ROAM was the winner of BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN at the February 2021 FANTASY/SCI-FI Film Festival.
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I was watching the news about families getting separated at the US border. Parents having their children ripped away from them, and I thought… my god, if this can happen in the United States, now… what kind of bleak future are we looking at? And it gave me this idea that basic human rights, the very right to your own life, may be stripped away sometime in the near future, and that the term “right to life” may take on an entirely different meaning. That was the genesis for the idea. The basis for this powerful corporation that has the key to eternal life, and can dole it out to those that are fortunate enough and can afford it, and strip it away from those unfortunate enough to be at the very bottom.
I knew this was a big sci-fi world that i was hatching, and that these types of things can be hard to get off the ground, but i was passionate about this character and this world, and i was lucky enough to pass on that passion to a lot of other people that then came onboard and donated their time and expertise to make ROAM come to life!
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY too long. We raised 30k from a kickstarter campaign- which was a full time job in and of itself. Production was only a few days. But post took over 2 years- close to 3! Because we were reaching out to students, schools, people all over the world, trying to find creative ways of bringing in VFX artists without the funds to pay them. And with a lot of those novice artists, came a lot of trial and error and time spent where we became VFX artists ourselves in the process, just to learn how to do the effect, so that we could finish the film.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
no…. um…. epic sci-fi?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
money. pure and simple.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It was really really great to see. As i mentioned in the email body above, it was a great justification and reward for all of our hard work and effort to know that people were enjoying it. And that has seemed to be a reaction from most of the festivals that we have entered. We are winning a lot of award, and while that doe not translate directly into cash, or a feature or series deal… it does make us feel like our efforts were worth while. It’s also really nice when you hear someone talking about your film, and they mention some of the things that you worked hard to put in there, that as a filmmaker, you sometimes wonder if an audience is going to understand or react to… and when you hear them talk about it, and realize that they got what you were trying to do, and not only got it, but really liked it, and wanted to see more… it’s a great feeling.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. When did you first realize that you wanted to make movies?
When I was a kid. We had a clunky old VCR, with a handheld pause button (which was the only button on the remote – and when i say remote – it had a cord that connected it to the machine) and my dad, who loved old monster movies, Hammer films, Universal Horror – Frank, Drac, Wolf, Kong, Godzilla, etc… he would record them on the weekends, and put me in charge of sitting there and working the pause button, so that he didn’t record all the commercials. I got an early education that way, got into monster makeup and effects when i was a teen, then after college, drove out to LA and talked my way onto a movie set. the rest is history.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
so many of them. maybe Star Wars?
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
It can get expensive. All of the submission fees. You want to submit to festivals, you need to put aside a chunk of cash to do it. It would be nice if the festivals that you were accepted to, or won, would refund you the submission fee! 🙂
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
another tough question. im a music junkie. so many of them… maybe Led Zeppelin, as a band.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
Yup. we are taking meetings on ROAM now, looking at turning it into a feature or a series, or graphic novel…. and I have begun work on a new short film, a photo-realistic 3D animated project that is REALLY COOL. Think Steampunk Batman fighting Poltergeists!