An Interview With Writer/Director/Actor Shaun Rose: Toga

Written by Luke Barnes

I recently had the chance to interview Writer/ Director/Actor Shaun Rose about their new drama film Toga, which follows a videographer, also played by Rose, as his work brings him back to his home town. In this interview we discuss, home towns, sequels and the hate received from shortening a town’s name.I hope you enjoy.

Q: What was your message with this film?

SR: Overall I feel that with this film and its predecessor, “Upstate Story”, I’ve tried to show that change or personal growth continues even after our transition from childhood to adulthood. Being an adult isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination and we often find ourselves in tough spots or holes and we have to find a way out of them.

  Q: Why is returning to a home town always such an emotional significant moment?

SR: It’s largely due to the memories you have in the sense of what you were, the things you did and what has happened since. All of the changes can really make for a highly emotional experience.

Q: How would you describe the lead character’s emotional journey during this film?

SR: In the beginning he’s largely in a better place than in “Upstate Story.” It’s a very large improvement for him by comparison. He still has problems though and he’s aware of them, but doesn’t have that drive to fix them. The journey to town changes all of that. 

Q: What emotions were you hoping to illicit from your audience here?

SR: I’ve always tried to tell my stories as realistically as possible for the sake of connecting with audiences. Being able to relate to a character on deeply personal levels I feel makes for a more impactful viewing experience.

Q: What made you want to make this film?

SR: Doing an “Upstate Story” sequel was always part of the plan. Both films act as a reflection of who I am as a person and what I’ve gone through the last few years of my life. It’s tough to make a film, but I think writing what I know best has made the process a little easier. 

Q:Do you have a favorite moment and or any funny stories from the production?

SR: Some of the local hate I’ve received over the title alone has been frustrating. At times, it has also been comical if you think about how pathetic it is. Shortening the town name from Saratoga Springs to “Toga” has brought me a lot of heat from others. All other things I’ve experienced will be covered in a “behind the scenes” documentary I’ve also been chipping away at. I don’t want to spoil too much of anything.

Q: What are your future plans, do you have another film in the works?

SR: I have a few in the early writing stages. Even another film in the Ellis Martin saga. If you want to call it that. In the near future and hopefully before the end of 2023 I’ll have the documentary “Not Saratoga” finished. I’m in no big hurry though. 

Q: Do you have any words of advice for young filmmakers who might be reading? 

SR: If you want to make a film, go ahead and do it. If you’re working on a no budget film be prepared to wear a lot of hats. Do your research on those roles too. Prepare yourself for many sleepless nights. 

If you would like to check out Toga  for yourself it is currently out now on Youtube

If you enjoyed this interview, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

Interview With Writer/Director Graham Jones: Silicon Docks

Written by Luke Barnes

I recently had the chance to interview Writer/ Director Graham Jones about their new animated comedy, drama film Silicon Docks, which follows a group of recognisable tech figures meeting for a drink in an Irish pub. In this interview we discuss tech billionaires and who would win in a fight between them, modern internet culture and the ever forward march of progress.I hope you enjoy.

Q: What was your message with this film?

GJ: SILICON DOCKS is mainly to do with modern culture or the internet – and the way that tech is transforming our lives. Technological advances have changed human interaction, in some cases, for the better – but in many cases not. Ireland is a culture that is quite social, traditionally. We commune, we communicate, we gossip like you wouldn’t believe. It’s very interesting to see that culture transplanted into the 21st Century or the internet era. 

A lot of the web is interconnected, but paradoxically distant and removed. We’re closer to each other, yet also further apart. We have all this great tech and these zippy apps and social media platforms that purport to make communication easier, but which often just leave people staring at their phones like zombies instead of really connecting like they used to. 

So I wanted to riff on all of that stuff, from an Irish perspective.

  Q: Why focus on tech moguls?

GJ: Human beings are really the only things an audience can relate to – and so wanting to explore the kind of themes mentioned above, I needed to find the right characters for the story. Granted, I could have used a collection of Irish characters and shown how their lives have changed because of tech. But I found the whole Silicon Docks area of my native city – where these big US tech corporations have congregated due to low corporation tax passionately hawked by the Irish government – more and more intriguing and using the moguls gave me other narrative opportunities also. Many of these moguls are actually my own generation and it seemed like they would make good protagonists because, like me, they actually lived through this change or even brought it about. No, they are not completely responsible for the internet, but dramatically speaking they made great punching bags. It certainly seemed valid to subject them to same kind of distortion that is commonplace online nowadays, it felt almost karmic! 

