Your upcoming movie Book of Choices - in a few words, what's
it going to be about?
It is a
psychological drama about the choices one makes and the results of those
choices. The main character, Carl Johnson, escapes reality by reading a
book of short stories. The stories come to life in this film and in each
one, the main character has made a choice and must live with the outcome
of that choice. Little does Carl know the importance of the choice he
will have to make as the film progresses.
What were your inspirations for
writing Book of Choices, and what made you choose the
anthology format to tell your story?
as a whole inspires me and a lot of times we do things and make choices
without thinking what might happen due to those choices. It sounds really
basic, but it's true and that's where the inspiration came from.
Professionally speaking, I want to direct only and just like acting you
need a reel. All of my previous work were short films and I needed to
prove that I can do a feature film. I wanted to do a film that had depth
and came with a message. I noticed that several of my shorts had a running
theme, people making choices and then having to live with outcome of those
choices, so I decided to incorporate them into the film and then write a
screenplay around these stories having the main character.
Trevor Scott as Carl Johnson
Dawna Lee Heising
Since your film is
about choices, some of the choices in your life you are the most proud of,
and maybe also some you regret?
that I am most proud of is trusting and having faith in myself to know
that I can do this and hopefully have a career at doing what I love. On
the other side, when I was much younger I had an internship with E
and I wanted to work in the newsroom. A position opened up and I was
qualified except I couldn't apply because I was an intern. My supervisor
explained to me that once I finished my internship I could apply, but
being young and foolish, I left the internship. I often wonder what
would have happened if I had stayed. It just goes to show how one choice
can change your life.
What can you tell us
about the film's look and feel?
film is a psychological drama with twists and turns leaving the audience
thinking they have it all figured out, when in fact they really don't. A
lot of the look is dark and haunting, especially with the stories. We took
a lot of liberty because the stories are Carl's, our main character,
interpretation of what he is reading.
A few words about your
cast, and why exactly these people?
I go into casting I just want to be moved. Then, I look at how well they
take direction and of course are they fun and easy to work with. I am very
blessed to have the cast that I do. They are all extremely talented, fun
to work with, and some of them I am sure you have heard about. Trevor
Scott (Criminal Minds, Enlisted, General
Enrique Almeida (CSI, Boston Legal, Bruce
Almighty), Dan Spector (Happy Days, Facts of Life,
and award winning actress Dawna Lee Heising (Teachers'
Day, Slink) are just a few.
While most of the
film is already shot, you are currently raising some finishing funds - so
what can you tell us about your fundraising efforts?
hasn't been easy. We don't have a big name attached to the project, in
front of or behind the camera. The film is a drama, so there isn't any
real following like horror, sci-fi, or fantasy has, some of those
projects are making thousands of Dollars and some of them aren't, but
drama seems to be very generic, so there really isn't a following for
it. The first Kickstarter was not successful, so we lowered the amount
and decided to have multiple campaigns hoping that we would meet our
goal and possibly get a following. Our second campaign was successful
and allowed us to shoot on and off this year. Now we have only two days
left to film and we are hoping that we can reach our goal.
can you tell us about the shoot as such so far, and the on-set atmosphere?
have had a blast! Everyone just clicks and I consider myself so blessed to
have the cast and crew that I do. We laugh and joke around, but when it's
time to work, everyone works. No one slacks off, everyone is on time, and
there are no prima donnas. The last time we filmed I said how unbelievable
it was that we only have two more days left and how I am going to miss
everyone. They have become family to me.
far as I know, some of the segments of Book of Choices have
already been shown as standalone shorts at festivals and the like - so
what can you tell us about audience and critical reception so far?
feedback has been great. One of the stories in the film entitled Detach was a 2012 official selection at the
International Film Festival and another one of our stories, Burning
Distortion, won Best Drama at the 2012 New York International
Independent Film and Video Festival. We have submitted the other two
stories, Salvation of One and A Gracious War, to several film
festivals and are waiting to hear.
idea when and where Book of Choices as a whole will be
released onto the general audience yet?
the plan was to wrap production by now, but due to financial reasons, that
obviously is not going to happen. I am hoping we can finish before this
year is out, but again that depends on financial as well as our actors'
availability. So, probably not until May or June 2015. We will be
submitting the film to festivals both nationally and internationally.
projects beyond Book of Choices?
have a few ideas on the back burner, but making this film has been my main
focus since 2012.
you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal
education on the subject?
all began after I got my AA and BA in Broadcast Journalism. I always
wanted to act, so I attended The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film
Then, I studied with a few other people and then joined Gene and Tony
Bua's Acting For Life. I began writing scenes for class and that led
to my first short that centered on domestic violence called, Impaired
Innocence. I fell in love with being behind the scenes and started my
production company, KitnKat Productions. More shorts followed and here we
are today. I haven't had any formal film school training, however, I would
like to attend a few courses at USC.
What can you tell us about
your filmwork prior to Book of Choices?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
first few short films covered social issues, like domestic violence,
suicide, and self hurting. I was covering issues that have been done a
thousand times, but putting a fresh spin on it. Then, I began to write
more complex screenplays with twists and turns, leaving the audience
wondering what just happened, but still wanting more. I never want to tell
a story for the sheer pleasure of entertaining. I want to have the
audience enjoy what they watched, but also get them thinking. If my work
doesn't have a message, then I'm not finished.
would you describe yourself as a director?
myself an actor's director. Having once been an actor, I know how
difficult acting is and how it's a process. I get very invasive with my
actors and am very fortunate that they trust and open up to me. If I see
that an actor is stuck, then I will use that information, with their
permission of course, to help them get to where they need to be. If the
actor isn't comfortable, then I find another way, sometimes through role
playing, whatever it takes. Understanding actors and how to get them to
where they need to be is my job and seeing that transformation occur
lets me know I'm doing my job. I think all directors should take at
least a few acting classes, so they truly understand the art of acting.
who inspire you?
Christopher Nolan, Hitchcock, David Lynch, and Frank Capra.
Your favourite movies?
Dark Knight, The Crow, Psycho,
Wild at Heart, and It's a Wonderful Life, just to name a few.
and of course, films you really deplore?
really aren't any films that I deplore because storytelling is an art
and art is an interpretation, if that makes any sense.
movie's website, Facebook, Kickstarter, whatever else?
Choices Kickstarter: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1736650755/book-of-choices-campaign-2
Choices official page: http://www.chandragerson.com
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChandraGerson
My IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3858266/
else you're dying to talk about and I have merely forgotten to ask?
you very much for the interview and remember nothing should stop you from
your passion! Take care!
for the interview!