones?
PM: I weight-train everyday, which helps to further remind me of the values of practice and patience in my work.
PI: I understand that “Animal Drill” was recently shown at the Cleveland International Film Fest. How did audiences receive it?
PM: I actually don’t know. This tends to be the case with a lot of my screenings. I worked for three years on the film; I’ve seen it over a thousand times. I am proud of it, my parents are proud of it, and my crew is proud of it. There are so many variables with a festival screening (sound quality, picture quality, audience rumbling around) that I can’t control. I have a lasting memory of the film that I’m happy with, and unless awards or news or a friend’s review comes out of the festival, I’m happy leaving the screening experience to new viewers.
PI: In one sentence briefly sum up the experience of making “Animal Drill” from conception to its first screening.
PM: Being thrown into the absolute wild with only the knowledge that the odds of survival are horrifically low.
PI: Why did you become a filmmaker?
PM: I suppose I’m still figuring this out. I’ve always asked questions and I’ve always wanted answers. Unknown scenarios, characters, and theories in life bother me just a little bit. I suppose creating films is just my way to answer those questions for myself.
PI:Where did you find the inspiration for “Animal Drill?”
PM: I had a bit of a rough transition going from high school to college. In high school, I neglected a lot of my artistic side. I think I blamed my unhappiness on just about everyone and everything, when the real root of my problem was that I was avoiding my true self: an artist who needs to create work every day to survive. ‘Be who you are and not who you aren’t.’ And from that, the film was born.
PI: Name at least 3 artists that have most affected your creative style?
PM: Adam Duritz. Jackson Pollock. John Ford.
PI: Why did you choose to make “Animal Drill” as a short film rather than feature length?
PM: Animal Drill’ was made in a senior year class at NYU Film School. Making a ‘short’ was the only option.
PI: How did you prepare the cast for the physical scenes?
PM: I didn’t really. If anything, I wanted to find ways to try and tone it back. I can’t have an actor who’s got half the film shot to now go down with an injury. But Obatala and Antoine and the whole cast, they just kept telling me to let it happen. If they get hit, they get hit. Don’t hold back. We had a terrific stunt coordinator in Drew Leary on set at all times, and from there, I was lucky to have actors who let their performances dictate the action.
PI: Did any cast members suffer any real scraps, cuts, or bruising during the making of this film?
PM:I think we had one severely sore throat, and a little bit of bruising from the actors pushing into each other, but compared to the content of the film, no—we were very lucky, and that’s all a compliment to Drew Leary’s work.
PI: What other projects are you working on right now?
PM: I am finishing up a screenplay to a feature film with my brother Dan, who is my co-writer. It’s a story that centers on the world of competitive weightlifting.
PI: Your professional background includes work as a story board illustrator; have ever considered developing a comic book?
PM: I was just in a comic book store recently, and the amount of work that goes into one comic has always amazed me. I’m constantly blown away. So no, although I’d love to, I think for right now, writing, directing, and storyboarding is about as much as I can handle.
PI: What advice would you offer to aspiring filmmakers?
PM: One day during the filmmaking process, the goings going to get real, real, real, tough— impossibly tough. The only thing that will keep you going is the blind, honest, and sincere belief that the message and theme that you are trying to convey must be completed. If you are a beginning filmmaker, and you’re not ready to defend your film’s message with every ounce of your being, stay at the typewriter and don’t come out until you get there. The pain of rewrites does not compare to the misery of not having that ultimate belief when everyone and everything else wants to quit and give up.