Was this your first Doc Challenge? What has been your favorite part about Fusion Doc Challenge?
Yes this was my first Doc Challenge. I enjoyed the fast pace workflow of the competition and the overall excitement the team had throughout the process. We really came together as a team and dedicated our entire days to the film. Submitting our film an hour before the deadline was such a gratifying/relieving feeling and I was really happy with what we had created.
How did you take the theme for the 2014 Doc Challenge “I have a bad feeling about this,” and use it in your film?
Well bull riding is already a very dangerous sport to begin with. Watching the sport gives you a bad feeling sometimes to begin with. So we decided to create an opening montage sequence that shows the power and danger of bull riding to really emphasize our theme.
What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
One day I just picked up a camera and began shooting videos with friends. I was about 12 years old at the time and I pretty much knew that no other career would be as fulfilling to me as filmmaking.
What is your favorite part about the short film form?
With short films you really need to be conscious of the story elements to make sure the most important aspects of your story is understood. Sometimes it may seem easier as it is less of a time commitment, but other times you really have to work at the editing process in order to tell a complete story arc and in a short time frame.
Who were the people that supported the making of this film?
Originally the idea to enter arose when I asked my professor for a suggestion for a final film idea in my last semester of undergraduate. He suggested the Fusion Doc Challenge. Through the help of my professor, I was able to create the film through an independent study course at Fresno State. This allowed me to have full access to the department’s top of the line cameras which was a tremendous help. Besides the support of my professor, Jes Therkelsen, and university, Fresno State, I had an overwhelming support from my friends who helped me create the film as well everyone at the bull riding ranch who helped us tell this story.
What is your next project?
At the moment our team is pursuing funds to create a full length, Jerry Brown’s Bucking Bulls, documentary which we hope to be shooting this summer.
The independent film business is growing. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?
Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?
With documentary films I tend to be more passionate about the story, than I am the filmmaker. However pioneers like Werner Herzog and Ken Burns are inspirations of mine as they have established a standard for most documentary films today. As far as narrative films, I love just about every film made by Ridley Scott or Martin Scorsese.
What advice would you give new filmmakers?
Never settle for mediocrity in your films and push yourself to become a better filmmaker with each project you take on. Being a great filmmaker means practicing your craft constantly. Grab a camera and go out and shoot the kind of films you want to make on the weekends. I attribute my success to growing up and making movies with my friends. Having that experience will really set you above others and your talents will be recognized.
The Audience Awards is film’s social network connecting audiences to films, filmmakers, film schools and film festivals. The Audience Awards hosts short film competitions where the audience chooses the best films.