South By Southwest 2019 Interview – SWEET STEEL director Will Goss

“It’s about a man who procrastinates on his suicide attempt because he doesn’t care for the taste of the gun in his mouth. The subject matter is admittedly grim, but I feel that we’ve found an approach to the story and characters that is equally sensitive and unique.” — Director Will Goss on SWEET STEEL which screens in the Texas Shorts section of SxSW 2019 Film.


Welcome to the amazing SxSW and congratulations on your movie playing here! Are you planning to attend SxSW with your film?

This will be my 14th consecutive year attending SXSW, but my first ever attending as a filmmaker, so it’s an incredibly personal honor and all the more meaningful with this being a homegrown Austin production to have a world premiere in our own backyard.

What is it about Austin, either the festival or the town itself, that excites you the most?

Despite the recent explosion in growth and corresponding congestion on the roads, no other city seems to match the laid-back sensibilities of this particular town, one that is brimming with modern cultural vitality as much as it offers timeless swaths of nature to explore year-round. (I swear that I don’t work for the Chamber of Commerce.)


Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!

Anyone who’s known me for some time will know that I’m not always shy about sharing my struggles with severe depression and even suicidal ideation at times, and this was a way for me to work through those issues in a creative way that might make it easier for others to empathize with such matters while hopefully not reeking of self-importance.


Who are some of your main creative inspirations for this short?

Weirdly enough, I came to this thinking that it’d be this improbable cross between the often austere, isolationist work of Joachim Trier with the more propulsive style of a filmmaker like Edgar Wright. I wanted our film to be visually engaging and maybe even darkly funny so long as we maintained a very real sense of heart and gravity at the center.


How did you put the short together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use, and any creative challenges in making it?

We shot it all in one day, with only one crew move, using a RED Helium. This really was the simplest, cheapest idea I had at the time, so we really pared ourselves down to a skeleton crew to make it happen. There was no one doing hair/makeup or wardrobe, no grip, no gaffer, no 2nd AC, and not even a script supervisor. Luckily, we had a pretty rigid shot list, almost no dialogue to mess up, and weather that managed to cooperate.

After your short screens here, where is it going next? Anywhere you would love to show it?

We do have a few more spring festivals lined up, although nothing that we’re allowed to announce publicly just yet. Anywhere that wants to have it is an exciting prospect to me, and I hope to attend as many of them as possible, if only to visit new parts of the country and, fingers crossed, the world.

If you know of anyone around you wanting to become a filmmaker, or even put together shorts, what would you suggest to get their start?


Fail as cheaply and quickly as you possibly can in order to develop your voice, then tell the stories you feel the most inspired to tell in the way that only *you* can tell them. I’m proud of each short that preceded Sweet Steel, but I couldn’t have made it without learning some hard lessons on all three, which meant none of them were a waste of time simply because they didn’t seem to get much outside traction. It was an overall education and just a fun time with friends whenever we could make it happen.


And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?

Is it cliched to say WORLD OF TOMORROW? Screw it… WORLD OF TOMORROW.


This is one of the many film titles playing at SxSW 2019. For more information on this and any other title playing in the festival, point your browser to http://www.sxsw.com/film!

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