The Director's Vision


The idea for Pastoral began as I watched a dear friend struggle through a bad relationship. I tried to grasp why she should stay in such an obviously bad situation, and I began writing to try and help her make sense of her situation. As I continued to write, the story began to take on a life of it’s own. I began to see that it wasn’t that she wanted to stay in that situation, but rather she was afraid to take steps forward to better her life. As I observed others, and even myself, I realized that we all have steps we can take to make our lives better, but so often we are afraid to. And Pastoral slowly evolved into a story about learning to appreciate what we do have, and taking steps to make things even better.


Pastoral will be filled with details, the little things that make life special. Layers of beauty, one on top of another, that will be reveal more with each viewing. But most importantly, Pastoral is a film about people. People that I have come to know during the course of writing them. The films that I admire all have one thing in common. Great characters. Well-written, well-acted characters that come alive on screen for audiences to cheer, despise, love, sympathize with. My goal is to bring to life the characters of Pastoral so audiences will care about them, and care about what happens to them.


Pastoral is also a film about making dreams come true, about changing your direction and empowering one’s self to improve. Every key member on the crew is someone who has experience in their chosen field. Their passion for this project and their desire for artistic expression will push each artist, and the film as a whole, to new levels of expression and creativity. With much of the film set in fantasy, and told in an unconventional method, it allows everyone in the cast and crew to go far beyond their normal roles and creatively express far beyond what they would get to in the Hollywood system.


Through my previous experience, I’ve been able to help shape the look of a number of films, but now I get to establish the look and feel of an entire feature film. My experience on big Hollywood movies, while fun to create amazing effects that audiences seem to enjoy, ultimately feel empty to me, since most of these films fail to involve me in their story. Effects for the sake of effects have never thrilled me. Without a good story or characters you know and feel for, a film is meaningless. As a director I want my audiences to leave Pastoral having gotten to know Jennifer and Jonathan, felt for them, cared for them, and maybe even learned a little something about themselves in the process.


After helping to create more than 25 films filled with fantasy, it will be a delight to use my talents on my own vision. Not having to limit myself to another director’s whim. Pastoral will combine the magical storytelling of films like An American in Paris while pushing the limits of modern sensibilities as seen in films such as Amelie and Chicago. But Pastoral will never place style over substance. While the film will be like nothing before it, Pastoral will be a success only if audiences connect with the story and the characters.


While writing I tried to create a story people could relate to, and create characters that have become friends to me. Characters I care for, love, and as the director I will help the actors get to know those roles the way I do, so audiences can fall in love with them just as I have. I believe this film is special. And everyone involved in the cast and crew believes that too.


- Jay Shindell, 2012