Interview with Filmmaker Daniel John Harris (NOW AND NOT YET)

NOW AND NOT YET was the winner of BEST FILM at the November 2019 Chicago FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO MAKE THIS FILM?

Daniel John Harris: When thinking about what to do for my next short film, there were a lot of ideas swirling around my head. A lot of non-starters, though.
To clear out the noise, I thought about doing something that I felt
was important. Gun violence and some of the myths surrounding gun
culture came first. It’s hard not tho think about that when
mass-shootings make the news almost every day. It’s sad to think about
it, but I fear this short will be relevant for some time. Hopefully,
though, it won’t.

2. FROM THE IDEA TO THE FINISHED PRODUCT, HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR YOU
TO MAKE THIS SHORT?

I do most of my writing in my head while running, so I hopped on a
treadmill and when I got off 45 minutes later, I had the story ironed
out. It was written quickly, shared, re-written after my partners
weighed in on their thoughts, and we shot it 6 weeks later in one
night. Another 6 weeks after that, the movie was completely finished.
So, start to finish it came about very, very quickly.

3. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SHORT FILM IN TWO WORDS!?

Harsh reality.

4. WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU FACED IN COMPLETING THIS FILM?

Surprisingly, we didn’t hit any major obstacles. The only thing that
sticks out was casting. Upon writing the script I knew who I wanted to
play for most of the parts, but I didn’t have anyone for the lead. We
held auditions, and thankfully we found Bryson. I cannot understate
how luck we were to book him. He is amazingly talented and has the
audience in his grasp from minute one. It’s hard to think the movie
would be as good without him.

5. WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL REACTIONS WHEN WATCHING THE AUDIENCE TALKING
ABOUT YOUR FILM IN THE FEEDBACK VIDEO?

What’s great about the Feedback Festival is that the audience doesn’t
know the filmmakers are there. It isn’t like a normal film festival
Q&A where the filmmakers are dragged up front. They are hidden, in the
crowd, and I think this results in the audience responding more
freely. This is mildly terrifying, because the responses won’t be
watered down with a sense of politeness. They are going to be more
honest, more harsh, thinking the filmmakers aren’t there. Fortunately
for me, the audience responded positively. They understood the movie’s
themes and had wonderful insight. I felt a lot better when it was
done!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS SHORT FILM?

Motivation aside, I knew I could only make a movie with the resources
on hand. I started with the location. I’d known the owner of the
corner store for some time and was confident we could book it. Then I
started to think about certain actors I’d been dying to work with
(Caitlin and John), and how they would best fit. Everything flowed
from there. So essentially it was a combination of theme and
resources.

7. WHAT FILM HAVE YOU SEEN THE MOST IN YOUR LIFE?

Probably Star Wars. I’ve been watching that pretty regularly since I
was 4.

8. YOU SUBMITTED TO THE FESTIVAL VIA FILMFREEWAY, WHAT ARE YOU
FEELINGS OF THE SUBMISSION PLATFORM FROM A FILMMAKER'S
PERSPECTIVE?

I’m a big fan of Film Freeway. It does a lot of the heavy lifting and
makes finding and submitting to festivals extremely easy.

9. WHAT SONG HAVE YOU LISTENED TO THE MOST TIMES IN YOUR LIFE?

Oh, it’s a tie between any number of Springsteen’s songs.

10. WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU? A NEW FILM?

I’m currently editing a short film that shot by my long-time
cinematographer Chris Murphy, called _Unclaimed_, directed by TW
Miller. It’s my first time editing a fictional narrative that I didn’t
also direct, so it will be fun. There are a few scripts, including a
feature, idling on the runway, so we’ll see if any of them take off.

One thought on “Interview with Filmmaker Daniel John Harris (NOW AND NOT YET)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s