When the role of viola opens up in an impending production of twelfth night”, two actresses are called back for a second audition. Ria wins the part, and tash is made the standby. As the first night of the performance draws close, ria struggles to find clarity in her act, tash is challenged by a visit from a family friend.

Director's Notes

Standby observes the drama leading up to a pivotal performance for one of its characters. We use the action as a framework to explore scene subtext- who should have the part? Is the best auditioner, the better performer, or the better pitcher? Should the role go to the one who works harder, or the one that seems right?

Mise En Scene

Duality informs the framing. Early two shots divide and parallel characters that suffer in singles as they journey deeper into the film, leading to the symmetrical singles of the finale. Static shots slowly give away to movement, ending in a montage of rhythmic movements. Match cuts and echoed parallel frames connect moments across the film.

The journey of light tells the story: a wash of liminal. Blues from backstage clashes with the glaring yellow Of the stage lights.

This lighting journey is part of a broader colour Scheme – blue for the backstage, pink for the dressing Room. Cyan for the edges of the world, red for the Auditorium, and the yellowtinged-blacks of the stage.

Production Background

Standby was conceived to feature the talents of its three actresses- esther, pallavi and phoebe. The script reworked a screenplay by cathy friend called ‘besties”.


Filmed over two days at the zenith theatre and excelsia college in sydney. Post-production was an international collaboration during the covid-19 lockdown- with an editor in sweden, a direc tor in australia, and music composers in milan.


RIA ( Phoebe gribble )

Ria is from an acting family. Ria is conscientious and discipluned She went to drama school with tash, and this production is her first significant opportunity as even at school lead roles tended to go to others with more presence Ria has noticed a cycle and her studies where she overworks material, while others who dont work as hard experience a more intuitive connection on stage

TASH ( esther williams )

Tash was a very promising actor from a regional city Where this was less common. Her mother was a teacher and now Suffers from a degenerative condition. Tash’s move to study in the City necessitated hiring a nurse, and tash’s old school friend alice Took the job. Tash feels the need to be a success’ to her family Back home hence the lie about playing viola. She is often Overwhelmed by the surplus of acting talent in the city, and Struggles with the audition process, even though she is very Natural in the moment of performance.

ALICE ( Pallavi warden )

Alice And Tash Were At High School Together And Alice Tended To Shelter Tash Academicaly At That Time Alice Fears That Tash Is Guilty About Not Carng For Her Own Mother, And Tries To Motivate connection Between The Two She Came To The Play Expecting To See Tash Perform The Role. But Cant Help But Notice That There Is A Tension Present




Written, Directed And Produced By
Michael McLennan


Director of Photography
Rasmus Callmer


Production Design
Emily Kemp


Viktor Jonsson


Sound Recording
Simon Allen


Sara Dolado, Pablo Anson

Sound Mix
John Hresc


Addtional Sound Editor
Jacob Hafner Keelan


First AC
Sean Victoriano, Paul D’indy


Second AC
Alex Plenge Chan


Jamie Murray

Best Boy
Justin Layug


Production Design Assist
Kaitlyn Symons


Featuring Characters From
“Besties’ By Cathy Friend


Rasmus Callmer


Assistant Editor
Michael Mclennan


Special Thanks
Naomi Belet

Ellen Doolan


Viktor Jonsson


Eletronic Press Kit
Reuben Tirkey


Executive Producer
Mark Seton


Special Thanks
Emily O’Brien

Excelsia College
In Association with Wavelength Films

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