Friday, June 04, 2010

Part 2 of the Interview by John Gaspard

This is part 2 of an interview I did with John Gaspard awhile back for his blog Fast Cheap Movie Thoughts (

What's the smartest thing a filmmaker can do before starting their feature? What's the dumbest?

Spend time in pre-production! Too many filmmakers think if you’re not shooting you’re not making a movie. I spend 3 – 4 months easily in pre-production. I try to work everything out long before I start shooting. I rehearse for weeks, just like I’m doing a play. I want all of the actors to know their parts and their characters long before we start shooting.

I only write for locations I know I can get, and I don’t write scenes I know I can’s shoot, (like car chases).

I continue to write throughout this period as well. On Birddog I started pre-production with draft 11 of my script and still made changes throughout the process. On all of my films I don’t even think about shooting until I have done a ton of drafts. I have people I trust read my scripts and get lots of feedback. Your odds of making a good film increase if you have really worked the script over and over. If you have done the work to have a good script the odds get better that you’ll make a good movie. You can still make a bad movie from a good script though, this isn’t a science.

I think you just really need to take your time in pre-pro, don’t rush it. Since I never have any money the better organized I am the more efficiently I work and the smoother my shoots go.

As far as the dumbest, I think that is to hurry up everything so you can start shooting long before you’re ready. And using your credit cards. Using friends who aren’t actors in your films. Your friends aren’t good actors no matter what you think. Get good actors. I think there are lots of dumb things you can do if you don’t take your time.

What's the best advice you ever got about filmmaking?

You need to be a shameless self-promoter and self distribute your work. We always hear those bullshit lines; I make my films by any means necessary! Well why aren't you getting your films out by any means necessary? Why are you sitting on your ass waiting to see if you got in to some film festival? Why aren't you burning DVDs and selling them at screenings? Why aren't you promoting your movie on the internet? You gotta get the word out, and you have to do it yourself. It has to do with getting your films seen. If no one sees your movies how are you going to build an audience? I tour, I teach and I have developed a fan base. One person at a time! Has it been easy? No. It's not supposed to be. At then end of the day all you have is your work and if no one knows about it or you, whose fault is that?

Finally, which current filmmakers (independent or otherwise) inspire you?

I will watch anything that John Sayles does. Same with Jim Jarmusch although I thought that Broken Flowers sucked! I like Danny Boyd’s work, Brian Johnson, Beth Harrington, John deGraff, lots of people that most people have never heard of. Janet McIntyre is a filmmaker to watch, she makes docs.

I watch lots of different types of films so I am inspired by films more than I am filmmakers. I still try and watch lots of docs and foreign films to get a different point of view of the world.

I actually think I am more inspired by writers and musicians than I am by filmmakers. I am inspired by people who don’t give a shit what others think, they push forward and make the things that they want to make. I like things that are passionate in some way or another.

I don’t have a television so I read more than most people and I love to visit museums. That is the way I have always been…

Did I answer the question?

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