Atinc Goc is a storyteller. He was born and raised in Izmir, Turkey. At the age of 16, moved to Toronto, Canada. He graduated from William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute and continues his education in Seneca College and studies Liberal Arts.
Making filmmaking debut with a short film Absurd, which focuses on mental health problems. The purpose is to create more consciousness in the society about these struggles that affect many individuals all around the world. He is currently working on a book and new short film projects.
[MIS] Being a filmmaker needs a lot of expertise and patience
because one has to handle everything all around, so what keeps
[Atinc] I recently read the Art of the Batman, which is a book that explains
the process of making this great film that combines comic book genre
with extraordinary directing and cinematography. In the introduction,
Matt Reeves says “ We live in a world of highs and lows and
tremendous chaos, yet we can go to the movies and experience a story
that reflects and makes sense of the world around us. I find my drive
and meaning in the process of filmmaking.” I couldn’t describe it
better than Reeves. The filmmaking process is full of chaos, ups and
downs, just like life itself. Absurd is a film that searches for
meaning that is greater than our daily routines and lives. And I can
say I try to find that meaning and motivation by telling stories and
be worthy of the time that people spend watching these stories.
[MIS] “It all starts with the script.” Maybe not, but when do you
know a script is ready to shoot, and what is your process of
getting it there?
[Atinc] I totally agree with the phrase. It all starts with the script,
because it is the first time you start to imagine, to visualize your
characters, places, and story. I try to do the storyboard as I write
the script. I think it helps to combine what you thought and how to
show it in the film. Directors decide “what to tell” and “what to
show” in films, and I believe it is a point that determines the fate
of that particular film.
I start by doing a lot of research. This can be about the topic or
the genre of the film, it can be about the characters, or the
philosophical, psychological struggle I want to create. I also like
to use references and hide meaningful clues in the script. Absurd is
a great example, because the last part of the monologue is taken from
Van Gogh’s letters to his brother. I revise it in a way and use it in
the script. He was a person who struggled with mental disorders, and
was excluded from society because of that. It is a good way to honor
his name, and to make the film more interesting with details. Last
step of my process is to make sure the script is finished before I
start shooting. I am more comfortable that way, but it does not mean
it is unchangeable. It must be flexible. I cut many lines from the
monologue in post production, and it made Absurd more effective.
[MIS] Absurd is about the fears of finding a meaning in a
meaningless life, from where did you get inspired in writing
[Atinc] I am a psychology student and I still learn about mental disorders
and how they affect people’s lives. I often see society is unaware
and uninformed about them. I wanted to show that everyone can have
these mental disorders, they are one of us. They are trying to
overcome their struggles, and sometimes it is just frustrating. In
the film, she was happy with her life until she read a book. Then she
slowly realized there was something wrong, and tried to change her
life which is centered around daily rituals. She felt trapped, and I
believe most of us feel the same from time to time. In this very
short film, there are few separate points and this is one of them. We
live in a meaningless world, and we need to find motivation on some
level to keep living our lives. As you can see in the film, she read
Albert Camus’ interpretation and comments on the Sisyphus story.
Actually, I was the one who really was influenced by it, and it
occurred to me I can combine this philosophical thought with mental
health issues to create more awareness.
[MIS] What were the challenges of making this film?
[Atinc] Everything. It is a zero-budget film. To be more accurate, it is a
minus budget film. I bought basic equipment such as a gimbal, tripod
and mic. They did not work on the shooting day, and I just gave them
back. Due to my and Viktoria’s (actor who plays the main character)
busy schedule we had very short and limited time for shooting. It was
a total chaos until that day, but we managed to finish on time with
the exceptional help of Viktoria.
[MIS] Why did you choose to switch between black and white and
[Atinc] Feeling. I want to capture the feeling as much as possible. This
includes angles, camera movements, sound design, lighting and color.
