Her first feature, the micro-budget relationship comedy THE BIG SPOON, starring Zach Knighton and Isabelle McNally, premiered at Austin Film Festival in 2016 and was distributed by Gravitas Ventures. Her horror/comedy short WAFFLE premiered in competition at SXSW in 2020 and has since been played on thousands of screens across the globe, picking up multiple best director awards in the process. Other recent shorts include the dark comedy/sci-fi THE WORKPLACE, distributed by Dust and Gunpowder and Sky, and NICE ASS, another SXSW premiere about a giant butt.
Carlyn has directed dozens of sketches for College Humor as well as multiple projects for Funny or Die’s branded division. As a commercial director, Carlyn specializes in stylish dialogue comedy and has worked with brands such as JIF (one of Source Creative’s top campaigns of 2020), Lexus, Hasbro, Kroger, and Annovera, whose campaign starring Whitney Cummings won a Cannes Silver Lion in 2021.
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?
In the world of our film, a universal basic income supports everyone’s basic needs and gives people the mental energy to think about what they actually want out of life. That sounds great! We’d like to hope that a UBI-based future would include more meaningful pursuits than fake, performative workplaces of the past, but we suppose there are worse ways to spend one’s time!
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
All of the nice AI friends Samantha makes in Her. We never meet them in the movie because they’re having too much fun without us.
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?
We’ll support their endeavors if they support ours. Tit for tat, baby.
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?
A team of therapists for the original Tune Squad to cope with the trauma of being associated with R. Kelly. Also, the original Tune Squad, who are perfect.
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?
There’s a note in our Notes app that simply says “Perfect Little Creepies.” No text other than that. Only those three words. We’ll never know why. In the moment, it probably seemed fucking brilliant. But we’ll never remember why we wrote it. We get past the bad ideas by forgetting about them until someone asks us to un-forget them in a Q&A such as this and then we’re like…huh...I guess that was an idea I had.
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?
We think about the future a lot because of clinical anxiety. Does that make us part of the sci-fi community?
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?
Is paper analog or digital?
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?
You just have to remember that margarine was futuristic at some point. The printing press was. Tennis shoes were. Cave drawings were. Bicycles. Glasses. Chairs. It’s all much more mundane than we’d like to wish is was.
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?
Wars. Dick. Practical. Dys-utopia. Hasn’t the apocalypse always been happening?