List of @FilmCourage Q and A's #Film #ArtistInterviews #Artists
FilmCourage: What was crucial for casting these characters?
Robin Bain: I was looking for the real deal. Because of the nature of the material I felt it was very important to cast actors that were authentic and naturally great performers.
I was looking for actors who were living in the moment, who were raw and not polished. I found them. (Read more here)
Film Courage: Do you have advice for other artists going into an uncertain landscape to shoot/film, especially if they are unfamiliar with the language/culture?
Tina Gharavi: The best thing is to go in with an open heart... One of the most over-rated thing is the verbal language. We learn a lot more about people from language that is not verbal. A smile and openness goes a long way. And it is important to remember that people are the same everywhere in the world. Treat people with respect and you will get the best film possible. (Read more here)
Film Courage: You played lacrosse in college - how is the game a metaphor for adult life?
Sean Hartofilis: This is probably going to sound trite, but it\'s just about working hard with a likeminded group towards a common goal. It\'s not very different than a film crew, theater company, or any other team. Preparation and dedication foster success. How much of yourself are you willing to give for this team or this story?
Finally, you can\'t always win. Any sport is good to help you understand that, to deal with defeat and get better from it. Entertainment, probably more than any field, is a "no" business. You have to face disappointment and move on with more strength and purpose. And that can be especially difficult because most artists are very sensitive people. But you can use that sensitivity, that emotion, as an asset, because that\'s your stock in trade. Make it fuel you. Don\'t let it drown you. (Read more here)
Film Courage: What was one of the lowest points for you in L.A. and how did you turn it around? What was one of the best moments for you here in L.A.?
Elizabeth Sandy: As an actor, I have signed myself up for many highs and many lows. That’s just the nature of the beast. It’s difficult to not take the rejection personally and when the phone doesn’t ring, and the auditions don’t come, it can be crippling. That is why creating your own work (whether it be a funny little You Tube short, a piece of theatre, or just getting together with fellow actors to read aloud a script) is very important mentally and creatively.
When I came to Los Angeles, I was sharing a room, sleeping on an air mattress on the floor unable to work until my visa came through and often wondering – ‘What on earth am I doing?’ An incompetent lawyer caused many problems with my visa application, so I couldn’t physically leave the country for fear of deportation. That was definitely a low point, but because I couldn’t legally work until my visa came through, I spent my time collaborating with fellow actors, creating my own projects and learning about the Los Angeles industry. Those were all high points and rewarding experiences that taught me skills that certainly helped me when it came to producing ‘Starting from Scratch.’ (Read more here)
Marion Ross as Aunt Irene and Roxanne Hart as Annabelle
Film Courage: What does A REASON explore about familial roles and how each family member sees another (i.e., the golden child, rebel, peace maker, \'pot stirrer\', etc)?
Dominique Schilling: A REASON really explores prejudices, also within families. Nothing is as it seems. We have elderly Aunt Irene, who at first seems heartless and bitter, but might not be. We have Serena, a young lesbian, who has just experienced extreme trauma and is very introverted and quiet, but might be hiding a strength inside of her that is just waiting to break through. We have her brother, Nathan, who seems like the golden child, until money comes into play... Then we have Bianca, the perfect mother and housewife, until we realize, she might be hiding something. We have Chris, her husband, who is the peacemaker, but only with certain people. The mother, Annabelle, is a figure of peace and light, but is seen by Aunt Irene as a big disappointment. People can be very different from each other in families, but it’s about finding family cohesion and loving each other unconditionally. (Read more here)
Karen Black as Faye Greener in ‘The Day of the Locust’ next to Burgess Meredith, playing her father
Film Courage: What choices/decisions seemed like a mistake in your career, but once a few years passed, you realized how wise a choice it was that you stuck by this decision (such as choosing/turning down a particular role, determining an agent or manager, etc)?
Karen Black: Yes, there are a few mistakes, different kinds of mistakes really. The first kind of mistake is not working with some people that I regret just simply not having gotten to know. I was asked on two occasions to do a movie with James Garner, and from everything I can glean, he is one the the nicest, warmest actors walking. I was asked to do a film with George C. Scott. I always figured I looked like his twice married wife and years later, it struck me as possible if not probable that we would have struck up a little something between us. Woody Allen asked me to do a film, and where could my head possibly have been at to turn him down!!? I feel like writing him a note that says,
I feel that doing Day of The Locust was another kind of mistake: entering into a group which never really respected me and, since I had no way of building that respect, it hurt my standing in the community. I simply couldn\'t get them to see me, as they had been gossiped to quite skillfully.
Many of the films I did, I just did as a working person for money with which to live. You know which ones they were. They were pretty much all mistakes. (Read more here)
Dawn Davis as Elle in HARMONY - Photo by Salvador Ochoa
Film Courage: What was the final moment of realizing you must act? What about acting makes you feel alive?
