Interview with Filmmaker Brian Ernst (WELL DONE)

WELL DONE was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the Chicago FEEDBACK Film Festival in February 2020.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Brian Ernst: We initially set out to make this film for a short film contest and the idea sprang from a conversation I had with producer and star of Well Done, Mitchell Brinkman. In a brainstorming session he came up with the idea of a burger on a grill being used as a ticking clock and we ran with it from there.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you
to make this short?

The first draft of the script was completed on May 9, 2019, we shot on August 17 and the 24th and the film was finished on August 28, so post was quite the quick turn around!

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Well done ­čśë

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Casting and weather. I think we were down to the Wednesday before filming on Saturday before we locked in Eric Block as Mr. Hillcrest, the boss, so that was stressful. We also had the film scheduled for a one day shoot which bit us in the rear when it rained all morning. We broke the day in two, shoot everything with our lead solo in the morning (all shots by the grill, reactions, etc.) and then only have the crowd for the second part of the day. So since we were rained out, we scrapped the morning shots, filmed in-between rain outs and picked up solo shots the following weekend with a crew of just Mitch and myself.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking
about your film in the feedback video?

Most of the comments on our film were very positive, so it was nice to hear what worked for everyone.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

After thinking on Mitch’s concept of using a burger as a ticking clock, I really started factoring in what was available: My backyard was a free location, I just bought my first grill, making a mostly VO short would make a one day shoot possible if we weren’t reliant on on-set dialogue, and I could get friends and family to fill out the party. After we set the rules, we stayed within those guidelines to find a story that worked.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Tommy Boy. Classic comfort food.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings
of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I like it when it’s easy to find what you qualify for. Short films are tricky, especially one that’s as short as ours, so being able to set up a single project and find put what it qualifies for is refreshing.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Next up is probably a longer screenplay or series. Our producing group is really into episodic comedy, so finding the right show concept that we can produce ourselves is probably what we’ll strive for next.



By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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