How long have you been a member?
I joined in October 2014 to attend the IFP Chicago conference.
Why did you join IFP Chicago?
I really love the community. Filmmaking can be a big scary thing when you're just starting out, and I wanted to connect with people who were in the trenches or had made films already. Every time I go to an IFP Chicago event and talk to other filmmakers, I go home and think, 'Oh yeah, this is possible. I'm not insane."
What does it mean to you to be a filmmaker in Chicago? How does Chicago inform/influence your work?
On the practical side, Chicago is great for filmmakers because it's relatively inexpensive, there's an immense pool of talented collaborators, and the winters stave off the weak spirited.
I started here in the theater scene where actors work very hard for little to no pay in order to hone their craft, find their voice and experiment. Not everything 'works' or is a big success, but there's always a respect for people who are experimenting and trying to find their voice. It's the perfect mix of humility and ambition.
For me, that experimental ethic fosters a great sense of freedom in Chicago. There's not a predefined label of what a Chicago indie film is, there's not a ton of money flying around, and there's not a ton of media attention on us. So we're free to fail, to experiment, and to figure things out without the social or financial pressures you might experience in another city.
What projects are you currently working on?
In July, I released Words Fail Me, an experimental comedy web series about desperate people in absurd situations. I wanted to mix my weird sense of humor with grounded dramatic acting so I wrote treatments and got some great actors together to improvise the dialogue. Doing a web series was a great way to learn the entire filmmaking process from script to post to release strategy, without a big financial investment.
Right now, I'm developing a feature script that I plan to shoot in the Spring.
What was the last movie you saw?
Certified Copy. I'd consider myself very lucky to make something half as good before I die, although my version would be funnier.
Interview conducted August 2015