Written by Luke Barnes
Hey Everyone! I recently had the chance to interview Jamie Insalaco about his film Will Reading. The plot of the film revolves around a group of friends who meet up to help their friends widow find some money their friend has hidden from the IRS. Within the interview we talk, about the meaning of friendship, do it yourself filmmaking and the Coen Brother classic No Country For Old Men
Q: How would you describe this film in a word?
Q: Who is your filmmaking inspiration?
JL: So many! The song drops in where old The Simpsons episodes would drop a musical number (“Marge vs the Monorail”), and the referential comedy of that writers room is certainly an inspiration. I appreciate Kevin Smith’s indie can-do “Why not?” spirit – and YouTubers showing how much they could do with so little really got me going. Will Reading is full of homages to other movies.
Q: What was your catalyst for making this film?
JI: I knew I wanted to make a movie and I also knew I’d have to do it myself – so the situation dictated which story treatment I would develop into a script and that eventually became Will Reading. The runner up was just too ambitious: it revolved around a wedding. Too many locations, too many costumes, too many extras… but it was kinda similar in the respect that it would have a long dinner scene and a fight as the climax. I don’t think I’d ever make a movie like this again in terms of no crew, extreme limitations on the script and so forth.
Q: What was the message behind this film?
JL: I think the viewer can take a few different ideas from the movie… and I guess I prefer to let them pick! One message that comes from the character journeys is “Know thyself.” At least for Steve and Tom. For Dave and Wendy, it’s more of a “Give Trust a Chance” situation. The movie takes place after the Great Recession economic downturn, so that certainly influences the messaging and colors a lot of what’s going on, how people are reacting to their situations and what the movie is saying about life at this time in the twenty first century in this little pocket of the United States
Q: Friendship is a key theme of the narrative in Will Reading, how would you say your film tackles this theme, what are its intentions?
JL: Relationships are always tricky. As opposed to family, when it comes to relationships we choose – romantic or platonic – maybe we expect or at least want them to work perfectly. And when they don’t, we end up with these “I thought I knew you” ideas floating around in our heads. What does it say about me that I chose this? Particularly here in Will Reading, Steve wants his relationship to go back to the way it was with Wendy when they were teenagers. That’s a big ask. Wendy needs to get back to a place where she can trust Dave – the nature of these relationships have to change so they can move forward – that’s the thing we’re really trying to show here.
Q: What would you do if you found a large amount of lost or hidden money?
JL: I’d probably leave it where I found it! I’ve seen NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN too many times. The line, “At what point would you quit bothering to look for your 2 million dollars” is burned into my brain! A large amount of money will always be missed, there are ALWAYS consequences to any action – the bigger the action, the bigger the consequence. My answer is NO COUNTRY! Everybody go watch NO COUNTRY. Leave the money where you found it!
Q: Sequels or future filmmaking plans?
JL: A sequel is highly unlikely but not completely off the table. It’d be more of a spinoff rather than a Will Reading 2: On the Move direct sequel. I have a short in the works and as far as features go, a horror movie and a “one last job” movie – one of which will probably be my next indie feature, unless something drastically changes!
Q: If you could go back in time to when you were first starting out as a filmmaker what advice would you give yourself?
JL: Be bolder. Drink more coffee and keep going. There were shots I wanted in Will Reading but they were too technically difficult to pull off by myself. Now, I have the experience and understanding to execute them – think it through. “There’s probably a way to cheat that in post if I plan it out right on set.”
Q: Any funny on set stories?
JL: Sometimes we’d get giggling and couldn’t stop. I would hand out bottles of water as a mini break, to try and alter the mood. From then on, if anything went wrong, the cast would suggest I hand out water – like, if the battery on the camera died: “Water will fix this.” Someone couldn’t get through a long bit of dialogue, “Have some water.”
Q: If you won an award for this film who would you thank in your acceptance speech?
JL: Of course the cast, who really brought Will Reading to life, and then a long speech about my wife and my mom, who were constantly behind me even though they are not particularly interested in filmmaking – they were just there for me.
If you would like to watch Will Reading you can find it on Amazon Prime right now, with a wider release planned for the near future and as always I have a review of the film up on my site right now!
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