The Funny Women Awards season has come to a close and a new batch of comedy winners have emerged. Meet Carolyn Goodyear whose short film Ambition has just won the Comedy Shorts Award.
If at first, you don’t succeed, try again. The third time is the charm for filmmaker Carolyn Goodyear whose film Ambition clinched the coveted award.
Inspired by her real-life experience as an actress, Carolyn set out to make a dark comedic film about rejection and how often the person who deserves the award or job the most, doesn’t always get it. Harvey Gumball’s ambition is to win employee of the year but he is up against his colleagues who are nominated for the same award but due to reasons that are not exactly related to their work performance. Spoilers ahead but there is an unforgettable and hilarious scene of Carolyn getting spanked in her own film! We speak to Carolyn Goodyear about Ambition, filmmaking and what is like to win the award.
TT: YOU WERE A FINALIST IN 2015 AND YOU FINALLY WON THE FUNNY WOMEN COMEDY SHORTS AWARDS THIS YEAR. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE A WINNER?
It was a rabbit in the headlights experience as I really didn’t think it was going to be me! You never know what the judges are looking for so I was really shocked to win! This was my 3rd year in the competition so it was definitely third time lucky. I’m really happy that the film has been recognised. It was made with such a talented bunch of people who together made it into a really special film.
TT: TELL US ABOUT AMBITION, WHICH IS A SATIRICAL TAKE ON THE CORPORATE WORLD AND HAS US ALL ROOTING FOR HARVEY GUMBALL. IT EVEN HAS YOU BENT OVER BEING SPANKED! WHAT INSPIRE YOU TO MAKE THE FILM?
I wanted a film that was real and without the traditional, happy, Disney ending as life is rarely like that. As an actress, there is a lot of rejection and I wanted a film to be about perseverance and showing that often the person who deserves the award or job the most, doesn’t always get it. Nepotism, the abuse of power and filling quotas to be politically correct are other themes that are hinted at in the film. There are a lot of layers to the film Ambition; a lot is expressed in 3 minutes and the spanking scene seems to help people remember the film!
TT: WHAT IS THE PRODUCTION PROCESS LIKE? HOW DID YOU CAST KEITH HILL?
Keith is a truly amazing actor who is gold to work with. I first worked with him on a corporate acting job and then ran into him again in an audition. I was delighted he said yes to the part as I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the character of Harvey Gumball. I enjoy the production process –it’s a bit of a juggling act on the shoot day as I am acting as well as being in charge of the production.
TT; WHAT IS THE RECEPTION FOR AMBITION SO FAR, ESPECIALLY NOW YOU HAVE WON AWARD?
It was beautifully shot by the DOP, Chris Cooper and that is something that people often comment on together with Keith Hill’s great performance. It’s a touching film that says a lot. I hope some opportunities will come from winning this award.
TT: YOU STARTED OFF AS AN ACTRESS. WHAT MOTIVATE YOU TO START YOUR OWN PRODUCTION COMPANY AND MAKE YOUR OWN FILMS?
I was motivated by the American acting coach, Bernard Hiller who challenged the class one day to start writing and making films. He has been a huge inspiration in my life and thanks to him I started to write and produce my own films for me to act in. It’s just so nice not having to audition for a part and being able to write fun characters for myself to play.
TT: WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT MAKING COMEDY FILMS? WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?
There is so my much sadness in life so laughter is really needed to brighten up the world! Comedy can be niche to the individual so you never know if other people will find what you are making funny. Actors are key, so getting the right casting for comedy is crucial; that and a great edit to make the film work as a whole.
TT: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE COMEDY FILMS?
Borat, Bridesmaids, Zoolander , What about Bob? Play it again Sam.
TT: WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU, FILM WISE?
I have written a 10-minute comedy script that I really want to get made called E.N. S – Embarrassing Name Syndrome. It’ll be a riot with the right actors!
I have also co-written a feature but it’s a horror/thriller so far from a comedy!
TT: ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE MAKING THEIR COMEDY FILMS?
Just do it! You’ll learn so much from getting out there and making something and it’s fun – even if it’s a disaster.