Interview with Filmmaker Michael Jonathan Gellis (THE TRYOUT)

THE TRYOUT played to rave reviews at the June 2022 Under 5 Minute Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I have always loved cartoons and baseball and my tryout was always a story I have been asked to tell over and over so I thought this was a good way to tell the story without having to wait for some of my friends to finish heckling me.

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

I wrote the script and song over a few days and i definitely underestimated how long it would take to finish the drawings, I’d say probably a month start to finish. My wife is the page turner and it took a few times to practice plus having to play the kazoo for 5 minutes straight. Lotta nuances going on here.

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

Dream Pursuit!

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

Coloring inside the lines and nonstop kazooing. I wouldn’t call those obstacles, but I’d say doubting that the finish product would come together like I wanted was a real obstacle.

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

I was overwhelmed that the audience dug it so much and thought it was charming. I wish I could thank each one of them. It gives me the confidence to make more movies.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

1994: Forrest Gump, Shawshank and Pulp Fiction all come out within a few months of each other. How can you NOT be inspired?

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

Haven’t kept exact count, but i’d say a tie between, the Muppet Movie, Pulp Fiction and Bad Boys (which i can pretty much recite by heart.

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

I’m new to the festival format, but I would say networking events, either in person or virtual? Maybe a Q&A with the audience? What you have done is amazing and I’m grateful but those are some thoughts.

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

Filmfreeway is tremendous and if i’ve had questions, their customer service has been very helpful. It’s been a great experience.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Filet Mignon, some garlic mashed potatoes and creamed spinach!

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

I have some rewrites on a couple of scripts that I hope to finish this year and I’d love to make another cartoon similar to this. Maybe the music will be piano this time and not the kazoo 🙂


By matthewtoffolo

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

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