Thursday, 10 January 2008

Interview with a film maker

I have chosen Layer Cake Films to do a promo clip for HOBAC.
I see my role as that of a curator, rather than as that of an artist. I do, though, find the creative process fascinating. Hopefully this interview will give an insight into an interesting young woman's work.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I always loved film and had been interested in becoming a film editor really before I even knew what it entailed! I just knew I would love it. The film Pretty in Pink was my favorite movie as a teenager and it really was the movie that made me want to be a part of film! I loved how it made me feel and I wanted to create things that made people feel emotion ever since then. Not very exciting, I know. I guess Pretty in Pink, the simple little John Hughes teen movie, is what got me interested in doing film as a career…thankfully it did not inspire me to become a dressmaker like the main character in the film or I would have been equally as bad.

What do you say to those who do not see film as a
legitimate art form?

I think people who don’t see film as an art form can’t look beyond the technical aspect of it. I think if people could see the amazing amount of creativity that goes into every facet of film making they would be shocked. It’s not just people shooting other people speaking words from a page. Every shot is thought out, planned, lit. Every edit I do I watch it over and over to make sure I get the best emotion or beauty or feeling from it. All the camera work I do is thought out and the selection of film stock for lighting or mood is thoroughly researched. I think I would tell people who don’t see film as a legitimate art form that they should try to make a film…even a simple 2 minute film they shoot and write themselves for fun. I think the realization of how creative, emotional, and personal film is would blow them away.

Where did you study and who, or what, were your
influences then?

I attended the Academy or Art University in San Francisco, California and received my BA in Film. My influences in school were mainly horror filmmakers! I was a huge fan of Peter Jackson before he became PETER JACKSON: DIRECTOR OF LORD OF THE RINGS. His early work like Heavenly Creatures and Dead Alive are amazing films that were funny, beautiful, and twisted. Also in school I got a lot of inspiration from Dario Argento, a famous Italian horror film director. His stuff was always beautiful and disgusting. I really got into rare European horror films in that time period. Most of them were banned in the United States and I could only get a hold of really bad VHS copies. I liked how a lot of those films would push the limits of storytelling and the endings were always unapologetic and dark, very un-Hollywood and I liked that there were people out there willing to do what they wanted and not what a studio told them would sell.

One of my teachers in school was also a huge influence on me, mostly on my editing. I started working with him and we both moved to Los Angeles later on and I continued to work for him. He was my mentor and his style of editing really shaped the basis of my editing.

And now?

I still adore horror but watch it mostly now for entertainment and not inspiration (though horror movies usually have amazing editing!). One person who can do no wrong in my eyes is Jean Pierre Jeunet. I knew Delicatessen when I was in school and loved it but his work has more meaning for me now. I think everything he does is visually stunning and inspired. Floria Sigismondi is also my favorite. Her work is so artistic, dark, and just odd. I don’t know how she creates some of the things she does but I wish I had her talent and knowledge. She influences me in so many ways…I wish I could work on something with her! I also really like all the filmmakers popping up from Korea. Chan-wook Park is amazing! His work is unbelievable. Ji-woon Kim who did Tale of Two Sisters is also great. I can’t wait to see what he does next. I also love the Brothers Quay. I could go on forever so I’ll stop now…

What have been your most notable projects both
artistically and commercially?

Commercially I have edited tons of rap video’s for some really huge people. I worked on the show Monster Garage before it ended and commercially that is probably the largest thing I’ve done. I also edited a Greatest Hits compilation for Fox Racing a long time ago but it is still really popular. Fox Racing is a sponsor/clothing company for motocross riders, which is a huge sport in the US.

Artistically there hasn’t been much to be honest! I don’t have a lot of time to work on the more artistic projects as they usually don’t pay much, if at all! Layer Cake is how I really want to even it out. The films are very artistic and very me…I just want people to have fun in front of my camera and be themselves. I look forward to doing more promos and documentaries as well with the company. They give me a great deal of creativity and I like finding ways of making them fun and entertaining and not the boring corporate type film people think of.

