Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York: We talked to Constance Tsang, a NYC based film maker, who is currently finishing her first short film „Third Party“, a piece about a sensitive loner who helps sever attachments over the phone as he works as an employee of a break-up agency. All this comes head to head when he is confronted by one of his cases in person…

Connie, we are a huge fan of your visual journal! When and why did you start it?
Thanks! I started photography maybe about five years ago. When I was growing up I had always used writing as a medium for trying to express something. Then after a while, I felt like I had nothing to say anymore. Complete writer’s block. I needed to work with something different. So around that time, my boyfriend got me a film camera and slowly but surely started taking pictures of literally everything – a foot, toilets, strangers- and that built to where I am now. I do photography more as a hobby to document the life and experiences I’ve come across, probably as a way to keep these memories alive.

 

Your portfolio of work places and collaborations is quite impressive! How would you describe your current job and position?
Impressive is a nice word to describe it but I think the multiple collaborations these past few years really came from a place of not knowing what I was really doing and wanting to explore everything, no stone unturned. I dabbled in fashion and media, but none really seemed to fulfil me. Then I started working with a director, thought about film school, and started writing again, like seriously writing, which led to this short. Position wise – I group everything I do now, writing, producing, and directing under the umbrella term and guise of being a “film maker.”

 

Did your studies prepare you for the work you are doing right now?
Yes and no. I went to a really liberal school, New York University’s Gallatin School, that allowed me to choose and create my own major. So there, I had fine arts classes, art history, film, theatre, and theory courses. It helped me become a more critical thinker but I wouldn’t say it helped me prepare for a certain job market.

 

Who was the most inspiring person you worked with or met in your professional life so far? What did you learn from him/her?
I’ve been lucky enough to encounter a handful on inspiring people. From my previous bosses to friends that I know, everyone brings something different to the table. Common traits all of them share would probably be perseverance and self-discipline. As with anything creative, it’s going to be a long road ahead. I’ve learned to keep a certain structure to my non-structured work environment, mentally prepare myself for inevitable shortcomings, and to just remember to keep the magic alive.

“Making your own movie is a process I would compare to catching waves. It appears and then you have to do your best to catch it”

How do you come up with ideas for new project? Or to be more specific: when did you have the idea of writing and producing your very own movie?
My own fears and uncertainty are a pretty strong driving force. It’s things and themes that I sit around with in the back of my head. Then, I’ll walk around and an idea will suddenly pop up for a scene or character and I’ll write it down. Sometimes, well most of the time, I scrap a lot of these thoughts but there will be one or two where I’m like that’s pretty cool! It’s a process I would compare to catching waves. It appears and then you have to do your best to catch it. With Third Party, I was introduced to my co-director and partner, Joshua, via a mutual friend. At that point I was developing a documentary and Josh, who has a documentary background, was going to work with me on it. The doc was then delayed so we ended up figuring out other ways to work together as I liked him and his style very much. One day he came over to my place and brought to the table an article about a service that will break up relationships for you and that was it.
What is the movie about?
At the core of it, the film is about a man trying to reconnect with the world around him. The environment that we created had an intimate yet slightly dystopian tone, a place that is both familiar but estranged. With George, our protagonist, he works for Third Party, which is the namesake of the film but also the name of app he works for. Day in and day out, he makes these calls ending relationships. By chance, he ends up meeting a caller in person. It’s a sweet, dark comedy.

“I would say that’s the most important part when choosing your team, you need people who are of course good, but if you’re going to be stuck with each other for a few days non-stop, you should like them”

How did you choose your team and cast?
Heems (Himanshu Suri), George in the film, was a suggestion through my friend Michael. He’s fantastic rapper but hasn’t acted in too many films. I sent him the script, he read for me in person, and that was it. He was perfect. Corin, who plays Lola, I found through United Citizen Brigade, a well-known comedy troupe here in the States. I had the best time with her during the audition as I had her improve some scenes. She was so incredibly funny. They read together before we shot and it took the script to another level. The rest of my team is basically friends or people that I’ve worked with before. It felt like one big family when we were shooting. I would say that’s the most important part when choosing your team, you need people who are of course good, but if you’re going to be stuck with each other for a few days non-stop, you should like them.
What was or is the hardest part in mounting your own production? Anything that surprised you or that was absolutely unexpected?
Financing. That was the hardest. In the beginning we had someone who wanted to finance the film but then a month before we were to shoot pulled out. As with these passion projects, you and your team really have to love the story and idea. It’s a lot of favors and free labor.
Can we expect more projects like the ongoing one?
I hope so! We had created the short in hopes of turning it into a series or something longer length.
Good luck! We can’t wait to see the whole movie once it is available. You were born and raised in New York City – any chance that you will move to another spot some day?
Definitely, hopefully it will be to another major city as I still don’t have my driver’s license.
Talking to a real New York City Girl – any fashion tips from Brooklyn – which brands should we keep an eye on?
Most of my wardrobe is from Ulla Johnson. Her line is romantic, practical, and so detailed. I also like Creatures of Comfort, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, and Sophie Buhai for jewelry.

What else do you have in mind for 2017, which is the next project to focus on? What is on your personal bucket list?
I’m currently writing a play about a woman who frequents the same restaurant in the hopes of meeting her past lover. Then one day, a man enters and they start to converse, re-enacting scenes that feels like a familiar affair. It has Last Year at Marienbad vibes. There’s also a feature length script waiting for me to start. Besides that, I feel for 2017 it’s important to stay up to date with our current political situation in the States, and for me personally to get involved…

Sounds great! How can we stay up to date about your projects?
Probably through my site and instagram! I don’t interact too much with social media but I try.

Amazing, thank you for your time!

FOLLOW CONNIE’S VISUAL JOURNEY HERE:

www.constancetsang.com
instagram.com/constance_tsang