I’ve always wanted to be in the movie-making business, and a few years into owning my own book publishing company, I decided to make the move and direct my first film. Been having a blast since!
How did your upbringing influence you as a filmmaker?
I spent a big chunk of my childhood watching films – my dad fueled much of my early interest in westerns, noirs and comedies and I can honestly say that some of my fondest childhood memories were family movie nights. Growing up, I knew that I was going to make my way into the film industry eventually, but I always thought it was going to be in the capacity of a visual effects artist or a film editor. I took VFX classes and studies film editing and did a lot of side jobs as a movie editor and VFX super in my early 20’s. I even ran my own post-production studio in Las Vegas for a while. All of that gave me a big leg up when the time came to shoot and cut my own stuff.
Let’s talk about Pickings – how did you come up with the idea for the film?
Pickings actually started as a short film, I was captivated by the idea of a crime boss sending his men into a bar for collection protection and then learning that his people never made it out. It’s a great noir premise that I thought I could expand on and once I started digging into the characters the feature started writing itself.
Was it an easy writing process?
Well, the first few drafts came fairly easy to me, but once I became confined and constricted by our very small budget I had to sit down and rewrite the film to fit. That was a really big challenge, especially for a film as ambitious as Pickings.
Was it easy to move away from comedy, as seen in you short film Prego, to a much darker tone in Pickings?
To me it was, because it was a story I really wanted to tell, and when I obsess over a story it doesn’t matter how different it is from what I’ve done before, I just write it. Prego was a silly comedy that presents a satire on choice, it’s not a movie to be taken super seriously even though it has some serious moments in it. Pickings on the other hand, is a neo-noir crime film with a much more serious tone, but it has plenty of comedic moments in it as well.
Having found success with your previous film – did you feel any pressure on you as you were working on this new material?
Not really, however I did feel somewhat pressured to write the feature version of Prego, since it was pretty well-received and had gone viral by that point – folks wanted to see the full story, but that’s not something I’m really interested in doing. I think Prego should only exist as a short, perhaps I’ll change my mind in the future, but at this point – it’s unlikely.