Interview with Filmmaker Joseph Samuel Meyerson (OUTPATIENT)

OUTPATIENT, 26min., USA, Drama
Directed by Joseph Samuel Meyerson
Two young men attend weekly meetings in the basement of a church to satisfy the conditions of their parole.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

It was an idea I’d had kicking around my head for some time. But I wanted to make something, and I’d written this much longer screenplay that was just totally unfeasible to shoot — we’re talking 200-person party scenes, car meets, ambulances, cop cars, high schools, three-minute tracking shots — so I found myself returning to the “three guys in a room” concept and just kind of wrote it from there.

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

I started writing it in April 2022, and it wasn’t completely finished until around December. We shot it in June.

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

Deceptively funny.

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

Well, in order to find a location I drove around Austin, TX more or less propositioning random churches as to whether we could shoot a movie there. Which was an interesting experience. I actually ended up talking to a lot of the groundskeepers, and that’s what inspired the janitor character. But we ended up finding St. Matt’s Episcopal — I knew it was the place as soon as I walked in — and they were totally gracious and awesome and accommodating and ended up letting us shoot there for three days in exchange for a donation to the church.

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

It was super cool. That was the first time I’d heard audience feedback on the film, and it was really awesome to hear that so much of what I was going for came through for the viewers — they really picked up on the central themes, the dynamics between the characters, even the underlying humor of it all. And I’ve seen it so many times by now that it’s basically impossible for me to tell up from down and good from bad and get past my personal insecurities/hangups as a filmmaker and really view it with fresh unfettered eyes. So yeah, it was a really valuable experience.

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

Not until pretty recently. I always loved movies but I wanted (and still do want) to be a fiction writer. But in a moment of personal frustration with fiction I started writing scripts and found it really liberating to work in that new format and not have to be so precious about every last comma and verb placement. And then when I started working with these incredible actors is when I really came to realize that I wanted to direct, how much I loved that process of collaboration and discovery. Also working with our DP Jim Flores on all the technical aspects of the film — I learned so much from him.

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

Three-way tie: The Social Network, Annie Hall, and The Big Short.

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

It’d be cool to have more concrete ways of connecting with other filmmakers.

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

FilmFreeway is a blessing. I don’t know how we’d have handled festival submissions without it.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Patty melt.

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

Just continuing to write scripts, throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. This project was really brooding and dark and intense and next time out I want to do something funny and light.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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