INTERVIEW: Ethan Paisley Talks New DVD Netflix Series “Set Life”

Hi Ethan, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi there! I feel super relaxed actually. I just got back from vacation in Hawaii. Ready to get back to work!

After being on the scene for a while now, what made you want to step in behind the camera?

For me Set Life has been my first time in front of the camera in a while. When we started filming it was nerve-racking, and then it became comfortable, and once again its scary to think I’m on camera again and people are watching. I’ve been wanting to get back into on-camera work since taking on several hosting and influencer gigs that past year, so Set Life felt like a natural step in the right direction.

How did you come up with the idea for Set Life?

Tiffany Unscripted, the director of DVD Netflix, came to me with the idea to create the first-ever webseries for DVD Netflix in December last year. She wanted me to host a how-to series on indie filmmaking, and then it turned into a docuseries about me, and now it’s sort of a combination of the two concepts in the format of a Vice documentary. I call it the “Reading Rainbow” of indie film. At it’s core, it’s all about teaching new filmmakers to recognize the tools they already have to make a movie and then inspiring them to go out there and actually do it.

Was this always meant to be a doc series or it rather evolve into this?

The concept, again, definitely evolved. But that’s how it is when you’re trying to make something that’s never been done. I’m trying to meet with Netflix about creating an original series based off what we shot that runs very similarly, but has more of a plot or end goal. For example, something that’s a cross between HBO’s Project Greenlight and what we already have would be ideal.

The idea for the series feels almost like a masterclass – does it go down that line or its completely different?

It’s me hosting it, so it’s definitely far from a masterclass LOL. If it’s any sort of masterclass it’s a masterclass in energy and passion. What I hope people take from this is that any amount of energy and passion for what you do will always outweigh your training or qualifications. People you pitch to in the industry respond to human people. I think this is the notion of what can make or break a project.

What was the casting process like?

The cast we feature on the show was a mix of filmmakers in my personal network and the DVD Netflix network. They are all wonderful filmmakers in different stages of their careers that present relatable scenarios for our target audience of new filmmakers. Keeping the range wide in casting was very important to me, knowing not everyone will be able to relate to a director with multiple features and commercials under their belt. In one episode, we feature a brand new filmmaker on the set of her first film. It’s different in this way.

How did Netflix get involved?

DVD Netflix agreed to distribute our series on their YouTube Channel, which is available all over the world. DVD Netflix is a Netflix company that shares an audience with Netflix streaming. This is exciting for us because the natural next step for the show is pitching an original series to the streaming executives.

So is the show limited to the US or how does the international audience catch the series?

Set Life is for filmmakers all over the world!

What would you say has been the most challenging thing about Set Life?

As a narrative film producer, this was my first documentary I ever worked on and I quickly learned the process of documentary filmmaking is very different than that of narrative. Production was spontaneous in many ways which made it tricky in post-production, and then in the branding and packaging of the series, and so on. But I would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat, yes.

What else is happening next in Ethan Paisley’s world?

I begin production on two feature films with PaperChase Films at the end of this year, and right now I’m developing an app with a company in Australia where I’ll be traveling to later this year. In the background I’m running my public relations consultancy firm Paisley Creative Co and developing a couple pilots I hope to shop in the next year. And of course promoting Set Life!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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