Your new movie The
Space Between Words - in a few words, what is it about?
film is about loss, love and friendship.
were your sources of inspiration when writing The
Space Between Words? And is any of the story autobiographical?
real life. I wouldn’t say it’s autobiographical, but I’ve
definitely dealt with hurt and loss throughout my life, losing friends
because of drugs and alcohol and cancer and MS. So - it’s never
something I personally want to talk about but I felt Willa was a
reflection of that.
what extent could you actually identify with Willa? Or any of the other
main characters, really?
continue what I was saying, Willa is deeply hurt, she had found the one
person on the entire planet that made her feel whole and that was taken
from her. I wouldn’t want to talk about it either.
feel a special kinship with Edger. He’s a loon. He says and does
things that portray him one way but inside, and to those who know him,
he’s a rock. Janet is a great character. Someone who is
trying desperately to be anything other than what she is. I’ve felt that
way most of my life.
Space Between Words treads the very fine line between drama and
comedy - now how hard was it to not just veer off into one direction or
think the main thing that keeps it from going off the rails in either
direction is the script structure. Narrative structure holds any
good script together. It also holds the actor’s performance together
from scene to scene and act to act. It’s a solid road map so that
when we’re on set there is very little communication about it - it’s
all in the script.
What can you tell us about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand?
I’m nothing like him, I credit Terrence Malick for my on camera
directorial style. When I started out making short films I was very
rigid. I wanted the actors to express the character to the audience in a
very certain way. When I came back to filmmaking after nearly a
decade I knew that’s not exactly how I wanted to be on set. I wanted to
have more fun and let the actors go. Let them explore the emotions
of their characters as deeply as they wanted to. And then direct for
specifics from there.
about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
I’m really the luckiest filmmaker. In the two features I’ve made
I’ve never had an actor show up unprepared. That might sound like
a give-in, but honestly I only work with great people who also happen to
be super actors. Lindsae Klein, Michael Draper, Beth Moesche, Willow
Finney... everyone in the cast are my friends. When I cast Cecily
Overman, at the time I had never met her face to face, and we just got
together and talked for about an hour and I said “cool, you got the
role.” She was a little surprised because she didn’t even read for it.
I just knew she was gonna hit a home run and she hit seven in one
day. I’m really the luckiest filmmaker!
words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
because of the lack of money, it took us 2 and ˝ years to shoot. So...
was tough emotionally. We ended up shooting with 4 different cameras, 3
different shooters, a bunch of different lenses, some on purpose, some
because that’s what we had. I ended up doing sound and camera for
four straight days by myself. I made every call, boomed every take, lit
and shot every take for 4 straight days, plus all the DIT. There again,
great people who happen to be highly talented actors that trust what I’m
doing and know it’s gonna work out. That’s really rare.
made a ton of mistakes over the years and shoots that we’re supposed to
wrap at 10pm ended up wrapping at 4am. I hate that. So I make a
concerted effort to make sure our sets are fun, relaxed and above all on
time. We have food, drinks, we laugh a lot - a lot!!! Beth Moesche and
Michael Draper kept everyone rolling. Beth is a special human.
She’s deliciously funny! Michael is a clown. But the truth is everyone
has fun on our sets. It’s kinda a mantra. We take pictures of people
being “so stressed out” when actually they're just sitting around having
a good time. It’s important to be friends and family first on our
$64 question of course, where can your movie be seen?
we just completely wrapped the movie and had our first screening at the
Covellite film fest in Butte, Montana, sorta my “hometown” film family.
All of my films will screen there first no matter what. And we’re
entering the festival circuit as we did with my film Crazy
not sure about distribution at the moment. We’ve had some really
good offers. We’ll see. We’ve done exceptionally well with Crazy
Right on Amazon Prime through self distribution. Depending on what kinds of
offers we get we might go that way too. No matter
what it will be on Amazon Prime in 2020.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The
Space Between Words yet?
audience in Butte loved the film. It was really great. There were
several people behind us hooting and hollering throughout the movie.
That was super cool. A gentleman came up to me afterwards and
expressed his love for the film and shockingly asked me for my autograph!
Of course!! Are you kidding? Hell yes!!
not too sure yet. I’ve gotten some initial reviews that were very
positive. So that’s great. Critics all seem to love the actors
and their performances. And really at the end of the day - that’s
what’s most important. These people work day jobs and do this stuff on
the weekends and evenings and I’m happy that they’re getting the
credit they so richly deserve.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
on several projects.
