This Is Not What You Had Planned

In a movie theatre, Hank works up the nerve to speak to the lone woman seated behind him.

At an upscale apartment, Jack invites Sarah over for a bottle of wine.

As these two very different stories unfold and intertwine, underlying connections between them begin to emerge.

Creative team

Writer/director: Christopher Smets
Producers: Elizabeth Whitmere, Juan Montalvo, Sean Buckley, Gregory Nihon, Ryan Goldhar, Terry McGurrin

Filmmaker’s statement

This film was at once both the most challenging and most rewarding project I’ve ever attempted.

The script is partially adapted from a play I wrote called Tall Tales from the Little Black Book, and the two scenes that were extracted for the film are presented more or less faithfully: with the exception of a couple of brief excursions outside, I didn’t want to ‘open it up’ for the screen. Instead, my cinematographer Juan Montalvo and I tried to use the confinement of the interiors to our advantage as much as possible.

Our two scenes – which had followed one another onstage – were then designed to be intercut, revealing emotional and thematic connections to one another as we shift back and forth between them. Most of these transitions were carefully scripted and planned in advance but quite a few happy discoveries occurred in the editing room.

I can’t say enough about this incredible quartet of actors. Kristian Bruun, Natalie Lisinska, Elizabeth Whitmere, Jefferson Brown and I spent a lot of time in rehearsal before we ever set foot on set, and the discussions we had were a critical part of the creative process.

I had a massively ambitious, dialogue-heavy 30-page screenplay and with our taut two-day shooting schedule there wasn’t much room for error, but they consistently nailed their long takes over and over again in a way that was truly a joy to watch. It was also their invaluable input that, I think, gave the film a much stronger ending than the one I’d written originally.

I hope you enjoy it.

About Christopher Smets

Christopher Smets

Christopher Warre Smets made his feature screenwriting and directing debut in 2005 with The Overlookers, picking up awards at several North American film festivals. He followed it with the crime drama The Last Hitman (2008) starring Tony Award-winning actor Joe Mantegna, which won best feature at the 2008 Canadian Film Fest.

In 2010, he directed Empire of the Word: Lekha’s Journey for TVOntario – an interactive web series shot on location in London, Berlin, Istanbul, Egypt and India – which was later nominated for both a SXSW Interactive Award and a Webby.

As a writer, he has also contributed to the screenplays of numerous feature films including Pretend We’re Kissing (2015).

Flung, his most recent short, was filmed in New York City. He currently has several projects in development.

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