Dawn Davis: I went to see a play one night because I was bored and it was free. It moved me so much that I cried through the entire show and for pretty much a week straight afterwards. It was like someone held up my heart in front of me so that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Acting makes me feel alive because it allows me to be used as a vehicle for an expression that is greater than me. It’s a very spiritual experience; I feel that I can be an instrument in service to the energy that connects all of us on a higher level- a level that we’re normally not so conscious or aware of. (Read more here)
"...You may have read a lot of things about former coach
who recently lost his job over his acting in a video I wrote and directed back in 2003, entitled “Forbidden Fruit”. A lot of people felt rightfully bad for Mike, as an example of how people can dig up “dirt” on the web about someone’s past and use it to hurt them."
writes filmmaker/actor/musician Steve Moramarco (via his site Moremarkable.blogspot.com) about a film he made years ago and a turn of events that could become a familiar scenario to many people.
Film Courage: When did you find out the film you shot went viral? How long ago was this? What was the film about?
Steve Moramarco: I don\'t know if you can say the film went "viral." I shot the film, entitled "Forbidden Fruit" in 2003 when I lived in NY and was taking improv at Upright Citizens Brigade. YouTube didn\'t exist until a few years later, and when I uploaded it in 2006, it received 80,000 views pretty quickly, which I thought was pretty good. The news of actor Mike Hvizdo, who later became a basketball coach and got fired because of this film, started with an article in the local paper, got picked up by Gawker, and then went worldwide with the Mail UK and Good Morning America.
Overall, my film only received 2,000 more views because of the hoopla.
The film is an R-Rated comedy, about an uncomfortable sexual situation. It was prompted by a male friend of mine from my neighborhood in Brooklyn who was always trying to get me to do a threesome with his girlfriend. But it wasn\'t a gay thing - in his mind, it was more like two-on-one, and seemed to be an acceptable amongst men on the East Coast - several friends I knew had done this. I imagined what would have happened if I went along with his idea, and came up with the script. (Read more here)
Ethan Moskowitz and Olivia Avila in Wow & Flutter
Anne Lundgren: Yes, we miss our friends and the ocean, but we don\'t miss the pace of life there. All the driving, the cost of living. There\'s a calm, gentle pace to life in Ashland that fits us better. Of course there\'s the occasional worry that we\'re missing out on opportunities in LA, but luckily the opportunities here in Oregon have kept us busy. Moviemaker Magazine recently ranked Ashland the number #2 place to live and work as a filmmaker. Or moviemaker I should say.
We try to work with as many local crew as possible and have been working with the same team for over ten years. We are fortunate to have talented actors from many local theaters and the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We usually try to add a few bigger names to our cast list, and those often come from out of town. (Read more here)
TOBACCO BURN - Decades before the Civil War, the actions of a brutal overseer spark the fire of revolution on a tobacco farm.
Film Courage: You\'ve made a few beautiful, award-winning short films while in LA - what made you leave California despite the success of those projects?
Justin Liberman: I think LA is a great place to live when you are young and/or working on a project that you are passionate about but I found it very difficult to live there in-between projects or while I was developing material. In those down times, I would slip down that slippery slope of self doubt and hatred and would start thinking about myself as a cliché and just another filmmaker trying to get a piece of the pie. I would lose inspiration and just start living an unmotivated life. Living in Venice, however, had an appeal to it. It always felt like summer vacation there, so I wouldn’t have the right things motivating me to work and write, instead I would get toasted and walk around the beach and play basketball, which was obviously awesome but…(Read more here)
Scene from Spazz Out! shot by Evan Kidd and Brian Korff
Film Courage: What was your final budget for the film and what costs were involved?
Evan Kidd: Believe it or not, this film was made for $596. I experimented with crowdfunding for the first time, and managed to raise that money to cover a our basic costs. It really showed me the amount of support people were willing to give towards making a film. The biggest costs were for equipment, such as better lenses for filming in the low light settings, lights, memory cards, batteries, getting good audio recorded, travel expenses for an out of town interview, and some post production fees. After doing this type of "for the people, by the people" fundraising, I knew I had an obligation to deliver the best possible film I could that would remain true to not only Spazz Fest, but the larger Greenville music scene as well. (Read more here)
Kirsten Russell (writer/director) location scouting in Paris
UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE: Joys and Pitfalls of Guerrilla Filmmaking in Gay Paree - a Q & A with filmmaker KIRSTEN RUSSELL
Director (Kirsten Russell) with Producer (Megan Rubens) in front of "the breakfast scene" location
Kirsten Russell: Universal Language is a film of opportunity.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I was an actress. And at the beginning of 2013 I was invited by my long-time acting teacher, Robert Castle to partake in a virtuosi Shakespeare workshop that would take place in Weitra castle in Austria. And Frederique, who had recently moved back to Paris, had suggested that I swing by France for a little visit on my way back. Of course, I said no as I had no interest in repeating another lost weekend in Gay Paree. So Frederique came back with another suggestion...why didn\'t I finish the workshop, puddle jump over to Paris and shoot a little movie?
I don\'t know why exactly I said yes. Maybe because it was so completely out of my comfort zone. Or maybe it was one of those "you only live once" things. But I think the answer lies with the script itself that got me to book that extra ticket.