The last company I worked for did events and weddings. I was proud of my work there. I was very artistic with most of what I did and it was satisfying to take badly shot footage and make something beautiful and fun out of it. No one could tell how bad a lot of the footage was when I was done with it. It was a challenge but it was a learning experience. I guess I am proud of a lot of the work I did there and that would fall in the more artistic project category.

Do you differentiate between the two?

Yes, because one pays (commercial) and one doesn’t (artistic)! Artistic work usually inspires you more and is what you prefer to be doing. But that doesn’t pay the bills. I started Layer Cake to try and even it out.

What would be your dream project, besides my promo,
that is?

Working with Jeunet or Floria most definitely. I would do anything they asked of me just to see them in action! My intention was always to be a movie trailer editor. That never happened because I didn’t know anyone in the industry who could get me “in” anywhere (that’s exactly how it works too…your talent doesn’t matter, only who you know). So I guess some kind of major trailer editing thing would be a dream project as well.

If my company becomes the kind of company that people go to to get fun, offbeat, creative, custom films whether it is for weddings or promos or whatever, that would be a dream. Just because in the past those kinds of films have been boring doesn’t mean they need to continue to be. I hope I get the reputation of someone who can make those types of projects fun, modern, and entertaining.

Do you think the younger audience has had a broad
enough education to fully understand and appreciate,
what either you or I do?

I think for what I do, yes. Kids are just completely immersed in film and TV and they respect it. A lot of “cool” comes with what I do. It would be cooler if I worked on the set I’m sure but film garners respect because people love it. I don’t think people realize how much work goes into it but they appreciate it. DVD’s alone include so much information now on film making and “how it’s done” documentaries that more and more people are becoming more knowledgeable and want to be a part of it. For you on the other hand I would say no! Everyone thinks they are a designer and sadly, they are not. I watch HGTV all the time (the Home and Garden Channel) and they make designing/interior design look simple and I think it’s given most of America this sense of “I can do that” and they sadly can not. Most people think it is really simple to design rooms or homes so they do it themselves. It’s created a world of really badly painted walls and rooms full of bland IKEA furniture. Gag. Like the bad kitchens of the 1970’s and the atrocious wallpaper epidemic of the eighties, we are well on our way to the over-IKEA’d furniture apocalypse. People think they can design it themselves…just say no! Most of those people have never even heard the term “color chart” and it’s obvious when you see their homes and offices.

What do you see as the next big thing in film and
how will that affect the peripheral industries?

I think the next big thing in film would be the fact that film may not be around for much longer! Everyone wants to go digital. It is so much cheaper and easier to use and it is very clean. There are already major Hollywood movies shot digitally and it looks so good you almost can’t tell anymore! I think it would be horrible to move over completely to digital because I love the depth and color and grain film gives but I think the future holds all things digital. I think in a shorter rather than longer period of time all theaters will start projecting digitally. No more film projectors…everything will be downloaded. It will be a huge thing and change all aspects of film, film making, film distribution, etc., but it’s going to happen, good or bad. I think this is one reason why super 8 film has become really popular in weddings or promos or commercials, etc. It gives that nostalgia of FILM. Not just old film but the look and feel of all film. Even movies that are shot on film these days are so clean and crisp you can’t tell…maybe it’s digital, maybe it’s film. With super 8 you get that complete film look. It’s not clean but grainy and scratchy and it’s beautiful! Hopefully the complete move to digital will make what I do more popular. The use of super 8 will become the artistic expression of doing something different.

Now playing: Duran Duran - Girls On Film
via FoxyTunes


The Peak of Chic said...

V. interesting interview, and so anxious to see your new promo HOBAC!

Cote de Texas said...

When will the promo be ready? And how do you anticipate using it - where will it be available to see?

Wonderful interview - I like how you said:

What would be your dream project, besides my promo, that is?


HOBAC said...

Alas, not till the summer. Don't tell anyone, but it will be on my new website. sssshh....Ahhhahhh!