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21st November 2022

Wheels of Fortune: Interview with Director George Pack

George Pack director of the student film “Wheels of Fortune” speaks about low budget filmmaking and the directors that inspire him
Wheels of Fortune: Interview with Director George Pack
Photo: Still from Wheels of Fortune @. George Pack

Wheels of Fortune is a new short film, directed, written, and produced solely by students in London and having been recently nominated at The British Short Film Awards

This film is centred around the manager of a mobility scooter business, which he begrudgingly took over from his traditionalist father. The manager wants to fund a snazzy new TV advert to boost sales in the store, but the father doesn’t believe in his fad schemes.

Using clever conservation of space and time, the film is fast-paced, without losing the crucial character development. The film is humorous and witty, with a weird ending that I’ll leave for you to watch. The director, 20 year old George Pack, took the time out of his schedule to talk about his directorial debut, and his path to getting here.

Interested in photography at A-level and wanting to challenge himself further, George Pack decided to study film at a university in London. Within his university course, he was asked to create a short film with other students, auditioning for the role in the crew they wanted (director, editor, producer…). George describes how Milo Hickey, the writer, was living in America at the time he pitched the script, and how his script was immediately loved by all members of the team.

We talked about his directorial influences during the filming process. George explains that he wanted to draw from “the Coen Brothers and Wes Anderson’s films” and their ‘American’ traits, as seen in No Country for Old Men. George talks about how he wanted to take from this style – while still making the film very ‘British’ – taking inspiration from The Office UK. Although filmed in London, George talks of how the team outsourced “American flags and weird posters with American influences” to be displayed in the background of the old peoples home to reference their connection while filming in the UK.

“Getting it down to 12 minutes was the hardest part… we even attempted a Christopher Nolan out-of-order style to get it to fit,” George explains when asked about the editing process. The short film was finally edited to just under 10 minutes, and George points out that this is because the majority of film festivals only accept short films under 10 minutes.

“I didn’t like the film at first, it felt too hasty… however, once finished, I realised it suited the shortness. You don’t ask too many questions,” George reveals. I ask about the claustrophobic feeling the film gives, and George explains that although it suited the film, most of it was out of convenience, and unintentional.

George insisted on using a wide angle lens on the camera, however this meant that it was difficult to film in the small shop without getting the crew in shot, and when doing a 180 degree spin of the camera while filming, many of the crew had to duck underneath the line of view to not appear in the shot.

He mentions that it took around a month from concept to final product, which gave no time for auditions and rehearsals. “Everyone was willing to pull their weight…people were exceedingly generous,” George says as he explains how the conception couldn’t have been as fast as it was without the help of those around him. He talks of the mobility scooter shop, used as the main set for the short film, and how the manager was willing to let them film for a “bottle of rum and the promise that he could still stay open for his customers.”

I asked him what would he change about the film if given a bigger budget. “I think I would keep it the same…but I would probably pay my actors more!” came George’s unselfish response, although it was followed by a joke about how “it would be quite funny to get Brad Pitt in [Wheels of Fortune] somewhere!”.

We ended the interview with his top three films. “Ratatouille definitely… it’s such a nostalgic film for me,” was George’s answer to his favourite film. “Moonrise Kingdom second… and The Lighthouse, closely tied with A Ghost Story,”.

 

Wheels of Fortune is available to watch on YouTube. To keep an eye out for new developments, and to have a look at some of the behind the scenes images from the set, have a look at George’s Instagram @georgepxck.


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