Many years ago I had read a book called, "The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love
" by Thomas Moore. It was an interesting read with a lot of cool insights but there was one paragraph that struck me as profound truth.
"It may be tempting at times to imagine sex as purely physical. Then we might not have to deal with feelings, personalities, and repercussions. We may try to avoid the complexities that always appear in relationships and look for liberated sex in "free love". How pleasant it would be, we may think, to have sex without strings attached, without all he painful emotions and parting and reunions. But the soul has its own life and its own will. It won\'t submit to our manipulations. The attempt to have sex without implications may backfire, and though a meaningless sexual fling we may find ourselves in the biggest emotional mess of our lives." (Read more here)
FC: What did Jim Morrison represent to you? In your eyes, who was James Douglas "Jim" Morrison?
RS: Well, like a lot of other fans, of course I love Morrison\'s work with the Doors and it\'s impossible not to see him in the role of the lead singer/rock star. But I truly adore is poetry and writing. It feels very tied to some of the great American writers I love, most specifically Jack Kerouac. There is a deep curiosity about the mystery of being human in Morrison\'s work. And as an artist, there seems to be both a need to remove restrictions and break boundaries, but at the same time someone who was interested in form, who was conscious of working his poetry into different ways on the page -- like still the need to make sense of the chaos and burst of images, themes, and ideas that were streaming through his head. And of course, this is the core of what we are doing with "The Last Beat," to make sure people do see someone like Morrison as a true poet and writer with the ability, like all great writers, to show you something about ourselves we don\'t see, or keep ourselves from seeing. So, for me, this is really the James Douglas Morrison I\'ve come to identify the most with, not the "T-shirt" version of the man. (Read more here)
FC: Why do so few people (2 percent of the U.S. population) know about the Sultana? How did the media of that time present the story?
Mark Marshall: Events that occurred about the same time overshadowed the Sultana tragedy. President Lincoln had been assassinated and his funeral train was making its way across the country. The search was on for his killer. Our country had endured four years of sustained killing and was tired of hearing about death. It was, if you will, a “perfect storm” of events collaborating to force the news about the Sultana disaster off the front pages of the newspapers and into the backwaters of the typical American’s mind.
The media of the day covered the story but relegated it to brief accounts in the back pages of their editions. East Coast newspapers largely ignored the news of the disaster because few of the soldiers were from units east of the Ohio River. With the exception of the Midwest papers, an area of the country claiming most of the prisoners who were on board, papers sans news about the Sultana were the norm within a week of the tragedy. (Read more here)
FC: What was the most defining moment of your childhood?
Helenna Santos: Wow, that\'s a huge question. This is kind of depressing, but important. I was about 9 years old or so and my supposed best friend at the time and I were fighting. She was yelling at me and told me I was
That was the moment that I realized I looked different from everyone around me in my hometown which was mostly Caucasian. I think that\'s also the moment that I decided in my child\'s brain that I wanted to show people that every single person is significant and important no matter what color your skin is. (Read more here)
Where did you look for your actors? How many did you audition? Where did you hold the audition?
I am currently enrolled at Ivanna Chubbuck\'s Studio, so I was able to draw chiefly from a pool of actors I had been watching put up scenes for the past year. Essentially auditioning a hundred or so auditing classes, meeting members of the studio having them read etc. In the end, choosing three of the actors; four including myself from the studio. But I also advertised an open casting call and held it at rented office space at a building on the Avenue of the Stars in Century City. We had a decent turn-out and I found a great actor casting him as both the Reaper and the gunner. (Read more here)
Nathan Alan Bunker and Amanda Bauer on the set of SAD MOTIVATOR
Film Courage: When casting your actors, what additional factors played in giving them the role? Did you look at their IMDB credits/page, social media numbers, etc?
Nathan Alan Bunker: The only role we did a lot of research for was Sasha. IMDB ranking and the amount of Twitter followers was never a factor in the decision-making. We simply watched a lot of YouTube videos and skewered through UCB and other comedy schools. We watched audition tapes from past projects that Andrea worked on. The only factor that played into filling any role was their talent. (Read more here)
Film Courage: What\'s the best way to have someone open up on camera, who might be less verbose and better through writing?
Ana Barredo: Since this was my first attempt at documentary filmmaking, I was learning as I went. I think it helped that I used a small prosumer camera throughout the shoot. Because I didn\'t come with a huge crew and giant lights, my subjects felt at ease and not too self-consious as I followed them around. Also, I didn\'t want them to feel like I was interviewing them - I wanted it to be more like we were just having a casual conversation. I think that made them feel more comfortable and less like an interrogation. (Read more here)
Dave Brown: Firearms are no more dangerous than any other prop or effect on a motion picture set. When handled properly by experts who know what they are doing and who give them their undivided attention, they can be used safely. When I start the day with an actor, I finish the day with that actor. I never switch people part way through a day, and actors need to know that if they have a concern about their safety or even a question on how to hold the gun to make it look authentic, they can look around and I am always two steps away. (Read more here)
More great video interviews on the Film Courage Youtube Channel