The film, that will premiere during Slamdance, follows Henry (Brian McGuire), after his fiancée Beth (Nina Millin) breaks off the engagement after she finds audio recordings of their intimate life and a confession that he may no longer love her, Hughto explained.
Henry then meets Charlie (Sonja Kinski), who indulges him in acting out his obsession of creating the perfect interaction.
"The film is really about mediation and thinking about how we present ourselves and each other without second thought to whether the things we're doing are appropriate," Hughto said during a phone call to The Park Record from Los Angeles, Calif. "It's about how that thought is radically changing the boundaries of things that were once private are now public and what that does to intimacy."
With that concept in mind, Hughto began to craft a storyline in a way that would be visually interesting.
"The thing I looked for was fluidity, identity and, at the same time, humanity," he said. "I wanted the characters to be changed by the events that happen in the film and are not the same as they were when we started, if that makes sense."
"Diamond on Vinyl" is told in chronological order as far as the narrative goes, even though Hughto tried to figure out a way to make it linear and nonlinear at the same time, he explained.
"At the same time, by using sounds and recordings and the iterations and destabilizing those things, I wanted the audience to question whether or not they were seeing something in the moment, or behind the moment," Hughto said. "Hopefully, by the end of the film, I want them to question what they saw and when they saw it."
Hughto knew the film needed to be character driven.
"I knew the kind of people I wanted and knew that the script could make the characters clinical and cold, so I wanted actors who would bring in a lot of empathy," he said. "I wanted the audience to like the characters, even though they make bad decisions."
Hughto worked with casting director Lisa Roth.
"She was amazing because I told her I didn't care about appearances, but needed actors who were in the right age range and committed to make the film with me," he said.
The filming took only 12 days.
"Everything was centered around performance," Hughto said. "The actors and I had to feel like we had the time to get the right shots and right performance."
McGuire, Millin and Kinski were instrumental in bringing these characters to life in ways Hughto didn't imagine.
"I told them not to worry about hitting all the lines, but did say I needed them to hit the beats," he said. "Some of my favorite moments in the film when they were acting off script."
Kinski originally came in for a different role and Hughto gave her a script and asked her to come in for call backs and then put her with Brian and watched the magic unfold, he said.
"To me, Charlie is quite the broken person in spirit, but also very childlike, because she is very open and free," Kinski said during an separate telephone interview from L.A. "She is different than me because at certain times in my life, I put up a guard and filter my actions and worlds, but I related to her a lot."
One of Kinski's favorite scenes is when she meets one of the characters and realizes she wants something different.
"When I play (a character), the process has nothing to do with me," she said. "During the filming, I tried to differentiate between myself and Charlie. So, when I played, I would think about and imagine how she would play off of the person I'm acting with.
"It was like a game of ping pong and I found myself basing what I did on the mood of the scene," she said.
Kinski said Hughto was a great director, especially since the film was shot in such a short time.
"We got it done, and it helped because we were able to cram everything in under pressure," she said. " J.R. is a sweet and amazing person and great to work with."
Slamdance will screen "Diamond on Vinyl" on Monday, Jan.21, at 9:30 p.m. in the Treasure Mountain Inn Gallery, 255 Main St. For more information, visit www.slamdance.com.