Interview with director Jacob Snider & writer Nicholas Johnson (WHO ARE YOU?)

WHO ARE YOU?, 10min,. USA, Crime
Directed by Jacob Snider

“Who Are You?” is a story about a man who is stuck in his daily cycle. Everyday he repeats the same routine until the days and nights start blurring into each other…literally. All at once, everything is turned on its head. He begins to witness a series of events that he never thought possible, forcing him to witness his own personal decay. Jumping further and further along this seemingly endless cycle, the man sees what will become of him if he can not break out.

Interview with director Jacob Snider & writer Nicholas Johnson

1. What motivated you to make this film?

A few factors honestly, we both had ideas for a story and we talked about them, hammered out the story and then went on to filming. And at this point in our lives we are really serious about our filmmaking careers and we thought that this idea would challenge us and really push us as filmmakers since this is the most ambitious project we’ve worked on so far. Along filming Jake and I had this epiphany that the story and character’s journey was somewhat relatable to us at the time which helped us stay motivated and invigorated to keep going.

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

A whopping 5 months. We came up with the idea in January 2022, filmed through April, and basically spent all of May editing it together until we released it on June 3rd.

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

Nicholas Johnson: Surreal, Relatable.
Jacob Snider: Surprisingly hopeful.

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

I’d say timing was the biggest obstacle in completing this film. We both work full time and typically have stuff going on during the weekends so we really had to buckle down and push through that, at one point we both took a couple days off of work to film and that helped us a lot because we were able to film for four days straight; it sped up the process a lot.

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

Nicholas Johnson: I was surprised at how positive the feedback was and I loved everybody’s interpretations of the film, it’s always fun to hear peoples’ thoughts on your art. I’m grateful to everybody who enjoyed the film and it makes me want to keep making more films.

Jacob Snider: I was very happy to see that the message and concepts were getting through to people despite the multiple different interpretations they each had. It was my first time working on a concept-driven short film so I’m very relieved to see it didn’t leave people unsatisfied or confused.

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

Nicholas Johnson: At a very young age for me, when I was little my parents and my grandmother would just always watch movies with me and I ended up falling in love with the notion of creating new stories and new realities, there isn’t anything else I want to do with my life, just want to be a filmmaker and a storyteller.

Jacob Snider: It was a very long and winding road for myself. I’ve always had a love for cameras and storytelling since I was a child, but it wasn’t until 2016 that I started making YouTube videos with my friends. I was always behind the camera as well as in the editing bay, and a lot of my time was just spent learning how to handle post-production and neglecting how to film correctly (I didn’t even know what Premiere Pro was until after we had filmed our first video, so I was knee-deep in tutorial videos for a long time). It wasn’t until 2021 that I began to actually learn how to correctly use a camera and the art of lighting that I really became impassioned by the entire process. The more I learned, the more confident I became in my ability to tell the stories I had in my head, leading me to where I am now with “Who Are You?”

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

Nicholas Johnson: Rush Hour 2; a classic.

Jacob Snider: Spirited Away; a classic.

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

This is our first festival, and we like what we’ve seen so far!

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

Pretty good, pretty simple for us. Definitely new and exciting.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Nicholas Johnson: Pizza with bacon, sausage, ham, and pineapple, with a side of Gushers and a nice refreshing beverage.

Jacob Snider: Mongolian Beef, fried rice, shrimp tempura roll, and the Great Wall of Chocolate cake from PF Changs.

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

Yes, indeed, many new films, and various new projects. Filming has already begun on our next short film, and if all goes as planned we’ll have it finished before 2022’s out!

By matthewtoffolo

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

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