Q: What sort of impact do you think tech and the digital space has had on our daily life?

GJ: I think it has a huge impact. I grew up without this ‘web’ and have seen the way it’s grown and mutated and really kind of taken over our lives at this point. I do wonder what it must be like for people who were born into it, who arrived when it was already operating. What really strikes me is that it used to be peripheral, whereas now it’s all-consuming. Just how far will this go, or where exactly are we going – I wonder? There is no doubt that it’s improved some aspects of our lives, but at what cost? That’s the big question. To me, it’s as if we are going forward and backwards at the same time. A good example is indie filmmaking. It’s easier to make an indie film nowadays, compared with back in the nineties when I used to shoot on celluloid and distribute expensive cans of film to cinemas. But on the other hand, it’s also much harder to get attention for your movie nowadays, after you have made it. Backwards and forwards, better and worse, that’s the internet. I suppose we’ll see what happens…

Q: Who do you think would win in a fight between Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey?

GJ: Ha, I haven’t a clue – but must confess that I would probably watch that fight, a guilty pleasure. I guess that’s kind of what our film is: Musk and Dorsey and Bezos and Zuckerberg’s idea of fighting. One-upmanship or pissing contests – basically like a tech mogul version of fighting. Again, tech bros don’t like a lot of touching or interaction!

Q: Why choose the medium of animation to tell your tale?

GJ: I thought animation was the right medium for SILCON DOCKS because it so resembles the world we live today – I mean so resembles the internet or the metaverse or pick your word. Instead of meeting in a pub, on the street or wherever – people basically now send data to each other through their little electronic devices. We are becoming increasingly virtual and so right away I suspected animation would be the right medium to portray that virtual vortex. But it’s not just animation we use, as the background in SILICON DOCKS is actually rotoscoped. It’s animation on top of a rotoscoped world, which again seemed natural given our new reality. On this planet, we’re humans who increasingly operate in a digital web and so we tried to reflect that visually. The medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan once said.

Q: Any funny stories from production?

GJ: Well, I couldn’t find anybody to do Elon Musk’s voice authentically, because he’s got a kind of scattered, hard to place ‘new world’ accent – and so, in the end, José just did a Dublin accent for us! 

Q: What are your future plans for your next feature?

GJ: I can’t say anything about my next film at the moment, unfortunately.

Q: Do you have any words of advice for future filmmakers who  may be reading

GJ: The main error new filmmakers make is assuming they only have to make the film and that once they do so, everything else will kind of magically fall into place. In reality, there are 2 stages to the process. One is literally making the film and everything that involves, all the way through from script to final mix. The second stage is getting it to people via whatever route you choose to take. Typically what happens is that new filmmakers are so exhausted after the first stage, they have no energy or spirit or realisation the second stage even exists! So do watch out for that…

If you would like to check out Silicon Docks  for yourself it is currently out now on YouTube

If you enjoyed this interview, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

Interview With Writer/Co-Director Adam Leader And Co-Director/DOP Richard Oakes: Feed Me

Written by Luke Barnes

I recently had the chance to interview Writer/ Co-Director Adam Leader and Co-Director/ DOP Richard Oakes about their new horror comedy film Feed Me, which follows a guy in his quest to kill himself by Cannibal. In this interview we discuss processing trauma, finding love whether in others and or yourself and cannibal horror films.I hope you enjoy.

Q:  What Was Your Message With This Film?

AD: We wanted to tell a relatable story of grief and trauma through the power of shock, gore and comedy; something we love. We wanted to make a movie that, first and foremost we were fans of so that no matter what, we could be proud when the world saw it.

RO: There are a few messages in this film, Learning to love yourself when you have low self-worth and guilt is one that resonates with me. It’s amazing what a difference to your life a little self-respect and understanding can have. 

Q:  What Was Your Favourite Moment From The Film?

AD: For me, it’s the final dream sequence in the woods where Jed and Olivia profess their love for each other. Liv is a figment of his imagination; and what Jed always perceived to be the devil on his shoulder fuelling his tumultuous journey, turned out to be his inner voice motivating him to fight for his life; she was his arc. That scene alone is like a massive breath of fresh air for Jed; his arc comes to this bittersweet conclusion that allows him to finally be at peace with himself before it’s too late. 

