The Spa: It Began With An Image in My Mind

Spiritual Cinema Circle

Will Goodfellow is the Sydney-based screenwriter and director of The Spa, his third short film. Will was also co-creator of Corn Cobs, a comedy webseries for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and he has been commissioned to create branded content work for Vice Magazine, Jägermeister and Sony Australia.

What were the origins of the script for The Spa?

The first seed of the idea was a comical image in my mind of all these enormous men in a spa together. When I imagined it, for some reason the image (even though it was funny) was tinged with a little bit of melancholy and I set about exploring what would justify that feeling. To flesh out the rest of the story from there it was about drawing on my own experiences with grief and the people I have met in my own life that share similar characteristics.

Lots of scripts never get made into actual films. How did you manage to make The Spa?

We initially received a small grant from our state film funding organization, ScreenNSW. The grant was only enough to get us started so we crowdsourced about a third of our budget and then personally invested another third.

One of the reasons the film works so well is the casting. How did you find the actors?

The two lead actors are quite well known in Australia so we approached their agents and fortunately they said yes. The other two younger men were not as experienced. We saw Peter Moalueaua who plays Leeroy in a tv commercial and Sean Conway who plays Moose is a stand-up comedian whose show I had seen.

They’re all rather, well, large men, and when we first got everyone to get in the spa for the final scene we hadn’t anticipated the volume of water the men would collectively displace, so when they all got in, the water rose so high it overflowed the spa and flooded the scene.

Is there a message in the film?

It wasn’t my main intention to talk about aging and community, but there is an aspect of it. Thematically my interest was more broadly to do with masculinity and male bonding and how men find it difficult to express their emotions so they find other, less direct, ways to let each other know they care.

What would you like our members to take away from the film?

I just hope they enjoy it and feel touched by it. If it helps bring a moment of joy into someone’s life or makes the world feel like a kinder place even for a few moments then I’m pretty happy.

What are you working on now as a filmmaker?

I have two more short films and a feature film on the go. I’ll be directing one of the short films but the other will be directed by another member of our director’s collective. The feature film is a long term project so hopefully we’ll get it made eventually.

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