Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Interview with Mark Ezra Stokes

Today I'm going to interview screenwriter and Director of Creative Media for JamesWorks Entertainment Mark Ezra Stokes.

1. What is the current project you are working on? I'm rewriting a script I did in grad school about a middle-aged pharmacist who decides to step out from his self-imposed quarantine after the death of his live-in mother. And he also doesn't take any pharmaceutical drugs, which makes him an odd sort of hypocrite right off the bat.

2. Did you always want to be a filmmaker? I suppose so, in some form or fashion. I remember, at the age of three, telling people that I wanted to be a cartoonist. Then, it switched to stuntman until I saw a scary documentary at nine. After that, it was magician and clown, and finally in college I realized that a screenwriter would be the culmination of all of these things, except I wouldn't have to wear a trench coat and glasses in the street when I needed to get groceries. I went with screenwriter.

3. What inspired you to become filmmaker? It was this little "pro-family" propaganda piece called "Hollywood vs. Religion." No lie. I came away from that documentary thinking, "What if religious people quit boycotting, started opening their ears to the cinematic language that already exists, and tried making movies that told stories instead of heavy-handedly Bible-beating the audience into submission?" I don't think that's what the filmmakers intended.

4. What is your opinion on movie remakes in Hollywood? I was just talking to some guys about this on a shoot. I wouldn't give a blanket statement and say, "I hate movie remakes," but nine times out of ten, they end up being terrible. Why is that? I'd say because the number one reason remakes get the greenlight is that they're "safe." They've got a built-in audience, and there are numbers to prove that, at one time, a lot of people liked the product. And so the ones that stink to high heaven are the ones that STAY safe. They may do something "edgy" like put the characters in a modern-day setting, or change the race of one of the main characters, but otherwise it's the same-ole, same-ole, but with enough differences to tick off the hardcore fans. The remakes that DO work, however, understand and respect the original work, and they incorporate something new and thematically fitting to that original story. Films like King Kong,Ocean's 11, and a lot of B-movie remakes work, because they're using the advanced technology and bigger budgets to their advantage. Stuff like the Psycho remake that tries to emulate Hitchcock shot-by-shot doesn't work, because who wouldn't rather just watch Hitchcock?

5. What is the best thing about being one? As a screenwriter, I get to tell whatever story I want to, infusing my own perspective and internal debates where fitting. Sure, that story may be so out there that no audience would ever want to see it, but during that exciting, sloppy and unintelligible first draft, I play God.

6. What is the worst thing about being one? Re-reading over that exciting, sloppy first draft and trying to turn it into something non-crappish.

7. What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on? According to IMDB, it's seven, but only four of those are writing credits. Because filmmaking is so complex and collaborative, I love trying out the different aspects: producing, directing, PA-ing, being an extra. In film school, I was the gullible idiot who would star in everybody's short, looking a lot like a melodramatic mashup of Bruce Campbell and Jim Carey.

8. Who is is your favorite filmmaker? These are the few who inspire my own voice: Jean-Pierre Jeunet (for the lighthearted storybook aspect to his films), The Coens (for their mastery of dramedy and memorable characters), Roberto Benigni (a modern-day Charlie Chaplin whose blend of slapstick comedy and serious subject matter is pitch perfect) and Werner Herzog (mostly for his maniacal filmmaking philosophy, though, and not so much his movies)

9. How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker? Well, other than being the object of lust and adoration for all the ladies in the lower southeast, not much has changed. I guess the big thing is that I can't just watch a movie as "entertainment." It's all business now. I'm always in critic mode, dissecting every form of storytelling I encounter and figuring out what works and what doesn't work. So there's no real vacation from being a filmmaker, but luckily it's something I love.

10. What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business? One, don't see it as "the movie business." There are far too many sacrifices and profitless risks you'll go through at first, and as long as you're focusing on the joy of telling a good story you can make it past these hurdles without being completely crushed. Two, don't sit around and talk about what has to fall in place before you can make your opus. Make the absolute best film you can right now with the resources you have. Obsess over improving your art the next go-round, and stay busy. The "making it" part of the equation will come eventually. Even if you completely suck but you're persistent, you can make a career as the next Ed Wood.

