Interview with Actor/Screenwriter/Producer Tim Christian (THE VIRTUAL CONNECTION)

THE VIRTUAL CONNECTION was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the June 2021 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

A couple years ago, in conversation with a few actors, I decided to sit down and write a role that hadn’t yet come to me through the audition process. I wasn’t sure how I could make it happen, but the idea that I could literally write a job for myself wasn’t so far-fetched (at the time!). I’d been studying acting for a few years, and had stepped out of the traditional working world to pursue acting (and modeling). It had been about five years of auditioning, with a trickle of small roles, but no big break.

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

When I decided to write a script, it took a few weeks to hammer out a solid first draft. Then I got frightened of what was likely to come of it — nothing! I set aside the script for almost a year. Once I turned my attention back to the script, it was a few more weeks of revisions; a few shares over coffee with trusted folks whose participation was important; six weeks of fundraising; two shooting days; pandemic; then about six weeks (still in pandemic) to complete post production. All in, nearly 18 months from start to finish (once I settled in to actually complete the project).

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

Real life.

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

Looking back on it, the main obstacle I faced was the pandemic. We completed shooting late January 2020, and had planned to begin post production late in March that year. My director/editor had other projects (he was coming off a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2019). Setting aside the pandemic, the biggest obstacle I had to overcome was FEAR. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of sharing my ideas. Fear of being a bad writer. Fear of being a bad actor. Fear that no one would take me seriously. It was a long list, all under the single heading.

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

It was very hard to watch the initial reactions. I’m a person who wants to be loved. And praised. Especially from people I don’t even know! I’ll have to spend more time with the reactions — the kind, wonderful responses to my work — before I can say more than how relieved, surprised, and thankful I am for them.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I decided to drop out of the traditional working world late in 2016, and scratch the itch I’ve had all my life to be a creative person. Not just be a creative person, but explore creative pursuits in a professional fashion. I’d been a decent singer and actor as an adolescent and teen, and let it peter out in college. But I’ve always surrounded myself with artists of all stripes, and hold creatives in the very highest regard. It wasn’t until I connected my drive to act with my unmet desire for more and better parts that were better suited to me that I decided to make that job for myself, from the bottom up.

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

I’m a creature of habit, and I’ve always been a habitual repeat viewer of films I love (and television). My tastes are pretty mainstream. I love relationships more than any action, or effects, or soundtracks . . . The one film I’ve seen the most in my life is JAWS. And my film, like JAWS, focuses on core relationships constructed with three male characters.

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

FilmFreeway is a blessing and a curse. It’s a brilliant platform. It’s a cash-cow. The biggest benefit for me as a first-time filmmaker was the sense that I had made it. I was a filmmaker (good, bad or otherwise) because I was well prepared to join FilmFreeway and submit my film to festivals of all stripes, all over the world. Even if I hadn’t been selected (let alone awarded a prize!), my participation with FilmFreeway was the only real proof I needed that I achieved something.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Roast chicken, hot, juicy, salty and falling off the bone will always cure whatever ails me. (With a proper salad, good bread, and a bottle of wine!)

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

When the pandemic put my post production on hold, I decided right away to start writing again. I’d taken the leap and thrived! I had a multi-part project in mind when I first started writing, which I set aside early on because it was unwieldy and complicated. Looking back at those ideas after the film was nearly complete, I decided to expand and extend it as a limited series. I outlined nine more scripts, each structured the same, with seven more characters, for a total of 10 episodes (the short functioning as the pilot). I’ve written five more (pilot—six completed on paper), and am working through the last four episodes now! And I have a few more stories I’d like to tell in the short format — it’s manageable, and magical!

By matthewtoffolo

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

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