Interview date: 12-Jan-2010 | First interview!
In the New Year we’ve been doing some new and exciting things. Aside from book reviews, interviews are a new addition we’re bringing to the site. To kick things off, we interviewed writer, director, producer, and actor Matt Farley. Farley is behind such films as Freaky Farley and Monsters, Marriage, and Murder in Manchvegas. Mr. Farley was gracious enough to do this e-mail interview discussing his love for movies, favorites, and even a few tips for aspiring filmmakers.
CN: When did you first realize you wanted to be involved with movies?
MF: When I was growing up, I loved movies. When my family got a video camera when I was 13, I started making movies with my friends. Since then, I’ve always had a project in the works.
CN: Growing up, what were some of your favorite films?
MF: As a kid, I loved the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies. I also loved the horror movies that would play on local TV on Saturday afternoons.
CN: Are there any filmmakers today that you are heavily influenced by?
MF: I love the great directors like Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood. Of today’s directors, I like Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino and P. T. Anderson. My movies are also heavily influenced by ultra-low-budget directors like Don Dohler and Bill Rebane. I guess the films we make are an attempt to merge the styles of great, respected directors with the tricks and pure entertainment value of low-budget filmmakers.
CN: Quick list…5 favorite films of the past decade?
MF: Punch Drunk Love. Zodiac. The Royal Tenenbaums. The Man Who Wasn’t There. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
CN: Do you prefer writing and being behind the camera or acting?
MF: Writing is the best part of the process because your possibilities are unlimited. Once it’s time to start filming, you need to make lots of compromises. The filming process is fun and exciting, but it also involves dealing with one problem after another.
CN: Are any your stories and characters inspired by real life individuals and events?
MF: No. The stories are more inspired by the elements we love best from low-budget films of the 70s and 80s. If we know in advance who is going to play a certain character, we’re more likely to write lines that would sound right being delivered by that actor.
CN: You certainly seem to have a passion for telling quirky tales in classic b-movie fashion. Do you have any desire to go more mainstream in the future?
MF: With our incredibly limited budget, the only movies we can make successfully are quirky B-movies. If we somehow got enough money, I’d love to make a more mainstream movie.
CN: Are there any teasers you can give us about the next film you’re working on?
MF: The next film is going to be called Don’t Let the River Beasts Get You. It’s going to be a fun, old-fashioned monster invasion movie. We’re in the process of writing it now. Filming won’t begin until 2011, because that’s how long it’ll take to save enough money to make it. It will be released in 2012.
CN: Quick list…5 recent films that most people haven’t heard of but should see?
MF: The only recent one I can think of is The Room, from a few years ago. Here are a few not-so-recent titles that are pure entertainment: The Pit; Slumber Party Massacre 3; Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2; Creature From Black Lake.
CN: Best movie you saw in 2009 and why? What movies are you most looking forward to in 2010?
MF: Inglorious Basterds was the best movie of the year. It was wildly entertaining from start to finish. I loved it. I don’t know too much about what to expect in 2010. But I love going to the movies. I go every week or two.
CN: Any advice you can give to aspiring independent film makers out there?
MF: The most important thing is to get your projects finished. So many people will start a project and then let it linger for years and years. It’s much better to have a compromised finished product than nothing at all. You need to accept that it will never be perfect, but still do it anyway.
I like having deadlines. If you get the whole thing done in three weeks or so, that’s the way to go. Otherwise, you might have actors drop out, change their hairstyle or leave town. It’s easy to lose focus if you’re just filming on the weekends for a year. So I say, take a few weeks off of work and make the whole thing happen.
Also, it’s good to work within your limitations. Don’t write a script that takes place in a hospital if you don’t have access to a hospital.
Chances are, you’ll be working with inexperienced actors, so write lines that they can handle. And don’t try to make it a heavy drama, because then it’ll be quite laughable to watch poor actors trying to pull off emotional material. We write our scripts with the understanding that most of the performances will be laughable.
CN: You seem to cast a lot of unknowns and relatively inexperienced actors. If one wished to obtain a role in one of your films, how would they go about getting in touch with the right people?
MF: Most of our actors are friends and families. We’ve gotten a few actors from craigslist, and that has worked well. If anyone is insterested in working with us, we can be reached through www.shockmarathons.com . It’s a lot of work for no pay. But the end result is usually worth it.