My Thoughts Exactly is a film about the choices we make and the chances we take. From grief and abjection to bliss and communion, the movie takes us through one day in the lives of two queer men.
Mike Archibald was born and raised in Vancouver, where he works as a copywriter while pursuing his movie dreams. My Thoughts Exactly is his first film. Mike holds a B.F.A. in Film Studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University.
What makes you fascinated with the cinematic language and what was the first film project you worked on?
For me, cinema provides a bridge between two important avenues of expression: the literary and the visual. I want to tell stories, and I also want to cultivate a way of seeing. It gives me satisfaction to be working in the medium which most closely represents reality as it's perceived by people; I want to honour that reality but also to shape it to match my thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Please tell us how "My Thoughts Exactly'' came to life and let us know about the process from pre-production to completion. My Thoughts Exactly came from a casual conversation: some friends and I were sharing memories of awful jobs that we'd worked. When I told the story of my mercifully brief time as a telephone salesperson, and the way one particular gig in that field ended, a filmmaker friend said, "That would make a good short film. If you make that into a film, Mike, I'll produce it." Thus began a process which included many screenplay drafts, several pandemic-related shoot cancellations and some wonderful collaborators... In the end, the story of My Thoughts Exactly wound up significantly transformed from the anecdote that inspired it, but that's what the art of fiction is about: the negotiation between reality and make-believe.
What was the most challenging aspect of working on this indie short?
By far the most challenging thing about making this film was the shoot day on which we filmed the office interior action. The multiple obligations, the logistical complexity and the sheer endurance required almost overwhelmed me.
What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?
Right now I'm developing my next short film; I'm also writing a feature script.
What is the most creative part of directing a film for you?
Shot composition. On My Thoughts Exactly, it was especially rewarding to frame and capture nature; I very much enjoyed the collaboration with my cinematographer in that area.
Does the language of cinema stand out more than other arts to you? And why?
I'm a fan of art in all its forms, but there's definitely something about cinema that attracts me as an artist. I think it's the mimetic potential above all that I find exciting.
Why do you make films and what kind of impact would your projects have on the world?
I'm pretty wary of speculating about impact, because I think it's usually something that's hard to suss out. Often the impact of artworks is personal and private, though there are occasions when a wider societal impact is obvious. I think I make films to describe the world as a I see it, and also to fulfill my imagination; I think that, at this point, the best I can hope for is that others will relate to my point of view and be moved.