Susan Daniel talks about The Dealer on Campus

A high school principal finally gets the chance to expel the school's menace, after believing he is dealing drugs. It is our pleasure to interview Susan Daniel For Toronto Film Magazine regarding her film.

How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?

I started making films back in 2018, while I was in Film School. I was a struggling actress and I couldn’t pass an audition so I was an extra on several other film projects. So, back in 2017 I applied for online screenwriting courses at a website called Screenwriter’s University (now Script University) from that I wrote a Web Series called “Reigns of Regions” in which I got it made in 2018. However, the first project I made was a student film called “Death of a Horseman” which was a documentary about a talented young musical artist, working on his latest album.


What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a filmmaker and why?

It varies. I like to explore the different genres, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, so it varies from time to time. The Genre that really fascinates me the most is Drama. As a Director, one of my favourite aspects of filmmaking is working with the Actors, in creating drama and tension in scenes, while debating the high stakes. And to me, that’s just one of the many things I find fascinating about filmmaking.


What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker in the film industry?

Filmmaking itself is pretty challenging, a lot of problem solving is required, however getting a film financed is definitely the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker.


How difficult is it to fund indie films?

Very. It’s a challenge. In Australia, there is no funding for short films, unless for special occasions, so I have to get the funding myself, through saving up money from odd jobs I did around set and Post Production work.


Please name three of your most favourite directors. How have they been influential in your work?

I have a lot of favourite Directors. Three of my favourites are, Taika Waititi. Francois Truffaut and



What inspired you to work on The Dealer on Campus and how did the film go into production?

I wrote what was the backbone of the script back in early 2019 for a class project. The script needed to be short and there were only a couple weeks of the semester left, however the teacher didn’t go with my script. At the end of December last year, before my family and I went away to Coffs Harbour for vacation, I read the script and saw that it had potential to be a short film, it just needed more. So I added more depth to the script, which was crafting scenes, changing the script for logistical reasons. When I got back from Coffs Harbour, I went into Pre-Production.


How did you find the cast and the crew of the film? Tell us more about the production of the film and working on the set of the film to create this feature.

I found the cast and crew on a website called Starnow, while recruiting my friend Gareth as a Producer, who later was bumped up as a production designer. The crew was really amazing, they were very professional, they were a huge help. We all collaborated nicely and production ran smoothly. My crew and I did l a location recon at the University of Sydney as well as my brother’s bedroom, in which we decided on our filming locations. I held auditions through Zoom and designed Storyboards as well as a shotlist, all while communicating with the crew in what I needed.


What do you recommend to other filmmakers regarding the distribution of independent feature films?

I haven’t made an independent feature film; I’m trying to at the moment. With that being said, I would recommend applying to film festivals.


What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?

I’ve written a feature Screenplay called High Card that I hope to direct soon enough. I’m currently trying to pitch my screenplay in the hopes of getting it financed, produced and distributed. Wish me luck!


Why do you make films?

From my experience in film school, I developed a passion for filmmaking and so I started making more short films while I was studying at film school and I just completely fell in love with filmmaking. I just love the whole process of filmmaking, from pre-production, production and post production. For me, it’s just a fulfilling experience.


© Toronto Film Mag I 2020