Your film iCrime - in a
few words, what is it about?
this modern age, actual human interaction is so rare.
All the social media communities and inventions in the realm of
convenience communication (email, cell phones, texting, IM) have only added
layers between really knowing each other. iCrime
is about that modern phenomenon, that we never really, truly
know anybody anymore. Add to that
fact the glitzy sheen that Hollywood gives everything, and it becomes even
more difficult to find the truth about people.
What were your main inspirations when writing iCrime?
know a lot of people right on the cusp of breaking in to the entertainment
industry, so I hear a lot stories that sound both ridiculous and
heartbreaking. However, the main
inspiration came when I directed and co-wrote/produced a web series.
We were doing what countless aspiring artist do these days, creating
all these fake identities to “vote up” our videos and hopefully get
noticed. People started friending
and interacting with these fake identities.
One of my fake identity’s “friends” met another “friend”
on-line and started a real relationship in the real world.
And then those two apparently they got in a tragic car accident and
both died. And this particular
video-sharing site was all a flutter with tearful tributes.
Only it was all fake, because I called the hospital where they were
supposedly taken and there were no such people.
So I exposed them. But I
did it in a video. Using one of my
fake identities. The irony was not
lost on me, and the lead character of iCrime, Carrie Kevin, was born.
Especially towards the ending, iCrime
twists and turns quite a few times. Was all of this in the script, or did
some plottwists develop during shooting?
that was all in the script. It
had to be, we were on too tight of a shooting schedule to discover much in
the moment. Also, I’m a bit
of a control freak, so I make the sure the script is “done-done,”
before the writer part of me goes away and the director shows up.
Your film takes a satirical look on the blogosphere, internet
celebrities and "leaked" sextapes. Your personal views about all
of this, and your "favourite" internet celebrities?
internet has allowed anyone to achieve stardom, or at least it pretends
that is that case. Does
anybody really believe the Numa Numa guy is a star?
Is he going to be the next Spider-Man?
Sex Tapes certainly allow people on the edge of fame to catapult
themselves to the top (all Kardashians, Paris Hilton).
And the public’s obsession with reality shows plays right into
this. No one actually has to
have any talent anymore, they just have to be “good edit.” I
don’t think I have any favorite cyber-lebrities, but I do enjoy a lot of
short humor pieces (like on Funny or Die, or College Humor) that I don’t
think have much of a market without the internet. I
REALLY enjoy memes, especially those involving cats or bears with guns.
my opinion, iCrime is in
equal parts conspiracy thriller, mystery story of the girl detective
variety, and Hollywood satire. A comment you can at all live with?
Although I’ve been told we needed more car chases or fight scenes
to really be a thriller. It’s
sort of an old-school mystery (like The Sting or The Spanish
in the digital age. And the
setting really became a character in the film: Los Angeles, our
perceptions of it and its reality. A
lot of films are described as a love letter to New York, or Paris or some
other city. This is sort of my
break up letter to LA.
would you describe your directorial approach to iCrime,
and in what way have your key topics influenced your style?
the very beginning we knew we had to bridge the gap from the computer
monitor to the motion picture, so we filmed a lot using the cameras that
the characters would actually be using (mini-handhelds, consumer
camcorders and even the camera in your laptop).
Also we wanted the backdrop to really inform Carrie’s journey.
She’s not from LA and her view of it will be ours, so we wanted
to get some archetypical locations and experiences in there (Griffith
Observatory, the LA River). And
then there was stylization of the footage in the edit, with spilt screens
and such, like all these internet videos where people want to try out
every effect in their iMovie toolbox.
few words about your main cast, and why you chose them for your roles:
Fletcher as the "girl detective"?
was written with Sara in mind as Carrie Kevin, and she read every draft of
the film as I developed it. Many
of her own feelings and observations ended up in the film.
She has so many online projects under her belt, like Secret
Girlfriend, which went from cell phone download to internet video to cable
television show on Comedy Central. Also
Sara manages to stay sane in the insane grind of this industry and her
perspective was sort of exactly what I was looking for with Carrie Kevin.
McKendrick as the internet celebrity?
came in to an audition and just sparkled with this sort of saccharine
energy that no one knew if it was real or if she was already playing the
character. Once I saw her,
there was really no one else to consider.