RO: I Think I like the scene when Jed Finally stands up to Lionel and Lionel shows his true colours to Jed. It’s when Lionel unveils his true nasty. From there to the end is really special to me as Lionel’s character falls apart. 

Q: How Inspired Were You By The Real Events?

AD: The fact that a man responded to an advert for being eaten alive and went ahead with it was inspiration enough. That in itself is so bizarre that we just had to use it as the premise for FEED ME. It’s ironic how the most unbelievable part of this movie has actually happened in real life.

Q: To What Extent Is This Film A Metaphor For Moving On And Dealing With Loss?

AD: If you lose the comedy, you’re left with an underlying subtext entirely focused on low self-worth & grief and how one overcomes it. The interesting part is how two traumatized people who are similar in so many ways can connect so well, yet go in completely different directions for better or worse, much like real life.

RO: Yes it’s about dealing with the internal demons that plague you through loss and overcoming the self-destructive nature that inevitably follows the loss of a loved one, again letting go of guilt and learning to love yourself again. 

Q: What Is Your Favourite Cannibal Film?

AD: Of more recent times, it would have to be the new Dahmer series. That’s the best thing I’ve seen in a long time, let alone this year. Evan Peters is God.

RO: I would have to say Alive, it’s a fascinating film that I watched as a Kid that shows the real triumph of the human spirit against unbelievable odds and circumstances

Q: How Did You Manage The Tone Between The Comedic Elements And The Darker Ones?

AD: By wearing our hearts on our sleeves with the direction and being fully open to giving the actors the floor to experiment. From the get-go, we wanted this movie to be sprinkled with our sense of humour. It’s who we are as people, and to abstain from implementing our own personalities into our art would have resulted in a mediocre movie that lacked integrity.

RO: Like Adam said, the Comedy is very much a part of who we are and we wanted to stay true to that. The balance just came as a natural result of the way we wanted to pace it. 

Q: Do You Have Any Funny Stories From Production?

AD: Neal Ward running naked through the set searching for a blood pump sticks out for me.

RO: One scene was so funny that I laughed so hard that a little wee came out.

Q: Future Plans, Sequels, Spin-Offs and Other Projects?

AD: A sequel is doubtful but there’s another project in the works that’ll hopefully see the light of day in 2023. Somebody did float the idea of doing a spin off about the two cops. I think that’d be amazing and I’d love to do a miniseries on those two bozos never solving anything.

RO: We have thrown a few sequel or prequel ideas around, but to be honest we are not really those people. I guess it also depends on demand. If FEED ME ever became cult status and there was a market for a sequel you never know. 

Q: Do you Have Any Words Of Wisdom For Filmmakers Who Are Just Starting Out?

AD: Make films for you, not for others and be prepared for an uphill struggle; filmmaking is all about problem solving. Anything worth doing is never easy, but the personal reward dominates any salary in a career you’re not truly passionate about. Money doesn’t buy happiness; being open, honest and true to yourself does.

RO: START! I have lost count of the people who have told me they are working on a film but are waiting for the perfect conditions etc. These people never make a film. Myself & Adam are very much doers and we will break down barriers preventing that from happening rather than using every little hiccup as an excuse not to start.

If you would like to check out Feed Me for yourself keep an eye out for it on all good VOD platforms

If you enjoyed this interview, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

Interview With Narrator/Director George Popov: Sideworld Damnation Village

Written by Luke Barnes

I recently had the chance to interview narrator/director George Popov about their new horror film Sideworld: Damnation Village,  which presents viewers with a look into one of the most cursed areas of the UK. In this interview we discuss history, shadows of the past and the means and measures of storytelling.  I hope you enjoy.

Q: Why focus on villages other areas with creepy pasts?

GP: In our research these three villages got mentioned often as the most haunted in the country. Pluckley and Prestbury especially quite famously compete for that title. Eyam was very intriguing with it’s history of the plague providing and a backstory and a possible explanation for the paranormal activity there.

Q: What Inspired This Sequel?

 GP: Exploring Haunted Villages has been on our list of Sideworld topics almost from the beginning. The decision for it to be the third one in the series seemed very easy to me.  The atmosphere and colours I was imagining for the documentary were complementing our first two features very well and it felt like a very natural completion of the first trilogy. Going from natural settings like Forests and Sea to something man-made and community driven, it established a needed new angle to Sideworld while still in rhyme with the previous films.

