Working retail sucks.
No matter what there's always going to be a customer in a bad mood, an out-of-date coupon you're blamed for, or strict company policies about the bathroom being "employees only" you have to enforce.
A story of the latter is what born-and-raised Coquitlamite Trevor Cornish captured in his writer/director debut - a short film entitled ROLAND.
The story follows do-gooder art store employee Roland, a young man working the night shift who gives the seemingly obvious answer of "no" to an older man asking to use the employee-only bathroom. Things quickly spiral out of control. It's funny. It's a bit scary. And it's all true.
"The idea is based on a true story," Cornish told the Tri-Cities NOW. "My co-writer Niall Kelly - the story happened to him. He used to work at an art store and when we were trying to think of something to write, he was like, Did I ever tell you about that time..." and he told me and I was like, 'That's it.'" That realization came five years ago. Then, as it often does, life got in the way.
"We wrote the script and then it sat on the shelf for two and a half years because the recession came and well, we had to make money," he said.
Cornish wanted to privately fund the film and decided he couldn't continue spending money on something while his family could potentially suffer, so he kept working in the film industry directing commercials, video games, music videos, and TV episodes until the time was right to get back to it.
He got that chance two and a half years ago. "I broke the script back out and I was reading it and I was still like, 'I really like this idea,'" he said. At that point, he had felt comfortable enough to take the plunge and begin filming.
The plan was to film in Vancouver, but due to last minute work changes it became a choice of waiting longer to film it on the west coast, or do the work in Toronto. He chose Toronto.
Filming started in January 2012. Fastforward a little more than a year later and Cornish's side-project was finally finished.
"I spent a year doing the editing, the music, those final post-production things to put it together," he said.
Finally his hard work had paid off, and after screening the film with friends he knew he had to take it further.
"You can put it on YouTube and that will be fine, but you know, there is the festival world and I really liked the idea of putting it in festivals," he said.
In case you didn't catch the running theme, what Cornish wanted to do he ended up doing.
On Sept. 12 Cornish held the premiere of ROLAND at the Toronto International Film Festival. A dream come true for the boy who first entered the film world as a production assistant 18 years ago.
ROLAND will have its first west coast play at Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) on Oct. 3 at 9:15 p.m., and again on Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. Cornish is also joined in the festival by Coquitlam youth Paige Smith, whose short film Blank Canvases is set to premiere as part of the Reel Youth Film Festival at VIFF.
For more information Cornish's film, visit viff.org or trevorcornish.com.
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