11. What are some of your favorite American films? Well, off of the top of my head… Raising Arizona, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Paper Moon, To Be or Not to Be (1942), Memento, Adaptation., Modern Times, Chinatown, The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Signs, Koyaanisqatsi Foreign films? Life is Beautiful, Amelie, The Tin Drum, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Hero, Old Boy, In July, Love Actually Television shows? I'm currently free from T.V. now that my favorite shows are either off the air or cancelled (R.I.P. "Arrested Development" and "Pushing Daisies"), but I do love watching "Community" on Hulu. I was also pleasantly surprised when I discovered that "Weeds" is far more than a show for druggies, and "True Blood" isn't just anotherTwilight.

12. How would you describe your film education? Refreshing. I got an M.A. in Screenwriting & Film Studies, and an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from Hollins University. It was a great writing-intensive program, with cool screenings I wouldn't normally get to see, and a brilliantly-chosen diverse faculty. Half of them were making movies in Hollywood, and the other half were doing it in Europe. Because of this, I was equally introduced to the industry and the art of filmmaking. Of course the other half of that education is going out and doing what I'd been studying all of those years. It's important, and most post-graduates I know tend to sit and think, "Okay, the world's gonna beg for my filmmaking prowess now." And they fool themselves into believing that for the majority of their lifelong tenure at Starbucks or some box factory in the middle of nowhere.

13.  How would you describe the film "scene" where you live? Savannah, Georgia, is at a great place right now. There are a few key local production companies here, and we have a pretty steady stream of big-budget Hollywood films that come through (thanks to awesome Georgia tax incentives). So a filmmaker can pretty much do his own thing without the cutthroat game, but he can still get involved with the big dogs when the urge comes for that.

14. How has social media changed the independent film industry? It puts the control in the hands of the innovative. Your audience can be everywhere in the world at no additional cost to the filmmaker. You just need to communicate well and have a great story to tell. James probably told you that social media has been huge for JamesWorks in that we've found both investors and a very passionate fan base through social media.

15. What is the casting process like? Exciting. You can imagine such rich backstories the minute a potential actor or extra walks through that door. And you know they're so nervous--especially if they really want the part--that it's your job as a producer to lighten them up. It's like being a stand-up comedian, but your audience is required to laugh at your cheesy jokes.

16. How does independent film differ from the mainstream? More freedom; more constraints. More freedom in the sense that you can, within reason, tell your own story. More constraints in that very rarely will an indie filmmaker get a blank check to go and make a movie. But both of these factors often breed more creativity, so I'm cool with it.

17.  You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be? I could pick any one--be itCitizen Kane or Good Burger--and be inspired in some way. I really believe that, because a film set is such a vibrant school with very visceral examples of good and bad filmmaking happening all around you. If I could somehow guarantee my own survival before going onto the shoot, I'd pick one of the harshest film shoots to observe: Apocalypse Now or Fitzcarraldo. Something that reminds me all of the pain and anguish some filmmakers have gone through just to get their story in the can. That first-hand perspective would be invaluable.

18. You could be any animal. Which would you be? I'd be the year-round equivalent of a hibernating bear--whatever animal is reclusive and sleepy all the time. An agoraphobic, narcoleptic bald eagle would be fun. That way if I wanted to spread my wings and be majestic someday I could, but I'd also be perfectly comfortable reading Bird's Life magazine back in my quiet nest.

19. You could have any super power. What would it be? I think I'd kick it old-school and be invisible. Just because that whole philosophical question of "What would I do if I could get away with it?" haunts my thoughts. I need to prove to myself that I'm just as pious as I pretend to be, and I'd also have the opportunity to write for hours on end without being noticed. Preferably from the comfort of my own bald eagle's nest.

20. Do you believe on life on other planets? I guess I'm indifferent. I think the possibility is just as valid as the impossibility. What a bland way to end a riveting interview, huh? Aren't you glad you made it all the way to question 20?

Thanks to Mark for allowing me to interview him. For more information on Mark please click the web link below.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3200883/ Mark Ezra Stokes IMDB Page

Interview With James Kicklighter

I got the chance to Interview filmmaker James Kicklighter. James talks about his current film "Followed", what inspired him to become a filmmaker, and much more. Scroll down to read more.

1. What is the current project you are working on?

Followed is our new film based on the short story from Hugo-award winning writer Will McIntosh. It is set in an alternate universe where Zombies represent society's disadvantaged and oppressed.

2. Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

I didn't always want to be a filmmaker, but I always wanted to be a storyteller. When I was in the first grade, I wrote and drew this story about a Pollution Factory that was killing all the animals, and I am convinced that's what started it all. In fact, I think that at the center of all successful filmmaking is a great story, thus nothing has really changed.

