Austen Schoensee is competing in Pre-production REELPITCH Challenge

August 17, 2016

How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?

As a young child, I always remembered having this enjoyment of film. I remember coming home from Pre-k everyday and watching Robocop & Forrest Gump. My parents just thought it was the weirdest thing that a five year old’s favorite film was Forrest Gump, But for me, it was all about the feeling and that’s what I want to do, create happiness, sadness, make people question ideas and mess with your mind while doing it. Some stories literally haunt me at night and I feel like it’s my purpose to share them.”

What is your favorite part about the short film form?

Well, to the short film form, it being able to create these mini stories. We get to experiment and learn a lot. Every time we pick up a camera we learn something, it’s never a loss. My friends, they are just the best and we get to create something together. I would not trade any moment I spend with them for the world. Plus, I look sexy on camera, so you know…

Who were the people that supported the making of this film?

Where do I start? My wife, she puts up with my B.S. I also have to tell her everything, and film making just really isn’t her thing, but she understands how much I love it and she supports our projects no matter what. Of course, there is my parents too, they created me after all, but when I was first started running around on camera with Sol Cortez, they just kinda gave me a weird look, but said it was good, even though it was bad, (laughs) really bad. One of our writers, but more importantly my buddy P.E. Mitchell, when I’m down about my work or unsure of it, he really picks me up and just helps me out. Then there’s my old pal Sol Cortez, the creative genius behind us, he shoots me down and puts me in my place when I’m high strung. P.E. and Sol are my bi polar structure, but it actually works. Our whole team at Smoking Hare is just amazing and super supportive. The beautiful Baumans, both Megz and Mali are always willing to film what we need. They are just the coolest and we put them through some weird stuff at times. I also have to mention Zachary Finkel for also showing dedication to our crazy group of filmmakers and Julian Hernandez… actually Julian owes me. He gets some good sleep on set when we film.

Austen Schoensee

Watch and vote for “Late”

What resources do you use as a filmmaker? Music, locations, props, editing, crew, etc.

Music, I’ll usually create my own, but they crew always jokes it sounds like John Carpenter meets Trent Reznor. Little do they know, that’s exactly what I am going for. Nah, but we also reach out to local bands, when we can to help them out by getting their music out and in return, they help us with amazing sounding music. As for locations, we make do with what we can. We have a guy here that does maintenance on empty properties waiting to be leased, and the company he works for is usually cool with letting us use them, since they are vacant for the time being. Props, well yeah we search long and hard for the most beautiful pieces aka what we can afford, which isn’t a lot, but it helps with creativity. Editing, we rep that Adobe Premiere, audition and final cut. As for the crew, it’s usually the same group, they already know what to expect and have the training now, but we also try out new things and new people who are willing.

What is your next project?

I am currently working on two scripts. We are in production of an experimental short film that deals with a majority of sound. We are starting preproduction on short horror film that has an different look on werewolves, we are all pretty excited for, and then, the plan is make the short version of Late.

The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?

I know I praise my friends a lot, but it’s really true. They keep me going with their support and input. I’ve been cursed with an active mind, that just keeps going and creating stories, and some of the stories are just hard to get through or understand, but my friends, they are my blessing in it all. They film everything, even the things we don’t understand yet. As far as the industry goes, I believe the web is going to be the place to be, with web series popping up, more film makers are having a platform to showcase their work. Plus more studios, such as Amazon and Netflix are helping get new blood out into the business, which seems to be very stale right now, with remakes and origin stories.

Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?

My favorite filmmaker is got to be David Fincher. The stories he picks to direct are just so unique and I really love his style and coloring. I also really respect and appreciate Nicolas Winding Refn’s work. Gosh, who else? Lars Van Tier, Derek Cianfrance. I mean, every movie I watch, I try to take something from it, as a form of influence, whether it’s a cool shot or just a really good soundtrack.

What advice would you give new filmmakers?

Just stay determined. Keep your head up because a lot of stuff will get you down and you’re not always going to get your way, but surround yourself with good people and remember it’s how you handle all of this stuff that truly counts. You just have to be really good at making things work and you can master anything.

Anything else?

Late has been a sort of passion project of mine since I begun writing it in October of 2015. It is currently written as a feature and my dream is to get the funding and backing to do so and show this great comedy that questions the deeper meaning of creation. You can check out the first 30 pages of Late on our website.

Watch and vote for Late.

This pitch is competing in the REELPITCH Challenge, Remember you can vote once a day for the duration of the contest for as many pitches as you deem worthy!


Aug 09, 2016 at 9:00am MDT (America/Denver)


Aug 18, 2016 at 9:00pm MDT (America/Denver)

The Audience Awards provides filmmakers opportunities to create short video content for brands and win money. Sign up today for your free account and join film’s community.



Related Posts

Supporting and connecting diverse filmmakers to amazing brands, festivals, and opportunities. Let's Get Started