Davo Hardy is a self taught indie filmmaker, who will release his third feature film titled “A SIlent Agreement“, this September. A Silent Agreement is a coming of age drama thats focuses on the trials of Reuben (Davo Hardy) as he grapples with speech impediment, which prevents him in the pursuit of his theatre aspirations. Davo Hardy made this film on a budget of $50k, employing six (6) deaf people in the cast and crew. Davo Hardy speaks with Michael Ford of indieactivity on his journey as a filmmaker.
indieactivity: Do you take courses to improve your craft?
Davo: Not formally. I finished my technical film degree ten years ago and have been working consistently ever since, but the most value lessons have come from making films. They don’t teach you about hiring and firing and managing diverse personalities, forced into close quarters for weeks at a time. To improve my storytelling, I observe. I invite people to get into deep-and-meaningfuls. That way, if I haven’t experienced something specific to write to a character, I know somebody who has.
indieactivity: Why did you get into filmmaking and screenwriting?
Davo: For me, it was a calling; a deep knowing that there was a thing I had to do and express. From the time I could read and write, I was reading above my age. Those thick novels with that unmistakable paperback scent. I would also write in a similar style, often to the discomfort of my English teachers. I had the vocabulary and the grasp of the themes and situations, but not the life-experience and empathy to really back them up.
While my siblings were pursuing sports with their friends, I was watching old movies. And when it became clear that I just did not have the patience for novel writing, I picked up a camera. And, with that, I had picked up the key to my expressive, creative core.
indieactivity: How do you combine acting and writing?
Davo: These creative outlets both come, seemingly, out of nowhere. Before the writing an acting happen, all you have is a blank page, a blank expression. I think writing is based in more cerebral preparation than acting, which to me is more reacting, to a given stimulus in the raw moment, from the heart. Getting the mind and heart to cooperate at the best of times, but when they do, that’s when the channels open up and that’s a powerful thing to capture.
indieactivity: Tell us about the work you have produced?
Davo: My short films were a combination of adapting my own experiences to the screen coherently and old fashioned hands-on practice. This was rehearsing for the future, like sourcing people and equipment, without the pressure of a major film to finish. When I did get into features, they all involved a particular catharsis in me, personally.
My first film The Lives We Lead was the result of my quarter-life-crisis, seeing most of my peers were getting married, having children, purchasing their first home and getting promoted to managers. My most recent film, A Silent Agreement, is more introspective, focusing on the struggles that artistic types face and how money, status and security play second-fiddle to truthful values, integrity and creative freedom.
indieactivity: How do you turn an idea into a screenplay & do explain your writing process?
Davo: The idea can sit dormant for years. I have the seedlings of future in my subconscious right now. Meeting people influences future characters and strapping in for the ride of life plots out the events. If I am personally grappling with a major situation, like the feeling of life passing me by or that my inner artist is not being honoured, it evidently works its way into my screenwriting. The fact that other people relate to these situations is a reminder that we are all emotionally invested in our part of the human experience and we all know the language of pain and healing.
indieactivity: What writing tip or idea can you give young writers?
Davo: Tap into how to make the reader feel something. People will invariably forget the words, we forget what we hear and what we see. It gets distorted, faded and lost in the passing of time. But we never forget how something makes us feel. And with just the right wording, you can trigger people to recall most anything.
indieactivity: What do you want to change about the film business?
Davo: When I was first starting out and voicing to others that I was a filmmaker in training, the first thing they would say was “that’s a very competitive industry”. And I was always irritated by that. The sense that we are all pitted against one another still grates on me because it creates cliques and tall poppy syndrome.
By stepping to the film industry, we strap ourselves into heavy shackles that are linked by a common chain. We can try charging head, only to be held back by the weight our neighbours, often maliciously so. Or we can hold others back with our weakness, whether or not we intend to… What I find yields the best results, is teamwork and cooperation. With some thoughtfulness and equity, that common chain would be a symbol of unity, rather than of limitation. But perhaps that message is being drowned out by the cacophony of tussling and writhing
indieactivity: What do you want to be remembered for?
Davo: If I have to be remembered for anything in the film industry, I would like it to be for playing a part in bringing about the sustainability and freedom that I believe needs to be valued by more creative people. We are documenting humanity, after all. We should reflect some part of that generosity and resourcefulness of the collective, which has helped us survive throughout the arc of evolution. After all, it’s not like we’re the biggest, strongest, fastest or prettiest species around.