Q: What Was Your Message With This Sequel?

 GP: We deal a lot with the impact of the legacy of events and the weight of history. In a great way that  continues the topics about repetition and lingering that we have started in the previous film. However now we delve deeper in those themes, both in terms of folk horror and in science and history.

Q: Do You Think Buried Underneath The Surface Of Every Village There Is A Ghost Story?

 GP: Wherever there are humans, there will be stories. it’s inevitable. The more closed local community of a village preserves those stories very well. I think, however that there are some locations where ghost stories and encounters are more prevalent, and that may be due to a lot of other external factors. That notion is a big part of our exploration in the documentary.

Q: Do You Have Any Funny Stories From The Production?

 GP: Quite a few, yes. It was a very adventurous production as always. I can be here all day retelling even just one of them, but let’s say a lot of them involved nature doing extraordinary things for us to get some great footage. We also crossed paths with some really cool characters in the villages and twice we literally stumbled into an amazing hidden location.

Q: What Locations Will You Try And Tackle Next If There Is A Fourth Sideworld Film?

 GP: More Sideworld is coming and we have a long list of potential topics and locations that we’re very excited to explore. It has been a crazy first year for Sideworld and making three feature films in that time was a new and amazing experience. Now I’m enjoying this stage of being able to stop for a second and look at what we’ve done and make sure those films can reach as many people as possible. But I’m even more excited for us to look at the next stage and implement our many ideas for the future of the franchise.

Q: Any Word Of Wisdom For Aspiring Filmmakers Gleamed From Your Time Working On This Film?

GP: You can allow yourself to be confident in your abilities once in a while. Sometimes. Maybe.

If you would like to check out Sideworld: Damnation Village it is available to rent or buy over on Amazon Prime Video.

If you enjoyed this interview, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

Interview With Writer/Director George Veck: Clogwyn

Written by Luke Barnes

I recently had the chance to interview writer/director George Veck about his new film Clogwyn which focuses on the destructive nature of gambling addiction and how it can destroy families. In this interview we discuss addiction, mental health and the need for further legislation regarding gambling, and its marketing. I hope you enjoy.

Q: What was your motivation for making this film?

A: To shed light on the sheer amount of people who despite having no background in sport or watching sport, end up gambling and how it can be those lesser fans who suffer most as they need a bet to enjoy the event.

Q: What was your message?

A: That anyone vulnerable who hates what they do with their life can be sucked into drink, drugs or gambling in the UK.

 Q: Do you think the government should do more to tackle gambling beyond what it is currently doing?

 Absolutely, the current level of restrictions on adverts during sporting events is appalling despite overwhelming evidence of the amount of sports fans who watch not for the love of the sport, but only due of the thrill of betting.

Q: What are the warning signs of gambling addiction and when should people seek help?

 It’s hard to detect initially but the secrecy of the person suffering will become apparent and the niggling feeling of being lied to. The deeper the person gets, the harsher the depression will be after they lose a bet, this is one sign to get help.

Q: Do you have any funny or interesting stories from the making of this short?

 This was a very international cast, with talent from Canada, US, Ireland, Wales, England, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand forming the cast and crew.

Q: Future Plans do you want to do a follow up or tackle any other issues in future films?

 I have just finished editing a short about domestic violence called disquietude which will be out soon as well as a short called Scarlett about cocaine addiction. Issues around mental health and poverty are what I want to portray in my films. I would love to explore gambling addiction as a theme again, hopefully next time as a feature film.

Q: After making this film do you have any advice for aspiring film-makers?

 To those from rural areas who worry about accessibility and finances, that with a carefully selected cast of willing actors and imagination you can make fulfilling films from the comfort of your home.

To check out Clogwyn for yourself then head over to Vecks Gems Productions or click on the link provided

If you have been effected by the topics discussed in this interview then please consider getting help or if someone you know is suffering people get them some help. Addictions are awful things and often people try and hide them and suffer in silence and we all need to do our best to recognise the symptoms and help to the best of our abilities.

If you enjoyed this interview, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

Interview With Narrator/Director George Popov: Sideworld Terrors Of The Sea

Written by Luke Barnes

I recently had the chance to interview director George Popov to talk about his new film Sideworld Terrors Of The Sea, which focuses on creepy nautical urban legends and tales of sea monsters. In this interview we discuss coastal folk songs, exploration and tricky tides.  I hope you enjoy.

