Interview With Rakib Miah, Director and Star of The Reveal
IndieVisible chats to Rakib Miah, director and lead of new short thriller The Reveal, about his difficult filming process, playing a role both in front of and behind the camera, and what he has planned for the future.
You directed and starred in this film. Was it a challenge to play a key role both in front of and behind the camera, or did you enjoy that challenge?
Yes it sure was a challenge, both fun and difficult at the same time. I thoroughly enjoy being in front of the camera as seeing myself on screen allows me to assess what positives I did within the scene and what I could improve on, but most importantly it allows me to express myself
As for directing while acting, I feel it’s much easier to do than to be directed by somebody else. This is due to the fact that when trying to portray your own vision it’s easier to manage everything to get it the way you initially planned and intended. I believe that if somebody else had directed this short the outcome would be very different. The fact that I was directing myself on camera was a great experience as it helps me be my own critic and get the results I hope for.
You make some really interesting style choices in the short, often changing colour palettes and adopting quite tight, focused camerawork. Talk us through the decision-making for that.
So as for the changes in colour I believed that there were different moods being portrayed in this film and I wanted to visually show that. The film begins as something with a yellow/green tint and I wanted to this to reflect a theme of deceit - but that gets cut off and we are shown into an office room where the colour is now black and white.
This was done to wash out any feeling and it’s almost like a blank slate - we’ve been fed a teaser of what’s happening but then we’re brought back to nothing and left bewildered. I did this intentionally to show the differences in feelings and moods but as the story progresses we see how the colours begin to coincide with one another, leaving the audience wondering.
I learned to use what you have around you
You have said the film took a bit longer to create than you'd initially hoped. How was the filmmaking process for you?
It was late October now and I scheduled to film on November 1st with my actors but as the filming day approached, a Government announcement was made on the 31st of October taking us into a Tier 3 lockdown, meaning we could only go outside for essential visits and shopping.
So, now my film had to be delayed until after December and my actors kind of felt demotivated so they dropped out, meaning I was left at pre production again. But the positive of having this delay is that it allowed me to look through my shot lists, my script etc to see how I could improve them and be as equipped for when I would film again.
Lockdown had ended and I could film again but the issue was that I had no actors and many were fearful of meeting others so I was stuck not knowing what to do at the time. That was where I decided I’d be one of the actors in the film and film the scenes I needed for that role. I in fact played two roles in the film but I had a haircut and shave to look like a different person for one role and for the other character I grew out a beard and grew out my hair to look different too.
So I filmed what I needed for the parts and now it was late December snd Christmas was approaching and I found another actor who was willing to help me and we decided to film on January the 5th as it was convenient for the both of us.
However, on January the 4th another Government announcement was made and this time it was more serious. It was now a full national lockdown taking place and every institution and building would be closed for 3-4 months except supermarkets; everybody had to stay at home.
So now I had some parts filmed but many gaps in the film. What did I do?
I thought long and hard and it worked in the end. I work at a building with a few other people and I thought I’d ask them if they’d like to help out in the film and surprisingly they said yes and I decorated the room to make it look like an office and it somehow worked well and cost me completely nothing.
So from this experience I learned to use what you have around you.
How has the reaction been to the film so far? Was it worth powering through the difficulties for that pay-off?
The reaction to the film has been really positive and I’m happy with people enjoying my work and sharing it. The like to dislike percentage on YouTube sits at 95 percent which is great to see for something I’ve been working on for the last three to four months and accomplished purely on my own.
What's next for you?
For me I hope to make more short films consistently and to hopefully work with more people like myself in the future.
You can find all of Rakib's films on his YouTube channel.