Iris Has Free Time
Comparisons to HBO’s Girls has us excited to read Iris Has Free Time by Iris Smyles. This story about a 20-something year old girl trying to make her way as a writer in NY might be familiar, but as you can see by the trailer, this tale is not any old cliche. The music tugged on our heartstrings as we watched “Iris” in her blue tutu trying to find her place in New York City. Watch the trailer, and then go behind the scenes of its production with the author of the book and the composer of that haunting tune.
“For the book cover, I had this idea of a young woman in a tutu wandering around the gritty city, like an overgrown child at sea in an adult world. The novel is about being in your 20s, that strange, difficult, charmed transitional period when you’re no longer a child but not quite an adult, and this image, I think, captures that feeling.
My goal with the trailer was to evoke the feeling of Iris Has Free Time without illustrating any scenes, to make a little film that could stand alone and would be interesting in its own right.
I had not told Julie Ingram about my film idea when I asked her if she’d compose a song inspired by the book and was amazed at how perfectly her song scored the little movie I was already seeing in my head. Chris Stein, who shot the cover, went out with me again. For two days we wandered around the city taking photos. 5000 frames. Scott Macblane, former photo editor at Maxim (a great irony if you’ve read Iris Has Free Time—in the first scene Iris botches a job interview at Maxim), helped me edit that file to 500 frames, which I then sent to friends Milly Iatrou and Ronald Morgan of the filmmaking team, Iatrou & Morgan. They produced a rough cut and for four weeks we corresponded over the edits, trying to get it just right. I love how it turned out and love that it is truly a collaboration of my very talented and generous friends.”
Julie Ingram, A.K.A. “Bankette,” composer:
“I’d just finished reading an early galley of Iris Has Free Time when Iris wrote me with the idea that I compose a song. I had always wanted to record solo piano music, but was a little afraid. There’s a vulnerability inherent in that style of music which I well-avoided; but something about this novel and the character’s own raw emotional accessibility, gave me the courage to try it. I was inspired.
Shortly after receiving her email, I woke up one morning with a melody in my head to the lyrics ‘Iris smiles upside down’. I thought the lyrics were a little corny, but I had a melodic hook and was happy. I fleshed out the rest of the song and recorded it with my friend Charles Goodan who suggested we add subtle ambient noises to the background. We had a song – hoorah!
I sent the piece to Iris and waited excitedly to see how it would turn out. A few days ago, like a kid who had completely forgotten it was her birthday, I received the book trailer and was floored by its beauty and how it captured the tone of Iris’s novel.”
Learn more and order your own copy of Iris Has Free Time here:
And if you love the song in the trailer as much as we do, you can buy that here.
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