How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?
I always knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, but seeing DIE HARD in 1988 with a sold out crowd that had no clue what they were about to see sealed the deal. It was an experience that changed me. I knew then I had to be a filmmaker. I wanted to create such experiences.
What is your favorite part about the short film form?
The complete and total control one has over every aspect of the story and how it is told. They are your babies. You can do what you wish with no interference. Your only limitations are your budget and how you choose to use it.
Who were the people that supported the making of this film?
My good friend, actor Morgan James Nichols, who helped me produce this passion project. I wrote it for him so that we could finally work together in a Director and Lead Actor capacity. Both of us have suffered so much disappointment in this business and we came to realize that we would have to force the industry to see us and that would mean raising the cash and shooting the damn film ourselves, no matter what the odds. Thankfully a few other close friends who are also struggling to break into the business lent us crucial support, such as actress Nathalie Bryant, cinematographer Christopher Eadicico and of course Isabel Sandoval, who is an accomplished director with two features under her belt. She was gracious enough to lend her thoughts to the scripting and act as my AD on the shoot.
What resources do you use as a filmmaker? Music, locations, props, editing, crew, etc.
Family and friends first. Over the course of making two short films back in 2011 I met and became close friends with a few actors and filmmakers who are now like family to me. We rely on each other and do whatever we can when one of us is creating a project. Those kinds of relationships are like gold.
What is your next project?
A feature film version of the short I just completed, which is a proof-of-concept partly shot to see if my ideas had merit and now that I am piecing it together I know it can not only work, but be commercially viable. The script is written. We know what it will cost and how to shoot it. We just need to find the right people to help us make it.
The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?
My motivation is easy: I can’t do anything else and keep my sanity! But the future of independent film-making looks grim. While almost anyone can now shoot a film, the industry has become so reliant on tent pole films that independents are dying out. It’s a travesty and will ultimately crash the industry. There is a reason why so much good material is now going to television. It’s insane that while I was growing up adults went to the movies and kids watched TV, while today it is completely reversed.
Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?
DePalma, Spielberg, Woo and Scorsese were my choices while growing up. The last ten years I have been blown away by Nolan, Carruth, Aronofsky, Tarantino, among others. I am especially appreciative of any director who insists on shooting with actual film. Digital has a purpose, but film is still needed and must be kept alive.
What advice would you give new filmmakers?
Start shooting now. Shoot shoot shoot and then edit yourself. Make as many little films as you can and teach yourself what works and what does not. My best film school was writing, directing and editing half a dozen short films over the course of two years in NYC. I taught myself how to edit and with editing I learned what shots I needed as a director.
Check out Matt Steven’s other competing Super 8 films here!
Watch his other work here.
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