Friday, June 7, 2013

Help a Filmmaker: "Lay in Wait"

Recently I got in touch with filmmaker Jonathan Ade, who's currently working on a new short film called Lay in Wait. I would go into more detail and make a longer intro about Jonathan's work, but I can't wait for you to read the plot:

"A married woman in an extramarital affair must find her wedding ring in the woods before the sun sets."

Right? I honestly can't wait to see how that unfolds. I spoke to Jonathan about his movie, his career and his crowd funding campaign.

The story sounds thrilling! What inspired you to write it?
I always think that the simplest stories based on the most primal of concerns tend to be the most universal of stories. After seeing Wendy and Lucy, I realized that you could make a feature-length film based on someone looking for something and it could be narratively compelling and emotionally impactful. Soon after, I came up with the idea for the very simple, yet very significant symbol of matrimony, the wedding ring.

Was it easy to find the right actors for these characters?

I actually wrote the main character with an actress already in mind. That helps the writing process, of course! The other two roles we are currently pinning down as we speak.

How important do you think film schools are for future filmmakers?
It depends. I think the most important thing for filmmakers to do is to work on their artistic perspective. What do they have to say? Why is it important to be said? This perspective can be cultivated in the field, and it can also be cultivated in schools, where you're a little more shielded from reality and have the opportunity to cultivate your mindset with some freedom. Simply put, you need an atmosphere of critical thought, and film school can certainly provide this, but it doesn't necessarily have to. Also, it can't be emphasized enough that if you go to film school, it's crucially important to meet people and grow relationships. Think of it as one big, long networking session, because filmmaking flat out requires collaboration for success.

Who are some of your influences?

They include (but are not limited to) Charles Burnett (filmmaker), Matsuo Basho (poet), JD Salinger (writer), Orson Welles (filmmaker/actor), Walter Murch (editor), Billy Collins (poet), Charles Chaplin (filmmaker/actor), Walt Whitman (poet), the Maysles Brothers (documentarians), Andrei Tarkovsky (filmmaker), Stan Brakhage (filmmaker) and George Orwell (writer).

Do you think crowd-funding is the way of the future for films?

They certainly are for some. I think the future will be a mix of crowd-sourced and traditionally financed projects, or even a combination of the two. Independent filmmakers were already piecing together financing from various sources for years; this is just the digitization of a process that independents have always worked with. And I think although there's a lot of power in expanding the network of contributors, you don't start at the top. Let's not forget that Veronica Mars and Zach Braff have built-in audiences because of traditional, break-into-the-industry success. For us little guys, it's going to be a slow climb to build our own audiences through this process. And it's something that has little precedent.

Why should people invest in your project?

Because a strong narrative voice is an important contribution to the arts. With all of the exciting, digital innovations happening these days, we can't forget that the best tool in a filmmaker's tool kit is their perspective. And it's been there all along.


I urge you all to visit Jonathan's Kickstarter page (heck, it even made me blog again!) especially now that he's more than halfway there. I'm sure you want to find out how the story ends too!

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