Interview With Ethan Cvitanic: Writer/ Director/ Producer Of Hit Record

Written by Luke Barnes

Hey Everyone! Recently I had the chance to chat with Ethan Cvitanic about his mockumentary film Hit Record, which follows a young women attempting to become the next huge, global pop star and in order to make that happen she agrees to be the subject of a documentary. In the interview we talk about the current ideas surrounding what makes a mockumentary, celebrity culture, and the price of fame. Enjoy!

Q: If you had to sum the film up in one word what would it be?

A: Delusion.


Q: What was the message you were trying to get across in the film? And why was it important to you?

A: Art is less about the outcome and more about the process. It’s difficult, it’s scary, but always fulfilling, so don’t be scared, just go for it! For a long time I wasn’t sure if I was qualified to become a screenwriter or make a movie, and then I just went for it and it was one of the best experiences of my life and I want others to go for it too.

Q: Who is your filmmaking inspiration?

A: I have so many, but I think Curtis Hanson is a big one. He’s done films in every genre and I really admire that adventurousness. LA Confidential is one of my favorite movies.


Q: If you could go back to the start of your filmmaking career and give your younger self some advice what would it be?

A: Be sure to storyboard before you start shooting (just to save time), but more importantly, don’t forget you’re making the movie for yourself. If it makes you laugh, cry, etc that’s the best you can do.


Q: Do you have any funny production stories?

A: There were a few close encounters with the cops, mainly when we were filming on top of a moving car, but we’re all actors so we could talk our way out of it 🙂


Q: How do you view the mockumentary genre?

A: Mockumentaries are best when they are pretty realistic. I don’t think many are anymore, but Blair Witch, Waiting For Guffman and a few others really nail that fine line. I hope they make a comeback because it’s my favorite genre.

Q: What comment does your film make on celebrity culture and do you view it favourably or negatively?

A: I think of celebrities as people who are more known for their personality than their art, and, instead of fighting it, just keep using that perception to make money. We can’t all be Adele or Meryl Streep so it exists for a reason, but I wish we could focus more on the music or the film that they’re in.


Q: What is the price of fame? and do you want to be famous yourself?

A: Fame means having less privacy and I love my privacy, so the obvious answer is no. But if I do become famous it would probably be really fun for about a week.

Q: What inspired you to make this film, what was your catalyst?

A: Shug and I both love mockumentaries and grew up in Oklahoma, so we wanted to make something that included our favorite places and people (most of the cast are our family). The catalyst for going for it was me finally raising $6K and having 6 weeks free over the summer, so I figured that’s not too much to lose in the grand scheme of life.


Q: If you were to win an award for this film who would you thank in your acceptance speech?

A: My three best friends – Shug, Alex and Michael.

You can watch Hit Record now, on Amazon Prime in the US and other online store fronts in you are elsewhere. As always my review is now on site now, so check that out too!

Hit Record: Everyone Wants To Be Famous

Written by Luke Barnes

Hit Record is a comedy mockumentary film directed by Ethan Cvitanic. The plot sees aspiring pop star Shug Cherney (Shug Cvitanic), agree to take part in a documentary in hopes of boosting her fame.

This might be the perfect mockumentary for these modern times. Every other weeks there is another big documentary about a famous singer releasing on one steaming platform or another, we’ve had Taylor Swift, we’ve had Billie Eilish, but were they went wrong is that they took the documentary formatting too seriously and didn’t have fun with it.

Therefore it is quite refreshing to see a mockumentary come out, that is having fun with it, and is poking a little bit of fun at these other films expense. This film reminded me of the sort of thing that would play on MTV in the late 90s early 00’s, which I would later see on repeat years later and it would form a part of my young adolescent brain- and I mean that as a compliment.

The thing I like most of all about this film is that it is just fun, that’s all. It is not trying to teach me something, it is not trying to make me think about the world or an issue, it is just trying to entertain me, and it does that well.

I would say I was laughing a good 80% of time, and when I wasn’t I was smiling, so as far as comedy films go this film is on top form.

Overall, a terrific mockumentary film that provides solid entertainment value and sits nicely next to films like Pop Star.

Pros.

A lot of fun

It’s funny

Strong commentary

That MTV late 90s appeal

Cons.

The characters are a little thin

4.5/5

Borat 2: Timely?

Borat Subsequent Movie Film (Or Borat 2), is a mockumentary comedy film directed by Jason Woliner. The plot this time around sees Borat (Sasha Baron Cohen) and his daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova), venture back to America to try and restore Kazakhstan’s lost honour.