Baby Girl is a dark comedy that revolves around
a girl with a rare medical disorder and the medication she takes is not
only experimental and over the top expensive, but makes her a super
genius... so obviously that drug trial must be stopped! LOL.
to Say Goodbye in 12 Easy Steps is a family road trip comedy drama
about two sisters taking their dying father on one last fishing trip.
I’ll be shooting that later this summer/early fall, followed by Davie another dark comedy about a man trying to put his life back
together and getting involved with theater actors who supplement their
income by acting out “real situations” with unsuspecting people and
posting them online.
of fun stuff - hopefully a comedy soon!! Lol.
got you into making movies in the first place, and did you receive any
formal training on the subject?
I lived in Newport, Oregon I had a girlfriend that kept telling me I
should write scripts. We’d go for walks on the beach and I’d
make up these ridiculous movie scenarios and she finally convinced me.
I wrote the most brilliant 18 page script in the history of
brilliant 18 page scripts which was actually just crap but that got me
into studying film in general. After about a year we moved to
Portland, Oregon and I met some people who liked my writing and we tried to
make a short film that didn’t get out of the editing room. It was
extremely frustrating. I talked to a friend I had made who told me
“sometimes ya just gotta move on.” It was also such a terrible
experience that I decided I needed to direct too. The next three
short films were easy and successful and won some awards. We did really
But then trying to make a feature pretty much put a stop to everything:
was listening to people who told me I what I needed. A named actor. A
big crew. A great this and a great that. And when you’re not finding
money for all that it becomes depressing. When
I came back nearly a decade later I decided I didn’t want any of that
stuff. I just wanted to make features. So, I wrote and directed, my
buddy Nate shot, I edited and learned sound editing and design. Now,
I write, direct, shoot, sound record, produce, edit, set design, craft
services if needed, make props, you name it. If it gets me to the set to
make a movie, I’ll learn how to do nitr.
How would you describe yourself as a
ignorant. I’m always learning. I’m always pondering. Learning
from my mistakes. Seeing things faster. Seeing where I can improve. I
used to think that when I was “working” that all I could do was
“work.” Then a few years ago it occurred to me that reading a book was
“working too.” I
take the same approach to being a filmmaker. I can take the dog for
a 2 hour walk and still be “working” because I’m contemplating
everything. Constantly working to be the best filmmaker I can be.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
love Jim Jarnusch. He’s an idol for sure. He just does what
he wants. He’s had some luck with knowing stars, that helps when you
don’t make films for the masses, but he never seems to succumb to the
pressure of making “bigger” movies.
Gilliam has always been a favorite. I think he’s struggled quite a
bit in the last decade or so but just keeps striving.
love the Coen Brothers. Their film structure is second to none.
don’t know him or his story very well, but I feel a kinship to Dan
Mirvish. I saw a post on FB a few years ago where he was
acknowledging the final check being sent to an investor in his first film Omaha...
20 years after making the movie. I think that’s the
reality of most filmmakers. And 20 years later he makes Bernard and Huey
which is a big hit.
Sullivan’s Travels, Rollerball, Metropolis, Badlands,
Following (Christopher Nolan), The Jerk, there’s a short film from
Australia (I think) called Signs - damn that was fantastic! The
Graduate … there are so many!
... and of course, films you really
think we all see films we dislike or that don’t entertain us but I’ve
learned my lesson on thinking a movie is “bad.” It took me
nearly 2 years to make Crazy
Right, mostly by myself alone in a basement.
I’m not discrediting the actors or the DP, hair and makeup, but once
everyone walks off set, it’s pretty much just me in a room. And it
took 2 and ˝ years to shoot The
Space Between Words, and there’s so
much to do, from writing and directing to shooting, lighting, sound, hell,
just sending out emails, making sure people have scripts, or call times,
or... whatever... it’s a ton of work! Just
finishing a movie is a huge accomplishment. Filmmakers deserve all
the credit in the world for simply finishing a feature. It a tough
only thing I think bothers me is the “million dollar” independent
film. Pretty much anything over 500 grand should have a different
name. It shouldn’t be “independent.” But that’s about it.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
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Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
is my happy place.
Thanks for the interview!
you so much for wanting to interview me. It’s a huge honor to
simply be asked. There are so many outstanding filmmakers in the world,
it’s humbling to be asked.