Interview with Filmmaker Deanna Director (Millennials Throughout History: A Titanic Following )

Millennials Throughout History: A Titanic Following played to rave reviews at the April 2020 Female Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Deanna Director: I’m a comedy writer & producer in pursuit of landing a late night TV writing job, so I’m always plotting different ways to have my work stand out in a pile of writing packets. I kept hearing that you have to make the thing you want to make in order to get the job you want to have. So I made the dang thing. The concept felt like a fresh mix of satire + pop culture + history that might be appealing to Comedy Central or the SNL/late night circuit. Also, I’m a HUGE fan of the film Titanic, so this has truly been a dream project. 12 year old me is overjoyed.

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

I wrote this sketch in my UCB 401 Sketch class and executed it 4 months later. The whole process took around 6 months total from conception to finish. I wasn’t happy with the final edit, so two months ago I hired a new comedy editor who specialized in movie trailers to re-imagine it as a trailer. I am so much happier with this edit. The jokes hit harder, the VO is killer, and I can really visualize it as a repeatable series now.

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

Influencing history.

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

Shooting aboard The Queen Mary was a bit of a challenge because it’s a historical landmark, so there are rules and regulations we had to adhere to. Thankfully they were willing to work with us and gave us permission to remove some modern day signs and appliances that weren’t of the time. I wanted everything to be 1912 except for our 2020 Influencer. This meant hiding TVs and phones in the suite and little things here and there to make it as believable as possible. Also, the budget was a big personal obstacle! This film was 100% self-funded by me. It was a big financial decision, and I’m still paying for it, but I have zero regrets. There’s nothing like seeing your idea come to life.

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

I was so taken aback by the thoughtfulness of their responses. Each person had something kind and helpful to say and I am very grateful to them for taking the time to do this. It really made my day (let’s be honest, it made my whole quarantine month).

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

My friend Max (the Influencer) is an Influencer in real-life, so I’ve been trying to think of a vehicle for him where he could be himself, and make fun of himself too. Luckily he’s a good sport and played along. We’ve been friends since high school so it was awesome getting to work with him on this. I wrote it for a UCB sketch comedy class and the teacher pulled me aside and told me I should consider shooting it because he hadn’t seen this kind of idea executed yet. When I told him I wasn’t James Cameron, he told me about The Queen Mary ship in Long Beach. The following day I began plotting how to make this a reality.

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

The Jerk, Dumb and Dumber, and Titanic, obviously.

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

This is my first time submitting anywhere and so far it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. Feels like I am part of a community now that gets my weird humor and supports me for it too!

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

Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra

10. What is next for you? A new film?
This week is the anniversary of the Titanic sinking (April 15th), so I’m doing one final press push for this short film. Then I’ll be working on the next film! I have a few ideas in line and can’t wait to get started.



By matthewtoffolo

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

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