Interview with director Stephanie Jaclyn (FREEMALES)

Stephanie Jaclyn directed  the comedy web series  “FREEMALES”, which was showcased at the FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival in December 2016. “FREEMALES” was awarded “Best Overall Performances” at the festival. 

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Stephanie Jaclyn: I wanted to see content created by women for women and while the housemate comedy genre is nothing new I wanted to create a show that provided an honest, authentic and humorous insight into lives of young women in today’s ever shifting social landscape.

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

SJ: From the scriptwriting phase to our premiere it was 7 months.

MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?

SJ: Funny and real (or just really funny)

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

SJ: The biggest obstacle was filming on such a small budget. Luckily we had an amazing cast and crew who all volunteered their time to be part of the project.

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

SJ: I was amazed and thrilled to see that people on the other side of the world related to the themes and characters. It was great to hear reactions from people who had never heard of the show but completely understood what we were trying to convey.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

SJ: I came up with the idea while living with a girlfriend of mine – there are many aspects of the series that are inspired by real life experiences and events.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

SJ: Oh god, there are so many but I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the Harry Potter films.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

SJ: We’re currently in post-production for the final three episodes of Freemales season 1 – online by June 2017! I’m also in pre-production for my next project, a short film about a romantic novelist going through a divorced called The Final Chapter shooting in March 2017.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with director Daniel Greenwald (A Few Rubber Bands More)

Daniel Greenwald directed  the short film Western/Comedy “A Few Rubber Bands More”, which was showcased at the Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival in December 2016. The film received rave reviews from the audience and was awarded “Best Cinematography” at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Daniel Greenwald: Film making was a passion of mine since childhood and I can remember being most impressed by movies that feature dynamic cinematography on the backdrop of natural scenery. I was eager to challenge myself by shooting something that used the cinematography as a story telling element. What I like about A Few Rubber Bands More is that it uses the over the top shots and camera movements not just for the sake of trying to impress, but to create a discrepancy between the seriousness of the visuals and the ridiculousness of what is actually taking place. This film represented an opportunity for me to grow as a film maker by shooting some action for the first time as well as attempting to create some epic shots.

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

DG: I originally had the image of a stand off with rubber bands a while back but let it sit in the back of my mind until I had the means to actually shoot it. Between actually writing the short to shooting there were about three weeks during which I wrote my shot list and found actors and crew. Filming took half a day, and then editing and scoring took another few weeks. All in all the project took about three months to produce.

MT: How would you describe your short film in two words?

DG: Epically quirky!

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

DG: As this film represented many firsts for me, I found it most difficult to maintain continuity once all three characters moved away from one another. Although this is rather basic, there was a moment when I was filming each character in different places, moving in different directions, and, as I had never done that before, it was hard for me to clearly conceptualize how to shoot them in a way which allows the audience to understand each of their positions in space. I had to stop and consider my shots carefully while racing the setting sun. At the end of the day I feel that I learned a lot about showing a character’s space.

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

DG: Fortunately I had the opportunity to attend the festival and experience it in person. I remember feeling both excited and nervous about what people would say. I was so relieved when I actually heard people laugh while the short was playing. The first person to speak seemed very critical of the exaggerated and extended action. Although I respected his opinion, I was nervous that the reviews would be negative. After that however, people remarked that they enjoyed the subtle humor in the action and that gave me more confidence that the nuance written into the script had come across on film. I very much enjoyed hearing people’s reactions and seeing what stood out to people, good or bad. The discussion made this an even more educational experience for me.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

DG: I was in my college apartment and procrastinating very successfully while listening to music from a spaghetti western by Ennio Morricone. The image of two men in a Mexican stand off shooting each other with deadly rubber bands came to mind, I am not really sure why. When I later sat down to write a script, it turned into a little bit more than just a shoot out with the short character exposition seen in the opening.

MT: What film have you seen most in your life?

DG: I have probably seen The Lord of the Rings more than any other movie; most likely the third one but the trilogy in general.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

DG: I am currently studying for my PsyD in clinical psychology but I hope to make another film soon. I want to make a short using stop animation and light art photography. I also want to make a short based on true events about soldiers in the First World War.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Adam Beal, filmmaker of the Horror/Comedy short THE LITTLE MISSUS

Adam Beal’s short film THE LITTLE MISSUS played at the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival in October 2015; part of the best of Horror/Thriller short films of the year event.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of THE LITTLE MISSUS:

I chatted with Adam Beal recently and talked about his very funny and very scary short film:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Adam Beal: THE LITTLE MISSUS was made for a horror filmmaking contest; contestants were tasked to choose one word and make an under-3-minute short film based around. I went with Magnet,” and came up with a few variations on the concept that ends this short. The script I wrote for this version turned out the best, so that’s the one we went with.

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

It was late August when the idea struck me and the contest deadline was an appropriate October 31, so about two months. Plus a little bit of tweaking here and there after the contest deadline for the festival version.

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

Matronly vengeance.

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

We had an elaborate rig that we’d built to shoot wide shots of the climax, with hot glue and springs and ripcords and more, to show the metal bits popping out of the husband’s body and hovering there under his shirt. But it just didn’t work on camera. So the editor and I went back a week later to do some extreme closeup pickups of the metal bits popping out using a far simpler method. A ton of time and effort and ingenuity tossed aside for something basic — that’s filmmaking for you.

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

As with anything I make, I went into the feedback cringing, but as soon as people started talking, I became overjoyed. It was really positive and really appreciated! I’d have been way harder on it myself, but then I tend to be hypercritical of anything I make…

The film was called by the audience as a live-action Road Runner cartoon. Was that you intention when making the film?

100%. That’s another thing I really appreciated about the feedback — the specific things everyone said really nailed what I was going for (and was never quite sure if I pulled off). Hearing the Looney Tunes and Sam Raimi comparisons was very reassuring, as those were absolutely two of the biggest guides I looked to when putting THE LITTLE MISSUS together.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably Ghostbusters. Of all the movies I watched on perpetual loop when I was a kid with my family’s first VCR, Ghostbusters is the one I still watch fairly regularly as an adult.

What is next for you? A new film?

Right now I’m focussing on writing. I’ve already written a dozen or so feature screenplays and I’m always working on the next one. Right now I’m balancing two of them, one about werewolves and the other a traditional slasher. Neither has quite the goofy, Looney Tunes tone of THE LITTLE MISSUS, but both are aiming for fun. Beyond that, I’m working with some of the LITTLE MISSUS team on a comedy webseries.