Your new movie Gap
Weekend - in a few words, what is it about?
Art Hall: There is
life after heartbreak, you just have to be open to see it.
Todd Norwood: I
can't top that one!
how did the project come into being in the first place, and how did you
both end up as producers on it?
Art: This was
really Todd's brain child. He writes scripts like crazy, and this was
one of those delightful little treasures that could be done well with
little resources. It's all about the characters and the writing, and
the setpieces of wine country just help to tell it all. I came on as
producer because we worked so well together on our first feature Chasing
been wanting to film the idea of Gap
for a long time but
it was only when it looked like we'd both have some time and
opportunity in our schedule did I jump forward to write it and
set it up. Art offered to produce the film, a decision I was wildly
enthusiastic about as he ended up being a great partner on our
previous collaboration together.
Todd, what were your
inspirations when writing Gap
Todd: I am a big fan of melancholy romances - and I very much wanted to do a
project with that tone. More so, I find that in most film and TV - the
idea of a "long term couple" as a goal is something that
isn't ever discussed. Most stories celebrate brand new couples, and
it's a rare story that celebrates the small victories that are enjoyed
by a long term couple. Most people search for the spark of freshness,
not the warmth of familiarity. I wanted to try to tell a love
story in a different light - instead of our lead searching for someone
exciting and wild for the weekend, he is instead searching for the
feeling one gets after one is together for a lifetime - the inside
jokes, the ease of being yourself, the lack of pretense. Of course he
is trying this with a stranger for the weekend, so he's got the odds
stacked against him!
Art, to what degree could you identify
Art: In his
general disdain for applications, social media, and online dating. I
am part of that lost generation born between '78 and '82. We're not
quite Gen-Xers nor are we Millennials. Someone called us the
"Oregon Trail Generation", based off the game we all played
on a Commodore 64 or Apple IIe in school. Ben is very much that guy.
He's aware of the necessity of this tech, but is also loathsome of it.
As for emotionally and relationship-wise, we have all been through
heartbreak. Ben had what he perceived as the perfect
partner and once they split he was in the wind. But the truth is, they
were sweethearts from youth. Very few of those connections ever last
because each person doesn't know themselves, truly. Only with life and
experience do you get to know who you are and who you want. Kudos to
those outliner high school sweethearts who make it, but for the rest
of us, Ben is going through that first major break up we all do - only
it happens to be when he's almost 40.
Robb Padgett, Art Hall, Nicola Graham
Related to the last question, what did you
draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Art Hall can we
find in Ben?
Art: Oh shit.
Well, a lot I suppose, but in a very focused way. Rather, an enlarged
way. There are parts of me but they are blown up in proportion. For
example, I might lie a little about what I'm doing, but I won't
fabricate an entire business opportunity. Or, I might drink a little
too much at a dinner and say some coarse things, but I'd never get to
the point of insulting a blind date to their face and breaking things.
Stuff like that. I will say that when I spill wine on my shirt in the
film and curse at it as I rip it off, that is 100% me.
What were the challenges of bringing Gap
Weekend to the screen from a producer's point of view?
there weren't many. That's weird, right? Usually indie films are rife
with trials and tribulations, but this one ran really smoothly. We had
a great time filming up in wine country and along the way and everyone
involved was good to work with.
we've all been involved with films that are our own personal Heaven's
Gate. Those films take a great drain on one's
passion for filmmaking. One of the goals with making this film was to
enjoy the process and streamline it down and just do things on set
that we like to do. As such, we had a small crew, spent weekends
driving through spectacular scenery of wine country, and got to sample
the wines! Honestly, after filming this, I can't wait to get
behind the camera again.
what can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at
Nicola Graham, Art Hall
Todd: My biggest goal was to hopefully make the audience feel like they are
there on the weekend with Ben and Emily. As such I wanted the
actors to take the stage. My original intention was probably a little
bit more of a smaller scale film, but I have to give credit to both
our amazing cinematographer, Mike Barroga, who pushed for a more
cinematic look that took advantage of the locations, as well as our
brilliant editor, Robb Padgett who pushed for a more unorthodox idea
of shooting the film in anamorphic, which leant a big screen epic look
to such an intimate story.
What was the collaboration between the both of you
on Gap Weekend
was much laughter, much wine, and... more wine. We like to reward our
filmmaking efforts with a bit of the grape and since we were in wine
country... But seriously, we work very well together. I know what Todd
wants to get done, and how given any limitations or scheduling, and I
know how to make that happen. We have a bit of a short hand now where
we can figure out what needs to get done on the day to catch what we
need as efficiently as possible.
friends take vacations together, we make movies together instead. As
we have worked together so many times in the past, we don't rehearse that
much, and let the magic happen on the moment on set. As a producer Art
is very good at finding a realistic way of making the impossible
happen, which helps to direct my energy into tasks that are more
achievable in the insane fast shooting schedule we work under.
