Interview with Filmmaker Michael Paul Snider (SOLO DUET)

SOLO DUET was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the April 2022 COMEDY Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

My first motivation was when I saw a YouTube clip about 12 years ago where someone had used visual effects to make a beach scene, and at that moment I got the idea of putting myself into one film as multiple characters. But at the time VFX was in its infancy and the tools were expensive. Then as time went on my children got into the VFX industry and studied the craft, and through them I got an idea of the available tools and the techniques that were possible. I also thought about my acting and how much of a challenge it would be from an acting perspective to make 2 believable characters in the same short film – if you can pull that off as an actor then that would be an accomplishment. I did some experimenting early this year 2022, and as I played around, I started coming up with this concept. Initially the film was going to be a very short clip for online, but as I continued to play with it, the idea and the characters developed into a short festival film.

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

It took about 5 weeks in total.

How would you describe your film in two words!?

Other than a ‘solo duet’, I’d have to say ‘piano comedy’

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

Doing the VFX was the biggest obstacle and learning the techniques, and the ultimate obstacle was how to do a handshake with myself and make it look real

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

I was smiling the whole time, really happy that it brought a chuckle to so many people. I thought the feedback video was very well done.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’ve wanted to make films ever since I was 8 or 9 years old. I remember trying to save up money for a super 8mm camera when I was very young.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

The comedy film ’10’ with Dudley Moore I have seen many, many times as I worked as an usher at a theatre at the time and watched it over and over. I think the comedy stuck with me. My favorite film of all time is ‘Apocalypse Now’ which I have seen many times over the years, a great work of art.

What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I think you do a great job of trying to get exposure for filmmakers in my opinion. Though I love the positive feedback from the audience, it would also be nice to privately hear what they didn’t like, so as to better my skills. But honestly, that’s nitpicking, I love what your festival does for filmmakers.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

I love the platform, once everything is input into their system it is quite easy to search and enter festivals. A very intuitive site, I am quite impressed with it.

What is your favorite meal?

Being a vegetarian, I love a huge salad with every kind of vegetable in it. It’s like eating a fresh garden, all in one big bowl. Love it!

What is next for you? A new film?

I have a short horror film called ‘The Castle’ I have completed and am finishing production on – I wrote it when I found myself alone in a huge old castle for a night in Germany. I will be sending that to festivals in the next month. I also have an Orchestra of Sound music project I want to tour next year


By matthewtoffolo

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

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