Q + A: Luke Shanahan


Luke Shanahan

Luke Shanahan is a writer and director who works all over the map, though he is based in Sydney and the South Coast. When filming commercials in Australia and New Zealand he works out of  Moth Projects. When In North America and Europe he works out of Moxie Pictures. Longshot Film is the name of Lukes company for the film – Rabbit.

Do you think actors and filmmakers have a more powerful inner life? People often say actors are more emotional, more sensitive.

In this country (and this world) film makers have definitely got to be driven. Everyone I’m sure does it for different reasons but from a young age – I wanted to tell stories and then ego comes in to it a bit as I felt that people would want to hear my stories. When I realised that people might even pay me to tell my stories, that blew my world apart. 

But the catch to all this is that most film makers (and actors) i know have a certain amount of insecurity around themselves. This is the reason most of us invent worlds and other characters to get lost within. 

But what came first – the chicken or the egg? I mean going around to board rooms and meeting halls to pitch your idea that you’ve been staying awake for 5 years over, drains you. 

And when someone doesn’t like it – it can hurt. But as a true artist, you have to not read reviews of anything you do. Stay strong and I guess that’s where your “inner self” comes in to it.

Were there any directors in the past that have really inspired you?

Wouldn’t be a true student of film if i didn’t land on cliche a bit. Stanley Kubrick opened my eyes at film school to a strong visual sense while David Lynch awakened the dark in me. PT Anderson for me is a beautiful combo of the two.

Does belief change your personal outlook on life?

It does. I have to believe that anything is possible other wise i couldn’t do this. I’d have a normal job. 6 months ago my producer David and myself got on a plane and walked the pavement around New York and LA pitching. 5 meetings a day for two weeks. You have to believe that good will come from that. And it ain’t just about getting a film financed. I’ve always maintained a healthy Piscean (head in the clouds) optimism about life. I always feel that i will land on my feet. If one meeting doesn’t work, that’s only because the next one will.

Did becoming a parent change your outlook on things?

Massively. Everything changed. I started to come down from my (i’m an artist, leave me alone) world and think about other people. Those other little people that look at you and want nothing more than vegemite toast and a swim at the beach. In return they will love you for ever – unconditionally. You have to work at it, being freelance means you work from home a lot. And that concept of the “work at home” dad is a tough one for a 3 year old to grasp. Hey, it’s tough at times for me to grasp.

People often say that having kids makes them choose different films.

To watch you mean? I did use to be much more of a film snob than I am right now. Still love my dark journeys into European art house but also love a Hollywood popcorn blockbuster as well. It’s a balance and i think a family makes you look at the positives that both types of cinema experience can give you.

Do you have an optimistic view of the world?

I do normally but the U.S election coverage may possibly be changing that.

What motivates you to write?

Ideas. I wake at night and sometimes just start writing. It can be a scene, a character, a moment or an ending that I visualise. I then start sculpting.

What was your ultimate happiness thirty years ago and today?

Paddle pops and skate boards. But thinking ahead, I remember when I was a teenager it was to be married with kids and doing something I love. I’m on track.

What is your definition of success?

To be doing what you love with who you love.

Do you often think about dying? 

Yep. That’s what makes me live.

Tell us about Rabbit

Rabbit is a dark tale. 

The story of twins, identical – Maude and Cleo who are to be played by Abbey Lee.  One is missing, presumed dead. The other recieves visions of her (still alive) a year later and follows those visions to an abandoned caravan park – discovering just what has become of her sister and just what fate has in store for her. It is most defintely not a romantic comedy. https://www.facebook.com/alongshotfilm    #findcleo

Header Image is from “The First Date” A short film Luke made.


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