Two-time Emmy award winner Cady McClain is proving she’s much more than an actress. Although best known for her roles on the soap operas “All My Children” and “As the World Turns,” McClain just completed her first short-film, one in which she took on the roles of writer, producer and director.
McClain’s film (and her directorial debut), Flip Fantasia is a dark comedy set in New York City about four guys and their relationship to a dead girl.
Although hilariously comical at times, the film strikes a nerve when you look past the humor and the giant cheese puffs. McClain takes innocent, urban people and creates a situation where they are suddenly faced with hardcore reality, all while posing the question to the audience: “What part of this is a result of the characters not paying attention? How much of it is about love, and what part is about denial?” The themes run deep.
McClain’s short film is about life, death and flawed people. But mostly, it’s a story about love and the emotional process of letting go.
Flip Fantasia stars Christopher Gabriel Nunez, Julie Lucas, Eden Marryshow, Clinton Lowe, and Gil Zabarsky,
I spoke with Cady McClain about the movie as well as what she has in store for the future.
James Wood (JW): What made you decide to undertake this project?
Cady McClain (CM): I’ve always had an eye towards multidimensional work. Back in the ’90s I wrote a play that I produced and co-directed and it was one of the greatest artistic experiences of my life. Christopher (Gabriel Nunez, who stars in the movie) is also a playwright and I recently started acting in his plays. He has this amazing energy that just revitalized me and gave me the strength to go back and make something that really matters and to put my vision out there. I’m really grateful for that support.
JW: How did you come up with the idea for Flip Fantasia?
CM: I’ve been jotting down ideas for years and sometimes stories will just pop into my head. Over the years I’ve had an enormous amount of therapy in my personal life and one day was walking through Central Park thinking I had so much baggage that it sometimes felt as though I was carrying around a dead body. Then I started to laugh at the picture of some young guy walking through the park dragging this girl around, propping her up on a park bench at lunch, just unable to let go.
JW: What was the casting process like?
CM: I originally wrote the story back in 2011 and did a Skype reading with Chris and a few other NYU student actors. When Chris came around again this year, he asked me about the movie and making it happen. He told me that he had a few actors in mind that he had always wanted to work with. Once we did another Skype reading, I knew immediately that it would work!
JW: Did you notice any differences or challenges being a female in complete control of a production rather than being an actress?
CM: It was a big step forward into big shoes, but I never saw myself as being a woman in a position of authority. I think because I don’t treat people differently (whether they’re male or female) and don’t expect people to treat me any differently, I’m setting that environment. In the end though, all of that doesn’t really matter. All I want is to get to the good work.
JW: Why did you decide to go the online route with releasing Flip Fantasia?
CM: Over the last few years I’ve been really busy a lot online. I have a dialog with a lot of people who have been very supportive of me, so I wanted to give this as a gift to them. The other reason is that since most people know me mostly as an actress on soap operas, they may not think much of it. Doing it this way helps people see that I’m a not just an actress, I’m a story-teller. Sometimes you have to prove yourself in this world.
JW: What have you learned from this experience?
CM: Producing is challenging, and it’s also very important to be organized. Another thing I’ve learned by taking on these multiple roles (producer, director, and writer) is that it gives you more respect for the job that everyone does. Everyone’s job is important.
JW: On a personal satisfaction level, how does completing Flip Fantasia compare to some of your other projects?
CM: I’m just as exhausted [laughs], but it’s a similar deep, quiet pleasure. The most fun of all is being on set or in the studio. The actual process of creating is the fun part. It’s a blessing to be able to do it.
JW: What’s next for you?
CM: We start shooting a brand new short film in October called “The World of Fuh”. It’s about a professor named Albert Fuh who falls in love with a balloon [laughs]. I’ve always been a huge fan of short stories and think shorts have a unique place in the entertainment world. The good ones always tend to linger with you the longest.
For more on Cady McClain and Flip Fantasia. Check out the film’s official website!