3. What inspired you to become filmmaker?

I really liked the idea of being able to tell a story through different outlets in a single medium. For example, while a film is about the story, how we take that written word and exploit it in a visual and auditory experience can radically change the way an audience perceives the finished product.

4. What is the best thing about being one?

It gives you the unique opportunity to explore different types of stories while finding a message that hopefully resonates with audiences. It is important to me to tell stories that have some sort of commentary about life or society, not simply a mindless entertainment.

5. What is the worst thing about being one?

Being a filmmaker requires you to give up some aspects of your social life, so that is difficult for me because I am a pretty sociable person. Also, you miss out on a lot of film and television shows that come out, because you're so busy working on your own project. Personally, the last thing I want to do after editing all day is watch another movie.

6. What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

I've worked on somewhere north of 10 projects in the six years I have been producing.

7. Who is is your favorite filmmaker?

That is a difficult question for me, because I don't particularly have favorite filmmakers, but favorite pieces of what filmmakers produce. For example, I'm a huge fan of Sidney Lumet's Network and Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous, and both movies have really shaped the way that I look at creating a film.

8. How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

Your life becomes more public as a filmmaker. A certain sense of privacy gets tossed out the window, so you can't really live anonymously.

9. What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Just keep working. You hear about filmmakers that have this one project they've been developing for a decade, but they never make it. If you've got a passion project like that, keep developing it, but don't drop everything. Have other titles ready to go while you're waiting on that, because I think you lose a certain amount of respect when you keep waiting around. It is important to be driven and to keep moving along.

10. How would you describe your film education?

I took film classes at Georgia Southern University, but I got my degree in Public Relations. As JamesWorks has been around for six years now, we've learned a lot through trial and error. For example, we would never produce a film like we did when we started out. While we had secured some big attachments for our first film, That Guy: the Legacy of Dub Taylor, we really just threw in everything and the kitchen sink hoping that something would stick. We are much more organized now, walking into every project with a distinctive strategy and plan. But I think that's really the case with all filmmakers and you grow and evolve, taking lessons you learn from each project to apply to your next.

11. How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

In Savannah, there's a great film community because of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The Savannah Film Festival is one of the most well-regarded in the world, and of course, Atlanta is one of the nation's leading independent film communities, with Georgia being one of the top five film producing states in the country. Certainly, we're in a great place.

12. How has social media changed the independent film industry?

Social media gives us the power to connect directly with our audiences and fans like never before. In fact, I can't imagine working in the film industry without social media anymore. I love having the capability to talk directly with our fans so we can discuss things that they are interested in.

13. What is the casting process like?

Casting is such a fun process, because you'll end up with five fantastic candidates that could each perform the same role. However, you know that they'll approach it in very different ways. Then, you're left with the difficult decision of figuring out how that actor's take on the character will impact the entire texture of the film. As a director, it's not my job to dictate the character to the actor, but to come up with a mutually negotiated vision of what that character looks like between the actor, myself, and the source material. I think it's important to find people that share that view.

14. How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

Independent film fills a space that mainstream cinema really cannot. We can never forget that the film industry is a business, and as such, studio tentpoles need to make money so smaller films can be financed. They are riskier and they don't always return a profit. However, that's why we have to have these bigger films to keep the smaller ones going. While I personally prefer working in the independent space, I certainly am not opposed to working within the "mainstream," so long as I can tell the stories I want to make.

15. You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be?

I'd go back and watch The Great Train Robbery. Today, when we have all of these digital resources, I think it would be fascinating to go way back and see what the first films were doing to attain the image. I'm sure it would boggle my mind, and I would have given up with the many multifaceted challenges they faced.

16. You could be any animal. Which would you be?

Easy, I'd be a Raptor Riding Shark. Google it.

17. You could have any super power. What would it be?

I would like to be able to teleport anywhere instantly. As I love to travel, I would go to all of the places that I want to visit, and some I'd go back to every day. For example, I would start my morning's at Caffe Poliziano in Montepulciano, Italy for a Latte, moving to S&S Cafeteria for Lunch in Macon, GA, and stopping by Avatar's Punjabi Burrito in Mill Valley, CA for Dinner. That would be the life.

18. Do you believe on life on other planets?

Until we can prove there isn't, I'd like to think there is. It seems quite arrogant to think that we're the only living creatures in a vast and rapidly expanding universe, you know?

