Please tell us about your background. What made you fall in love with cinema? How did you become interested in filmmaking and what did you work on before making Bees and Seas?
I joined a writing group when I moved to the Palm Springs, CA area 11 years ago. I am still an active member of that group today. Along the way I started writing one act plays. Then I found that I loved writing 10 minute plays. Creating a short film was an outgrowth of that journey. My first film, “George” was about 5 minutes. I wrote and directed it. My next film, “Happy Birthday Art,” I wrote and produced. Then I wrote, “Oblivious” which I also directed, played both parts, and did the initial editing. Avant Studio redid the editing, color correction, and sound. “Bees and Seas”, my latest and shortest film was written, directed, produced, and acted by me with Avant Studio doing an amazing job with all the rest. We worked hard to keep it under 2 minutes to qualify for both a “2 minute” category and “micro” short category of the film festivals.
Which filmmakers influenced you and your filmmaking? Which films have affected you the most?
I don’t have a favorite filmmaker. I am always alert to awesome cinematography, music, dialogue, editing. I frequently go, “wow” right in the middle of watching a film.
What are the themes/issues you try to reflect in your films? What, in your opinion, is the most important quality of a film?
I believe we have a “voice” that is unique to each of us and can be nurtured but not changed. I am lighthearted and silly. I love farce. Good writing is absolutely essential.
Where did the idea for the film come from? Is it rooted in your personal experiences?
In February, 2021, I accepted “The Literary Challenge”, out of London, to create 28 plays in 28 days. One of the daily prompts was to write a play in which the most emphasis was on the way the words sounded, as if they were musical instruments. And, still have the story make sense. I originally wrote it for three characters. My message was not clear. I rewrote it for two characters and, in my mind that worked. Then I decided to film it with me playing both characters. Stuart, of Avant Studio, suggested the evening shoot and moody approach. I do believe that elevated the overall product.
Please tell us about the production and your experiences of making Bees and Seas. What are some of the challenges and difficulties you face when making a micro film?
Probably the biggest challenge with “Bees & Seas” was how much of the 1 minute and 59 second film would have be cloned. We spend 3 hours establishing the set and a little over 4 hours filming. We shot each character numerous times, from several angles, to allow the editing to accommodate the cloning, over the shoulder, and close up shots.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of independent filmmaking and working with small budgets? Does it liberate the filmmaker or limit his or her freedom?
The advantage of being an independent filmmaker is that I get to decide. It’s my vision executed as I want. That’s really nice. The disadvantage is absolutely the budget. The screenwriter, actor, director, and producer works for free. The outfits come out of my closet, there is little make up, and the sets are in my home.
Tell us about your festival run. Have film festivals provided you with the experience and exposure you needed?
It is very satisfying to have my work accepted externally by individuals I do not personally know. I have found it personally satisfying when, at in person festivals, there are 50 to 100 people in the theater for the block that my film is part of. I have been very humbled by the good fortune, in recognition, that “Bees & Seas” has received since September, 2021.
What was the reaction of those who watched your film? Was the feedback what you hoped for?
Fun, silly, I got it – are reactions that put a smile on my face. What fun to be able to entertain at the age of 77.
Please tell us about your future project(s). Will you make more films like Bees and Seas or will you move towards making feature films?
I have a 5 minute short in the works. There will be even more cloning to hopefully make it even more seamless. I will play both parts and the plan is to stretch my acting. We’ll see. Going from a 2 minute film to a 5 minute film may well triple my budget. I don’t see a feature film in my future. I think I have found my niche.