How did baggage
initially fall together, and how did you all come on board?
had met Jeremiah Kipp [Jeremiah
Kipp interview - click here] at a film festival that we were both attending. I
had become familiar with Jeremiah's work and style at least a year earlier
when I had seen Crestfallen,
and truly felt that it was one of the best short films I had seen. It was
beautiful to watch and just created an atmosphere that is a rarity today.
Really captured emotion.
and myself sat and had a really good discussion about film making and I
told him about a script I was working on. He immediately said "I'm
in" and as simple as that, we had a director on board. Jeremiah
really brings a leadership quality that points the process in the right
direction. I was extremely happy to have some credibility from the
for Jeffrey, we had worked on a film together about a year
earlier and stayed in touch. Jeff came
onboard and had really
been a saving grace for a prior project. He had a great poise about his
style. He takes his time, really looking to make each shot the best it can
be. We had
a meeting of the minds, if you will, and baggage
Jeffrey Scott Gould: One
of the best parts of working on a film is meeting other professionals:
directors, actors, special effects/make-up artists, etc... and you never
know where those connections will take you. It’s basically a networking
event of creative individuals. I worked with Rob on another
independent film and he saw something in my work, dedication and
team-player attitude that prompted him to contact me and my production
company Action Media Productions
to work on baggage.
what were your inspirations when writing baggage,
and how much of yourself can you find in Benjamin?
idea for baggage came
from sitting in a restaurant and eating lunch with a friend of mine, Sal
Valente. We started to question our surroundings and notice how in today's
society you really don't know who is next to you or what that person is
all about. Two years later, I had finished my short film No
Clowning Around and
wanted to move on to something different and I took the idea and ran with
two main factors that I wanted in this film were to keep the camera moving
the entire time, and really paying homage to the classics. I've been a fan
of The Twilight Zone ever since seeing it as a child and really
remember week to week, wondering what was next. I wanted to create beauty
even though what you were seeing was disturbing.
is a really difficult character to deal with. When you write something you
aren't necessarily a part of it yet... it sort of exists on paper. When the
time comes to BE that person, that's when you see the ugliness in reality
for some. I think everyone deals with loneliness and being a social
outcast at times, so I think I just thought about those times from my
and since you play the lead in baggage,
what did you draw upon to bring your character alive?
had about three months of time before we filmed and this really gave me a
chance to develop how I saw Benjamin. I watched a lot of Taxi Driver,
I watched One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest to use as a starting
point. I wanted to see subtle insanity. I wanted to see the slight
nervousness that people have. I watched some documentaries on people like
Aileen Wuornos and really seeing the darkness in her eyes. I just think
it's completely possible, as we see every day on the news, that we are
blind to how inane people can be.
wrote a backstory for Benjamin including a military background and even
wrote some notes about what he saw and did while serving. For some, the
downward spiral can be a long process and I feel that is what happened
with Benjamin. Once in the head of madness, it's a scary, dark place.
talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
cast was really an ensemble of people that Jeremiah, Jeffrey and I had
worked with in the past. It was like hand picking our favorites to work
with. Each person was chosen and discussed to make sure we had the right
fit. Everyone came together with their A-game and really played their
can you tell us about the look and feel of your film, and could you also
talk about your aesthetic choices for a bit?
feeling I get from the film is dread almost from the beginning. The
weather was something that was out of our hands and it ended up being our
biggest asset. In the script, I had a few other scenes that would have
played differently based on weather, Jeremiah and discussed the location
change and it really ended up for the best.
really credit Jeremiah and Jeffrey for creating the feeling of
claustrophobia I think you feel when watching. As I said earlier, one
thing I felt strongly about was constant camera movement and that feeling
like we are always over Benjamin's shoulder. That was brought to life by
Jeremiah and Jeff always asking the question "How can we make this
look awesome?" I really credit a solid crew and team as why I feel
the beauty shines through.
Rob and I first met to discuss working on baggage, he saw my
and Alfred Hitchcock Presents DVDs and asked me what I
thought about shooting baggage
in black and white and I replied
“I’d love it”. As a fan of film noir, I always appreciated the
look and feel of black and white, there’s a rawness to it, that forces
your audience to pay attention to the photography and the acting as
there are no distractions. When we shot it, we actually turned the
saturation off the monitors, so we could see what the audience will see,
which really helped create the mood. Rob, Jeremiah and myself, all
have an appreciation for Taxi Driver
and Psycho (ironically,
the same composer, Bernard Herrmann) and we certainly paid homage to those
talk about the actual shoot and of course the on-set atmosphere! And what
was your collaboration like, actually?
I’m producing videos for my corporate clients, I usually have a
stress-free set and try to make the experience a positive one for the crew
and for the client with a mix of levity and diligence. I knew baggage
would be different due to the subject matter. We had to maintain a
certain level of seriousness and like Jeremiah, I need a controlled set,
with minimal talking and joking - it was this mindset that dictated the
environment. Regardless of the atmosphere and respect for Rob to
remain in character, shooting baggage
was one of the best and most
rewarding experiences in my 25 years in the business. I would work
with each and every person in the cast and on the crew if the opportunity
think the set was very serious, as the film's content was serious. The
first weekend was much looser than the second. Once Benjamin got down to
his reveal, I think I became quiet and really felt what he would've felt.
Jeremiah runs a tight ship, and I credit the film's quality for that. Jeff
was always working on one step ahead and was really in the zone behind the
collaboration was great. We had a meeting last week and we sat and
reflected on the good and the trying times you typically have on the set.
For us, we dealt with bad weather and long days. Our 4th of the 5 day
shoot was 18 hours long. As a credit to everyone involved, no one gave up
or complained. The focus was always to make the best film possible.
As the film's
only about to be released - anything you can tell us about critical and
audience reaction yet, and any idea and where when we all are getting to
far, we've been fortunate, the reaction has been very positive. I've shown
it to reviewers and some close friends and everyone has made some really
great comments. It's always extremely nerve-racking when you start to bare
your soul and show your work.
film releases on DVD on August 16th. I'm a guest at Monster-Mania Con
in Cherry Hill, NJ that weekend and will have plenty of copies plus,
people can visit
buy a copy. The DVD contains my award winning short film from last year No
Clowning Around and also has a Behind-the-Scenes package that Bill
Wilusz put together.
baggage will be entered in film festivals and we are just waiting to hear back on
some already. I expect some news soon.
Any future projects beyond baggage?
myself, I'm currently working on a independent comic book series based on
the lead from No
Clowning Around titled Mumbles with artist Kevin Spencer, hopefully launching first
quarter of 2014. The Mumbles character makes his comic book debut in the
Living Corpse comic series that is available worldwide on Aug 21st.
did send Jeremiah two script ideas for future projects; it's really just a
matter of time before we work together again. I would like to add one more
short film under my belt and tie them together as an anthology. A feature
is in my future... someday.
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely
forgotten to ask?
again for taking the time to watch and have an interest in this project,
it means a lot.
for the interview!