Thanks James for taking the time to answer my questions. I'll make sure to see "Followed" as soon as it comes to my neighborhood film festival.

Information about James Kicklighter and his film "Followed" can be accessed from the following web links:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1803157/ "Followed" IMDB page http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2155567/ James Kicklighter's IMDB page http://www.indiegogo.com/Followed Fundrasing page for "Followed".

Amy Bohigian Of WaterShed Productions

What is the current project you are working on?

Conceiving Family - A one hour documentary focusing on gays and lesbians starting a family through adoption through the lens of the filmmaker's own journey to parenthood. www.conceivingfamily.com

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

I was always using my dad's old camera to make spoof videos of Saturday Night Live skits and my favorite project in high school was a documentary about a rural town outside St. Louis, MO. just after the US invaded Iraq for the first time. Looks like it was meant to be.

What inspired you to become filmmaker?
As an educator at heart, I found a medium that can deeply move people and reach a larger audience all at once. And, of course, watching really good movies and really bad ones too.

What is the best thing about being one?

With documentary, I can open doors with a camera though the telling of powerful first person stories. It's a real privilege. Seeing the impact that it can have on the subjects of the film, me, and the individuals who watch it.

What is the worst thing about being one?

Being up at 3am dealing with a technical issue that you just can't seem to work out.

Who is is your favorite filmmaker?

Lisa Cholodenko, Errol Morris, Deepa Mehta, Joel and Ethan Coen, and many more!

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Do it because you can't help but do it.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

My 3 year olds love Fantastic Mr. Fox as much as I do. I love the films City of God, The Jerk, Gates of Heaven...many more. TV, the only show I try to watch is Modern Family.

How would you describe your film education?

1 year of film school at Selkirk College and then every year since learning in the field. Every project teaches me so much.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

Here in the interior of British Columbia there is no 'film industry' to pump out jobs and movies. People here are incredibly creative and work collaboratively on top notch projects that get seen across the world, despite it being in the middle of the woods!

How has social media changed the independent film industry?

It has become a given for any independent film to have a 'social media' plan. We are all able to build and engage our audiences with these tools.

What is the casting process like?

I do mostly documentary - still, casting is part of the process. You need to find people who your audience will connect with. So, I do pre-interviews to see who will fit with what I am trying to accomplish.

You could go back in time and see any classic film being made.

Which film would it be?

Apocalypse Now

What is your opinion on movie remakes?

They need to have an original directorial vision to be worthwhile.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Interview With Writer/Director Edgar Michael Bravo

What is the current project you are working on?

I am working with my producer, John Paul Rice, on the feature film ‘Mother’s Red Dress’ which we will lock picture this July.

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

No, in high school I was a lead guitarist and vocals in a rock band and really wanted to do that for the rest of my life.  But when I got to college I took some theater classes and fell in love with writing and directing plays.  The college offered basic film classes and after I wrote and directed my first short I was bitten by the film bug.

What inspired you to become filmmaker?

The reactions of the audience from the first shorts I made inspired me to keep going.

I felt a connection with the audience when they laughed or became sad during the film.

What is the best thing about being one?

Finishing a film and getting strong emotional reactions from an audience.

What is the worst thing about being one?

The time it takes to complete a feature and raising the money to make them.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

I’ve directed 5 features and three one hour TV cop shows.

 Who is your favorite filmmaker?

Hal Ashby.

How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

It’s become the center of my life.  Most of my spare time and money goes towards my work.  It’s a true addiction but the people I meet and the rush of getting my films made makes it worthwhile.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Write or direct what you truly love so if you don’t “make it” you’ll feel good about what you created.
What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

Some American films I love:  Shampoo, Being There, Precious, Monster, Remains of the Day.  Some Foreign films:  Los Olvidados, Pixote, Bicycle Thief, Salo.

Television shows:  Family Guy, South Park, Sopranos, Dexter

How would you describe your film education?

The time I spent getting my MFA at UCLA was fantastic.  The school supports the individual vision of the student and doesn’t promote a cookie cutter Hollywood type of filmmaker.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

Los Angeles has a great pool of actors and crew that love film and will work hard to be involved in projects they believe in.

 How has social media changed the independent film industry?

The gatekeepers are not as strong as they were.  An indie filmmaker can get his/her work written about and seen much easier.  “One Hour Fantasy Girl’ was the first feature John and I produced and it is still getting online reviews 2 years after it was released.

What is the casting process like?