Q: Why Focus On The Sea This Time Around

GP: We were discussing a vast array of potential topics for future sideworld films even before “Forests” was finished and always one of the main examples for a topic that we were all excited about was the sea legends. It gave you a scope in which you can show potential directions for where the series can go and retain its particular style while enrich the palette with every single one. And also out of all other options we had, it felt like the right continuation from the previous one. They have a thematic relation when you’re talking about these biomes, these vast areas of the world that we have been so closely connected to throughout history.

Q: What Inspired This Sequel?

GP: I really wanted to give a good idea of how varied and diverse our relationship with the sea is, and there are stories and sea legends and horror myths that really capture the vast difference between how gigantic and operatic they can be in some examples and then how emotional and personal they can get in others. So the inspirations for me came from all different angles including reading old sea stories when I was a kid all the way up to, of course, watching many films and frankly a lot of marine art. Some fine examples of which made it into the film in a very beautiful way, which I’m very happy about. Also for a few months my playlist was nothing but coastal folk songs and old sea shanties.

Q: What Is The Strange And Unsettling Allure To People And How Would You Describe The Relationship Between Humanity And The Sea?

 GP:In lots of ways that’s the main question we try to tackle in the film. No matter which section we’ll be working on or which story we’ll be telling, the question of our relationship with the sea in its complexity and its duality, would just keep coming up. Throughout history, the ocean has been one of the main frontiers for humanity to explore and the ocean floor today is the final frontier for us, maybe alongside Antarctica, that we have left on this planet. The mystery, the adventure and the danger add to this strange allure we have for it, and until we completely tame and explore all of it, I don’t think that sensation is going away. And I kind of hope we never get to that stage, because I think it will be really sad if the ocean loses all mystery and just turns into another park or backyard for us.

Q: What Do You Think Is Waiting For Us At The Bottom Of The Sea?

GP: I think it is an abundance of new knowledge. There is a lot on the ocean floor that we still know nothing about. Almost every month it feels like, there is a discovery of a new funny looking invertebrate or something else thriving in conditions previously thought very difficult to sustain life. Also in recent times we’ve discovered a lot more about creatures growing to sizes, previously thought to be exclusively reserved for tall tales, like in the case with the Colossal Squid. And if you watch “Terrors of the Sea” we do bring up the question of what else might be there that’s not just pure fantasy.

Q: What Was The First Nautical Ghost Story, Legend Or Tall Tale That You Heard?

GP: I have to think about it. Most likely the literal first one I do not remember but I do remember being very young when I read a lot of the Sinbad tales and remember them being amazing. They captured my imagination with all these adventures on the ocean with mythical creatures and being epic fairy tales. Yeah, so that will have to be it but I do recall being aware of the Odyssey at a very young age so that also could be it.

Q: Do You Have Any Funny Stories From Production?

 GP: When you travel around the country to film all these amazing places on our schedule, it’s almost difficult not to have a single day go by without something kind of wacky happening. So yeah, I guess there was, it was funny but also a little bit worrisome, there was this time when we were filming this colony of clams on a cliff side. We did know that the tide was coming in because it was in our schedule, you had to know where the where the tide is at that time of day and how much time we have and everything. But they don’t tell you how amazingly quick that happens, so it can be a problem if you get lost in your shots. And at some point as we were standing on these rocks, thinking that we’re quite a way from the sea with our backs turned towards it. At some point I just fell this water washing my ankles and I turned around. What used to be rocks and a vast beach now was nothing but the ocean and so we had to very quickly evacuate the equipment and ourselves. Trying to navigate what has now become islands that were shrinking very quickly and the whole carpet of sharp clam shells as well in our way. So yeah, that was that was pretty exciting.

Q: What Location Will You Focus On Next If There Is A Third Sideworld Film?

GP: I can’t say much at this point but what I can say is that there will be a third Sideworld, the whole team is very excited about it and we’re working on it as we speak.

Q: Any Words Of Wisdom For Aspiring Filmmaker, Gleamed Whilst Making This Film?

