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Meet Bryan Tan of Lucidity Pictures in Lawrenceville

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bryan Tan.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was in middle school I won a little science fair and with the prize money I purchased my first video camera. For the first film I ever made, I got two of my friends and dragged them out into woods in my backyard. I told them their plane had just crashed and they should act like they now have to survive in a remote forest. They went with it. We watched over the footage and laughed, we set it to music and laughed some more. We showed it to more of our friends and they laughed too. It is completely unwatchable today, but I think we stumbled upon that primal, communal joy of the movies. I knew from then on that I wanted to be a film director.

After high school I went off to the Savannah College of Art and Design to study film. I found that my story was like many others. We were each the Steven Spielberg of our high school, going out to conquer the world of cinema. Now we were all together; all small fish, all wanting to be much bigger. In a way, it was like starting over again. During my time at SCAD, I forged many great friendships and fruitful creative links that continue to this day. I think it was within that time that I found my voice as a filmmaker.

I had always expected I’d have to move to Los Angeles to be a filmmaker, but by the time I graduated from SCAD, Atlanta’s film industry had blossomed into one the foremost film production centers in the world, so I could simply return to my home town. The truth is, I’ve never wanted to be part of Hollywood. I’ve wanted to be part of something new. I think Atlanta is the best place to do that. We must make films that are born here, not simply work on those productions that pass through. We want to have our own writers, directors, actors and crew and for their films to be relevant to a global audience. That hasn’t quite happened yet, but I think in time, it will. It is a pure joy for me to wake up every day and to work as a director and make my films within this community.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The trouble with becoming a director is that there is no clear path to becoming one. There is no corporate ladder to climb, no tried and true progression towards that goal. Every single role model reaches their position by different means. So it seems that you quite simply have to do it, and you have to be great. The journey towards that is so nebulous and at times unrewarding, that I think many people turn away from their dreams of directing.

In the face of this uncertainty, I strive to simply keep doing what I know how to. I keep making films. I try not to worry about who will see them, or what people will think, I just try to execute each idea to the best of my ability, and to learn from the process.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Lucidity Pictures – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I spent last year and a half working on my latest short film, The Emissary, which follows the story of Liv Laika, who embarks on a solitary mission to a distant planet in search of her ancestors who fled the earth nearly a century prior. The film is set within the confines of Liv’s ship. We spent three months over the summer building the space ship set in my parent’s basement. Outside of the windows of the ship, instead of green screen, we employed rear-projection and a number of practical effects to pull off our visuals of outer space. This whole project was a massive gamble for me as none of us had ever attempted anything of this scale before. I wanted to prove that we could pull off very high quality production value for a much lower budget than normally required, but with so many variables, there was no guarantee we would succeed. However I am happy to say that the film has just premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival, where we received a wonderful response.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
The next step for me is a feature film. With The Emissary complete I am next looking to direct a feature film under similar auspices. Like The Emissary, The Basilica is set entirely on a space ship visiting a distant gas giant, but concerns three characters not just one, which I think provides some more meaty character possibilities for a feature film. I have already been working on the screenplay for two years now, steadily revising and improving it over time. The next steps will involving scheduling, budgeting and securing financing for the film, and building a strong crew. These are no small tasks of course, but with the ground work set in The Emissary, I am confident we are up for the challenge.

The Emissary is now available for viewing online at: https://vimeo.com/234436194
To read more about the process of making the film, read Bryan’s article on the journey at: https://www.bryanjtan.com/post/making-the-emissary

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Travis Sawyer, David Tan

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