Interview with Musician/Actor/Director Nicole Simone (ON A LIST)

ON A LIST played to rave reviews at the June 2021 TV WEB SERIES Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The pandemic hit and I needed a creative outlet so I decided to try film making and acting. I really enjoyed the writing process and producing the series. It was kind of on my bucket list to do, having made music videos and produced music most of my life it was an interesting turn for me but felt natural and fun.

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

I came up with the idea in May 2020, I started writing it in June, then went to camera in August 2020. I released the first episode just before the holidays but the editing process and final shots were done until March 2021.

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

On A list is… witty and endearing.

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

Covid was a huge obstacle, it was a micro-cast and crew and when the second outbreak happened in Toronto we cancelled filming resulting in the second last episode being cut but it all worked out.

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

I was not expecting this today and being in the final stages of my first feature film script and going to camera in 4 weeks, it was JUST the boost I needed. My fans really connect with me as an actor but often forget that I write, produce and co-direct – not to mention the music on the show, some of which was composed just for On A List. When the last person in the video mentioned Richard Linkletter, I swooned as that was one of the influences for the show – the amazing conversations two people can have and share some intimate moments. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the video, but I felt like the audience got all the points across that I was aiming at. It felt good!

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

In highschool I made a short film about the music I was working on. I was obsessed with VHS in the last days you could rent them, so I’d always get older movies and just marvelled at the writing and concepts, particularly films from the 30s and 90s. When I was graduating high school my music career started to take hold and I lost interest in school, losing my acceptance to college for film. I always regretted that and On A List was kind of my fast-track film school lesson. A lot of my friends are wonderfully accomplished film makers in LA and they have always been encouraging of me pursuing film. I am surprised to be acting and I’d honestly say it’s probably the most unexpected thing for me to do of all the things in filmmaking, but it was incredibly thrilling being put on the spot. On A List was the first time I’ve ever acted so that was fun.

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

Beginners by Mike Mills. I’ll sometimes watch it monthly. Usually just the first half. The documentarian style mixed with dramedy, it just crushes me every time. It’s a beautiful love and life story. I saw it in the theatre by myself and I have thought about that film everyday. It’s a movie that makes me want to make films.

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

It’s been a very cool experience, way more positive than I expected. The project has been well received especially as a complete novice. It’s been a very encouraging experience!

9. What is your favorite meal?

A plate of french fries with malt vinegar, a side of mayo and a tall glass of root beer. I always love diners.

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

My new project Mindless Magic goes to camera this July. It’s a feature film and it came about by accident since the lead in Season 2 of On A List had a scheduling conflict. I had the director and time booked, so I asked Lee Foster if he’d be interested in doing a feature instead and he said “yea why not”. I like working with Foster for that reason, he, like myself, is a “make it happen” kind of person. It’s still a small crew, Alex J. Skinner was cast as my co-star and he’s been super fun to work with, a real charismatic talent. It’s a dramedy about love, magic and death. It’ll make people swoon, laugh and cry. I suspect this may be the most difficult project I do but I wrote it around the time On A List started to wrap because I was sad not to have anything lined up with the insurmountable lockdowns happening in Canada.

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