Constance Tsang is a Chinese American filmmaker based in New York. She recently graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in screenwriting and directing where she was awarded the Robert Gore Rifkind launch fund. Her thesis film Beau received jury selects at her thesis showcase and won the Directors Guild of America’s jury prize in their 26th annual student film awards (east coast Asian American category). Beau has screened at Palm Springs Shortsfest, Brooklyn Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, and Melbourne Queer Film Festival among others. Her previous short film, Carnivore, was a 2018 AT&T Hello Lab project mentored and executive produced by Cary Joji Fukunaga.
Q & A
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I’m a little to embarrassed to talk about my bad ideas as they are truly bad but I will answer the second bit which is to say bad ideas only stay bad ideas for so long. I think for most of my ideas, there is always an essence in there to why I care and what compels me to tell it. I hold onto that and completely rework the idea till I find a form that works for me and for the story. Suddenly the idea moves from bad to…there’s something there.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
I would like to be if the community will have me!
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration
It differs from film to film but it’s very much always rooted in reality. With Carnivore, for example, the “world” is finance so I looked into hedge funds. I took elements from news articles I read, lengthy talks with friends I knew in the industry, so that way I have specifics to hold onto. Then I make it my own and give it a feeling. Visually, I’ll look at artwork, photography, go through some books I have, then do a very lengthy google search. Films I also admire with similar moods prove to be helpful.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
If I woke up inside Carnivore I’d make sure to stay out of the kitchen.
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Since this film is fresh on my mind the biker squad from Mandy.
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
-Jason. -Neither, Shirley Jackson -Practical -Pre Apocalypse
How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
I have in my mind objects that I think are essential to enhancing the dramatics of the story and those are already there on a script level, but then as I build out I do think about charged objects and what that means for the characters. I’ll have a conversation with my DP and Production Designer with how it fits into the story, what it looks like, how hard is it to get it, is it cheesy? On a practical level it’s also what can I afford and what is there in the location already?
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Funny Games. There’s nothing more terrifying than the real.