The Fallout Director Megan Park On The Importance Of Little Details, Adding Levity To A Traumatic Story, And More [Interview]

What do you think Jenna needed on the set?

Jenna needed someone to be her hype girl, to trust her and to give her space because she came so prepared and she nailed, I kid you not, every single take. From the emotional stuff to the fun stuff to the physical stuff, she nailed it every single time. Maybe I don’t know if this is true, but I feel myself as a young actor, you don’t always get the space to have the director be like, “That was amazing. You killed it. Now, do something that you have never tried before. Just throw it all away and try something fun.” I would always just try to give her that opportunity because she is obviously so gifted. She is pretty magical, but give her the space to just let her do her thing.

Even the texts in this movie are very authentic. I didn’t know what half of them meant.

[Laughs] yeah. I remember when they were sending back some of the comps of the VFX of texting, I was like, “No, no!” It was proper grammar, proper spelling. The little details are everything. What’s in their Instagram bio? What jewelry are they wearing, their wardrobe, their makeup, what is their slang that they’re using? The memes that they’re sending to each other? I think all of that was important because young people have high bullsh*t radars, and I love that. I think sometimes it can be one thing that can turn kids off and feel like it’s an old person looking in, being like, “Look how crazy these young people are.” I wanted to feel it was an authentic look into their world and didn’t turn them off.

Why did you only have four or five weeks to edit?

Budget. It was a low, low budget movie. Not a lot of time, not a lot of money. I mean, that’s the whole thing. If you are doing a Marvel movie, you have a lot of time, a lot of money, but we did not have a lot of time. We really didn’t have a lot of money. It was tough.

When you started out acting, was directing an ambition?

Just recently, honestly. I feel acting was all I ever knew. Some people have asked me, “Why did you make the transition?” I come from a small town and no one in my family is in the industry. When you are interested in arts when you are younger, the natural thing is you go to a theater camp or you go to a small theater company. And so, I kind of just did that and I really enjoyed it.

Then I started working professionally in Toronto, the older I got, and then I got this TV show. It kind of happened. I just never thought about writing and directing as a current option for whatever reason. I just thought that was it. I think at one point I realized that acting was not fulfilling me personally in a way that it seemed to [for] my peers. When they would talk about how it would feel for them to be acting, I was like, “It just does not feel like that for me.” I don’t know why.

I remember the first time I wrote something, I was like, “Oh, this is all clicking for me in a way that being on the other side of the camera didn’t quite click for me.” Then when I directed, I felt the same way. I feel I would not have gone to film school. I grew up in a house without a TV. I was not a film buff, but that was such an education for me in a masterclass. There are so many years of acting that helped me.

Where do you want to go after “The Fallout” then?

It has changed a lot. I think the one thing I’m sure of is I’m never going to act in my own movie. That sounds like my version of a nightmare. Acting is always something that has been really fun for me and I’ve enjoyed it, but I want to spend the majority of my time writing and directing. That is what really fulfills me.

Are you writing anything at the moment?

I have about four things I’m writing. I get very busy. I just finished writing my second feature that I am going to be making — knock on wood — this year, which I’m excited about. Also, I have a TV show that I’m writing and directing and another feature that I’m writing.

Now that you’ve made a movie, how do you write differently?

When I write, I just black out. I literally just don’t know what’s happening. I try not to get too much in my head about it in terms of overthinking. Is this going to be an expensive scene to shoot? Is this going to be too hard? I just try to write from my gut and then figure out the rest later. I think that as I’m changing as a person and learning and evolving, my characters, my scripts are as well.

I think that I will definitely approach directing with a whole new skill set that is going to be valuable to me. We also directed “The Fallout” in the middle of the pandemic, pre-vaccine, pre-everything. I was breastfeeding a baby. I had a newborn at home. It was hard. I am looking forward to hopefully filming a movie without some of those things adding to the complication of it all. It will be easier, but there are always challenges. With every project, you just have to take them as they go.

“The Fallout” is now available on HBO Max.

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