Do you think film festivals are useful?
Yes and No. Not much of an answer is it? Festivals used to be useful to the first or second time filmmaker, but attitudes and politics makes it very difficult to get into a festival that can really launch or sell your film. Only a half dozen or so of the major festivals ever get buyers and beyond that, reviews are the best you can do at the others. But even then the cost of supporting the film at a festival is rather high. So, if your film is good enough to get distribution, you’ll probably get it before a festival takes you.
When channel surfing, what movies do you stop and watch?
Lately, Godfather Part 1, Raging Bull, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dances with Wolves, That Thing You Do, are a few, but to be honest it’s an ever changing list.
Film or Digital?
I like film and would shoot on it again if I had the chance, but that may be a moot point in the next few years. While everyone was talking about whether or not film is dead, ARRI, Panavision and Aaton ceased production of film cameras in 2011. Also Deluxe and Technicolor have divided up the film print distribution business in order to keep those divisions from completely closing. So digital I guess.
What things have gone wrong on your shoots and how did you overcome them?
Something will always go wrong on a shoot. The best way to overcome them is to avoid them. What? Preperation. The more prepared you are the more time you’ll have to fix any problems. I’ve been pretty fortunate, because I haven’t had any huge problems that we couldn’t work around. On ALONG FOR THE RIDE, while shooting the day driving scenes, the tow vehicle caught fire and we lit the actors by placing tin foil from craft services on their laps.
On THE SECOND ROOM, the budget was too small too afford a rain machine, so several crew members squirted water from two garden hoses into the air to simulate the rain for three scenes. And since we were unable to use a dolly to shoot Stanley breaking into Moria’s house, Cinematographer Lloyd Freidus held the camera while riding in a wheel chair that a dolly grip pulled. There’s always a way, if you’re determined to get it done.
What would you have done differently on your films?
To be honest, I can’t say I would have done anything radically different. It would have been nice to have more time, but I don’t think I would have made a better movie. Just a less stressful one and it would have cost more money. They say more money gets you only three things. Better locations, more time, and bigger name actors.
Who are your influences?
Good question, and a tough one. I’ll assume you’re talking filmmakers, so I’ll give you a short list. I’d prefer to say who’s work I really like and respect. First and foremost, Luis Bunuel. Next I’d have to say in no specific order, Sam Fuller, Sydney Pollack, Chris Marker, Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski, David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese, Stan Brackhage and David Fincher. I’ll probably think of some more later. In addition, some of my most profound influences were probably the actors and directors I worked with at STAGE TWO THEATRE COMPANY. Such people as Norma Cribb, Rita Hollingsworth, Mary May Johnson, Mark Kettner, Laura Blobaum-Knoerr, Rick French, Marjorie Engesser, Mary Ellen Vanderventer and John Reinhardt. These are people that I acted with, directed and was directed by at this theatre company. We were an ensemble that created some amazing work. I’d also have to say my art teacher, Nancy Cook from the College of Lake County. Artists, like Dali, de Chirico, Picasso, Man Ray, and Goya. Does that cover it?
I heard you say that you really like the original Twilight Zone tv series, what are your favorite episodes?
A lot of them, so I give you a few from the first season. Episode 7, THE LONELY. Episode 16, THE HITCH HIKER. Episode 23, A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE ans Episode 34, THE AFTER HOURS. Check them out, great stories that are very well shot.