GP:This is the first sequel I’ve ever done and first for Rubicon Films as well as whole, so don’t know yet so I don’t know how much wisdom any of this carries, but I did find the whole experience a lot more liberating than I thought. I think it’s normal for filmmakers to feel a bit constrained when you make something that has to fit as part of a series. If you don’t feel that constraint, you probably don’t worry about your creativity in the first place. Which is a problem. But at the same time the balance of trying to push the boundaries a bit while giving that familiarity is really intriguing. And that every new film gets the opportunity to shine in its own unique way. Are they all going to be all equally successful? Of course not, but by changing the recipe ever so slightly every time you learn a lot more about our audience and about yourself as a filmmaker.

If you would like to check out Sideworld: Terrors of The Sea for yourself then it is available to rent and buy right now on Amazon Prime Video

If you enjoyed this interview, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

Interview With Writer Director Robbie Walsh: The Letters

Written by Luke Barnes

I recently had the chance to interview writer/director Robbie Walsh about his new film The Letters which shows three women from different walks of life be given incorrect cancer diagnosis. We discuss issues of medical failure, injustice

Q:  What inspired you to make this film? 

A:  The film is inspired by actual events happening in Ireland today

Q:  What was the message? 

A:  This happened and continues to.

Q:  How do you think this film reflects on society, health care and the experiences of women? 

A:  I hope we gave a fair and thoughtful representation, and hopefully people who watch will think about change going forward.

Q:  Who were your influences? 

A:  In this film it was, Shane Meadows, Ken Loach, Fredrico Felini, Jean-luc Goddard, Ben Wheatley.

Q:  How did you manage to balance the tone of the film? Bleakness to happier moments and beauty?  

A:  There aren’t too many happy moments in the film and it is a very tough watch, some of the more delicate shots are based on famous paintings I admire.

Q:  Any thoughts for filmmakers looking to get into the industry?  

A:  Just start! but know the art form and be passionate about it, always remember your love for cinema.

Q:  Future projects?   

A:  Just working on this for the time being, self-distribution takes up a lot of time.

If you enjoyed this interview, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

Interview With Actor/ Director Robert DeSanti: The Epilogue Of Gregory Archambault

Written by Luke Barnes

I recently had the chance to interview director/actor/writer Robert DeSanti about his new film The Epilogue Of Gregory Archambault, which sees a writer, also played by DeSanti struggle to write the perfect suicide note. We discuss issues of mental health, the writing process and the classic that is Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Q:  What inspired you to make this film?

A:  I think the inspiration came from a mixture of several things that were happening to me
at once. The main one being I was in a place where I was auditioning all the time but
never quite landing the role. I had a sadness that came from that. I felt like a good actor
with a high level of training (I am good enough) but couldn’t quite land the role(s) (wait,
am I not good enough?). This all-to-common artist juxtaposition caused very dark
thoughts for me. Knowing I couldn’t be the only one going through this, and like the
artist that I am, I decided to pour my heart onto the page.

Q:  What was the message you were trying to get across?

A:  It’s my attempt to address a very taboo subject—the mental health of an artist and
contemplations of suicide.

To me art should make us confront our own vulnerability and contemplate our shared
humanity. With this film I wanted to offer something real. The private moments often
associated with but seldom spoken about in regards to being an artist.

Being an artist means putting your work out there, often to be rejected time and time
again, and the brutal truth is this doesn’t come without a cost. Many of us are rejected
more times in a year than others will face in a lifetime. As artists at some point, we must
confront the duality of rejection (we aren’t good enough) while idealistically clinging to
the hope that we are good enough. The disconnect between artistic aspirations and the
gatekeeper’s system that dictates the marketplace can create a difficult psychological
split that can feel like madness. Life is hard. I feel for everyone’s struggles but I have a
soft spot for the pain an artist goes through because, well… I am an artist.

I wanted to highlight this relationship from an artist’s perspective as taboo as it may be.
It’s told, not as an outsider observer, but from inside the mind of our main character,
Gregory Archambault — it’s his world as he perceives it to be. As right or wrong as that
may feel, or as funny as it might seem from outside looking in, the stakes couldn’t be
higher from Gregory’s perspective.

It’s easy, and even delightful to speak about the successes, awards, and highlights but
what I hope, above all, is that this inspires you to speak about the doubts, dark
thoughts, and pain you also feel, and through that realize that you’re not alone. That
there is a beautiful community of artists around you that has your back, knows your
pain, and is always rooting for you. I hope you laugh. Maybe even cry. But above all, I
hope that you feel seen, and heard, and inspired to have deep dialogue with your fellow

Satire is comedy about things you care deeply about. It has the ability to express dark
themes in blunt yet relatable ways. I felt this was the best way to confront myself and
the audience with these brutal truths we often carry with us while also making it
digestible and hopefully enjoyable.