Exhausting but worth it.  I see about 300 actors for each role.  I video tape each audition and then at home I watch the work.  You know you found the right person when you keep coming back to the audition tape and the actor’s work still moves you.

 How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

Independent film generally is more daring and a sort of niche market focus.

  You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be?

Citizen Kane.

 You could be any animal. Which would you be?


 You could have any super power. What would it be?

The power to fly.

Do you believe on life on other planets?

Seems like a very strong possibility—it’s a big universe.

Thanks to Edgar for allowing me to do the interview. For more information on Mother's Red Dress see the links below:



Interview With The Dummy Gun

Below is my interview with The Dummy Gun, a screenwriting partnership based in New York. They are currently producing a pilot for their spec T.V. series, "New Plains".

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

Vincent-Yes, since childhood.

Justin-Ever since I started playing around with my first camera-bought with my Bar Mitzvah money.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Vincent-As a kid, storytelling was my life. I watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books, and played with my action figures all day long. I used to pretend my eyes were the camera and my action figures were famous actors who were starring in my "movies." I had a Clark Kent action figure that I used to pretend was Tom Cruise...

Justin-The thought that something i loved to do could actually be my job.

What is the best thing about being one?

Vincent-It's the most visual way to tell your story. Reading books and listening to music allow you to use a lot of imagination, without really seeing the action. However, filmmaking allows the story to come to life before your eyes.

Justin-Knowing that my works will outlast me. This comes with being an 'artist' in any form of the word. We make pieces that people can take in, have an opinion on, then discuss.  This is immortality, and that is appealing to me - as guilty as it makes me feel.

What is the worst thing about being one?

Vincent-It's a rather expensive art form. At least to someone like myself, who graduated from college but 2 years ago.

Justin-Not being taken seriously.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Vincent-Too many to count.

Justin-A good few.

Who is is your favorite filmmaker?

Vincent-Toss up between David Lynch and Federico Fellini.

Justin-Robert Rodriguez-the man does everything.

How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

Vincent-I met my girlfriend and some of my very best friends from my film, The Mercury Cycle, which I produced while I was still in college.

Moreover, I'd say it matured me a lot. When you're Producing a film, you have a lot of people relying on you to keep everything secure and moving. The responsibility builds character.

Justin-I look at the world differently as a whole - there are so many ways to answer this question. Every conversation is part of a scene.  I hear bits and pieces of what people are talking about on the streets and with those,  I start to develop elaborate stories around them. I can't walk around without having an idea about a shot or a turning point  or a new character. I see the world as a giant chemical equation and the catalysts are hiding around every corner.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Vincent-Make your own opportunities. If you have the talent, then that's half the battle. The other half is putting forth the effort to use that talent. That's where people sell themselves short. If you want to get something done, you have to do it yourself. I always wanted to make movies. At age 20, when I felt I was finally ready to make one, I did.

Justin-What ever your job is, do it thoroughly, and do it genuinely.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

Vincent-American: Blue Velvet, E.T., Rocky, Gone With The Wind, Short Cuts

Foreign: 8 1/2, The Seventh Seal, Brazil, Woman in the Dunes

TV Shows: Twin Peaks, Dark Shadows, Mad Men, The Simpsons

Justin-American-Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver, Ghostbusters

Foreign-8 1/2, Trainspotting, The Edukators, Cobra Verde

Television-The Venture Brothers, The Simpsons, Oz, Futurama, Archer

How would you describe your film education?


As a kid, I enrolled in a bunch of fun classes/summer camps for video and acting. I was writing scripts in Middle School and I shot my first short in High School and it competed in a film festival. After years of writing and shooting my own homemade flicks, I went to Quinnipiac University, where I took up media production. I didn't learn much about film history or filmmaking itself, as I did about different aspects of media.

The real life-changing moment was getting an internship on "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee," when I was a Junior at Quinnipiac. The film needed an intern for the day, so of all people, they called me. The first day was nuts, because I didn't "have" the internship yet. I was just a one-day guy, so I wanted to prove myself worthy of the internship. In that first day, I learned more than most college students do after 4 years of film school. I got the internship and I even met Daniel-Day Lewis and Alan Arkin. All in one day.

From then on, it was all experience. That gig actually got me an offer on even bigger movie, but I turned it down to write and produce my own movie, The Mercury Cycle. I don't regret it one bit.

