Anthony Greyley is an actor and director from London. A desire to story tell from a young age led him towards acting, which in turn solidified his path to directing. Often frustrated by the lack of resources available to him as an eight year old, he would recruit friends as crew and scout the local forest for locations to shoot. Anthony went on to train as an actor at the Oxford School of Drama where improvisational techniques began to impact his approach to filmmaking. Shortly after graduating he went on to form Sandbox Productions for the purpose of using improvisation to develop ambitious and socially relevant ideas for film.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
Although the technology in ‘Dubs’ was designed to be used in a way that benefits humanity, it could all go terribly in the wrong hands. We’ve actually deep-dived into the dangers of ‘dubbing’ in case we get to revisit this world in a future project. I would buy a one-way ticket to Becky Chambers’ “The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet” to hang out with Dr Chef in THE FISHBOWL.
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Can I go with spirit AI? Samantha from ‘Her’. Love that film.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
I’m excited to see humanoid AIs as part of the fabric of life. Of course I would support them in their endeavors it would be fascinating to see what they came up with. Reminds me of the AI generated artwork that sold at Christies for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
Baby Yoda, Hollow Man, Neo…what a team.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
Given we were setting out to make a fully improvised film with no scripted dialogue, whatever idea we landed on had to lend itself to that. We were able to rule out quite a lot of ideas due to incompatibility. I don’t think there is a clear reason you land on a thing but there’s definitely a clear moment. Everything slows down for a second, you see a silent recognition in each other’s faces then life accelerates up to real time again. Unfortunately from a practical point of view the idea we landed on required doubling and improvisation.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
I’ve never considered myself part of a sci-fi community really. I do feel very connected to those obsessed with Final Fantasy VII though so I guess yes. Absolutely adore the world, story, characters of FF7. For sure my brain is in the future, it’s what I attribute my bad memory to. The exception for me is when I direct, I feel very in the present when watching actors create worlds live, especially when it’s through improvisation.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
Interesting. Definitely digital for the most part. I’m very anti-paper when it comes to work. Everything lives in the Notes app or my ‘Life Grid’ in Google Sheets, My partner and I have shared calendars so we can schedule for the both of us and also see what each other has booked in. That said, I have a tube amp for my rarely played guitar and a modest but growing vinyl record collection. With ‘Dubs’ we always leaned towards analog and retro technologies. In an earlier draft the film featured a prominent character which was an old cathode-ray tube TV. Mobile phones do not appear in the film and the clinic interviews were shot on an old hi-8 camera. We didn’t want the world to feel like ours. We wanted to create a world whose technologies had developed at different rates to ours.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
Again the clash of futuristic and retro really interested us for ‘Dubs’. We wanted the ‘The Game’ to feel both new and old. By combining a 1980s dot-matrix WarGames-esque 2D aesthetic with a more advanced voice activated short throw projector device with instant messaging built in, we endeavored to contradict our world but at the same time give the audience something familiar.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Star Wars, Philip K. Dick, practical…mostly…but sometimes CGI, dystopia, post apocalypse.