Q:  How was the writing process for this film?

A:  Brutal! In many ways it mimicked the film. It was very difficult, and I was full of doubt,
but it was also an amazing process of exploration and learning my craft. It feels weird to
even type this out but if you really watch the film (might take multiple viewings) you will
pick up how layered the film is. There are things in this film that add context and
meaning that no one has picked up on (so far) which really excites me. I’m a big fan of
Chekov and his belief that every element in a story must be necessary, any irrelevant
elements should be removed. I combed over each line of the script time and time again
to make sure that every word had meaning, that no space was wasted, and that I could
justify every single thing that I wrote.

I wrote it to be like Russian literature or a piece of work from Shakespeare. The stakes
had to be high, and it had to be as real as it could be for the character for the comedy to
land. This brought many struggles going back and forth to balance the tone and how far
to go or not to go. I’d act it out in my room and tape it on my phone and make decisions
based on seeing it out loud.

I had two friends whose writing I really respect, Kyle Kolich and Tom Connor, look over
it at certain phases and give honest feedback which really helped me understand how it
was being perceived.

 Q:  Did you find any overlap between the character’s writing experiences and your own?

A:  Absolutely! I think many artists of any discipline can feel imposter syndrome whether
you are talented or not. You have this ideal of yourself and ability but at some point, or
many times, you must be confronted by that inner voice that mocks your very existence.
As an actor and writer, I have dealt with that on many occasions. In writing this film that
was very frustrating but also a very helpful feeling to utilize. I probably found more
genuine, deep truth because of that than if I had not been going through that while
writing this. Now it was nowhere near as bad as Gregory, but it still existed.

Q: If you could go back in time to when you were first starting in the industry what advice would you give to your younger self?

A:  I’m a big believer that life is what it is and learn to roll with the punches. I love who I am
now and although being an up-and-coming artist that is still struggling in many ways to
get his work out there, I do believe it is forcing me to slowly become that much better at
my craft which will pay dividends in the long run. So, I’m pretty content where I am at
and the choices I have made as an artist. With that being said I would have emphasized
the importance of it’s who you know not what you know that often gets you ahead. So,
definitely to put a little more emphasis early on into heavily networking (I solely focused
on the craft for many years).

Q:  How did you strike the balance between comedy and more serious elements?

A:  I love a story I heard about the writing of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I think that is one of
the funniest comedies of all time and I remember an interview where Jason Segal spoke
about the writing process and Judd had told him to write a drama and then fill in the funny moments. So very much that’s what I did. I focused on the more dramatic elements first. Then I slowly layered in more and more comedy. I also had the advantage that I would be acting in this. I know my own voice pretty well and when writing it I could take a few lines of dialogue and act them out. If I couldn’t make it funny while also hitting the more serious tone I’d change it until I felt I could do that.

Q:  Is the ending happy or sad? Or is it bittersweet?

A:  It changes as I change, as I experience more, and have ups and downs in this industry.
And I hope that people who watch it feel the same way. I think it’s up for debate and
dependent on who you ask and where they are at in life.

Q:  Who would you say your influences were for this film?

A:  My biggest inspirations in everything that I do, but very much for this film in the writing
department, were Paul Thomas Anderson and Charlie Kaufman. I think that they both
explore character and the human psyche as good as anyone who does this and also
make it fun and unique while doing so. I hoped that I could maybe touch the surface of
what they do through this film. Directing style was also very much inspired by Paul
Thomas Anderson. This film is not clean and composed. It gets messy and has a very
nice build up and that is very much inspired by PTA’s early work (specifically Magnolia).
And as an actor my north star is and will always be Philip Seymour Hoffman. I just do
my best to make interesting and honest choices no matter the genre and that was as
true as ever with this role.

Q: Upcoming projects?

A: I’m currently auditioning as much as I can. I also have two more short films in the works,
and it just depends on timing which will be made. One revolves around institutional
policing and is based on a true story of a mixed-race couple that I am very close to and
the other is another piece for me to act in that was inspired by a statue I saw at the
Acropolis Museum in Greece outside the Parthenon.

If you want to watch The Epilogue Of Gregory Archambault it is currently doing the festival circuit, and will be available to watch outside of that soon.   

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