What, in your opinion, is the most important quality of a film director/actor/actress?
Giving of themselves. By that, I mean, while you are with us in this moment give us yourself as the storyteller or performer. Give us your heart and soul, don’t copy others. Don’t look on the outside and plan your scene. React to what you are in the middle of.
What gave you the inspiration to write and direct this story?
This one, Velvet Crush, was like no others that I’d had ever put together before. Allow me to admit, it was a silly concept from the get-go. Did I have a weird obsession with velvet shirts? Why, yes – yes, I did! So, I had three shirts made off an original velvet shirt that I had found in a thrift store 15 years and had picked them up from the cleaners that day. Went to work and it was a slow night, which was a blessing. As I was sitting in my truck, I wondered if I could create a story around these shirts. I used myself as the main character and thought what if I came across these treasures of velvet shirts, how far would I go to gain them in my possession. Who had them? Why did this person have them and what was my character’s connection to these particular shirts? The ideas started hitting me like firecrackers going off and I found myself laughing hysterically. Even a couple of passersby stopped and looked at me in the truck and wondered what I was smoking. Oh well, it was one of the funniest nights in solitude for me. And I made myself work out the entire story in my head from start to finish, came home at one in the morning, wrote it in one setting, and realized, hey, this is a dark comedy. I never thought I’d write a dark comedy but here it was, right in front of me. I fast-tracked it and put it ahead of all my serious, emotional stuff on my personal wish list and thought, oh man, we just gotta do this! We never strayed away from the script in its original form. We shot pretty much the first draft. Is that too much information, haha?
How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?
I’m quite the loner, I must admit. But I’m a loyalist when I admire someone – but have been burned once – so maybe I’ll be a bit more guarded in the future. But basically, I look for integrity and character. And, I think it’s my instincts that allow me to see an actor in a role and I’ve been pretty spot on with this. I’ve met a lot of the people that I’ve worked for on small, tiny projects and it becomes obvious who I can work with down the road. How do they treat their responsibilities in their role or their crew position? How do they treat others? Are they professional or inappropriate? Are they on Instagram 24/7 or are they working on their lines? And once on set, are they in the moment?
What advice would you give someone who wanted to have a life creating film/acting?
After saying truly to go all in. I’d say be humble. Respect yourself. Respect others. Don’t take others for granted. Remember, it’s all about the work, not the money. If you love it so much, don’t go and buy a fancy car, go out to the clubs all night and think it’s only about who you know or meet. Maintain dignity. Don’t grandstand. Don’t push yourself on others. Look, we all have dreams and we all sacrifice so much and deal with so much personal rejection, so don’t think your struggle is worse and you should be rewarded for that. You have an idea, you go home and work on it. You make it happen.
What are you working on next?
I’m developing a short film based on a book that totally moved me and it will be a very emotional story at that. I loved the writer’s raw, honest story based on her own experiences and I identify with its core. I’m being allowed to expand on this and the challenge thrills me. Again, I’ll be fast-tracking this one in front of all my personal wish list of projects. Wish me luck!