Jason Headley and Ayumi Ashley
We Are They
Writer and director, Jason Headley sheds a little light on the world’s most secretive opinion makers. We known them for what they say, but Jason's film shows them for who 'they' really are. Jason Headley talks about his inspiration for writing and directing this short.
"A producer I work with, Vince Genovese, had this idea where a room full of people were ‘they,’ as in ‘they say.’ I thought it was interesting. But I came up with a slightly different version where it was a guy discovering that his friends were ‘they.’ It was a funnier twist to me, and a little more production friendly being only four people."
"So I showed my version to Vince and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty cool’. I figured if I wrote this thing he would help me produce it. But that didn’t end up being the case. In the end, I produced and directed it myself. I only cast myself in it because I really wanted to say that line, ‘We’re the people people mean when they say, ‘they.’ I just thought it was so ridiculous, and I liked the rhythm of it."
"Once the idea was in my head, it just started coming together as of a bunch of funny lines. I also threw in a small tip of the hat to the Flight of the Conchords. I am a big fan. They have a song called ‘Ladies of the World’ where they list off all the countries where the ladies are. So that’s where the Bolivia/ Namibia bit comes from. Just a subtle acknowledgement."
"In terms of writing the script, I just tend to stew on these things until they’re asking to be written. It didn’t take long to finish this one, I think I wrote it in one draft. It was pretty quick shooting it as well. We started at 9am and had it all wrapped up by noon."
"We did it around by the barbecue on my back deck. We used a smoke machine to get the grilling effect, but we did actually fire up the grill between takes because it was so damn cold. It was January when we shot it and we had to shoot this one early in the morning because of the east facing light. So we were wearing short sleeves while the crew was all in jackets and hats."
"Anthony Veneziale, the actor who is the straight guy and not one of ‘they’, is an incredible improv guy. He’s with Freestyle Love Supreme and those guys are so witty and fast. They just got picked up for their own series on Pivot. So making him stick to a script felt a bit like hampering a racehorse."
"But this piece was meant for the Internet, so sticking to the script was important to keep it short and punchy. My idea of the perfect timing for these things is based on nothing, but I like to keep them under two minutes. When I click on a video see it’s going to be four or five minutes, I get immediately frustrated. It’s not that I don’t have five minutes to spare. I think it’s because most things on the internet that are five minutes should really have been about two and a half minutes."
"Now when my friends say, ‘They say,’ they immediately catch themselves and look at me. I guess now we all know who ‘they’ really are."