We Talk To Director And Creator Of 4:00am Robert Trott About The Film and What He Has Coming Up Next!


Good Morning Lovelies, 

On the blog, I love to introduce you all to a new film and a great filmmaker. Today, I am doing just that with this great Robert Trott, the creator and director of 4:00am!

Following a young man who agrees to spend the night at a party, but loses his friend upon arrival, leading to a life-changing night, me and Robert discussed everything about the film, including how it came to be made, castings and what is next for the filmmaker…

Firstly, congratulations on the film! How does it feel to see it be nominated for awards and be placed on live TV? 
Thank you very much! It’s something that is still taking some getting used to if I’m honest. I went straight from University and into a day job without a break and set about writing this film in every spare moment I had. Once I had started that ball rolling it was difficult to stop; I put any extra money I could from my monthly pay into the film and set about assembling a cast and crew to help me bring it to life. Looking back on the other side of it all, it hits me right in the cry button to see what we achieved and that people are engaging with it.

For those who don’t know, please could you tell us what the film is about?
4:00am tells the story of the socially anxious Douglas Courage and the promise he makes his best friend Juniper to brave a once legendary Cooper party and have some “Normal fun” for a change. I like to think of it as a somewhat delayed coming-of-age film. The characters, for the most part, are around twenty-five years old and are faced with the choice to round up or down in terms of their maturity. Ultimately, it’s a film about friendship and connection.

What made you decide to capture and create such an interesting feature?
For part of my dissertation at University, I had to write a feature film. I had only written short films up until this point so at first, it was ruddy daunting. Going from 10-15 pages to 90-120 felt like a massive chasm that I was likely going to make over as successfully as Homer Simpson did the Springfield Gorge. Much like Homer Simpson and the gorge, what came out of it was a bloated mess that hit every bump along the way. Don’t worry I’ll drop the Homer Simpson references.

What I learned from that script was that I love writing characters; my issue with my first script was convoluting the plot and losing the characters in the process. Then I watched Shane Meadow’s “Somers Town” and saw that it was possible to make character pieces that don’t outstay their welcome. For now, that was the kind of film I needed to write; a “Dazed and Confused” all in one day snapshot in the lives of my characters that was brief and (hopefully) charming. I knew that whatever it turned out to be, it would have been made with a lot of heart, and even if I did make mistakes along the way, I would learn from them. Just like Homer Simpson…

How did you find and cast the people that star in the film? And what was it about them that made you want to cast them?
Initially, I used a site called “Casting Call Pro”, which I believe has become part of Mandy.com now. So, I whacked my job posting on there with a synopsis and character descriptions late one night and went to bed, not quite expecting the traffic it got. By the time I had checked in on the post the following lunchtime, there were over 300 applicants.

This was going to take some time. With help, we whittled the list down to 15 applicants per character and held a series of audition days in a space we hired in London. Auditions are an amazing part of the process and I’ll never get tired of seeing those first flickers of life springing into the characters I’ve written. We were very lucky with the people that were drawn to the film. All of the people we picked were so right for their parts and threw themselves into the project 100%.

As we drew nearer to the start date for shooting, we found it increasingly difficult to find the right person for the role of Cooper in the film. It was when I was at my wit's end with it that my best friend Craig (who had helped me with the auditions) put himself into the running, despite never having acted before. We ran through two scenes and by the end of them, I had to lift my jaw from the floor. My best friend can act… That had to be one of the biggest surprises/joys for me during the whole process was learning that he had that natural skill and being able to develop a character with my best friend.

Is there a scene in the film that you want audiences to look out for? Why this one?
My favourite scenes tend to come later in the film where we see the aftermath of the party and the unlikely bonds that form as a result. It’s too difficult for me to pick just one. In terms of memories from the shoot, directing my Dad to play a sleeping old man at a bus stop has to be up there!

During the making of this film, was there something you learned that you didn’t know before that really interested you? If so, what was it?
I learned that enthusiasm and passion for a project is infectious. If you don’t believe it can get done, and carry that love for it to set each day then others will find it difficult to be motivated to do the same. There were times on this film where I ran my body into the ground juggling a day job and an evening filming. I was more caffeine than man by the end and I’m sure it showed in the last few days. Since then, I make sure in the run-up to a shoot that I look after myself, get as much sleep as I can and remind myself that this is what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid eating Jelly and watching Superman: The Movie with my Dad. If you aren’t honouring your inner child, what are you doing?

What have you been hearing from audiences so far about the film?
People have been very kind to it! I think fair is a good word too. Being so low budget I can see it’s weaknesses but what has bowled me over is people focusing on its strengths more. I guess when you’re so close to something the stuff you see as weaker will always yell louder at you. Sometimes it takes the context of other people’s views to see the full picture. It’s all very humbling and more than anything I appreciate people taking the time to watch and share their thoughts on it with me.

Finally, can you tell us about anything you are working on next?
I’m currently in festivals with a short film I wrote and directed called “The Insecurities of Dill”. It’s a slice of my humour looking at a character who is being used for sex and the Insecurities they have as a result. Alongside that I'm working on getting a Web Series I created with fellow writer George O’Connor called, “Dole”. Dole tells the story of Cleopatra Rathbone, a blogger and aspiring writer who believes that life experience, rather than formal training, is the best way to improve her writing. Edgar Ernest is a failed bookshop owner and recent widower. At only 27, he has seemingly lost hope. "Dole" depicts the growing friendship of these kindred spirits, giving it their all (sort of) to get a job and get back on track. All while writing my next feature film…No rest for the wicked eh?

You can find out more about the film here lovelies: www.thetophatfilmswebsite.com 

Blog Soon, 
Joey X 

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