Christie Burson as
the emo sidekick?
had worked with Sara in another film prior to this, we asked her to play
Raychell93 at my writer’s group reading.
She brought a lot of depth to this very complicated character who
is playing so many lies on top of lies we never even learn her real name.
I have to admit that Raychell93 has most of my favorite lines in
the film. Also, she would have
you know she’s more “scene” than emo.
Whatever that means.
Kelly Noonan as "the model"?
was the hardest role to cast in the film, she had to be drop dead gorgeous
but also really be able to act, something surprisingly difficult to find
in Los Angeles. I think we saw
200 models and/or actresses until Kelly quit her day job on the same day
she showed up and read for us. The
chemistry between Kelly and Sara as cousins was apparent the first time
they read together.
A few words about the rest of your cast and crew?
had such a great ensemble in the film, everyone really brought a lot to
the shoot and made small parts really feel like they had a past life.
Since we’ve covered so many women, I must mention that all the
men on the film also really nailed their roles.
Travis Brorsen (Zeffer), Griff Furst (Parker), Alex Petrovitch
(Aphid818), and Brad Fletcher (GavinOfScotland) were great to work with
and really settled into a film with a decidedly female emphasis.
Alex was in Lost, my favorite television show of all time
disregarding the final season, so that was a personal highlight.
My Director of Photography, Matt Egan, was really fantastic because
he was such a pro and knew what he wanted to do and how to do it, I could
focus on what I wanted, getting great performances out of the actors and
telling the story visually without worrying about how to make that happen
(or what lens to use). My
closest collaborator on the whole project was editor Jon Alvord, who sat
side-by-side with me for a whole summer of oppressive heat in Austin
really making the film into something special. I don’t think I really knew what
was until Jon and I
easy or difficult was it to get a project like iCrime
off the ground?
was surprisingly easier to get the project off the ground, but it was far
more difficult to get it finished. I
know our budget went up as the project progressed, and there were all
these costs and details associated with delivery of the final version that
were far more involved than anyone had anticipated.
But all the praise goes to producer Richard Ford for getting the
movie going, and for producer Scott Bridges for getting it past the finish
What got you into filmmaking in the
first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject? And
what can you tell us about your work in the business so far?
training is in theatre. I have
an MFA in directing from Indiana University and have directed like 50 or
so plays. I got tired of
putting all this energy into something that only a few people would be
able to see over a few weekends. Also,
the idea of selecting the best of an actor’s performance in an editing
studio appealed to the control freak in me.
And of course all the things you can do with the footage in post,
like we did in iCrime.
future projects you'd like to talk about?
just finished a short that I wrote and directed, starring and co-produced
by Sara Fletcher, called The Secret Keeper.
It’s sort of a sci-fi mystery set somewhere in a future that
looks vaguely like the 1940’s. I
think it’s a great film festival piece, which is something I’ve never
really done before.
think it will be obvious by watching the film that Steven Soderbergh is a
big influence on me. But the
people who made me want to make movies were Whit Stillman, Ed Burns,
Richard Linklater, and Doug Liman. Any
film released prior to 2000 by those artists became a sacred text to me.
Directing the plays of Harold Pinter, Patrick Marber, Mark
Ravenhill, and David Mamet taught me how to tell a story through character
and dialogue. Pixar and Blake
Snyder taught me structure.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Have you seen it? One
of the most underrated films of all time.
That cast is amazing and it’s so funny.
Do you know how to use the three seashells?
Kicking and Screaming (the Noah Baumbach film) is the movie I
go back to again and again and show people when I want to share something
of myself with them. And
Fight Club changed my life.
and of course, films you really deplore?
just tired of superhero movies. And
any film where the climax involves a CGI character fighting another CGI character. And
Synecdoche New York - biggest cinematic disappointment of my life that did not involve the
words “country”, “bear” or “jamboree.”
Facebook, whatever else?
much as I write about the internet, my presence on it is intentionally
small. But people can follow
me on Twitter @bearsfonte.
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
What’s the name of the sequel going to be?
seriously, if readers of the blog have any questions about the film, tweet
me (yeah, I just said that) and I’d be happy to respond.