The long-awaited sequel arrives! To thunderous applause from some, I however, am more mixed. I thought though there were funny moments to be had, and Borat as a character is still charming and easy to watch, everything this time around just felt a bit more fake. I know Cohen went undercover for the role, but the people seem just a bit too eager to go along with everything he says and for the most part, don’t question anything, which is more than a little odd.

The film does struggle in my mind to justify its existence. Yes, it does deal heavily with American politics, so I guess an argument can be made for that being timely, but for the most part it just treads down paths that have already been done better by others before it.

The daddy daughter dynamic was fun, and it did lead to some nice heart-warming moments. I found Bakalova to be a lot of fun, she even managed to upstage Cohen a few times. It was quite a breakout for her.

Overall, though there is still some fun to be had this film doesn’t further the characters very much and feels slap dash to meet the election. I do hope this is the last we see from this character for a while.

Pros.

Cohen

Bakalova

A few good jokes

Cons.

It doesn’t justify its existence

It is disappointing and pails in comparison to the first film

It feels fake

2.5/5

Reviewed by Luke     

The Bay: Don’t Go In The Water

The Bay is a found footage film directed by Barry Levinson. The plot revolves around a small town that has something in the water, parasites. These parasites invade the body and then eat you away from the inside out, soon most of the town is dead and it is up to one blogger to try and get out the truth of what happened as the US government has since suppressed it.

This film genuinely surprised me, when I put it on, I had low expectations, but as the film went on, I found that I enjoyed it more and more. The premise is great and scary, what makes it scary is the fact that it could happen, we as a world have environmental disasters all the time, so something like this is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Furthermore, there were several moments in the film that actually made me jump, which is rare. As such the horror of the film really worked for me, and I found it to be one of the scariest films I have seen recently.

My one issue with the film was that the story was told through vignette style, as such there were multiple different characters and each of their stories were explored, the issue with this is that some of the stories are more interesting than others. I cared about the French scientists/ divers; I didn’t really care about the young teen couple.

I thought this film was fascinating, I couldn’t take my eyes off it as I watched it. Found footage as a genre has been done to death, but this film managed to find new ground to explore, making it almost like a faux environmental documentary, I applaud the imagination and creativity behind it.

Overall, this film is great for the premise alone, but it was made even better by the fact that the execution was also fantastic. It was scary, fascinating and I could have easily watched another hour of it, perhaps one of the best of the best-found footage films I have ever seen.

Pros.

It is fascinating.

It is scary.

It does something new with found footage.

It made me jump!

Cons.

Some of the characters are more interesting than others.

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Mascots: Life Behind A Costume

Mascots is a mockumentary film directed by Christopher Guest. The plot of the film revolves around several mascots who are competing for the World Mascots Association championship’s Golden Fluffy Award; hilarity and hijinks ensue.

I have had this film in my Netflix que for quite some time, there has always been other films that have got in the way of me watching it, that should have told me something.

Mockumentary films for me are incredibly hit and miss, for every What We Do In The Shadows there are thousands of others that are either middling or bad. This I would say is on the better side of middling, but only just.

For me, the idea of people who dress up as mascots and have that be a big part of their life is an intriguing concept. There is a lot to mine from this topic as a lot of people, myself included, only have a very surface level knowledge about this subject. To an extent the film does dive deep into the topic albeit in a humorous way.

That was my main issue with the film, the comedy. This is a very quirky film and a lot of the comedy steams from that, however, for me 98% of it didn’t land. A lot of the time Mascots may have got a weak smile out of me, but that was it. I found a lot of the jokes to either be hitting low hanging fruit or incapable of delivering. The film did make me laugh once though, when one of the characters was explaining to the other about Furry culture; that amused me greatly. Take all of that with a pinch of salt of course because as we all know comedy is incredibly subjective and personal.

I thought a lot of the characters were unique and memorable, especially Chris O’ Dowd’s Zook. In my opinion this is one of this film’s greatest strengths; it’s originality. The characters are all very different to one another and have different motivations and drives, as such it is interesting to see them interact on the big screen. The wide variety of different characters helped to keep my interest spread across the whole ensemble.

Overall, this is a quirky and deeply original film, however the comedy really didn’t land for me, which meant in the end I didn’t feel much for this film. It is nice to see Chris O’ Dowd give a good performance for a change.

Pros.

Novel and Original.

Interesting Characters.

Chris O’ Dowd.

Cons.

The Comedy Didn’t Land.

It Was Mostly Forgettable.

2.5/5

Reviewed by Luke