The processing of personal experiences through filmmaking

Morgan Gruer comes from an art and design background and is a multidisciplinary Director and Creative Director who divides her time between New York and Los Angeles. Her films, animations and illustrations have been featured in publications such as Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Refinery29, Vimeo, Billboard, Variety Magazine, The Creator's Project and VICE.
In her film Ghosted she gets to the bottom of the ghosting phenomenon and processes her own experience at the same time.

Trailer of the film Ghosted

Your film Ghosted has an autobiographical touch. In it you process your own experience when suddenly someone disappears from your life. What was it like to make a film about such an intimate part of your own life?
It is definitely a bit scary to reveal your thoughts and feelings publicly, however, I think that it’s important to share one’s own experiences in the hopes that someone else can relate. By nature, film has to have story and emotion, and it just so happens that I draw upon those from my personal experiences.

Morgan Gruer

«The process of creating a story from personal experiences is immensely cathartic.»

Is filmmaking also a way for you to confront and to process what you have experienced?
The process of creating a story from personal experiences is immensely cathartic – it requires you to analyze and dissect the situation at hand, and then create something new from it. The process transforms a negative memory into something positive.
Why did you decide to have an actress play the leading role (Grace) and not to play the role yourself?
Acting is definitely not my forté – I am much more comfortable being behind the camera than in front, so I never even considered the prospect of acting in it myself.

Behind the scenes

The film contains a sequence of a 2D animation. How was it created, how long did the creation process take?

Animation has the ability to express a story that is not possible with live action, so it seemed the perfect way to explore the inner workings of Grace’s mind.

«Everything is drawn frame-by frame at 12 fps. The process took about 4 months across four animators.»

The process included rotoscoping and hand-drawn animation. We filmed the key scenes for Grace and Nick’s anatomy, and then used that as a reference to build our animation as the surrealism takes over. Everything is drawn frame-by frame at 12 fps. The process took about 4 months across four animators.
What made you decide to make a film about Ghosted?

Although Ghosted is personal for me, I felt that the subject was incredibly relatable. I wanted to hold up a mirror to our modern day dating culture and showcase some of the truths that have become our reality.

Behind the scenes

How has dating, in your opinion, changed over time? Do we put less value on relationships than before?

I don’t think we put less value on relationships, but what I do know is that the way we now interact is vastly different than generations prior. On one hand, technology allows us to keep in touch with people who aren’t in our line of sight, however, the digital world creates such a big disconnect that I often feel like it widens our gaps, rather than closing it.

Texting language lacks intonation and body language. Feelings are reduced to emojis and GIFs. The swipe-right culture leads us believe that there are millions of other options out there, all accessible with the swipe of a thumb.

Stills of the film Ghosted

“Ghosting” has always existed, but our surrounding circumstances have changed. This relationship between people and technology is important to keep in mind during the pandemic, and to try to use technology in the best way possible – to remind people that they are not alone.

Morgan Gruer's short film Ghosted is an Official Selection of Retrospective of Jupiter.
Watch Ghosted

One Response to The processing of personal experiences through filmmaking

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *