“happythankyoumoreplease” | writer-director, Josh Radnor
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, Jan. 22, 12:15 pm — Eccles Theatre, Park City]
Well my first impulse is to list the obvious: casting woes, scheduling conflicts, clashes over time and locations, cherished scenes that ended up getting cut in editing, and the like. But the overall feeling I’m left with on the other side of the freefall that was directing my first film is that the hard decisions weren’t all that hard. One hears so much about the rigors/horrors of filmmaking, and as a fairly suggestible person when facing the unknown, I was kind of prepared for the worst. But the strangest and most wonderful thing happened: Everything worked itself out. That’s not to say there weren’t freak-outs and arguments and moments of nail-biting suspense (i.e. “If we don’t get this shot the movie is ruined!”). But by and large, the big things revealed themselves to be not so big. It confirmed a theory of mine: The idea of something going wrong is more terrifying than something actually going wrong. A problem would arise, we’d deal with it, and then we’d move on to the next problem. This happened roughly 100 times each day.
I told people at the outset that there was no point in having a toxic, dysfunctional set when we were making a movie called happythankyoumoreplease. I really feel like something about the whimsical weirdness of the title put everyone in a fairly up mood. There was an ease and lightness of touch about the whole process: The right people and solutions always seemed to magically materialize at the right moments, which was initially unsettling. Wait, I thought, it’s not supposed to be like this. But it was. That’s not to say it wasn’t the most exhausting, overwhelming experience of my life. Because it was also that. It’s just I was unprepared for the fact that it would also be so intensely joyful.
The hard decision, I suppose, came in accepting that making one’s first movie didn’t have to be an exercise in agony and terror, that it wasn’t destined to all come crashing down around me, that I didn’t need to reflexively allow other people’s filmmaking war stories to become my own. In short, making the conscious choice not to freak the fuck out. It was ultimately an exercise in faith — trusting that things were unfolding exactly as they should… and saying “yes” to it. Which, come to think about it. is really what happythankyoumoreplease is all about.