Tegen Short is a British-based actress who wrote, produced and starred in her debut short film, Regulars. The film addresses the "cruelty within all of us and the complicated and twisted nature of relationships, and the unpredictability of humanity". Tegen has appeared in US and UK television and is classically trained. This is her first writer and producer credit. Regulars has been screened at multiple global film festivals and has secured interest to develop into a feature film. Tegen continues to develop multiple other projects alongside her acting career.
What was the trigger to write this story? What aspects do Regulars explore and delve into?
I wanted to make something unexpected and a twist on how most classic thriller or horror films are written where the woman is the victim. This short was originally a one-woman show about Stockholm Syndrome. It was inspired by an article I read during my time at drama school about women who have developed Stockholm syndrome and being given labels such as “weak” because they ‘gave into their abuser’. I wanted to challenge that opinion as I believe it takes a lot of courage to survive these experiences and to forgive someone who has treated you in such a way. It was a huge challenge, as an actress and a writer, to create something so sensitive and unique.
Congratulations on a truly massive performance! Did you have the chance to participate in Tom Glynn-Carney's casting process? Have you written the script thinking about yourself for the female leading rolE
Thank you so much. Yes, I was part of the casting process and all of the other creative decisions, the perks of being the producer. Tom and I had never worked together, however, we went to the same drama school and I had always admired him as an actor. I initially approached him as he has a fantastic band called Sleep Walking Animals and I thought that one of their songs would be perfect for this piece. He asked to see the script and loved the character of Titus and so we went from there. We were very lucky that it worked out so smoothly. We didn’t really have any rehearsal time due to the pandemic, and despite not having worked together before, there was natural chemistry. Answering the other half of that question. Yes, I had written the female character with myself in mind. The script and topic was very close to my heart after performing the one-woman show. Also, this industry is tough, as all who are in it know all too well. Creating work for yourself keeps those creative muscles flexed which I think is important.
How instrumental were the visuals of the house in contrast with the outside world in order to create the ambiguous world within? Would you agree to say that a victimizer is usually someone's former victim?
I am no psychologist but from my experience, it seems that trauma experiences have the potential to be cyclical. If a child observes a particular type of behaviour they learn that that is the way to deal with it. This was something we were trying to explore within the piece and that we are all capable of committing bad acts.