In 2019 Jacob Webster wrote and directed a short film titled the TUFFNESS. This is my interview with him about his experience when filming his first short film.
"A short film by aspiring film makers about a boy dealing with his manhood. "The Tuffness" aims to freely express some of the feelings going on in a young man's mind as he grapples for purpose."
14 September 2019 - going through the final script for the first time.
How did you get into movies?
I saw movies that were so good I couldn’t resist making my own. Like if you tasted a pie so good you had to go home right away and figure out the recipe.
15 September 2019 - running through character placement before beginning filming.
Why did you make the Tuffness?
To let out my feelings about manhood and men in society. My ideas are complicated and conflicting sometimes, which is why the movie doesn’t make much sense. I also wanted to show myself and my loved ones that I’m capable of doing this shit.
15 September 2019 - Angles and set preparation.
What was the actual experience of filming with actors like for you?
For me, actors are usually very difficult to manage no matter who they are. Especially when you’re not paying them in money. One of the hardest things about finishing Tuffness was getting the actors to show up, and not lose patience over the time it took for me to get my angles right. Luckily for me I was working with people who support me, so we were relatively professional, but still it wasn’t easy.
All that said, acting is an art form that makes movies worth all the money and passion we put into them. In the end, when all is said and done, when it’s just the cameras and the actors doing their thing, actors carry an incredible weight. And to see real actors performing in any way is worth everything.
I want to especially thank Luca for indirectly teaching this to me.
19 September 2019 - Jacob and Kamal on set.
Did you see the influence of directors you like on this film when watching it again?
For sure, like anything. I find if you forget about trying to look unique, you create something worth watching.
21 September 2019 - Red wine scene.
Did you have an exact picture of how you wanted the TUFFNESS to turn out when you started? What was your experience like when filming and compromising on this picture?
If I did, it’s nothing like how the movie turned out. It was really crazy watching how much even a small animal like The Tuffness needs to wriggle around so grow into its final form. That breathing room ended up being what made the movie possible. I have learned that filmmaking is all about compromise.
12 November 2019 - Final recording session in Niclaus's studio.
What message did you want to convey in the TUFFNESS?
My day-to-day life is a constant wrestle for purpose and answers, driven by my outrage at not getting either. At the end of the day, boys just hope they’ll end up becoming men.