Before I started to shoot Absurd, I watched tons of short films about
mental illnesses. One thing they have in common, and I find it
inadequate, is almost 90% of the films are the same. They both show
and tell depressed elements. Character is depressed, color is
depressed, dialogue is depressed,sound is depressed. I wanted to
create a deeper context, because this is how life really is. People
with mental illness have highs and lows, they have a life that hasn’t
been shown in those films. I wanted to start by showing her daily
life with more colorful elements, the tone and monologue are
encouraging. Then it gets more tense with the help of sound design
and the cinematography. As you can see there is a point where she
realized she can’t overcome her fears. Not yet! This is the point
where depressive elements are included. Everything gets darker,
because her life gets darker. That change in colors symbolizes the
[MIS] What role does the music and the VO play in your Short Film?
[Atinc] First, I would like to say I am pretty satisfied with the Sound
design and effects in Absurd. It is a product of good communication.
One of the lessons I learned during the post production process is
that if you are the director, you have to describe your vision of the
film to other professionals such as the sound designer. We had great
communication and it is just like I imagined. I cannot think about a
scene without music or sound. Visual and sound complete each other.
The scene where she walks towards the door had to be a very tense
scene. I did not follow any cinematic rules. There is no symmetry, no
stable camera etc. I wanted to create discomfort for the audience,
because that is what she feels at that time. I used very strange
angles throughout the film, I purposely shook the camera in some
particular scenes, and I used point of view shots many times. Without
a good sound design it does not mean anything. I am lucky to have
worked with a great sound designer in this project who captured the
feeling of the film and produced extraordinary music and effects.
[MIS] Were there any onset problems filming ABSURD and how did you
deal with it?
[Atinc] As I mentioned above, we had so many problems. It is a no budget
short film, and the equipment we had was not in the best condition.
Most of them did not work. However, we figured out a way to shoot the
film on time. Viktoria had to do voice over countless times. I would
like to thank her for the effort.
[MIS] After the movie is done shooting, is the final picture the
same as he had visualized before the conception?
[Atinc] I don’t like to say I am perfectionist because I don’t like those
types of terms, but I can say that I am obsessed with details. We
shot the film in November and I finished the post production in
February/March.For a 4-minute running time, it is a lot. At one
point, I told myself, it is my first film, and if I keep changing
things to improve it, there will be no personal story. I decided that
when I get older, I want to look back and remember my first film as I
first imagined and visualized in my mind. So, I just stop doing the
[MIS] If you were to shoot your short film again, what would you do
[Atinc] Nothing, as I mentioned above, I want to remember this film as a
unique experience. This was the first step of my career and I am
pretty happy about it.
[MIS] What kind of films would you like to make in the future?
[Atinc] History films. I was always interested in history and I like doing
research. Cinema helps to recreate the stories of the past.
Unfortunately, there are just a few directors that made historically
accurate movies. Robert Eggers, and Ridley Scott are huge influences
for me. We need more directors and producers that focus on that
aspect of history and cinema. I am a person that wants to include
philosophical and psychological elements in a script. It expands the
story by making the struggle deeper. I believe our job as director is
not to comfort people, it is to show the reality. I am looking to
find an opportunity to combine my vision, interests and skills to
tell a story from the past.
[MIS] Please tell us about your upcoming projects.
[Atinc] Absurd was my debut film and it had more success than I could have
imagined. I want to improve myself in my next projects without being
impatient. In other words, I plan to extend the running time, and add
a few more characters in my next project. Then, I expect more budget
and staff that can help me throughout the production process. This is
the plan I am going to follow. Every new project needs to be better
than the previous. There are few projects in development and I hope
to shoot my next film in a few months.
[MIS] Do you have any advice for young filmmakers out there?
[Atinc] Watch films, read books, talk to people. Filmmaking is a unique
profession that needs basic knowledge in many different areas of
study. I see filmmaking as the intersection point of all branches of
art. To have this kind of knowledge and give the audience a sense of
them with important messages that are included in films, one has to
improve themselves constantly.
[MIS] Any final thoughts at the end of this interview?
[Atinc] Thank you for the great questions. It is always an honor to be part of the Monthly Indie Shorts