From what I know, Gap
Weekend isn't your first time working together - so what can you
tell us about your previous collaborations? And how did the two of you
first meet even?
Art: We have
worked on that other feature I mentioned earlier, Chasing
the Sun, as well as a bunch of short films in the interim to keep
ourselves in practice. Todd has even worked for me on a short I made.
We're symbiotic that way. And we met back in, I want to say 2015? It
was at a reading of his script Island
Time, which featured a character very similar to the one I
would go on to play in Chasing
the Sun. That particular script was a bit larger in scope so Todd
put it on pause and started to write this other more practical piece
all about this side character who was a Trop Rock DJ. Todd was
curious, what was his journey like to get to this place in his life
and the story. And so, he approached me about playing the character
because I guess he dug how I approached that one reading.
Art Hall, Rosie Koocher
had mentioned a short hand of us working together and that has
developed over the years. We met via a mutual friend. Believing him to
be as extroverted a person as a character I had seen him play, I
invited him out to a dreaded Hollywood "networking event"
hoping that he would help me to break the ice with a bunch of
strangers. In actuality, he hates such events as well, and was hoping
that I would be the extroverted one to talk to strangers and network.
Despite that miscommunication - I cast him in my next project. I
wrote the role Art played in Chasing
the Sun for him (the inspiration of which has allowed me to write his characters
in a follow up series of novels). While we have been lucky to make
films in some exotic and fun locations such as Key West and Santa
Barbara, not all actors would consider the rapid fire pace of our
schedule or the fact that I like to shoot things like a stage play a
bonus. Art did take to that style of filmmaking well, and as such I've
written a number of roles for him. (And, as he mentioned, he for me -
though I am not as good at memorizing an insane amount of lines as he
Do talk about the rest of Gap
Weekend's cast, and why exactly these people?
Art: I will
leave most of this to Todd since he's the director, but I'll say it's
because they are who they are. Some are actors we have worked with
before and we know they can deliver and are also great to be with on
set. Some are new to our stable and they just fit the bill. We wanted
to bring people in who were real, but also just cool to spend 10 to 12
hours a day with.
mentioned that we made a number of shorts between features, and a great
majority of the actors were cast from those films. The actual
production of Gap
together at a fast pace, and as such, roles were cast right before
filming. Looking back on it now though, it feels that it was all
"meant to be."
Art Hall, Rosie Koocher, Bryan Bertone
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
run, run! When you're working on a smaller film like this you have to
get as much done as you can. Everyone knows, or can understand, that
the filmmaking is a dance of time and money. The more time you spend,
the more money it costs. If you are trying to keep things reasonable,
you need to be quick. So, that's exactly what we did.
are always trade offs in film, and while we sacrificed a great deal on
shooting time, budget, and amount of crew on this film, we did create
a fun, vibrant creative atmosphere in beautiful locations with great
wine. As such, the only drama on set was in front of the camera, which
it should be.
$64-question of course, where can Gap
Weekend be seen?
Art: I wish I
had a good answer for this, but right now the answer is nowhere. We
are currently working the festival route before releasing it. I will
let Todd elaborate on that one if he so desires. But I'd be happy to
film distribution landscape is changing at a rapid pace. Plans we made
for distribution even a few months ago have transformed overnight. We
hope to have the film out by early 2022 - in the meantime, if anyone is
interested in getting notifications on when we are releasing it, they
can sign up for my Wanderlust Tales newsletter on my brand
new website at:
Rosie Koocher, Art Hall
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of Gap
small screenings we have had have been very successful. People are
really receptive to the film and connect with Ben and his frustrations
and desires. As for critical response, we have only had a few reviews
come back but they have all been positive.
truly enjoy sitting in screenings of this film and watching the
audience reaction. It's fun to watch others go on Ben's journey as
Any future projects you'd like to
Art: I have a
feature coming out that my production company Troubadour Pictures
made called A Can
Full of Ashes. We are working on the final stages of
post-production and will be looking to hit the festival circuit before
making it widely available. I am also working on two podcasts worth
That Was Disappointing -
- and Subversive Cinema -
I've got a number of film projects in the works, including a short
is a short film continuing the adventure of Art's character from the
the Sun. In addition, over the next few months I'll be publishing
a series of novels which follow that character on future adventures
that are a little too expensive to shoot on film, and so I'll explore
them in prose.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever
Art: You can
find me at
Todd: My Stories for the Wandering Soul website and my newsletter
can be found at https://www.toddnorwood.net/
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Covered it all.
thank you so much for your questions!
Thanks for the interview!