Justin-A few solid teachers amongst a lot of filler: My high school Television Production teacher really moved me to become a filmmaker, and for that I can only thank him. In college, a few teachers really opened my mind up to what it meant to make a movie - talking about Mise en scene with in a classroom atmosphere really helped me out.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

Vincent-New York. You can take that however you'd like.


How has social media changed the independent film industry?

Vincent-Social media/the internet, has given independent filmmakers a voice. With platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Ustream, artists can more adequately target appropriate markets for their work. More importantly, it's allowed us all to interact with fans and contemporaries alike. The amount of incredible projects/talent I find on Twitter never ceases to blow my mind.

Justin-The name of the game is now promotion.

What is the casting process like?

Vincent-I think it's fun. You get to meet a lot of awesome people, while seeing your characters come to life. To me, it is the greatest part of pre-production.

You spend a lot of time putting out ads, manually searching for talent, and extending invitations to other talent to come in and audition. After all the scheduling is done, you sit back and have a blast. Just make sure you're filming and editing it all. You tend to get a lot of people who overact by throwing chairs, crying, and hollering obscenities. While they rarely get the part, they make your day a whole lot better!

Justin-Strange, somewhat uncomfortable, but all around enjoyable if you're with the right people.

How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

Vincent-The budget and the names attached, amongst many other things. If I shot a woodpecker in my backyard for three hours, I wouldn't be able to sell it and I'd probably put an early end to my career. But if I shot that same woodpecker, with Brad Pitt standing next to it, by default, that film will attract many more viewers and funders. More viewers/funders = more money aka bigger budget.

That's the negative aspect of it. The positive, is that indie film is more of an interactive community. Indie filmmakers are the ones promoting their work, not some house ad agency. In fact, they are also planning their own business scheme, their own screenings, and their own PR. Because of this, indie filmmakers really strive by helping other indie filmmakers. It's all one big community, built on respect, personable communication, and hard work.

Justin-The industriousness of the production/crew/cast really makes or breaks the flick- you can't just buy your way out of a problem, you need to MacGyver a solution right quick.

You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be?

Vincent-Gone With The Wind or Aguirre: The Wrath of God.

Justin-Metropolis or Apocalypse Now

You could be any animal. Which would you be?

Vincent-I'd be a monkey! I would hang in the jungle all day, swing from tree to tree, and snack on bananas. Sounds like a great lifestyle to me!

Justin-I want to say "a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm" ...but Poison dart frog

You could have any super power. What would it be?

Vincent-I would love to have Spider-Man's powers. I would hang in Manhattan all day, swing from building to building, and snack on bananas.


Do you believe in life on other planets?

Vincent-The truth is out there...

Justin-I would be silly not to.

Thanks to Vincent and Justin for allowing me to do this interview. For more information about Vincent, Justin and The Dummy Gun please check out the web sites below.

http://www.thedummygun.com/ Justin and Vincent's company

http://www.indiegogo.com/NEW-PLAINS-An-Original-TV-Series Indiegogo crowd funding page for their latest project New Plains.  You can donate now.

http://twitter.com/#!/vgrip Vincent's Twitter page

http://twitter.com/#!/mortimershrew Justin's Twitter page

David Newhoff Owner of Adastra Creative, Inc.

What is the current project you are working on?

I'm working on a narrative short called gone Elvis, which is a portrait of a homeless, woman veteran of the Iraq war.

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

 Yes. I've always loved all aspects of the craft, but I haven't always been loyal to it.  I've embraced and rejected filmmaking in my life a few times.  If film were a girlfriend, I guess I'd have to say, "It's complicated."

What inspired you to become filmmaker?

Like most people in my generation and older, I played around with Super 8 because I liked the tools and the process.  When I was quite young and getting into photography, I thought I might be a cinematographer. What inspired me to want to direct, though, was the day I had an opportunity to watch Metropolis with a director named Nicholas Roeg.  I was 12 and didn't exactly get German expressionism.  When Nick explained the film a bit to me, I began to understand what a director does and then wanted to be one.

What is the best thing about being one?

For me, it's shooting.  I love the whole process of a shoot and really enjoy collaborating with people I like, people who care about their craft, and people who are so competent that we can afford to have a few laughs.   I also prefer being on my feet and in motion.  Editing is where it all comes together, of course, but I get antsy being inside staring at a monitor for too long.

What is the worst thing about being one?

