I first saw Thea's short film 'Run' on Short Of The Week and thought the flow of the film and the natural dialogue were incredible, she recently played at BFI Future Film Festival where I got a chance to see the film for a second time and was thrilled to find out she was the winner of a 'New Talent' award at the festival. Thea wrote and directed the short film Run as well as starring in it.

Congrats on getting your short into the future film fest, Run has such a natural flowing dialogue, do you feel your experience as an actress effects your writing?
I’ve always been conscious about ensuring dialogue reads naturally so I’m glad it comes across. My acting experience actually put me off writing scripts for a while, as I was constantly worried about how good it would have to be in order for an actor to be able to bring it alive. I haven’t thought about how my acting experience affects my dialogue but I suppose it probably has made a bigger impact than I realise. I constantly read lines aloud as I write them to make sure it sounds like something someone would say! I’m also just extremely observant so suck up a lot of material that I hear on a daily basis.

Could you talk us through some of the challenges you faced starring in and directing the film?
Acting in something you’re directing is massively difficult. Although both storytellers come together to achieve the same end goal, how you reach that goal as an Actor and as a Director is very different. They’re different ways of story telling and it’s particularly hard to juggle them on set – especially when it comes to directing the scenes you’re in. As an actor, I don’t necessarily want to check the frames all the time but as a director I have to. You have to learn how to switch skills on/off. It helps having a great 1AD/DP too – this is genuinely invaluable when it comes to spinning plates.

How much rehearsal time did you guys have?
We only rehearsed the first 2 scenes and managed to do that while crew were setting up. If I remember correctly, myself and the other actresses probably had time for about 4 runs of our eye genetic chat. The boys were rehearsing at the same time so I’m not sure how much they did.

How do you approach your writing? Is it something you have to be in a particular mindset to do and if so how do you get yourself there? 
I’ve learnt that I can’t just be like “oh I’m going to write today” because there are usually very bad outcomes when I write that way. My best work comes from random itches, ideas, surges after being inspired etc. I can write a script really quickly in moments like that.

Could you talk about your collaboration with your crew and how that enhances your work? 
Having a crew you trust and get along with is major key. The only person who I hadn’t worked with before on the RUN set was our Sound Guy, Michael. This isn’t to say you can’t work with ‘new people’ I just think it’s important to develop strong working relationships and then bring people in around that foundation. It’s great being able to bounce off each other and I’m always open to the team’s ideas/suggestions. It also means we work quickly and efficiently as we understand how each other work.

What's next? 
I’ve got a new short film called ‘Guilt’ which is still in post-production but should be ready for release soon! I’m working on preparing a feature and I’m in a play ‘Pretty for a Black Girl’ at The Lyric Hammersmith in March. It’s written by Jess Espin-Thurgur (who was in RUN) and it also features Lauren Marshall (Also in RUN) so it’s wonderful working with them again.


You can follow Thea on twitter to keep up to date with her new projects @TheaGajic
You can also check out her acting reel here


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