Interview with Filmmaker Jason Harris (RICK THUNDER IN…LOOK BACK TOMORROW)

RICK THUNDER IN…LOOK BACK TOMORROW was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the March 2020 COMEDY Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jason Harris: Rick Thunder was originally part of a web series concept for an apartment complex where we shot 8 comedy short films to showcase the complex. Each film was its own story and each one was a different style of comedy. When we wrote this one, we thought we were on to something and I think it just clicked.

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

We probably wrote the script in an afternoon. I held auditions for the entire series over a few weeks and knew the actors I cast would elevate what was on the page. We knew our way around the complex so we probably only did a meeting for preproduction on this since we were already in the middle of filming and talked about it often. As for the actual shoot, it went incredibly fast – mostly because it had to. We shot the whole thing in a half day. At first that timeline was messing me up, but I had great producers help me lock in and go above and beyond. Once we were outside and filming night time noir stuff, everything fell into place and we were all confident of what we were getting. Edits took a few weeks – Dave Rosen had already written an excellent score for us and Ryan LeBeauf understood the pacing and tropes of noir and what we were looking for. As most films are, this was a total team effort.

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

Comedy noir

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

I would say the tight shooting schedule – half a day – but in the end those parameters made us work harder and be creative in the moment, though there are still some things I think I could have done better.

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

I loved watching the audience reactions. Rick Thunder has played probably over 20 fests now but unfortunately I have not been able to travel with the film often so seeing and hearing what people thought of it is fantastic. Thank you to everyone who watched and offered their opinions.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Videos:

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

My cowriter, Josh Bell, and I are both huge movie fans. We knew we wanted to tackle different sub-genres of comedy with the original concept of the web series and one we wanted to make was a film noir. We figured the more mundane the case the better we could send up the genre and while it took a lot of crafting, we thought the script turned out pretty good when we were done with it.

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

My guess is my teenage years as an Adam Sandler fan would lead to the top watch being Billy Madison (I haven’t watched it in years but would be happy to see it again.)

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

It’s the easiest way to submit stuff and I’m happy with the gold membership.

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

No idea but I would bet a Bruce Springsteen song – maybe Rosalita or Born To Run.

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

I wrote and produced a tv show this past fall which was great. We’re in the middle of a documentary now. I have a feature written that I’m trying to get financed. It’s an indie romantic comedy set in Las Vegas. Know anybody who might want to invest?

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