It's a tough business in every regard.  Success comes and goes.  Film people can be great, but the industry also fosters some pretty bad behavior. Anytime that much money and that much ego is involved, you're going to have some tough relationships.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Well, I'm re-starting theatrical after years of working in the corporate, ad, and marketing world.  In that area, the number is in the hundreds, but gone Elvis and a feature I'm developing called Shadowplay are really the first two stones in a new path.

Who is is your favorite filmmaker?

Absolutely impossible to pick one. If I'm stranded on the proverbial deserted island, I guess I'd take the films of Billy Wilder, partly because he worked in so many genres; and if it includes his writing credits, I get some other great directors in there.

How has your life changed since you became a filmmaker?

Ask me a year from now.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

If you want to make movies, especially with the technology we have now, make them by any means necessary, and preferably before you have other responsibilities like a family. If you want to work in the business, like design, FX, music, etc., try to get a job working for or near someone you really respect.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

In no order, City Lights, 8 1/2, Lawrence of Arabia, Bluebeard's Eighth Wife, Bringing Up Baby, Citizen Kane, On the Waterfront, The General, Metropolis, All That Jazz, My Favorite Year, Arthur, My Darling Clementine, Sabrina, Woman of the Year, Tsotsi, The Kid, Sunset Boulevard, Paper Moon, 1,2,3, Notorious, Amadeus, The 400 Blows.  Tomorrow, it would be a different list, and the last TV show I watched regularly was The West Wing.

How would you describe your film education?

Ongoing.  The other answer is way too long, but I'll give a shout out to The People's Film Department of Bard College.  It was special place.

How would you describe the film "scene" where you live?

I don't know that we have a scene, but the Hudson Valley is home, or second home, to quite a few serious filmmakers in just about every discipline.  We also have wonderfully curated, small festival called FilmColumbia in Chatham, NY; and of course the Woodstock Film Festival is quite big now.

How has social media changed the independent film industry?

Having just immersed myself into promoting and fundraising via social media, my three-week-old experience suggests that it has probably changed it a great deal.  I've been amazed by the number of complete strangers, including other indy film folks, who are suddenly paying attention to this short we're working on.  It doesn't hurt that gone Elvis is about an important social issue or that our exec producer, Jeanne Bowerman, has a lot of Twitter mojo; but I really see the power of promoting through social interaction.  I can only imagine that it’s given even more filmmakers the opportunity to share their work more rapidly and for free.

What is the casting process like?

That’s a broad question, and it’s not the same for every project.  For the film I’m working on now, I knew the lead actress, Carla Duren, from a previous project and through other actor friends.  When my wife came to me with the idea of looking at these women veterans, I immediately thought of Carla for the role.  With big-money features, we all know that attaching stars is often the only way to get financing; but small films are a chance to work with great actors who are trying to build their own careers.  I actually collect actors as I meet them and make mental notes about why they intrigue me, keeping them in mind for future projects.

How does independent film differ from the mainstream?

My take is that it's not about where the money comes from per se, but whether or not the artists are in control of the project and whether or not the film aspires to be something other than just product.  There are "independent" movies that have all the qualities of a film made by accountants; and at the same time, you can't say that major studio films are never the work of artists functioning independently.  For example, whether you like his work or not, Spielberg is definitely Hollywood but can sure as hell do whatever he wants.  Is he mainstream or independent?

You could go back in time and see any classic film being made. Which film would it be?

That's a really cool question.  The smart choice would be anything by D.W. Griffith because he invented so much and every director learned from him; but I'd probably end up picking The General because it's hard to imagine having more fun than to be around Keaton and his team dreaming up and then performing those gags.

You could be any animal. Which would you be?

Peter Mayle's dog.

You could have any super power. What would it be?

Sleeplessness.  I hate being too tired to do things.

Do you believe on life on other planets?

Life on other planets isn't a matter of faith.  It's a very high probability.  But Intelligent life on planets that can be said to be our contemporaries in space-time?  I suspect that's a pretty low probability.

A big thanks to David for letting me interview him. I'll make sure to spread the word about your short gone Elvis. Check out the fundraising page for gone Elvis at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dlnewhoff/gone-elvis

Interview With Filmmaker Kurt Vincent

What is the current project you are working on?

Arcade:The Last Night At Chinatown Fair.   It’s a documentary that takes place in an old video game arcade in Chinatown, filmed right before it closed down after 60 years of business.  It tells the story of the arcade and the community that hung out there.  Really amazing characters and great stories.

Interview With Filmmaker Ali Scher

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